1914 – October 20

I was well rewarded at the Post Office last night getting 3 long letters and a parcel from Daisie. I am quite delighted to think we may soon be meeting, but I won’t tell her so because I think it quite wrong to have women distracting one in the area of operations. It is very beautiful on this line to Abbeville – Woods, orchards, and pasture, fine cattle and not much plough. Autumn tints. Nasty cold, wet, grey, miserable day, but cheered by the thought of seeing my Daisie soon. Frightful toothache. Reached Boulogne at 5.30 p.m. Looks a prettier place than Havre in the dark. An awful block of trains here. Everything seems to be going well and it really looks as if we might begin to push the Germans now we are all on new ground and as our left and their right is on the sea we have come to an end of that enormous extension of flank which began at Soissons and has reached into Belgium.

1914 – October 19

Nasty rainy day again. I am smoking a cigarette out of a packet labelled “With the best Wishes of the “Daily Sketch” readers”. I have a man on the train, Mr. Charles Cortin of the Gifts Department, who hands these things out. It really is rather kind of people and also though the cigarettes are not nice it cheers one up. Individual kindness one knows, but this sort of kindness en bloc is something a little different and strikes a deeper chord. Left Havre 2.45 p.m. as a Passenger. Lt. Mitchell of the 3rd Hussars, a drunken little waster in charge. Arrived Rouen 8 p.m. left at 3 a.m.

1914 – October 16

Arrived Villeneuve 6.10 a.m. not much sleep at night. Sick and wounded and horses all over the place, tumbling down, one died and one jumped out of the train. I was three times thrown on to the floor by what felt like a collision, but it wasn’t. I asked the guard and he said “It is the fog, we can’t see the signals” which sounded rather uncomfortable. A dull depressing day and dead horses get on my nerves. Left Villeneuve at 3.20. The usual ovation everywhere and crowds of people at Versailles. Arrived Rouen 10.30 p.m. Reported to R.T.O. who said all right, go to bed, and I’ll come and see you at 9 a.m. No sooner gone to bed than off the train started and took us out 5 miles to Sotteville. So I got down the line to a place where I could telephone from and worried everybody for about an hour.

1914 – October 15

Arrived Mont Notre Dame at 7 a.m. I see that Aldridge of the Royal Sussex who travelled with me exactly a month ago has been killed. Such a fine fellow and married, with one child – it brings it home to one. A nasty wet day and I had lots to do, but kept fairly dry and no twinge of rheumatics, but plenty of toothache. To-day we are just finishing extricating our 1st. Army Corps from the Aisne by here, and the French should now be taking up our line where I was the other day. – The Germans are evidently aware of this by spies and are now, 5 p.m. pushing a fierce attack here. The shelling is tremendous though we are just out of range. Braisne is being shelled where I was on Sept 18th and Oct 3rd and two old ladies have fled from Braisne and I am taking them down with me to Paris.