1914 – September 1

I shall be the last to leave Rouen as the advanced base has been transferred to Le Mans. The French look fearfully woe-begone, if we were not here they would have given in long ago. There is an awful feeling of panic and despair in the air that gets even on my steady nerves. The air is full of currents of deadly fear, just like electricity, and you can literally feel them emanating from these fleeing crowds, poor devils! I can quite imagine a French temperament becoming insane under the strain.

I saw what looked like old Palk’s mare from Bishopsteignton among the remounts. I wish horses could talk. The filthy War – there are some 5000 to 6000 men a day at the Rouen station and no W.C. Imagine it! Missed my train because it did not leave Rouen at all, but Sotteville, just outside. Got to Sotteville just too late and tried to catch up my train I started in a French troop train at 3.30 p.m. with a Dragoon Regt. a very nice fellow commanding, reached Creil at 12.45 a.m. on September 2nd. The Germans don’t seem to be pressing so hard as when I was last here, but all the same they are on to Creil now and I only arrived to help in the evacuation. We left at 3.40 a.m. I found 2 of our men asleep, lost from their regiments, would have been taken prisoners a few hours later by the Germans. Reached Pontoise 5.30 a.m. Achères at 9 a.m. Le Bourget 2.15 p.m. just in time to catch an empty supply train returning to Le Mans. Passing round Paris circular railway within view of the Eiffel Tower saw a German aeroplane dropping bombs, over Paris – Left Le Bourget 2.40 p.m. Saw a German aeroplane brought down outside Paris.