1915 – January 26

Arrived Serqueux about 11 p.m. nothing doing. Abbeville 4.10 a.m. cold, but fine night and blue sky, had some difficulty getting men off, the train daren’t wait long, and they sleep like corpses. Arrived Boulogne 7.30 a.m., snowing hard – I have a heap of officers and men as passengers and 25 trucks of ammunition and supplies. Had to stay all day in Boulogne at the Bassin Loubet, took a long walk out to the very end of the big breakwater, which is right out to sea. I saw the French passenger steamer which the German submarine torpedoed – sunk in harbour, but on sand and quite repairable. Saw the Channel boat leaving and it caused me no extra heart-beats because Daisie is this side of the Channel, and that’s all I care about. These trips are very expensive. I have to pay for any food and guests, meanwhile I pay for my food and lodging at Rouen all the time, for Daisie’s food and lodging at Havre (she certainly is not extravagant) for Leo at school, Galfrid at Ridley House – then interest on debts, premiums on policies – Thank goodness my pay just now is liberal enough to cover it all. The stores accumulated here at Boulogne, are enormous and if the Germans did push us back we should have to destroy them. Our Naval Victory yesterday sinking of the Blucher, was grand. I expect the Germans will try something tremendous to-morrow, because it is the Kaiser’s birthday. it may never snow enough to need them, but I see heaps of steam snow-ploughs and bob-sleighs – foresight.

1914 – September 12

Reached Coulommiers 5 a.m., raining still and very cold, giving out rations all day, such filth and mud and a dead horse just outside my truck. These funny old motor buses from London still continue to advertise in the French lanes “N.W.R. Go to Scotland for the best holiday – G.W.R., Cornish Riviera, etc. etc.” Five French aeroplanes just passed over in the direction of the enemy. Not a very happy night last night, a lot to do, very cold and very wet, bad cold and cough, tummy ache and violent tooth-ache in my Newton Abbott tooth. Heavy firing going on so I suppose the poor Germans are catching it again. A special message from the Kaiser was intercepted ordering his troops to “annihilate the British Force”. It takes some doing. Talked with German wounded Hussars, Artillery, Uhlans, Infantry, all very happy. Their one idea is to have a trip to England. I received over a lot of German rifles, ammunition, fuses, and detonators. The latter I thought too dangerous to have in my carriage, so I exploded them – Rain all day, mud and slush, a smell of filth and dead bodies and disinfectants and a busy hospital with amputations – all the nasty side of war. The Germans were through this town a few days ago and there is little left. How upside down the world is. Think of all the surplus women, and then these thousands of the best of men dead and left to rot in the fields. The world in which one lives has nothing to do with the world one knew – This is another existence. One’s brain is entirely engrossed with the work and sleep and when one wakes the work recommences. I seem to have no connection with the other lucky Dunsterville who had the best of wives and 3 splendid children.