Captain Rose War Diary 15 – 17 Aug 1914: Arrival in France and Deployment to the Belgian Border

15 Aug

Up at 5 a.m. but hung about in shed all day. Pouring with rain. Fed on ship. In evening marched off five and a half miles to No. 6 camp at Frilléres, rain which held off a little, started pouring again, arrived wet to skin. Now began some of the discomforts of war. Transport not in, so could not get even the little bit we are allowed to carry, but managed to be very cheerful. In tent with Drew [Lieut Cecil Francis Drew, Platoon Commander B Company] and Newman [Lieut Edward William Polson Newman, Platoon Commander B Company]. Went out to help in transport. Very dark, raining, up to knees in mud. Got transport in about midnight. Got valise and lay down in dry clothes. Eat some food brought in haversacks, and being dead beat slept quite well.

16 Aug

Still pouring, camp a vast sea of mud, men wonderfully cheerful, got best of food, and eat with clasp knife. Weather improved, dried clothes. Went into town in afternoon, and bought more food, came back to find a crowd of people braving the mud to see us. All very friendly. Left at 10.30 p.m., destination quite unknown, and marched to station. This proved an arduous job, and the men got dog tired. Arrived at station at 12.30, and had some coffee. Men packed into train like sardines, but only four in our carriage. We feed as best we can, clasp knife very useful.

17 Aug

All day in train, country very deserted, chiefly women and children, people getting wildly enthusiastic, violent cheering at all the stops. Received seven presents of ham, tea, pears etc. Wild excitement. Train very long. Arrived about 7.15 p.m. at Busigny.

[Photograph, © South Lanarkshire Council Museums Service, from first album in Capt Rose collection 2008.142.011 with caption "Busigny station one of the immense French trains which carry a whole Regt with luggage."]

[Photograph, © South Lanarkshire Council Museums Service, from first album in Capt Rose collection 2008.142.011 with caption “Busigny station one of the immense French trains which carry a whole Regt with luggage.”]

A wonderful reception awaited us at Maretz. The Battalion, after waiting about at the station for some time, marched about two miles to the Town Hall, where we formed up in front of the church, amid much cheering. The officers then entered the Mairie, which was decorated with the Allied Flags, and we were duly presented to the Mayor, who read us an address in English, this being followed by an address in French, read by a little girl. After this we were all presented with bouquets of flowers.

We then marched to take up our billets. This was a long job, the men going in small parties to houses fairly widely distributed. About midnight I got back to the Mairie, and eventually got my own billet, which was with a weaver. Blundell came with me, and was accommodated in the same room. I had a nice bed with clean sheets. Blundell a paliasse. The weaver then gave us some wine, and so to bed about 1 a.m.

[Line of march 17 Aug Busigny to Maretz c 4 miles]

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