Left at 8 a.m., marched to Quarouble, where we had just finished billeting, and where I saw the prospect of a lovely bed and food, when we were ordered off as hard as we could go, to line the Condé – Mons Canal. This was through pretty country. We passed through French Cavalry peeping round corners. The roads are very trying to march on, all being pave. Men very thirsty and water bad. We are without Artillery or Cavalry. ‘A’ Coy. Load rifles, one rifle goes off, not ours. Settled the men at a coal mine. Put out picquet under Drew. Had some beer. Tried to sleep in some hay, peculiarly hot, guns going all day on our right.
[Line of march 23 Aug Valenciennes to Condé Mons Canal c 11 miles]
Money [Lieutenant Robert Cotton Money, Cameronians, Battalion Headquarters – later Major General d.1985] came in to say our right hotly pressed, did up valise and put it on an S.A.A. [Small Arms Ammunition] cart. Don’t know what has happened to our transport. 2 a.m. told we must clear off as fast as possible. Hear that Middlesex have lost one officer and three men, but driven off enemy. We had to make a flank march across enemy’s front. CO very anxious because ‘D’ Coy delayed. Got away all right, but ‘D’ Coy, officers lost their kits. Dawn finds us marching, no food. Pass into Belgium, see everybody who can clearing off. Guns getting louder. Come in sight of battle. Shells bursting (Battle of Boussu – our rearguard action). Thought we were for it, but no, marched away through Baisieux back into France, thence via Sebourg to Jenlain.
Rest at Rombies, men very tired, and hardly any food, men loot apples. Our Brigade is 19th : A S H [2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders] R W F [2nd Battalion, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers] Middlesex [1st Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment], ourselves.
On the way saw battle from distance, wood in direction of Quievrain being heavily shelled. Men throwing away their kits right and left.
Halted for some time at a farm for men to rest. Then continued our retreat to Jenlain, where we halted at a picturesque farm, after which we went out and entrenched ourselves. This took till after dark. However, we only stayed till 4.30 a.m.
[Line of march 24 Aug Condé Mons Canal to Jenlain c 15 miles]
Hard march with firing all round, anxious as to whether we will be cut off. Aeroplanes. Apparently very close shave yesterday, one platoon of A.S.H. [Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders] killed outright bar Cpl. [Corporal] and two men. Riddell [Capt Thomas Sheridan Riddell-Webster, Battalion Headquarters],had narrow escape. Find we are bound for Haussy, where we met main army. Saw Cavalry being shelled, met Rasch ? Came under little shrapnel, when we formed to cover Cav.[Cavalry] retirement. Retired amidst crowds of troops, (via Solesmes) on Le Cateau, Pavé, very very trying, troops nearly beat, billeted at station about 10 p.m. Got some beer and tinned beef. Very pathetic to see crowds of inhabitants fleeing.
[Line of march 25 Aug Jenlain to Haussy c 15 miles]