Captain Rose War Diary 10-14 Oct 1914: Approach march to Ypres

10 Oct.

Still on train. Pass Boulogne.

Arrive at St Omer about 11-30. My company on fatigue, Germans quite near. March about 1 p.m. to Port Rouge. Hear French are building positions in front. Go in motor to see French Colonel and explain, then back to Port Rouge. Hear we are to billet in Renescure. Go in car again to French Col., tell him, then go direct to Renescure. Billet my company in Mr Steven’s farm. Dine in chateau. Village crowded with refugees, but shops well stocked. Get some chocolate.

[Line of march 10 Oct Saint Omer to Renescure c 7 miles]

11 Oct.

Mattress on floor, fair night. Stand to arms at 5-30. Get knife and fork. Chateau picturesque with moat. Move off at 12-10, my Company to go to hold outposts at Le Nieppe. ‘B’ to rest of battalions Lynde between ??????. I find French building all the posts I am to hold. Have long talk with French Col. Beside ???? position well held, but trenches not deep enough. Get him to let me deepen it by saying men want exercise. Tell C.O. [Commanding Officer] and get permission to go into reserve. Have food in small house, including mushrooms, or what we thought were.

[Photograph, © South Lanarkshire Council Museums Service, from first album in Capt Rose collection  2008.142.060 with inscription "Our billet at Renescure 14th century in parts"]

[Photograph, © South Lanarkshire Council Museums Service, from first album in Capt Rose collection 2008.142.060 with inscription “Our billet at Renescure 14th century in parts”]

12 Oct.

Fair night, frost, kaross very wet. [From Capt Rose’s service in the South Africa – Kaross ~ Native South African skin mantle] Hurried orders during night. Little late starting, discover wrong road, and correct, just in time. March (B Co. as A. G.) [B Company as Advance Guard] via Hazebrouck. Misty, fix swords to resist possible attack. Sat in field. Move to Borrè, saw shelled houses, one old woman crying. Bivouac. Get kits, also mail and oilskins. Feed in deserted house, very clean, buy a blanket.

[Line of march 12 Oct Renescure via Hazebrouck to Borre c 38 miles]

13 Oct.

Move, with many halts to near Strazeele. We forms corps reserve. Rain. After dark go into very close billets in piggy farm, people very pleasant. Get bed.

[Line of march 13 Oct Borre to Strazeele c 2 miles]

14 Oct.

Rise at 2-50 for orders. Turn out, and stand by. With regard to behaviour of Germans, I have not come across many atrocities. They do seem to have done a great deal of malicious damage in deserted houses, and of course some very nasty things, but what can you expect when dealing with a low class in a hostile country. We have had to put down looting on a minor scale, even in our own army, who are so well treated, and in a friendly country. The Curé was shot. I could not find out on what grounds. A French cavalry officer was shot while on patrol, by some civilians on bicycles, presumably spies. A wounded German officer was left in the house I billeted in, and taken over by our ambulance. The Germans are terribly callous about their own wounded. Before the Guard’s Brigade the ground was covered with dead and wounded. The Germans refused all offers to have them removed. The stench was awful I am told.

About 12 mid-day we get orders that the brigade will attack Bailleul from Meteren. The Welsh and Argylls leading. March on, only to find Bailleul unoccupied. We make a triumphal march through the town, and hear that the Bavarians had been very drunk, and before retiring broke windows and did 20 atrocities. Just beyond we get a few shots fired at us. We are left of the 6th Division, with 4th on our left. The 6th seems to be held up, and we rather in the air. It has rained on and off since 11 a.m. I am inclined to feel depressed. Hear we are to move back into billets, so make a bet we won’t. After dark, move to a field N of B. My Company on duty, and sleeps in equipment, also furnish post. Then quite a good night, as warm, in spite of rain.

[Line of march 14 Oct Strazeele via Meteren to Balleul c 11 miles]

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