Up at 3 for orders. Stand to arms 5-30. Stand by 6-30 ??? still standing by, but hear that all danger being over we are to return to army troops. Understand we are to go into billets.
Presents of tobacco and dried fruit arrive, from papers and societies. 4 p.m. move off without notice into B,, but alas just as we arrive at billets, informed not going, so out, Eat a piece of bread and jam. I to lead A.G. [Advance Guard], learn up routes. Move to Steenwerck Move into filthy cow field. Very unpleasant night, hardly sleep at all.
[Line of march 15 Oct Balleul to Steenwerck c 3 miles]16 Oct.
Breakfast about 5 a.m., standing by. Get a big mail in. Move off at 12-45, my Company to be rearguard Hear some Germans in a cave, but turns out to be only ‘cavé’ – a cellar, so move on. Darkness comes on, and the bad roads make marching most uncomfortable. About 1-30 reach Vlamertinghe. To great joy, go into billets. Waited on by a quaint fellow.
[Line of march 10 Oct Steenwerck to Vlamertinghe c 13 miles]
The diary ends at this date.
The Battalion War Diary records:
17 Oct – At Vlamertinghe – Remained in Billets and had clean up.
18 Oct – The Battalion were used to experiment in getting into Motor Buses going for an hours run, getting baggage and ammunition packed etc. One platoon gets into 2 buses and each Company got 10 buses leaving one spare. Five buses were required for all baggage, blankets, ammunition etc.
19 Oct – Battalion ordered to move at 2.30 p.m. by motor bus to Levantie, a road distance of 22 miles south, with the other three battalions in the brigade having left by route march at 1.30 p.m.. The Battalion’s “flotilla of buses did not get in till 8.45 p.m. owing to meeting heavy Ammunition Columns on road (narrow) and also being blocked by French Cavalry baggage at Estaires. The remainder of the Bde got in about 2.30 p.m. next day, Going in Busses (sic) not all ‘quite simple’.”.
20 Oct – Levantie – 8.30 a.m. The Battalion and the Royal Welsh Fusiliers sent out to entrench a position Fleurbalx – Fauquaint. 1.30 p.m. Brigade marched to Fromelles – Middlesex Regiment and Royal Welsh Fusiliers occupied the town with Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and Cameronians in reserve. Cameronians bivouaced in a field and had a very wet night.
21 Oct – Fromelles – 5 a.m. Stood to arms 7.05 a.m. marched to Bas Maisnil with Le Maisnil occupied by Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, Middlesex and Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Fromelles and Cameronians in reserve. 4 p.m. B Company (Capt H H Lee) sent to support Middlesex. 6 p.m. Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders got badly shelled and they and the Middlesex had to retire. 9 p.m. Brigade fell back to La Boutillerie and took up a new position there, with the Cameronians on both flanks. Casualties, all of B Company, 1 killed, 13 wounded, 1 missing.
22 Oct – A position reconnoitered by Brigadier and Commanding Officers and the brigade entrenched at 5.30 a.m. Half of C Company under Capt Rose and half of D Company under Capt MacAllan went out as covering party and became engaged at once, the Germans allowing them to get to close range and then opening fire from the flank with machine guns and rifles. “They fell back a little then held on most splendidly.” 6 p.m. Enemy attacked but easily repulsed.
In this covering force action Captain Rose and 14 Other Ranks were killed. the two subalterns, Lts Graham and Dubin and 35 Other Ranks were wounded, with 18 Other Ranks missing. Capt MacAllan was initially reported as missing but was subsequently found to been taken prisoner of war and repatriated in 1917. Capt Rose was Mentioned in Dispatches and was the first officer of the 1st Cameronians to be killed in action in WW1.