Saturday, 13th October (1917)

(Etaples)  We have been bandied about from pillar to post, mostly in teaming rain.  We had all sorts of parades and lectures yesterday afternoon and evening.  The O.C. at Etaples, a much wounded officer, and S. A. Veteran, gave us sensible address on the running of the camp.  An amusing anecdote was of a soldier detailed to clean out a sump, poking at it with a stick as though saying “you nasty thing!”.  Asked his occupation in civil life he replied “I was a barrister and solicitor”.  Then, said the O.C., if you were to put your arm in up to the elbow you might find six and eightpence.

The feeding arrangements are excellent, the food being properly cooked, and equally meted out, so that though actually less in quantity than in England it is much more satisfying.  We are in small bell tents, about a dozen in each, all with wet clothes and all our equipment, including gas appliances.  We each have 2 rough blankets, very ‘hummy’ with disinfectant, and sleep on the boards and have again gone through both lachrymatory and poison gasses.  As the O.C. said, it used to be a sporting war, now it’s a devils war.

This place is composed chiefly of rolling sand dunes, with patches of pine and scrub, and one blessing is that the mud being sandy is not of the clinging order.

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