27th April (1918)

We met with “outlaw” mules, which have either escaped or, more likely been surreptitiously released by their exasperated muleteers.  These roam unmolested by harness and humans, finding luxury in the young oat crops and clover patches, but when we troop by their gregarious instincts revive and they come trotting alongside and accompany us to water.  One, striped, obviously part Zebra, and quite unmanageable.  Here and there are colossal cherry trees in blossom.  The Froggys are funny about their water.  Every day there are “rumpuses”.  “Darby” white with rage and clenching his toothless jaws, a large stone clutched in his hand, threatened to bombard a Tommy caught in the act of “pinching” a bucket of liquid putrescence, from the stinking pond near their dung hill.  Tommy beat a retreat.  A woman was this morning making fuss over a notice being stuck in her field.  When the battery, subject of the notice, appears on the scene she will probably get St. Vitus’ Dance.  Her main blast was against a soldier squatting on a temporary latrine.  He sat on, looking her stolidly in the eye.  It was a treat on the other hand, to see something of the French troops, smart and efficient-looking.

IWM (Q 9610) Mules tethered, Bellenglise, 4 October 1918

[Image: Mules tethered in the abandoned trenches of the Hindenburg Line near Bellenglise, 4 October 1918. IWM (Q 9610)]

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