Sunday 13th October (1918)

You see I have discovered the day and date.  I am in the Y.M.C.A. of a Reception Camp, between 25 miles and 30 miles to the rear of where I last put pencil to paper.  I should be too fagged to write, but an unexpected feed has acted as a stimulus and I maintain it by munching ginger-nuts and sipping coca.  Where did I leave you?  Waiting to go on picquet.  Yes, but I never did get that picquet, that is, at the appointed hour.  I was dozing on my overcoat when the urgent voice of the B.S.M. aroused us “get up and be ready to leave in half an hour” – 9pm.

Frantic scramble in the rain with clothes, gear, blankets and “bivvy”, then with the horses and harnesses.

The treck was a nightmare of moisture, mire and movement.  Interminable halts five miles from nowhere, yelling and scrambling across country, half the column occasionally becoming disconnected from the remainder and lost in the darkness; turnings and returning down dubious and darksome ways – thro’ towns, thro’ everything.  At 3.30 am we reached our destination on the outskirts of a town and then I did my picquet.  At about 5 am I crawled into the indescribably filthy loft of a house, littered with piles of tiny potatoes; bundles of dried poppies; women’s clothing.  On that fearsome floor I made my 3 hours’ bed and slept not a wink.

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