The 3rd of July passed quietly, and that night we were relieved by the 25th Canadians and marched to Aix Noulette, where we embussed and went to Monchy Breton for a rest.
St. Elie left.
4th July, 1917. 23rd Nov., 1917.
We stayed for three weeks at Monchy Breton and enjoyed ourselves immensely, with good weather, good billets and plenty of games. The Headquarters lived and messed at M. le Cure’s, where they consumed a disgraceful amount of strawberries and cream, while the other officers under Captain Burnett messed together in another house. But the chief feature of this period of rest was the Divisional Rifle meeting, a regular Bisley meeting, which took place at the end of it. It was a triumph for the 5th Leicestershires, for we carried off amongst other trophies the G.O.C.’s Cup. R.S.M. Small, D.C.M., had one “first” and two “seconds,” Corporal F.H.J. Spencer, M.M., one “first” and one “second,” in the individual competitions, while Serjt. Clancy and Pte. F. Bindley won the assault course and individual “pools.” On the second day “A” and “B” Companies each got third place in the Company Assault Course and Snap-shooting Competitions, and “C” was second in the Company “Knock-out” and third in the “running man” competitions. In this last Pte. Pepper won third place in the pool. Finally our officers’ team won the revolver shoot. The rifle shooting throughout both days was of a very high order, but the same cannot be said for the revolver work, and we only won this last competition by being not quite so terribly bad as anybody else.
On the 20th of July we received orders to go into action again—this time to a quiet sector near Hulluch—and the following day we moved to Vaudricourt. The C.O. and most of the officers went by motor-’bus through to Philosophe to reconnoitre the new line; the rest of the Battalion set out under Captain Burnett to march. The previous evening had been spent in celebrating our rifle-shooting victories and we felt like anything rather than marching twenty miles under a blazing July sun. Those who took part in it will never forget that march; it was worse than “Luton to Ware” in 1914. Packs seemed heavier than ever before, the hill at Houdain was too much for many, and the beer and white wine of the previous evening proved stronger than march discipline, and many fell out. We finally crawled into Vaudricourt at 4-0 p.m.—tired out.
The following evening our Transport lines and Quartermaster’s Stores moved to Labourse and we went into the line, relieving the 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment in the Hulluch right sector. For six days we lived in tunnels, with a front line which consisted of odd isolated posts at the end of each passage. The old front line trench seemed to have disappeared entirely. We were not much worried by the enemy, in fact, except for one trench mortar near Hulluch, called the “Goose,” he kept very quiet. At the end of the tour we were relieved by the 4th Battalion and went into billets at Noeux les Mines.