During his absence we lost Colonel Trimble, who, much against his will, was ordered to take command of his own Battalion, the 1st East Yorkshires. He had been with us for seven months, and we were all very fond of him and very sorry indeed when he had to go. Worse still, there seemed no chance of Col. Jones returning to us. For six weeks, September and October, he had been close to us in Noeux les Mines, attached to the 1st Battalion, and more than once had come over to see us, but now the 6th Division had moved away and we did not know their whereabouts. The matter was finally settled by the arrival of a new Commanding Officer in the same car which came to fetch Col. Trimble. Lieut. Colonel R.W. Currin, D.S.O., of the York and Lancaster Regiment, had come to take command.
1st Dec., 1917. 12th April, 1918.
Colonel Currin, our new Commanding Officer, was a South African, a large man of enormous physical strength. He at once terrified us with his language, which can only be described as volcanic, and won our respect by his wonderful fearlessness. Of this last there was no question. In trenches, he would wander about, with his hands in his pockets, often with neither helmet nor gas-bag, and quite heedless of whether or no the enemy could see him. More than once he was shot at, and more than once he had a narrow escape at the hands of some hostile sniper, but this appeared to have no effect on him, and after such an escape he was just as reckless as before. He had withal a kind heart and a great sense of humour.
A few days before his arrival we had moved from Mazingarbe to Drouvin and Vaudricourt, and here we were now warned that on the 1st December General Thwaites would inspect the Brigade in review order. A rehearsal was carried out in a field near Noeux les Mines, a rehearsal so amusing in many ways, that the Colonel loved to tell the story of what he called his first experience with the 5th Battalion: “On approaching the parade ground I sent forward A——, who was acting Adjutant, to find where we were to fall in. My Adjutant was in Hospital as the result of falling off his horse. When I reached the field, I saw an officer galloping about waving his arms, but whether he was signalling to me, or trying to manage his horse I could not tell, so sent Burnett to find out. Burnett’s horse promptly stumbled, fell and rolled on him, so I went myself and found the luckless A—— quite incapable of managing his pony. I told him to dismount, while I marched the Battalion into place, but subsequently found he had not done so because he couldn’t! Eventually the Serjeant-Major seized him round the waist, someone else led the pony forward, and A—— was left in the Serjeant-Major’s arms and lowered to the ground. All this in front of the Brigade drawn up for a ceremonial parade!” The parade itself also had its amusing side, chiefly owing to the ignorance of certain Staff Officers on matters of drill. However, a friendly crump, arriving in the next field, put an end to the proceedings, and we marched home.