The Fifth Leicestershire eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about The Fifth Leicestershire.
place of greater comfort for our rest, but thought it best to take no risks, and, on the morning of the 7th, gave everybody a hot bath.  Two wagon covers and a cooker on the Canal worked wonders in this way.  This day we lost two more officers—­2nd Lieut.  Whetton went on leave, and Lieut.  Steel had to go to Hospital as the wound in his leg would not heal.  “B” Company, being little larger than an ordinary Platoon, Lieut.  Hawley was transferred to “D,” and 2nd Lieut.  Cosgrove commanded “B.”  Captain Banwell had 2nd Lieut.  Griffiths in “C” Company, and 2nd Lieuts.  Edwards and Dennis were still with “A.”  There were no other Company officers, as 2nd Lieut.  Argyle was kept at Headquarters for Intelligence work.  Fortunately 2nd Lieut.  Todd still remained to look after the Transport, which throughout the fighting had been excellent, and Capt.  Nicholson, though suffering from “flu,” stuck nobly to his work and looked after our comfort at the Stores.

Just after 10 o’clock on the 7th, orders came from Brigade for a move on the following day—­forward, not further back, and once more our hopes of the promised rest were dashed.  This time the attack was going to be made by the other Divisions, and the 46th was to move at Zero to some assembly areas round Magny La Fosse, and wait there in case the enemy were sufficiently “broken” to allow of a general advance.  Zero was five minutes past five—­a most uncomfortable hour for a move, especially as breakfasts had to be eaten beforehand.  Almost everybody was in bed before orders came, but there were some who had no sleep that night:  the Orderly Room producing operation orders, the Quartermaster’s department (whose wagons arrived at 3-0 a.m.!), and the cooks getting breakfasts ready, were the most unlucky, but so well did all ranks and all departments do their work, that at 5-0 a.m. the Battalion fell in ready to move.  Packs had been stacked, ammunition and bombs distributed, most important of all, we had had a good breakfast.  There is no doubt that our discipline and spirit were never better than during those strenuous weeks.

Seldom has more bad language been heard than on that early morning march down to the Canal again.  It was half dark and there were Units assembling and marching in every direction.  Eventually, finding we should be late at the starting point if we waited for the Regiment which should have been ahead of us, we decided to go on at once, and set off down the rough and slippery track to Riquerval Bridge.  All went moderately well until a “C” Company limber stuck.  Before it could be drawn clear, a Company of another Regiment marched up and round it, entirely preventing our efforts to free it.  Curses were loud on both sides, but nothing could equal the flow of language that the two Company Commanders flung at each other over the heads of their perspiring Companies.

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The Fifth Leicestershire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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