On the 9th May, after spending a night in tents at Mont St. Eloi, we went by motor-’bus through Avesnes-le-comte, Liencourt, Grand Rullecourt, to Lucheux, where we went into billets. We left at Vimy a party of 25 men under Lieut. A.M. Barrowcliffe, working with the R.E. (Tunnellers). Most of them gradually became sappers, and we saw very few of them ever again. During these two last months there had been only one important change in the personnel. R.Q.M.S. Stimson, who had been at the Stores since the beginning of the war, and whose knowledge of French had been as invaluable to Captain Worley as his energy and skill with “mobilisation store stables,” returned to England. C.S.M. Gorse became R.Q.M.S., and in his place J. Hill became C.S.M. of “A” Company.
10th May, 1916. 3rd July, 1916.
The next ten days, spent in Lucheux, were as pleasant as any in the war. After the mud, cold and damp of Vimy, we could well appreciate the spring weather, the good billets and the excellent country in which we now found ourselves. Lucheux, a very old French village with its castle and gateway, stands on the edge of a still older forest a few miles North of Doullens, and the majority of the inhabitants, under the guidance of a very energetic Mayor, did all they could to make us comfortable. Work was not too hard, and our chief labour was making wattle revetments in the forest—a good task for a hot day—and practising musketry on a home-made rifle range outside the village. The mounted officers were particularly fortunate, for the forest was full of tracks and rides, and each morning soon after dawn the more energetic could be seen cantering under the dripping trees in the early morning May mists—bare headed and in shirt sleeves.
Meanwhile the arrival of some new officers filled the gaps in the Mess caused by Vimy. First Colonel Jones returned, with the piece of shrapnel still in his hand, but otherwise very fit. Soon afterwards two new officers, 2nd Lieutenants H.A. Lowe and G.E. Banwell, joined us, and at the same time Capt. R.C. L. Mould and Lieut. D.B. Fetch returned from England. Several large drafts of N.C.O.’s and men arrived, many of them old hands, who had been wounded, some of them more than once, although as we know well there were many soldiers in England who had never yet seen a day’s fighting.
Just at this time another important change was made in our training. For many months now we had been taught the bomb to the exclusion of almost every other weapon, now at last the bayonet was returning to its former position of importance. The great exponent of the art of bayonet fighting was a Major Campbell, of the Army Gymnastic Staff, whose lectures were already well known at the Army Schools, and who was now sent round the country to talk to all Battalions. He