6th December 1915 Monday

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Early next morning and still in the darkness the Huanchaco arrived in Le Havre. The men waited patiently. The ship’s crew hosed away the sickness through the gunwales, while others busied themselves below decks in an effort to get the little ship fit for sea again.

Eventually, some time around midday the men began to thread their way along the narrow gangway onto the dockside where they assembled into organised groups again, preparing to move on. After another long delay the men marched to a rest camp about 2 miles away. After some refreshment another 3 mile march to a railway station.

The arrival in France had been met with the horrible kind of weather that was to endure for a lot of their time there. The wind had now subsided, but the rain that delayed the sailing was to continue. Douglas described rest camp as “a sea of mud”.

That night at around 8.30 pm they boarded a train to begin another slow journey, men and horses in cattle wagons and officers in first class. Douglas described the first class carriage as being dirty and unkempt, the whole thing smelling of “Cooke’s Circus”, but a sight more comfortable than those in the wagons behind.

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