8th December 1915 Wednesday
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“I reported to the ADMS (Assistant Director Medical Services) Colonel Morgan who took me in his car to a village called Glomenghem where I was attached to the 130th (St John) Field Ambulance”, wrote Douglas.
The men of the 130th marched into Glomenghem from their previous position at Enguingatte and arrived about 1pm. They were billeted in barns and stables and were to remain there for the next twelve days.
Douglas also remained in Glomenghem until 20th December. He described the great welcome he received from the commanding officer Colonel Davies, a Wrexham doctor and that the other officers soon made him feel at home. Here his jobs included collecting wounded or ill soldiers from around the district with a motor ambulance. Each day the rain persisted and by now the roads were just rivers of mud.
His motor ploughed its way around Marthes, Enguingatte, Terouanne, Creques, Rebecq, Ecques and Mametz (Not the Mametz near Fricourt a scene of the famous Battle of the Somme), bringing back sick and injured men for treatment or to be hospitalised.
Headquarters were the semi derelict Chateau Bussy which had no furniture and was “very wet and damp, but we had to make the best of a bad job”.
Douglas at this point describes his temporary home.
“I was billeted in a small cottage with a thatched roof and a stone floor. It was a damp hole and full of rats. Hens paraded about the house all day and there was a fine view of a midden heap from my window”.
“The old dame of the house called me ‘l’enfant officer’ ”.
The weather remained the same, cold and very wet. The countryside looked very desolate. Douglas writes, “We often took the men out for route marches to keep fit. After these occasions we returned to our billets very wet and covered with mud splashed up on us liberally by passing cars and horse wagons”.
“We were very comfortable in our mess. The catering was plain but good and a piano helped to liven things up. Censoring the men’s letters and bridge soon made the evenings fly”.
Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here