11th December 1915 Saturday

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The company received their pay. Their first payment since landing in France.

The next few days were mainly passed by driving around the local countryside collecting the sick and injured, described by Douglas as a pleasant duty, getting to see the countryside and meeting various “interesting people”. He even found time, being a Scot, to buy some New Year cards in Terouanne* for a franc each.

He describes an old church at Ecques as being very similar to the Parish Church of St Monan’s, Fife.

All the time while driving around they could hear the thunderous rumble of the guns in the distance and they would often see great battles taking place in the sky.

Writes Douglas, “One day there was a great fight with 30 machines in the air. Three Germans were brought down, one in flames. It was a thrilling sight. Another day four Zeppelins were spotted on the horizon and were chased by our planes”.

It’s interesting to note that the sight of thirty aircraft locked in combat was merely twelve years after the Wright brothers’ first powered flight in 1903.

A new skill was learnt in the art of riding a horse. Douglas describes the excitement of it with all the big motor lorries and buses using the narrow lanes, but he soon got to grips with it, but described feeling a bit stiff and sore for the first few days.

*Probably Thérouanne

The next diary entry will follow on 16th December.

Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here