20th December 1915 Monday
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Douglas and Captain Anderson were up very early despite their disturbed sleep. At 5am they left Glomenghem for Terouanne* with 2 motor ambulances and 4 drivers to join the 38th Division. Douglas’s duty was picking up marching stragglers, mostly men with bad feet. They paused at Crecques for an hour, before moving on to Mametz where they waited again by the crossroads.
Here he met Major Gwilym Lloyd-George “complete with red tabs”, the second son of Prime Minister David Lloyd George and they chatted for a while.
The red tabs he describes were in fact known as gorget patches that signify general staff who rarely saw any action.
You may remember in BBC’s “Blackadder Goes Forth” General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett asking private Baldrick if he was looking forward to the “Big Push” and going “Over the Top”. Baldrick replies, “No sir, I’m absolutely terrified”. Melchett reassures him that both he and Captain Darling will be “right behind him”. To which Captain Blackadder mumbles “about 35 miles behind”. Both Melchett and Darling sported red gorget patches.
Gwilym Lloyd George, became the 1st Viscount Tenby and in the 1950’s became the Home Secretary that sanctioned the execution of Ruth Ellis the last woman to be hanged.
Then they carried on through Aire, Thiennes, St. Floris to Calonne. The company remained in Calonne until 26th December, collecting the sick for the hospital and attending to them. Whilst there he visited Rebecq**, St. Venant and St. Floris. He then spent three days in bed with flu brought on, he felt, by constantly getting soaked through in the terribly wet and very cold weather.
The next diary entry will follow on Christmas Day.
* Probably Thérouanne
** Probably Robecq
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