7th January 1916 Friday
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Ebenezer Farm was an old farmhouse that had suffered a lot of shell damage, but was the site of a dugout command post and served as a front line dressing station. The farmhouse had recently witnessed a remarkable event in history.
On the 15th November 1915 Winston Churchill had resigned from the Government following criticism of his handling of the Dardanelles Campaign. He had joined up with the Scots Guards and taken himself off to the Western Front to try and absolve himself and on the 25th November had been in that very same farmhouse.
“Filth and rubbish everywhere, graves built into the defences and scattered about promiscuously, feet and clothing breaking through the soil, water and muck on all sides; and about this scene in the dazzling moonlight, troops of enormous bats creep and glide, to the unceasing accompaniment of rifles and machine-guns and the venomous whining and whirring of bullets that pass overhead. Amid these surroundings, aided by wet and cold and every minor discomfort, I have found happiness and content such as I have not known for many months”.
Churchill had been summoned that day by the XI Corps Commander to attend the HQ at Merville and told that he was to make his way to the cross roads at Rougecroix to be picked up by a staff motor car. No car appeared and after being advised by an officer that the meeting had been cancelled, Churchill angrily trudged the long walk back through the mud and rain in the dark to arrive back at the farmhouse. When he arrived he discovered that the dugout that he had been sitting in had been hit by a shell only fifteen minutes after he had left which had killed an orderly. That mis-sent telegram order unwittingly changed the history of the world.
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