24th January 1916 Monday
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The Field Ambulance group fell in in the morning. They were to move out of Calonne and march their way south to a farm near Locon. Mesplaux Farm was to be the unit’s new home for the next few weeks.
It was a long tedious march of about 17kms along difficult muddy roads. The ensemble rolled out and began their journey with each man carrying his own kit and arms. They would clatter along through the cold, damp January morning and the half made and damaged road made the going somewhat treacherous. Horses would lose their footing and stumble, the men would sing as they marched, but they too would occasionally stumble. Now and again the troop would come to a halt as they got into difficulties. At one stage a wagon overturned, but the men righted it and they continued.
Passing many English regiments on the way they eventually came to Mesplaux Farm.
Douglas tells us: “Mesplaux proved to be a large farm on the outskirts of Locon and about three miles behind the trenches. It was a large farm with a stagnant moat around it and three large cess-pits in the courtyard. A healthy spot!
Our men were billeted in the barns while we officers occupied some of the rooms in the farmhouse. The farmer and his family were still in residence. We established our hospital in a wooden hut behind the farm. I was billeted in a small cottage about half a mile from the farm and was very comfortable. The old lady in the cottage was overjoyed when I told her I was a Scot.
Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here