21st February 1916 Monday
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Douglas mentions in the diary of being visited by several “big-bugs” during February. Probably the biggest bug was Major General Sir William Watson Pike. A distinguished professional soldier, General Pike 10-03-1860/06-06-1941 was the son of an Irishman and was domiciled in the fashionable Dublin suburb of Booterstown, not far from the port of Dun Laoghaire. His father William was a landowner and owned a large part of Achill Island in Co. Mayo. William Pike was involved in a series of running battles fought out in the local press with a priest over evictions of tenant farmers.
General Pike as DMS (Director of Medical Services) inspected Mesplaux Farm on 21st February and remarked to the Officer commanding that he had known the place for some months and had little hope of it ever being fit for use as a field hospital. On this visit he was delighted with the efforts the men had put into making it fit for use and Douglas tells us:
“We were inspected by Surg. General Pike, who said that our place was the cleanest, tidiest and most efficient in the whole of the 1st Army. We were all very ‘bucked’ at such praise.”
The praise was reiterated by letters of appreciation to all ranks of the whole 38th (Welsh) Division RAMC, from both the ADMS of the 38th Welsh, Colonel T.J.Morgan and the Commander of the 38th Welsh, Major General Ivor Phillips.
Although General Pike was considered important in his time and as seen below was to rub shoulders with King George V not a great deal seems to have been written about him, which is possibly a cue for a bit more digging.
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