13th-15th July 1916 Thursday to Saturday
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“We left Morlancourt on July 13th. Before we left the Bantam Division came into the village. I saw some of the Edinburgh “Bantams” but hadn’t time to look for Gordon Sturrock. We marched via Ville, Buire, Lavieville and Henencourt to Warloy. We had a triumphal procession. Some of our men carried captured German helmets, caps & c and in the villages we passed through the battalions turned out and gave us a great reception. A great body of cavalry passed us going towards the front. We cheered them on, and they gave us a cheer. When we got to Warloy about 10.30pm we found that the Brigade had gone on in motor buses to an unknown destination! We were left behind, forgotten and uncared for!
However, we got hold of the Town Mayor, who found us billets, and food. I had a heavy doze of cold, and felt pretty miserable. Heard that the 3rd, 7th and 21st Divisions attack the German 2nd line at dawn tomorrow. We rested all next day (July 14th) in Warloy and I spent most of the day in bed trying to get rid of my cold.
On 15th July we got word from Headquarters to proceed to Thievres and I was conveyed there in an old field ambulance feeling pretty miserable with a sore throat and bunged up head. No sooner had I rejoined the 130th Field Ambulance than I was pushed off to Authie to do duty as Medical Officer with the 13th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Their Doctor, Capt. Lawrence – was killed in Mametz Wood. The Commanding Officer – Col. Campbell – was a Scot, and a right good sort. I got a good billet.
The Battalion only remained in Authie village for two days. On one day we were inspected by Major General Hunter-Weston the Corps Commander, and on the other I got 200 men of the Battalion bathed at the baths at Covin. I had a grand, hot bath myself!
I was also busy with big sick-parades – most of the men were badly nerve-shocked after the ordeal of Mametz Wood – reorganising the stretcher-bearers and procuring fresh medical stores.”
After the 13th July Douglas describes the men on the move, sick, injured and practically exhausted after the trauma of Mametz Wood. In fact they had suffered so much that the whole 38th Welsh division was withdrawn from frontline combat for a year and didn’t fight again until 1917. They made their way slowly back behind the lines to Poperinghe, west of Ypres which was considered to be safe in British hands, at least for the time being.
Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here
The author of this blog Ray Coggin is both a Taxi Tour Guide and a City of Westminster Guide and leads both walking tours and taxi tours (both highlights and themed) around Central London and further afield. Details of his taxi tours can be found here.
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