6th May 1917 Sunday
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“In the early hours of the morning of Tuesday, 6th May, we were shunted into a siding at Etaples. Here I managed to get some bacon and eggs and toast, at a Y.M.C.A. Hut, and was very glad of it. At Calais we stopped for half-an-hour, and were served with tea and cakes by some very excellent Y.M.C.A. ladies. I take off my hat to these ladies who did wonderful service in cheering up depressed and tired officers and men on their way ‘Up the Line’. Here we had a wash at a pump, but in the midst of our ablutions off went the train, as usual without any warning. We had great fun scrambling back to the train. At St Omer we saw a lot of newly-captured Huns, and threw them a lot of cigarettes. Poor devils! How they scrambled for them.
Hazebrouck was reached at 2pm and we dined at the ‘Aux trois Chevaux, then we left Hazebrouck at 4.40pm, and eventually got to Poperinghe about six o’clock, after a most tedious two days, and more in the train! A motor ambulance was waiting at the station for me, and very soon I was with the old crowd again – 130th Field Ambulance. I got a great reception from all. A great artillery duel went on all night at Ypres. I was too tired to sleep.”
More evidence that Douglas got somebody to type up the diary from his notes, not forgetting he was a doctor and therefore had a birthright of sometimes unintelligible handwriting. Tuesday was in fact Sunday.
A Pathe News movie of Motor Ambulances can be seen here.
There is some more information about the invaluable service so many British ladies provided to the troops in France, plus some useful links at http://inspirationalwomenofww1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-ymca-in-ww1-fascinating-facts-of.html
Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here