18th January 1918 Friday
A long day back to duty.
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Douglas set out on the laborious journey back to the French Western Front to meet up once more with the 130th (St.John) Field Ambulance in Estaires, much to his personal satisfaction.
Tanks had begun to gather just outside St. Pol which became an important point in the deployment of tanks and was the scene for a later policy of deceiving the Germans into thinking the Tank Division was larger than it really was.
After putting up a good show during the preliminary battles leading up to the Passchendaele offensive, particularly at Pilkem Ridge, the 38th Division had gone a long way to restoring its reputation among the army hierarchy. Suffering enormous losses at the Somme with the fight for Mametz Wood, Haig put it down very unfairly to lack of endeavour. The 38th were withdrawn from the main offensive in September 1917, being used to take up new positions in the area around Armentieres. Then given time to rest and train before taking up fighting positions once more in February 1918.
Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here