5th September 1918 Thursday

A Damp Start, Aeroplanes Buzzing and a Cheery Finish to the Day 

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“At dawn on Thursday the fifth I attempted to light a fire, but failed hopelessly, as all the wood I could find was soaking wet. However, one of the drosky drivers came to my aid, and we soon had a fine fire blazing away. How did he do it? He simply felled a tree, and started the fire with dry, tarry splinters from the interior of the tree-trunk. Quite simple! It rained heavily all day up till about 4 p.m. when it cleared up, and was a fine sunny evening. We all felt very stiff, and sore, and our tempers weren’t of the best – at least not till we had had a tot of rum! The men were in a bad state too – soaked to the skin, and very dejected. I sent two of them into Vymuga. They were in an hysterical condition.

Capt. Merchant came back with his men in the afternoon, after Lt. Anderson and his platoon had gone up to relieve him.

Capt. Scott very wisely, and much to my relief, decided to establish his Headquarters at Vymuga for the time being, so we all trekked back there about 5 o’clock in the evening, leaving a French machine-gun detachment of two guns behind. We were all glad to get back to shelter, and have a chance of drying ourselves, and getting a wash. I managed to get a very comfortable room in the same house as my little hospital.

One of our aeroplanes from the Russian aerodrome on the island at Siskoe flew over Teogra in the evening, and on the way home dropped us a message to the effect that very few Bolsheviks could be seen in or near Teogra, and that the enemy had moved his guns from Teogra to Seletskoe. Looks as if he were going to ‘buzz off’ altogether. The message also told us of the British capture of Lens with 10,000 Hun prisoners, and of the capture of Obozerskaya on the railway by Col. Guard with 200 prisoners. This last item explains the Bolshevik retreat on Seletskoe. The good news cheered us all up immensely.”

Airco DH 4 about to take off near Archangel. Used in bombing and reconnaissance

Airco DH 4 about to take off near Archangel. Used in bombing and reconnaissance

Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here