19th September 1918 Thursday

Russian McTavish Rebuilds the Bridge and could Merchant be Dodging?

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“On the afternoon of the 19th September I went for a walk along to the river crossing to view the destroyed bridge. The only traces of the old bridge left were a few blackened piles, and a lot of debris in the river. A lot of refugees belonging to Seletskoe crossed the river on their way back to their homes whilst I was there. It was a sad sight to see them. They were mostly women and children, and many of the women carried babies. McTavish was busy building the new bridge. He had a gang of thirty Russians, and twenty American engineers helping him. They had sunk five wooden trestles in the river, and had started placing the planking across when I left. We heard that a Bolo. plane had bombed Seletskoe during the afternoon, but had inflicted no damage on the place at all. We also got news that one of our gunboats on the Dwina had sunk three Bolo. gunboats and a barge. Merchant was in bed all day complaining of diarrhoea and headache, but in my opinion he wasn’t too bad. He was suffering from cold feet really! I wrote a long report to the A.D.M.S. on my doings up till now. McNair put in an appearance again at night with a supply of rations.”

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