Tuesday August 29, 1916
We turned out at 7 a.m. One pleasant thing about army life is that we are always wakened by the call of "tea up." Then we roll out of our overcoats, rub the sleep out of our eyes, grab our mess-tins and hurry out to where the two N.C.O's are dishing out the tea and bacon.
This morning we were surprised to hear that after a three day route march we were to run out for drill in heavy marching order. The training camp is 4 ½ miles away, over a few hills. Well the men were mad and that is no small thing in a Canadian army; very different from the Imperials. Then on the way out it began to rain. A lot of men fell out on the way out to the drill ground simply because their feet or shoulders were in bad condition from marching, and some from pure cussedness and small blame. We had been promised this day for rest.
When we arrived, we found that the parade ground was grain fields in stubble. Just as we commenced operations, it started in to rain in earnest. Well, we practised open order work, going ahead in short spurts and flopping quickly in the mud, then getting up quickly, running a few yards and dropping again behind any cover you could get. This is all practice for the open fighting we are to have down on the Somme. The British are slowly pushing forward, and this means a lot of hand to hand fighting and fighting in rushes. We were to have practised until 4 p.m. but it rained so hard that we left at 3. On the way home it didn't rain, it poured. We were soaked through and through till our clothes squeaked all over. The bully beef hash we had for supper put some life into us but many of the boys had no sleep because they were cold and wet. This is one of those times that a drink of rum is a God-send.
Right after supper we went up to the horse lines and changed out (t)rusty Ross rifles for the handy little Le Enfield.
Our lieutenant, (Lieut Major) told us that the work down on the Somme was likely to be rough and hard. No regular trenches but live for a while in shell holes, ditches, or any place we could find, so we are expecting to have some genuine times.
Just seen in the papers where Roumania has declared war on Austria-Hungary, Germany on Roumania, and Italy on Germany. Some mix-up.