October 23, 1916
We have billet at Tineques and by ambulance go toward Arras. A wonderful road over a gently rolling country. At a cross roads we are unloaded and must march on wearing great coats and kit. Most uncomfortably warm. It seemed a long distance into the village of Ecoives, where we rested in front of the Main Dressing Station. There is a delightful absence of shell holes and the stories of the Imperial Ambulance promise a quiet time for us. No casualties in four months, only nine cases through one week. A very large amount of our kit is left and we again march off for we are to go at once to the lines while A and C sections have other duties.
We passed a large military cemetery which is rather disconcerting after our belief in the stories of few casualties. We come to a road where we must go in groups of four because it is under observation. It seems as if the road is not frequently used. Behind us the country is gently rolling, peasant farm houses, cultivated fields, woods and church spire. Before, a deserted weed covered land lined with the brown earth dug from the trenches. We enter a trench, wide, clean, floored with a trench mat, turnips sown in the parapet. It was built by the French and thinking of the English trench, we admire it. But soon the length of it begins to impress us for our feet were sore on the trench mat and our kit hung with an aching weight upon our shoulder. Around curve after curve, on, on, without rest, until one feels it like something in a dream going on forever. The force of gravity seemed to have turned malignant and gripped our little bags with the force of a hundred weight. After what seemed, by unprejudiced measurement, couple of miles, we found ourselves at the advanced dressing station relieving an English Ambulance.
The situation was a perfect one in comparison with anything we had before seen. Dug outs here excelled those of the Germans, as theirs had excelled ours at Ypres. Clean, fresh, roomy. A perfect maze of them and all for medical purposes. A tap with running water, rooms to store stretcher cases, everything painted or white washed. Rats are numerous. I eat my M & V rations with relish.
Tucker and I are left on duty here while others go on up to the four advanced aid posts and the two collecting posts. We are on duty at night. Nothing to do but sit around the brazier and read and talk.
October 24, 1916
Sleep, read, write. We question if a war is going on in this part. Only a very few slightly wounded and sick. Our fellows come down from the Regimental Aid Post for rations but seldom else.
October 25, 1916
Tonight slightly sick with a fever and headache. Do not wish to go down but Capt. B. sends me down in spite of my protests. The road seems dreadfully long and I wait around dressing stations needlessly long. Over to the long wooden hospital where there is no promise of blankets and it is cold. Finally I was tucked in and slept.
October 26 - November 21, 1916
In hospital and wants are few. Different Medical Officers with different styles of pills and ideas as to my decease. I read all kinds of books, occasionally out at dusk for candles and mail. Temperature taken each morning and night. Peaches come for heavy duty when I was on light, on light when I was on heavy. Lots of canned chicken, jelly and custard.
Some interesting neighbours. A Russian who would have nothing of a society where women did not work with the men.
Some week and a half before I was discharged Rae and I go to Aubigny and was disappointed with lunch and the town in general. Walking back with the feeling of sickness upon me. Rae discourses on Atonement to help me forget my legs and to gain strength. At night worse with bad aching legs. Move soon to be beside Tucker in other ward beside the stove.
We have a great walk to see the ruins of Mt. St. Eloi. Picked our way around the wide plain where the battle was, through the old farm yard as silent as a grave, the ruined church, the deep grove.