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Date: January 1917

[transcription provided by collection donor]

Jan 3, 1917
I received orders to report at Boulogne so I set out with Capt. Mossman, Parker, Dunlop & Fuller from Harfleur. We were fully equipped with helmet & gas masks, etc. Took a train into Havre & then had the devil’s own time finding the station which was down at the docks. Here we were issued with 3 days rations consisting of bully beef, hard tack, cheese, can of condensed milk & tea mixed with sugar. We had no means of cooking. Capt. Hall, paymaster, joined us & we all got into one compartment. There was no heat & no light. We travelled all night & got very little sleep. In the morning we were at Rouen & changed trains here. The trains are very long & filled up with soldiers.

Went up to the British Officers Club & had breakfast. Later on I visited Rouen Cathedral. It is a grand building built in the 13th century. The altar back of the central altar is a very fine work of art. Had lunch at the Club & entrained at 2:15 but didn’t pull out till late afternoon. This time there were three of us in a compartment. Reached Abbeville next morning & had a hard time getting breakfast. The yards are a very muddy place & we spent most of the day here.

Changed trains & reached Boulogne at night. Put up at the Officers Club, had a bath & a dandy sleep. Reported next morning to No. 3 Can Gen Hospital (McGill). Capt Fuller & I were taken on their strength & the others sent up the line. Here I was given a bell tent to sleep in & three issue blankets like sack cloth. Everything is wet & cold. No heat in the tent. When you turn in your blankets are wet and when you get up your clothes are wet. There is snow on the ground & it’s blowing like billy be damned.

Here I met Col. Birkett O.C., Lt Col. MacCrae & Elder. Capt. McKinn(?), Robinson, Dixon, Brothers, Lewis, Martin, Francis, Hutchinson, Gallagher, Rogers, Malone, Shanks, Learmouth(?).

Jan 18, 1917
For the last few days I have been feeling out of sorts & today I feel thoroughly sick. Coughing but no expectoration. This night I tried to abort a cold with the result that I spent one hell of a night. Cough persisted, most severe when retiring.

During night of …

Jan 22, 1917
I expectorated traces of blood in my sputum. Everything was frozen in the tent & following day I could not carry on with my work & so reported sick. During this time I was running a temperature & knocked off smoking. Had chilly sensations.

Jan 23, 1917
Sent to Ward A & put to bed. Temp ran up to 103 & I had difficulty in breathing. Expectoration now profuse, blood-tinged, would fill a sputum cup overnight. I had no pain.

Jan 31, 1917
Temp reached normal. I feel weak & exhausted.