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Date: March 1917

[transcription provided by collection donor]

Mar 8, 1917
Today Capt. Meek left us. We were visited by Sir R. Borden, Hagen & Hon Mr. Rogers. They went over the hospital, had tea with the Sisters & messed with us. Our orchestra played during mess opening up with the “Robbers March”. We had linen on the table, drank to the King’s health, (the first time since I have been with this unit). Col Birkett gave a speech welcoming our visitors & Sir R. Borden replied praising the sisters & our work. There is snow on the ground.

Mar 12, 1917
Am warned for 3rd Div. to leave at noon tomorrow. In Ward N my sisters were McLeod, Jennings, Clark & Linton. They all were very good & help me very much. I met Miss Black of Victoria, she is here nursing.

Mar 13, 1917
Left Boulogne with Capt Young, under orders for the 3rd Cdn Div. At the station we met Lt. Col. MacDonald & Major Richardson & joined forces. We reached St. Omar late in the evening, hunted up the town major who gave us billets. Had a good supper. Up in the morning at 4:30, had a row with the garcon who wanted to charge us twice for our rooms, & caught our train. Reached St. Pol in the afternoon & put up at the best hotel in town. The Major called it the “asshole of France”. It was so dirty. Next morning started for Bruay at 7:45, which we reached at 10:30. Here we discovered our luggage was lost & there was much cussing. All the way up we saw batches of Boche prisoners working. They all looked very fit & happy.

We hunted up the A.D.M.S. & I was detailed to the 9th Can. Field Ambulance which I reached at 10:20 pm at Villers-au-Bois. Here met Major Bajin acting O.C., Major Vipond, Major McKillip, Capt Brothers, Ross, McAskill, Harvey, Woodbury & McLeod-Moore. Met Lt. Col. Philip, O.C., 10th Can. Field Amb. at Bruay. The village I am in was under shell fire & is all smashed up.

The days are very quiet but at night there is heavy firing. The four Can. Divisions are here in the Somme with Vimy Ridge as their objective.

Mar 19, 1917
Met John Briggs at our mess. He is with the 3rd Can. Pioneers.

Mar 21, 1917
Brothers left us early in the morning. Went for a walk & watched our boys haul in one of our observation balloons near Mt. St. Eloi. It is dam cold today.

Mar 22, 1917
Today I made my first trip up to the advanced trenches. As I advanced into the area of fire I felt very nervous & as each shell came moaning, screeching or whistling along I felt as if it was coming straight for my head. When crossing a piece of open ground it was all I could do to keep from running to the nearest trench. While in the trenches I had a feeling of doubtful security but when in the dressing station or dugout I felt safe. Eliminating our own trenches the only thing that would make you think a man was in the district is the roar & popping of guns & earth being blown up.

Mar 23, 1917
Went for a cross-country ride with Major McKillop & Capt. Harvey. The ground was muddy & we raced over it like mad fools, jumped barbed wire, trenches & small shell holes, up hill & down hill. Visited the 75th who were in the forest of Chateau de-la-Haie and had tea there. We raced back through this forest taking far too many risks. I had a very good horse & would always end up leading the race. We came back through Carency & in this mass of ruins I met Lft. Golwyn of the signal core.

During the morning our village was shelled but nobody was injured.

Vimy Ridge

Advanced Dressing station:(ADS)

[sketch of station layout made in diary – see jpg file at bottom of page to view]

It is about 25 ft. underground. You enter from the trench going down an incline at the foot of which is the dressing room. The cases are attended to here & then passed along a passage on each side of which there are three tiers, on which 18 stretcher cases can be placed awaiting an opportunity to evacuate. At the exit there is space enough for walking cases to congregate & sit. These cases are sent to the Field Ambulance. Just beyond the entrance to the exit passage there is a partitioned-off space which is used for your bedroom. This is only one kind of A.D.S. They all differ.

Every day I see the Boche’s planes come over our lines. Most of them fly very high so our anti-aircraft guns don’t seem to bother them. Sometimes our own planes engage them. They fly very fast & outmaneuver our planes which are much slower. Now & then we get one. Our own planes cross the Hun’s line every day.

My general impression is that both sides avoid encounters though I have seen our planes engage the Boch several times, who beats it back to his own lines. They have the best of us in speed.

Mar 30, 1917
Lt. Col. Hurdman is O.C. Sent to the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column at Barlin & here relieved Capt. Afflick & Major Whitton. Met Lft Sherlock.

Original Scans

Original Scans