The War Diary of Mervyn Crawshay

22-09-1914 compressed

Tues 22 Sep. 1914

Rain as usual, but some sun. I go with Peckham to Fismes in the mess cart, commandeered, to try and get wine.

Track an old workman down in the end, and get 1 bottle. Get fresh meat and bread. The whole place crammed with French, transport, etc.

Find various officers working their way up to the front to fill gaps.

The Germans are reported to be giving ground, some trenches have been taken in which they were starving, probably too advanced.

2 Regiments W. Yorks and Devons get ambushed by White Flag, their first action and lost heavily, Germans came forward with their rifles up, machine guns hidden. Sleep in afternoon.

 23-09-1914 compressed

23 Sep. 1914

Wake up at 6.30 and feel energetic and fit once more instead of leaden footed and blear eyed.

Bright sun at last and the sound of guns further off. Robbie and I ride to Fismes. Enjoy the rest, after lunch to valise again.

The Germans have enteric we are to take precautions against it, thinking about being inocculated, its probably as well.

At dinner got an order to be, possibly, ready to march at 3am

See an aeroplane shelled in evening, hear how Yorks and Devons new regts got ambushed under white flag.

Germans advanced in sections, rifles over heads and machine guns hidden.

Broel brings in a bad Dum Dum bullet 600 were taken off a German generals motor car

 24-09-1914 compressed

24. Sep 1914

Still here and sitting in the sun writing after breakfast feeling well for once and rested.

The booming of guns same as ever.

Winnie has been made Col, and that is about all.

Enjoy the quiet life, much debate as to whether I will be inocculated, decide to wait till enteric actually breaks out

 25-09-1914 compressed

25. Sep 1914

Our day out. Reveille at 1.

Fortunately Tiger returns safely and does guide, or else would probably have led into the German lines in the dark.

After a winding journey thro Villiers-Moulins, to Paissy, without being shelled, tho’ we passed over area which got it badly by day.

Kept up communication with Turcos and hid the whole squadron in caves, including myself.

Very heavy shelling, but can’t quite get at us.

A shrapnel on our breakfast table thro’ the window.

The school mistress a most devoted lady, cooks our lunch.

A very pretty old world village in happier times.

Get out at night un-shelled and get in all safe late, no one hit

 26-09-1914 compressed

26. Sep 1914

Thought we really were going to get a rest.

Not so, ordered to saddle up after breakfast.

Hang about all day rather at a loose end with all ones kit packed.

Germans made a big attack on Troyon in the night, repulsed.

Much gunning

Boxer arrives and takes squadron

 27-09-1914 compressed

27. Sep 1914

Thought we were going to have a rest, mistaken.

Saddled up after breakfast and to Soupir once more, past coal box corner safely.

Hear that the retrograde movement of the Germans is rather a myth.

Shells about but not close except one

Saw Winston Churchill in a motor

My writing stopped by a coal box and order to go to billets.

We file away and immediately the leading regiment gets in open it is shelled.

2 telephones of enemy have been discovered in Chavonne today and the man captured, an Alsatian spy, who will be shot, says there are more.

We go to St.Maud, but can’t fit in.

Trail off to a farm on a hill by some gunners, wait for food.

Officers to sleep in a loft, I fall off the first story in the dark, luckily managed to scrabble the wall as I went, and only landed on wood not stone.

Badly bruise my thigh only, but it hurts a lot.

The gunners give me a bed. A poor way to be outed but lucky not to be worse.

 28-09-1914 compressed

28. Sep 1914

Have another taste of the ambulance, 7 miles on my back, after 13 years.

A painful ride over a rough road behind regiment to Blangy once more.

I am deposited in the mess on a stretcher and eventually given a bed, am quite helpless.

Yesterday we expected a forward movement, a myth

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