Churchill-Smith, James – December 1916
Received nice parcel from Enfield Church, Sunday School, and Literary Society combined
… Ears very troublesome, but am having them seen to.
Head trouble during morning – very severe pains. Left Battalion at Bernafray [Bernafay] Camp with Lieut. Loudon and 7 men for leave to England … Marched to Buire and arrived feeling very tired at midnight. Slept in Battn. store tent on blankets &c.
Slept well, but woke up feeling stiff and not at all well. Very severe pains in head for 5 hours, and also pains in back. …
Severe head pains again, …. Reported at the Rest Station, but they advised me to go on to London and report sick there. … Took pills with me, and caught leave train at Mericourt
Travelling all night – very little sleep.. Train journey awful, as we would often stop at places for ¼ to ½ hr. Pace when travelling very slow at times. …
… Caught H. M. T. “Viper” at 11.45 p.m. for England.
Very nice voyage – slept some of time. … Arrived at Southampton and trained to London, … Booked a room at Imperial Hotel, Russell Sq. … Went to Theatre, “Bing Boys are here”,– very enjoyable time & had a good laugh.
Wrote dear Mum, Kate, … Found that my room at Hotel was locked owing to my not having paid in advance – a rule at this place if you arrive without luggage – struck me as being very funny, but girl at desk couldn’t make out me: laughing as everybody else roused.
Met Lieut Eric Inglis in the street, … Went to “High Jinks” at night …
With Ing. [Lieut Eric Inglis] during morning. Went to “A little bit of Fluff” in the afternoon; Richmond to dinner; and “Flying Colors” at night.
Went home with Ing. to his Auntie’s at Ealing at night. Manicured at Regents in afternoon, – very nice too. Went to “High Jinks” at night with Ing. and 2 Regents girls…
Sent home diary & negatives. Cabled Dad. Met Ing. at Regents at midday. Manicured after lunch.. Caught leave train from Waterloo Station at 4 p.m. to Southampton – Ing. to see me off. Very sorry to be leaving, but have had the most enjoyable holiday I have ever yet spent. Left Havre by boat at 7.30 p.m. Sent post-card to Mona. Went to sleep as soon as train pulled out of Waterloo Station; very little sleep during holiday.
Arrived at Havre about 3 a.m. and disembarked at 7 a.m…
Up at 4 a.m. after a fair rest & sleep. Walked about 3 miles to railway station, and caught leave train at 6.45 a.m. Dull day with rain, and very cold travelling. Train journey just the same as before … Slept a good deal of journey.
Arrived at Amiens at 2 o’c a.m. Had cup of tea with Reg. Williams at Y. M. C. A. … Caught train to Vignacourt … and walked to Battn. at St Vast … Received letters from dear Mum, Kate, Dad…
Battalion route march in morning; parade during afternoon, but this is awful after London. …
Church Parade in morning. … Christmas Eve celebrations at night by Officers – very rough night.
Church Parade in morning – Brigadier present. Men had a very good Xmas dinner – extra meat and vegetables, also 2 pints of beer each. Officers dinner at night – very successful.
Battalion route march in morning…
Company at Vignacourt baths during morning. Noel & I to Amiens in late afternoon; returned at 10.15 p.m. Very heavy fog at night, and necessary to keep sharp look-out when riding. Can see only about 5 yds. in front. Lieut Hoggarth received a case of whisky from England, so Officers had a busy night.
Dull day. Battalion route march in morning. Football matches in afternoon:
…. Had an enjoyable night at “C” Coys Mess, and waited up to see New Year in… Trust I shall be home for next New Year.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith