My time with the Entrenching Battalion was brought to a sudden conclusion on Wednesday May 3rd, as my relief appeared on the previous evening. I went into Pop during the afternoon of Wednesday; took dinner and a bed off MGT and then was motored by him to Haazelbrouck in the morning, catching the same train from there as Michie (another R Ir Fus) who had left Pop by the 1.58 train the previous day en route to the 7th Battn. We travelled together as far as S Pol whence I proceeded by goods train to Doulleus arriving about 6.15pm.
As the 4th Division happens to be on the move now nobody was very clear as to my ultimate destination, but I was dispatched in a lorry to find the Battalion which I eventually did about 8pm at Barly. This is a delightful little village situated in a narrow valley - well wooded country all round and looking at its best now with the fresh green and all the blossom out. Everything so peaceful down here - no sign of war at all!
Neill is now in temporary command: Liesching still Adjutant, but has changed his name and is now known as Cardon Roe (Liesching being a little too German!). Quickly found many old friends of all ranks and of course several strangers also. 'Find' and 'O.D.' (now Major Findlater and Captain J.W.M O'Donovan M.C.) are both away protem and the companies are commended by Quadtrough, Faris, C.T. Wilson and Barefoot. Have been posted to 'A' Coy and taken over from Q. Tynan is the C.S.M. (Company Sgt Major) and there are many families faces in the ranks. Yesterday morning (5th) the Battalion continued its journey to our present halting place Domleger - about 12 miles march. It was a very hot day and we were fairly well boiled.
This place is not so pretty as Barly but quite pleasant and the billets are good enough. Hers are in a well-to-do looking chalet; the remainder of us scattered about. Coy HQ here, as always, consisted of the living room of a superior type of cottage in which we messed - sometimes our cooking had to be done in the same room but not often. It was seldom that more then one officer could sleep under the same roof and frequently we were all boarded out. The inhabitants were very good about giving up all their accommodation but naturally disliked having a mess as this entailed not only the presence of a large number of officers but also a while army of servants and orderlies who brought mud into the house and filled up every hole and corner with their belongings.