Harrison Johnston, the 15th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, 105th Infantry Brigade, 35th Division
This morning we did not start work until nine. All officers and platoon sergeants had to attend a lecture on the extent and exact position of the present British-French line. This was preceded by a speech from the Brigadier. He seemed quite cheery and bright. He goes to the trenches tomorrow for instruction for four days, and said he hoped to return on Thursday next.
I received the parcels of cigarettes to-day, which were sent by the children of Harold’s school for the men. They were very pleased to receive the first lot – I gave out a thousand. I must write and thank the kiddies for their kindness.
As I finished this I heard horses’ hoofs – looked up, and there was a full blown General, with some of his staff coming down the lane, followed by a lancer complete with flag. I went out. The guard on the next billet did not turn out. The sentry presented arms – I saluted as they passed and the General wished me a good afternoon. As soon as they had passed I rushed up and asked why the guard had not turned out? A man called McLellan was the sentry, and he said “I asked him if I should turn out the guard and he said ‘no.’” My glorious goodness – to think that a sentry in my Company should ask a General if he would like a salute! McLellan was a waiter in the Sergeants’ Mess and had not been on parade much until we left England. They seem to have got all the real dead-beats on guard to-day. It is enough to make on weep.
We had dinner at the Café this (Saturday) evening – seventeen of us – the C.O. in the chair. Had quite a nice, cheery evening, back 10-30 and bed at once – very tired.