3 April 1916

Extract from the diary of Harrison Johnston, the 15th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, 105th Infantry Brigade, 35th Division

1-20 p.m.

Lunch is not ready, as the servants are at the baths, so I can get a few minutes to write.

This morning I went to men’s billets with C.O. and M.O. One is in a deplorable condition. The filth of months has accumulated.  A cellar runs under one of the rooms and this is nearly full of filth and water – the smell is terrible.  We are working to clear what we can, but need a big pump to do anything with it.

Oh! I did not mention that we are the emergency company for 24 hours from 6 p.m. last night. Have to be prepared to turn out at 10 minutes’ notice – ready to go anywhere.  We are to sleep in our clothes with equipment ready at hand.

At 6-30 to-night we have to provide a working party of 100 men and three officers to go up near the line repairing parapets. They should be back about 1-30 a.m.  Am trying to arrange for some tea &c., to be given to them then.

These sunny days have caused the buds to burst and things will soon look nicer here.

I can hear the machine guns rattling away up there in the blue, so I suppose one of our boys is trying to get the Boche’ plane down, but I can’t see either of them.

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