14 May 1916

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

The C.O. held a conference of Company Commanders and gave us a good deal of information about the defence scheme, &c., of the new sector.  It was evident from his remarks, that he is very favourably impressed by the new Brigadier.  I returned to my Company and held a meeting of all Officers and N.C.O’s, gave them what information I thought advisable from my notes, also a few tips which I had gathered about the specialities and fads of some officers in high places – certain new regulations and ideas for improving trenches and the life we lead there, especially sanitation; for, as I told them, we have more to fear from flies than Huns.  I made my lecture as interesting and amusing as I could, at the same time taking the opportunity of again impressing on them all the enormous responsibilities resting on us, whether Section Commander or higher rank for the lives of those under our orders.

Major Shaw went on his leave and I took over his duties, including “War Diary.”  Being Sunday we moved from Croix Marmeuse to Croix Barbee.  I shall not bore you with description.  We marched about eight miles – two minutes interval between platoons.  Some of the 16th followed us most of the way.  They were going straight into the trenches.

I reported at Battalion H.Q. when the last of our men had arrived at billets.  The C.O. said I might sleep and feed with my own Company, for which I was thankful.  Visited “Y” and “Z” H.Q. and retired to bed 11 p.m.  Orders arrived late and we were given a working party rather early next morning.


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