Friday, August 15, 2014

15 August 1914 - With the Irish Guards

Postmark: Arras, Pas de Calais, 15 August 1914

"Still travelling.  Hope dear you and Lucy are keeping well"

"They reached Havre at 6 A.M. on August 13, a fiercely hot day...  Here they received an enthusiastic welcome from the French, and were first largely introduced to the wines of the country, for many maidens lined the steep road and offered bowls of drinks to the wearied.  Next day (August 14) men rested a little, looking at this strange, bright France with strange eyes, and bathed in the sea... At eleven o’clock they entrained at Havre Station under secret orders for the Front. The heat broke in a terrible thunderstorm that soaked the new uniforms. The crowded train travelled north all day, receiving great welcomes everywhere, but no one knowing what its destination might be. After more than seventeen hours’ slow progress by roads that were not revealed then or later, they halted at Wassigny, at a quarter to eleven on the night of August 15, and, unloading in hot darkness, bivouacked at a farm near the station."  (The Irish Guards in the Great War, Kipling)

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