Read today's entry from Harry Gissing's 1914-18 war diaries

October 20, 1916

Reveille at 5 a.m. and marched out at 6, after having a couple of slices of bread for breakfast. My pack was some weight now having an addition of three blankets. We soon picked up the brigade, the line of marching men stretching as far as I could see.

The morning was very cold, a heavy frost being on the fields. After passing through Ailly we reached the busses which were to take us on having done about 10 miles. The busses to the number of 250 all French, about 18 men to each, then took us via Mouliers, Flixecourt, a fair-sized town, then Amiens, a very large town to within about 4 miles of Dernancourt, where we disembarked, completing the journey on foot.

The trip was bitterly cold and we had nothing to eat. On reaching Dernancourt we were put into some awful billets and had to fossick round for some tucker, none being provided. We turned in about 7.45, four of us together for warmth. The scene was wonderfully interesting, the traffic being absolutely enormous, troops being relieved, new troops coming in, thousands of motors and horse vehicles all going through a sea of mud.

A large numbers of German prisoners were employed on the roads, mostly a poor lot of men, the worst of them being shown our chaps, perhaps to demonstrate how easy they might be overcome. All night long I could hear the motors going and trains shunting, there being no cessation in the traffic. The weather was bitterly cold, and the men with only one blanket had a bad time. Had breakfast at 8 a.m. next morning.

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