Harry Gissing's 1914-18 war diaries: September 17, 1917

September 17, 1917

Reveille 5.30, an early start in order to clean up camp. Marched out at 9.30 passing through Wallan-Cappell, St. Sylvestre-Cappell and so to Steenvoorde, a very fair-sized place. The march being about 9 miles and very trying, in parts as we met roads with cobbles. The whole division were on the road. Reached Steenvoorde about 4 o’clock tired but feeling well and fit. Had a wash and clean up in a creek and then after tea a few of us strolled back into the town.

The Church proved to be a very fine building with a splendid tower. Some of the windows were really beautiful quite as good as any I have seen in France so far. We stayed a while and listened to the service, the singing sounding beautiful. Later we visited a few of the shops, bought some odds and ends, sampled their biere and met Parisian Bock which we had not seen since we left this area 12 months ago. On our return to our billet, which was once a pig-stye divided by a partition we found the other Sgts. in a joyful mood which developed into a series of raids until about 11.30 p.m.

The partition dividing us into two parties was the origin of the affair and it took a long time next morning to sort out our different belongings, blankets, putties and clothing being mixed up together, altogether a pleasant evening. Hop picking is in full swing in the neighbourhood, the first time I had actually witnessed it. We now have a new O.C., our Colonel handed over the command to Major Thompson on Friday, a special parade being held at which he inspected the unit and was introduced to all the N.C.O.’s.

On Saturday the Colonel said good-bye, and left the same night on his way to Australia. Good luck be with him, a man I have great respect for, Lt.-Col. A. H. Tebbutt, D.S.0.