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

June 17, 1917

Twelve days since I made an entry. Had a very quiet time at Aveley, being on general duties towards the end. The river being handy swimming helped to break the monotony, and several Units handy held swimming carnivals. Had one good trip to Doullens by car, coming back via Raineville, a distance of about 45 miles, thus covering almost the whole route of the Grand Prix, perfectly straight roads. In Doullens we had dinner, and some dinner too, costing 5 Francs, after which I bought sundry vegetables, papers, etc.

At Raineville we stopped for about an hour for refreshments, and arrived back for tea after a great outing. On the 12th we had a party, in other words a hop-over, eleven of us joined together and with the aid of a parcel sent me from Glasgow and some Bass ale I managed to procure, we had a royal time, actually to commemorate my birthday. At 1 a.m. we decided the evening being well spent could then come to an end, but before retiring let the W.O.’s tent down, for which some of us next morning were thrown out of bed. Such a party goes a long way towards brightening one’s life here, and I can honestly say I always feel better after it, of course, no one got boozed or anything like it.

On the 16th we left Aveley, and went to Warley, a distance of about seven miles, and took over the Rest Station from the 7th Field Ambulance. I went across by car in order to take over the Dispensary, but found a bigger job awaiting me, i.e., taking over the whole camp, going round with their Q.M. and checking tents, blankets, stretchers,food, etc., etc. Had a very strenuous time fixing up the Dispensary, which job is not quite finished yet. The long looked for Australian mail arrived yesterday, and I scored seven altogether. There is still another mail due, however.

After some thought as to how Mother would take it I decided to apply for a commission in the Artillery. I have always regretted not taking it on earlier, and fretted at my restricted job in the A.M.C., the thought of Mum only restraining me from making the change. This time, however, one of the Captains started one off by asking me if  I had ever thought of accepting a commission, adding that I would have no trouble. After weighing it over I decided to word the Colonel, and did so, he saying that he would certainly recommend me, but adding that the Artillery is very difficult to get into.

As things now stand I have put in a written application for admission to a school. ‘Tis probable that it will be refused, in which case I will probably carry on as I am for the time being, and have another cut later. As is usual when a crowd move into a village there is a lot of drunkenness and playing up, but after a few days things quieted down. It needs a certain amount of tact to put up with it however. Saw a fine concert two nights ago, a party visiting us from a motor column. The items were fresh to us, and the performers good, so thoroughly enjoyed it.

NOTE: The next diary entry is June 21


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