Archive for the ‘WWI’ Category

Ancestral voices

March 27, 2008

 Just before I went on the last torch-lit TACH run of the spring, before the clocks change, I came across the following passage from the War Diary of my great-uncle, Billy Bloor, who was killed in the First World War:July 30th 1917

At midnight stopped at Opoutre about two miles from Poperinghe, which was as far as the train could go, as Poperinghe was being shelled and a train, which had run in there two hours before, had caught it nicely – with about 80 casualties. The R.T.O. at Opoutre informed me that the guide sent for me had been killed en route, but he told me my destination, and showed me the way as best he could. I had to leave my kit there and start a seven mile march without a map on a pitch black night and through rain which was falling – this after 23 hours in the train. Arrived at Ouderdom at 2-30 a.m. and spoiled Captain Sutherland’s beauty sleep (of the D.A.C). He was jolly glad to see me none the less and turned out the Adjutant, who got the men in somewhere – and jolly tired and fed up they were, too. They found me a couple of blankets and put me up on Colonel Stanley’s bed – he being on leave, and after a drink – or two – and a good long “chin-wag” I turned in about 4-30 a.m.

Obviously navigating in the dark with a drink to follow is wired in the blood!