Cité St Pierre, September 24, 1917

Monday         Yesterday afternoon Fritz put the wind up our backs with gas & shells Bert [Livermore] was wounded about 5 o/c broken leg & wound in back. The remainder of the night passed fairly quiet. I wasn’t feeling very good. This morning broke warm & bright, up till noon fairly quiet, This afternoon he dropped shells on the cross roads & shelled heavily about 3000 yards away I’m going to the wagon lines tonight for a rest [pencil]

Bert’s gun shot wounds to his back and left thigh were treated at the No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station, located at Chocques, a little west of Béthune, so about 15 miles (25 km) from Cité St Pierre. After first aid on the field, a soldier is taken by ambulance to a Casualty Clearing Station. CCS No. 1 has been at Chocques for nearly three years now, and is an oasis of peace and order.

So wrote Gilbert Waterhouse, in his poem “The Casualty Clearing Station:”

casualty clearing station CWM

There are indeed flowers on the windowsills in this photo of No 1 CCS

A bowl of daffodils,
A crimson-quilted bed,
Sheets and pillows white as snow—
White and gold and red—
And sisters moving to and fro,
With soft and silent tread.

So all my spirit fills
With pleasure infinite,
And all the feathered wings of rest
Seem flocking from the radiant West
To bear me thro’ the night.

See, how they close me in,
They, and the sisters’ arms.
One eye is closed, the other lid
Is watching how my spirit slid
Toward some red-roofed farms,
And having crept beneath them slept

Secure from war’s alarms.

Bert and Percy have been together since they enlisted; no wonder Percy is not feeling very good.

Gilbert Waterhouse did not survive the Battle of the Somme.
The photograph © IWM (CO 428) was taken in 1916 by  Canadian official photographer H.E. Knobel.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

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