Agny, September 17, 1918

Tuesday          A very heavy electric storm passed over this a.m. early.  Got soaked,  however it turned out warm today and we got dried out, to [sic] wet to get up at reveille wrote letters tonight Am well.

The Commanding Officer visits all the batteries today, and is pleased: “Good progress has been made in getting vehicles cleaned and packed, horses were well groomed and harness gradually getting into good shape again. All guns are being overhauled.” (1)

Christmas goose.JPGAnother kind of preparation is taking place too. Captain Hill, officer commanding the battery while Major Dawes is in England on a gunnery course, has “suggested a battery banquet to celebrate our successes, and as a little relaxation from the fighting. The battery was unanimous in accepting the proposal, all being anxious to help. A committee was formed to arrange matters, and a tax was levied to cover expenses — five francs from men and ten francs from N. C. O.’s. The officers also  contributed generously.

“The committee began operations without delay. All the Arras district was scoured for pigs and fowls, fruit, vegetables and the necessary supply  of vintage. The sub-committee on entertainment sought high and low for talent, and gathered in a motley crew of fiddlers, drummers, pianists, singers and elocutionists that would have done honour to Shea’s.1 Voluntary workers quickly threw up a capacious banqueting hall with two by four’s and tarpaulins. Tables and benches were hammered together, a platform was put up, a bar installed and the salvaged piano, which we had brought out of action with us, was brought in in state.” (2)

As if there were nothing else to celebrate, “two ‘Blighty’ leave allotments came through for the men … and there was great rejoicing among the troops. They have all waited about 13 long months now.” (1) How many men will be able to take advantage of this allotment, we don’t know.

1  Probably Shea’s Victoria Theatre in Toronto.

Bruce Bairnsfather’s cartoon is called “His Christmas Goose: ‘You wait till I comes off dooty!'” Still More Fragments from France. nd. 32.

(1) War Diary of the 13th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. Vol. 20: 9. September 17, 1918. Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) MacArthur, D.C. The History of the Fifty-Fifth Battery, CFA. 1919. 57-58.

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