‘D’you remember’

Sydney Spencer had a nostalgic evening with old comrades.

Tuesday 23 July 1918

We had an early parade this morning, consisting of a march which lasted till 8.50. Parades after that were of a more or less easy character, so leaving me a certain amount of time free for preparing a dinner for the CO this evening.

Most of my morning being free I went round trying to get all sorts of goodies, with varying success, at any rate when the CO & Adjutant came to dine at 8 pm we had a very nice dinner waiting for them. The CO was very tired & did not play cards, so we sat & talked. Principally, each subject started with ‘D’you remember’! Tapley stayed till quite late.

Diary of Sydney Spencer (D/EZ177/8/15)

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A bolt from the blue

Aeroplanes overhead were becoming common both in France and on the home front.

Sydney Spencer
Tuesday 4 June 1918

I am seated in a waggon for 40 hommes or 8 chevaux at Candas! How do I come to be here? Well, hear my story with patience, my dear diary!

I rose at 6.30 as usual, on parade etc at 7 as usual, company training as usual till 10 am, & then a bolt from the blue! In other words a note from Mark Tapley to the effect that I would report Marronville for a gas course on the 7th, taking at least 36 hours to get there!

I promptly made up mess accounts. Came to P[u?]chvillers by mess cart with Fox, my batman. Caught a train at 4.30 & have now been waiting nearly 2 hours for this train to start!

The train started and we moved on in fits & starts. How many miles we moved I do not know, as I slept by fits and starts. Just before midnight, however, I woke to the tune of Fritz aeroplanes. He dropped sundry bombs starting a fire not far off to N. West.

William Hallam
4th June 1918

Last night I heard an aeroplane going over. I got up and looked out of the window and saw it drop a star light.

Diaries of Sydney Spencer, 1918 (D/EZ177/8/15); and William Hallam of Swindon (D/EX1415/25)