Monday 17th August: Aldershot
We have been getting ready here all day. We leave tomorrow morning early. Other regiments have been leaving here today and yesterday.
Tuesday 18th August: Aldershot/ Southampton
Entrained here at 5.30am arrived Southampton and embarked on the “Welshman”* Southampton is packed with troops embarking on different ships. Some exciting scenes getting the horses aboard. There are about 500 horses** on our boat.
*Renamed in 1904 the “Welshman” was launched as the “Tauric” in 1891. It was built by Harland & Wolff as a 140m x 15m livestock carrier for the White Star Line.
**The Ambulances were horse drawn.
Wednesday 19th August: Boulogne
After a calm voyage arrived at Boulogne, France at 10am. We passed some of the battleships about 7am coming across. We gave them a cheer and they returned one.
We had more cheering when we disembarked, had a dip, and then marched up through the town to a rest camp just on the outside of town. The French people, when we were coming through the town, stuck small French and British flags in our caps and shouted “Vive-Le-Angleterre”.*
*This was organised by the mayor to counteract the fact that Boulogne was Napoleon’s base as he prepared to invade England in 1802-1805. The British rest camp was on the same site that his troops had used and where they had erected a statue of Napoleon looking across the Channel to the land he would conquer.
Thursday 20th August: Boulogne
We are still in the rest camp here. We are having a hard job making the French people understand what we want when we buy anything so we are all trying to pick up a little French. This is a fine place.
Friday 21st August: Boulogne
Left here at 6pm, marched through the town to the station where we entrained and left for the firing line at 10pm.