A wash and a shave


30th August 1914

At 2:20am the retirement continued “via Attichy to Croûtoy”. It was a tough march, for the most part on open downs with little shade. After struggling up a hill for 2 miles, they halted in a field half a mile south of Croûtoy and mention is made that no supplies had been delivered. It was 8am.

The weather was blistering hot again and Gleichen comments that the “heat was terrific” in the stubble fields. Eventually, at midday, the 15th Brigade were told they could head back to the relative cool of “shady little” Croûtoy.  Here Gleichen enjoys a “real big bath with taps and hot water” in the local château. I think the troops, who received nothing, would have been pleased to hear that he lost one of his horses, along with a load of kit, filched by a staff officer.

Captain Kevin Darling
Captain Kevin Darling, horse thief?

Contemporary accounts at this time constantly refer to the lack of rations. “Oh it was chronic. There were no rations”and “it was impossible for rations to reach us. We had to resort to looting” are just 2 quotes from Lyn Macdonald’s 1914 book.

The Dorsets still had no idea about why they were retreating but “the possibility of a wash and shave was uppermost in the minds of all ranks”. I don’t think they would have really cared at this point.

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