Item 04: Walter Bruce Rainsford diary, 3 January 1917-31 December 1917 - Page 98

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[Page 98]

prisoners working about now and a big Portuguese camp in the vicinity.

After a hot shower, breakfast and plenty of farewells at the Hospital I made for Wimille-Wimereux Station and caught a train at 10 a.m. for Calais where I arrived at 11.30 a.m. Spent two hours here and did not forget to satisfy the inner man in view of another train journey to Bailleul. Shortly after passing through St Omer we heard the whiz bang of a big shell followed shortly after by another and still another. The Germans were bombarding Hazebrouck with long range guns. Poor northern France – there is not a town that has not suffered from shell fire or taube raids (or both). The train stopped at Elblinghem, the station this side of Hazebrouck, but then made a detour by a loopline to Merrin on the other side of the bombarded town. Here we changed into another train and steamed through into Bailbeul at 7 p.m. While walking through the town I found that Fritz's taubes had been busy since I came through last. A block of dwellings in the rue de la Gare had been completely demolished. The town was in pitchy darkness, the blackness being relieved only by

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