We boarded the express at 3.15 & tore away at a hair raising rate towards Vignecourt. The carriage was quite decent & only contained 5. 3 chaps just returning from leave to Blighty & we two; quite a nice little party. We swapped experiences they told of the glorious times spent in "dear old England", we of our blissful period in the hands of the "noble 6th" One chap distributed 3 Castles Cigttes, another spread a delightful odour of "Wakons No 10" every time he opened his mouth, so they made ideal fellow travellers. (Unfortunately, the bottle was empty) The distance from Albert to Vignecourt is about 27 miles & our express? struggled manfully to cover the distance inside 24 hours.
Mon. 11 At about 2 a.m. whilst we were sprawled across the carriage, attempting to sleep, we were startled by a terrific crash & found that our express had dashed into another express & derailed a truck. At the enquiry it was found that the driver of our express? Had lost control, owing to the fact that he had covered 5 miles during the 4 hrs preceeding the smash. Gallant fellow. Eventually, without further mishap, we arrived at Vignecourt, where we disembarked & marched about 2 miles to where the "Hungry 8th" were camped. It was a monastery, before that religious upheaval some years ago, & is now owned by some Army Officer. It is a fine big chateau & plenty of farm buildings attached. Parsons & I reported to the O.R. & were put on "no duties" for a week.
Tues. 12 Slept in till mid-day. Sid Royall brought my Break. up to Bed. It is rotten not having any gear. My face is very rough, but having no brush or soap I can't shave. A Tommy, in Hospital, gave me an issue razor but I don't know if it will shave. As soon as we got to our billet yesterday, Payney put on some hot water & I had a good wash & changed all my chatty clothes. Staff. Kitson gave me some cleaned shirts & Payney a pair of slacks, so I dumped my pants as well. It was a great treat to feel clean once more. "Daunty" gave me a good feed of fruit & cornflower. So I did very well.