Lt Thomas Marriott Dodington

[typed from a small pocket diary which TMD wrote in Spring of 1915]

the first page

Feb 1916

Feb 7th Ordered to go up to join the 1st Lt Somersets. Left Brugeres Camp Rouen 2:15 with Holt, Prctyman and draft of 70 men. Train left Rouen 5:30.

Feb 8th Arrived railhead Steinwerk about 12 midday and detrained. Marched 5 miles to billets at Ploegsteert. First taste of shell fire as we entered village. Went up to see C.O. in headquarters at Ploegsteert wood. Posted ĎCí company. Found everything very comfortable indeed.

Feb 9th Fatigue 9-12:30. At 5:30 went up to left trench via 3 Huns farm. Everything very muddy but much better than it was a little time ago. Things quite quiet up there. Hearly fell into communication trench. About 80 shells fell in the neighborhood of Ploegsteert during the day.

Feb 10th Nothing much doing all day. In the morning tried to Ö. mud outside "Douglas Villa" to keep out bullets without much success. In the evening I went up to the left trench with Holme. Our artillery were to shell their trench at 10, but didnít, and the M.G. in right trench was to open fire at 2 a.m. but this also was a failure. This delayed us putting out our wire. It began raining about 3 a.m. for a couple of hours. Airship reported by East Lance over Ploegsteert wood, but we never saw or heard or saw anything of it. Penn (R.Bs) attached to us killed in right trench during day.

Feb 11th Very quiet day. Slept most of the time.


The Last two pages

ÖThey were shelling a good bit and also shooting at us as they could see us a good part of the time. However, we got back safely and the C.O. seemed quite pleased with my report. Returned to .. at 10 p.m. The trenches arenít so bad but there still is a lot of work to be done there.

May 10th  Quite a quiet day. Hardly any shelling: quite fine. Worked all night at improving the trench, getting the traverses, parapet, etc decent.

May 11th   Another fine and more or less quiet day. Rather troubled with a trench mortar but it practically always pitched short. Ö.

May 12th   Another fine day. In the evening an aeroplane fight nearly came off between a Frenchman and 2 Germans, but the Huns fled as fast as they could. Beastly cowards! Continued work all night on the trench.

May 13th (1915) About 4 a.m. they started bombing us and at 8:30 a.m. attacked opposite ĎDí Company. We enfiladed them beautifully and they didnít get very far! Men simply begging them to come on properly to us to be able to give them hell. About 10 a.m. I went to my dugout as things had quieted down a bit to try and get a bit of sleep, but hardly had I got in than a bit of shrapnel came in through the entrance and caught me just above the knee. Hurt a good bit. Just after I was hit they made another attack which met the same fate as the first. Felt very helpless lying there not being able to do anything. No chance of getting away till itís dark so I have got a long wait in front of me. Beastly day, raining hard. The trench will be flooded if it goes on much longer.

[ he was taken to hospital, went back home to Horsington to recuperate, then returned to the front the next spring, and was killed in one of the battles of the Somme, July 1, 1916. ]

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