Away from the Western Front : 18th – 31st May 1917.

  In reserve at Dorset House

iodine bottles

Conditions in the trenches facing Gaza were particularly unpleasant ; intermittent shelling from the enemy plus flies, extreme heat and lack of water .  Battalions only stayed there for a few weeks at a time, moving between the front lines and the rear sector on a regular basis. However, being ‘ in reserve ‘ was no rest cure as the men were still working hard to improve the defences  as well as training.

By mid-May 1917, the Sanitary Corps had been able to oversee the erection of incinerators, latrines and some  washing  facilities. Anti-fly solution was sprayed regularly too but the sickness rate had begun to creep up again as men fell victim to  septic sores. These were difficult to treat in the dust and sand of the  trenches and dug outs. Usually men had to be evacuated back to hospitals back in Egypt. Stationed alongside the Finsbury Rifles, the 1/5 Bedfordshire battalion issued a bottle of iodine and cotton wool to each company. It was to be applied to any graze or cut, no matter how slight, that the men received when building the defences and dug- outs . Prevention was better than cure!

Date: 18/5/17

Battn in support. Battn relieved by the 24th Welsh Regt of 231.move completed about 2000.

Location DORSET HOUSE Date: 19/5/17

Routine as usual. Battn in reserve area.

Date: 20/5/17

Divine service. Routine as usual.

Date: 21/5/17

Routine as usual. Speculative training and working party Res.

Date: 22/5/17

Routine as usual. Speculative training, usual working parties.

Date: 23/5/17

Routine as usual. Speculative training and working parties – following words of the underranking officer NCOs and men and after ……Talltreadle DSO. Lieut D.H Robertson Military Cross 450.925. Sgt RW Leord. 451.471 Rfn GS Brughton: 453.120 Rfe W Dox. Military Medal. Apps etc. Lieut 286 117 5/17.

Location DORSET HOUSE Date: 24/5/17

Routine as usual. Speculative training. And usual working parties.

Date: 25/5/17

Routine as usual. Speculative training and usual working parties. Lt and Adj. A.L.GARRAWAY returned from hospital.

Date: 26/5/17

Routine as usual and speculative training.

Date: 27/5/17

Divine service under Rgt arrangements. Working party of 100 men furnished. Usual routine.

Date: 28/5/17

Routine as usual. Specialised training and usual working parties. Lieut H.A Goldschmidt returned from hospital.

Date: 29/5/17

Battn being inoculated against cholera. Specialist training.

Date: 30/5/17

Battn attended. Gas demonstration at 1000 – specialist training.

Date: 31/5/17

Specialist and platoon training. Working party supplied to Eastern Force R.E Officer. Usual camp routine.

Lt Col. Comdy 1/11 London REGT.

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