The Patricias were settling into the gruelling routine of trench life. During the day, their time was spent with heads down, cleaning their weapons and repairing any damage to the trenches from the previous night's shelling. When the heavy work was done the men would pass the time delousing, writing letters or sleeping.
The officers spent their days inspiring the men, censoring the letters and managing inquiries from runners in the communication trenches. Ammunition stores had to be counted daily and casualty reports from the night before were reported. Writing letters of condolences became a regular part of the officer's routine.
Once darkness fell, soldiers prepared for the continuous and nerve wracking threat of shelling. Some nights were quiet, waiting and watching for the enemy, but the men were always vigilant for rifle fire and sniper's bullets. They learned early on not to look out over the parapet. At this point in the war the Canadian's role was a defensive one. Orders from General Alderson were to "hold the front trenches at all costs"but heavy shelling and sharp shooting German snipers were taking their toll.
|Trenches 1915; Arthur McMahon, Brunet, Milne, McCormick, Jones; |
Courtesy of PPCLI Museum and Archives; P30(71)-1
Agar Adamson was eager to abandon the comforts of England and join in the hardships the other Patricias had been enduring for weeks. Talbot Papineau and Charles Stewart, both having recovered from their burn wounds, had already made their way back to the Regiment earlier in the month. Adamson was the last of the Originals to arrive in France.
Monday night. February 15, 1915
My dear Mabel,
Kindly keep the enclosed receipt.
I got my sailing orders tonight about 5. and wired you. Only Martin a nice youngster from B.C., son of Justice Martin of B.C., is going with me.
The King and General Campbell were here today. General C. made a nice speech saying he heard from General French that our Regiment was one of the best in France. Just after James had been going for us and particularly me. He has got back to his old ways again.
Goodbye old girl. I will keep you posted on my movements. Your loving boy,
P.S. Will you kindly have the two knives engraved P.P.C.L.I and send one each to Rodney and Anthony. Will you please find out from the Grays, Cornish's address and send the enclosed letter to him.
Another P.S. I am sending up tomorrow a white canvas kit bag with a saddle in it, a fat brown kit bag containing things I shall not want. It is locked, key enclosed. A long brown tired kit bag containing my camp bed, table and fold up chair.
It is now 12 o'clock and I have been sent for to see Colonel James about a nominal roll of the draft which he had this morning. We had three different kit inspections today,
I got some beautiful lined mitts from the British today for the whole draft.