February 1916

February was a leap year month in 1916, just as it is this year, which means everybody gets to work an extra day for no extra pay! Fortunately that did not apply to the Pioneers of 11th DLI, as they were paid on a daily rate. In February 1916, 11th DLI were about to move from the Laventie Front to a new experience around the Belgian town of Ypres. The battalion was initially deposited at Zermezeele before marching on to Winnezeele and then to billets around Elverdinghe. Most of their work was in trenches near the banks of the Yser Canal, constantly interrupted by shelling and by gas alerts. Such excitement as there was consisted of a visit from a passing Zeppelin airship, the cancellation of all leave and the arrival of a couple of new officers: 2nd Lieutenants Taylor and Jee. It was a typical February – cold, frosty, wet, miserable and just the weather for working out of doors with shells exploding around you.


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