May 1916

Still in the Ypres Salient, 11 DLI spent the first week of May 1916 in Corps Reserve, with training during the mornings, games and sports in the afternoons and lectures in the evenings. Naturally, this was interspersed with various work parties being sent into the lines – so it was not the rest that it might seem.

Perhaps the biggest excitement of the month was on the 13th, when seventeen men were sent for treatment suffering from scabies. This was a particularly unpleasant and common skin condition, brought on as a consequence of the enforced poor hygiene of the trenches and the prevalence of lice. It was no great discriminator between officers and ordinary soldiers. Next to dental problems, it was one of the commonest problems removing men from front line duty.

At the end of the month, the battalion was moved to Brandhoek for more work in the front lines. Every night at about 8.30 pm they went by train to Ypres, worked in the trenches “reclaiming, draining, wiring, repairing and heightening parapets” and caught the train back at Ypres Asylum at 2 in the morning.