December 1918

On 1 December, 11th DLI was stationed at Cambrai and immediately 182 miners were sent back to England. The next day the rest of the battalion moved on by bus and lorry to Thiévres, where they were based for the rest of the week. This was part of a step by step move via Halloy to Grenas, where the battalion would be based for some time. At each step, a couple of days at a time, one Company went on ahead to inspect and clean up the billets, while the other Companies were on work details, joining later.

Once at Grenas, much of the work was on improving the billets, erecting new huts and making new horse lines and tidying up the HQ accommodation at Pas. On 20 December, 50 more miners were despatched back to England while 100 men set about making a Recreation Ground. Another 25 miners set off back to England on Xmas Eve, 24 December.  All that is said for Christmas Day is that there were Church Parades for the Anglican and Catholic men. For much of the remainder of the month, though some work was done, bad weather prevented much in the way of outdoor labour. By the end of the month, numbers had become much reduced to 679 other ranks on the roll call, though there were still 43 officers. In reality, the ration strength was 34 officers and 533 men. Demobilisation was progressing slowly but steadily, with miners the chosen ones.

As was customary, there was little mention of specific names other than the occasional reference to an officer. Second Lieutenant AH Lewis joined on 5 December with two more men. Lieutenant CC Page went to Lille on 15 December to attend a Chemistry course! On 31 December, three more miners went home while Lt E Fleming joined the battalion.


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