What was happening to Ernest Kirkland-Laman 100 years ago this week?
By November 1916, we find Ernest Kirkland-Laman in Northern France. His battalion was heavily involved in Battle of the Somme in July and in continued action throughout the remainder of 1916. In November, they moved to Albert which is situated north-east of Amiens.
Kirkland-Laman was a conscientious soldier and took a pride in providing good quarters and meals for the men of his battalion. Reading these entries, you can sense how important good living conditions are for keeping up morale.
November 3rd 1916
Marched to Albert at 12.15 p.m. to entrain at 2p.m. Didn’t get off till about 4 o’clock. Miserable journey. Officers cooped up in a truck but we had our valises to sit on. Arrived at Airaines about midnight instead of 6 p.m. and were lucky enough to find that we had no march to do, so all were settled in an hour later. Topping billets – the best we have had in France, and nice people but all out for making money as usual.
November 4th 1916
Capt Habershon went on ten days leave handing over the reins of office as adjutant to me during the time Capt Mundy is on the sick list.
November 10th 1916
It has been quite like old times to me for the past six days, teaching arms drill to N.C.Os, most of whom have never seen a drill book probably. Capt Mundy took over as adjutant today.
November 13th 1916
Hear we are going up again tomorrow worse luck. It has been so comfortable this time that we shall feel it.
November 14th 1916
Marched to Citadel Camp, Fricourt about 5 ½ miles. I had to go and take over the camp. A most unpleasant looking place too, wallowing in mud. There were five damp evil smelling huts in addition to 32 bell tents. However we managed to get a good meal at about 7p.m the first for 12 hours.