Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Monday 7 March

Absolutely pouring with rain this morning, and it only improved very gradually through the afternoon. We are on warning for snow on Wednesday, showing that March is very much a month of transition between winter and spring. The crocuses and narcissi may be out, but we still have 2 weeks to go until the equinox.

I have continued my transcriptions of the war diaries of one British army unit, the 2nd battalion Seaforth Highlanders, from 1915. I am currently going through the months of April and May, with more than a dozen Lewismen being lost at the start of the 2nd battle of Ypres (Belgium), and several more in gas attacks. According to the entry for May 2nd, 1915, the respirators were little more than woollen strips, which did nothing to lessen the effects of the chlorine gas being unleashed by the Germans. They had to lug 5,400 canisters of the stuff to the frontline. The disadvantage of using poison gas in this way is that a shift in the wind can blow it all back in your face. We are all familiar with chlorine, it is the stuff given off by bleach, especially when it is in a toilet being used without the bleach being flushed away first.

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