1915: A young Cuckfield soldier's first experiences in France


Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 10 August 1915


LIFE IN FRANCE


CUCKFIELD SOLDIER'S EXPERIENCES.


A young Cuckfieldian belonging to a unit recently arrived in France gives an interesting account of his first experiences across the Channel.


He writes thus, under date of July 29th:


"Am pleased to say we arrived in this country quite safely early on Sunday morning, after a very decent journey across. All Monday was spent in the train. We passed through some jolly pretty places, and arrived at -- about midnight. We then had to march about nine miles, and arrived at the village where we are now billeted between three and four o'clock on Tuesday morning.

Soldiers from the Royal Sussex Regiment in France 1915

We were walking along asleep best part of the way! However, we very soon turned in when at last we did reach here. We are living in barns here, so are pretty comfortable and rather lucky, all things considered. The food we are getting is plain, but we get enough, so don't grumble. The menu includes cheese, corned beef, jam and biscuits, but no bread, which we miss rather, as the biscuits are not exactly like butter:


The cigarettes we buy here are terrible things, and also much more expensive than those we got in England. I'm pleased I brought a pretty good supply with me. Wines are very cheap, and one can got drunk for about 2 1/2d so I'm told, though for goodness' sake don't think I've tried it. Bread is 5d. and 9d. a loaf, and is more like ‘pudden’ - I don’t touch the stuff myself. We don't have much trouble to make the people understand what we require.


The weather has been very hot since we've been here; however, we'd sooner have this than cold, damp weather. There are tons of apples round about here : I wish to goodness they were ripe enough to eat.”


With thanks to WW1 roll of Honour for the photograph … http://www.ww1rollofhonour.co.uk/index.php/tag/royal-sussex-regiment/page/85/


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