April 1916 - Twentieth Week at War


20th Week at War - 15th - 21st April - Mesplaux Farm - La Gorgue

Lt Col Davies returned from leave on the 15th April and the next day, a party under the command of Lt Buckley consisting of 2 Officers and 36 other ranks of C Section proceeded to Laventie Map sheet 36 G34. c7.3 at 8am to take over the A.D.S. there from the 105th Field Ambulance (35th Division), arriving at 12.30pm. At the same time, an advanced party of the 134th Field Ambulance (39th Division) took over the A.D.S. at Marais from a detachment of the Unit who returned to the Headquarters at Mesplaux Farm. On Monday 17th, a further party of the Unit, under the command of Capt Ffoulkes with Lieut Burke and 36 other ranks proceeded to La Flinque Map sheet 36 M10.c7.1 to take over the A.D.S. there from the 59th Field Ambulance. The Headquarters and Hospital at Mesplaux Farm were handed over to the 134th Field Ambulance on the 18th and the Unit proceeded by route march to La Gorgue and took over the Dressing Station Map sheet 36A L34.b6.2 there from the 59th Field Ambulance. 48135 Sgt C. W. Jarman and 48563 Pte Phillips stayed behind to hand over the Army Stationary equipment and the 15 patients remaining in the Hospital and left Mesplaux at 11am and arrived at the Unit's new location in La Gorgue at 12.30 to find the Unit had already arrived and were unpacking for all they were worth.

Map 6

A composite of Map sheet 36A and 36 (1:40,000 scale). A = Mesplaux Farm M.D.S., B = Laventie A.D.S., C = La Flinque A.D.S., & D = La Gorgue M.D.S. The front line trenches are marked by the black line running diagonally across the lower right corner of the map.

The Hospital at La Gorgue was located on the main road in the centre of La Gorgue and 48072 Sgt John Reeves Davies described it as a fair sized village and much better than there previous location. 48563 Pte Phillips records that the first few days at La Gorgue were very busy with quite a number of casualties being admitted and as well as the weather being wet and miserable, he suffered from a splitting headache and earache for several days.

Capt Ffoulkes described the A.D.S. at La Flinque as "situated in a very lonesome spot. There are no civilians about at all - our only companions are rats which infest wrecked houses about us." and the A.D.S. itself as "the usual old farmhouse on the roadside, but it is bad repair. The Germans have shelled the whole place fairly severely and there is a good deal to be done to make it moderately comfortable for the reception of wounded and for ourselves."

La Gorgue at the end of the war

As was Lt Col Davies's way, the following day men not on hospital duties were put to work cleaning up the Hospital and adjacent buildings. The O.C. as well as the A.D.M.S. and D.A.D.M.S. visited the A.D.S. at Laventie. Lt T B Evans who had been attached to the Unit for light duties on the 4th April was transferred to the 131st Field Ambulance this day.

On Good Friday, 21st April was the Units 12th payday in France and special church parades were held for the Church of England at 9.30am and for the nonconformists at 11.30am. A Divisional concert was also held. The O.C. visited and inspected the A.D.S. at Laventie and the Aid Post at Red House and Hougamont. 48554 Pte G H Jickells recorded in his diary that he spent Good Friday as one of the four stretcher bearers from the Unit, at Hougamont Aid Post and Easter Monday at Red House Aid Post.