24th Week at War - 13th May - 19th May La Gorgue
On Saturday 13th May, Lieut Thomas J Buckley returned from leave and reported for duty with the Unit and 48563 Pte Phillips changed from night to day duty and had a busy day.
On the 15th May, Capt Anderson relieved Capt Ffoulkes at the A.D.S. at Laventie and Capt Ffoulkes proceeded to the 13th Battalion the Welsh Regiment (2nd Rhondda) to relieve their MO Lieut Reynolds who reported to duty for training with the 130th (St John) Field Ambulance at La Gorgue. Capt Ffoulkes described his time with the 13th Welsh in a letter home dated 26th May 1916. "A great number of medical officers are now undergoing a course of instruction at Field Ambulances and we are put in regiments to replace them. I came to this battalion on my birthday - the day before they proceeded to the trenches. They were then completing 8 days rest at the town where the headquarters of our Field Ambulance is situated (La Gorgue). We came to the trenches for four days, then went into reserve for four days to the small town where the Advanced Dressing station is situated (Laventie). We came to the trenches again last night, remain here for 4 days, then in reserve for 4 days after which the battalion will go into rest for 8 days and then proceed to another part of the line but I shall probably not be with them then. The work is quite interesting but has the disadvantage that we are never settled long in the same place.
This photograph of the rebuilt Red House is taken looking east towards the front line, standing on the road back to Laventie. The Red House (13th London) Cemetery is a couple of hundred yards to the left.
Capt Ffoulkes letter continued. We had a moderately quiet time in the line and casualties have been few and only 3 or 4 fatal. I had a good deal of work to do the first few days - improving the sanitary conditions of our surroundings etc and things are now fairly well established. I am attached to battalion headquarters (when in the line - this was located at Red House where the Unit also had an Aid Post) which consist of the Colonel - Colonel Packe, Major Edwards, second in command, the adjutant, machine gun officer and I. We have quite a decent roomy dug out as a mess. I have a dug out close by as sleeping apartment and an adjoining one which serves as a dressing room. In this area the line is in splendid condition and at times it is difficult to realise that the Hun is only 300 yards away. His own parapet is also in good condition (we have occasional peeks at it through a periscope) but it looks a trifle lower than ours."
German aeroplanes bombed La Gorgue and outskirts on the 16th but no men of the 130th (St John) Field Ambulance were injured. On the same day, Lt Anderson proceeded on leave as did Lt Burke who had been on duty at the Labour Corps Hospital. Lt Burke was able to go on leave in place of Capt Anderson (MO of the 19th Pioneer Battalion, the Welsh Regiment) whose leave was cancelled due to an outbreak of small pox in their camp!
On the 17th a medical inspection of the men of the Unit was carried out and the summer horse standing was completed and put to use.
The Units 14th Pay day in France occurred on Friday the 19th and 48563 Pte Phillips received 20 Francs!