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Frank Swannell Diaries: Part I

Diaries of Frank Cyril Swannell Learn more.

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BC Archives MS-0392 - Box 1, Volume 4-5

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.

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2d Battle of Ypres - Final Stage

Page 37

In the trenches all day. Shell ricochets & drives 6 inches into tree against which the Lieut. & Maj. standing, does not explode.

At 2 am are marched out in single file and led by devious ways to Vlamertinghe, near Canadian Head Quarters. Town has suffered considerably from shell fire. Ypres however has only a few walls & the Cathedral spire standing. A " Jack Johnson" still pounding into it every 10 minutes. Still bothered by shrapnel. Have a meal in a Flemish cottage & buy some lace for Ada. At dark start in heavy marching order with 150 rounds. Cross the frontier into France. Got to Baillaul by mistake. Finally at 2 am reach our billet near Steenwerch (Stavert). A terrible forced march thru mud & over cobblestone road. Many man drop out & throw away their equipment. About 18 mile march. 56 of us in a barn.

Rustle up a meal as we are all in. Make some sort of interpreter. Ferme Veuve Touquet Steenwerch. Get a little sleep until 9 am. Stragglers coming in all day. Go to town with little Robert Decherf, 12 years, get beer, vin blanc & chocolate. Comical shops, bakery & paperhanging combined. Everywhere transports & despatch riders. Jammed into the barn for the night, 56 in all.

Given all day to rest up. Sent for by Maj. Peck as interpreter. Touching the matter of obtaining two bottles of cognac at Bailleul.

Ferme Uve Touqout. Built 1717, quadrangle around paved courtyard with midden in centre 10 feet from the pump. "Grenier" upstairs. We sleep in Le Grange, next goat & cow stables. Entrance & L'Ecurie.

I told Peck "why not send Van Dyck, who speaks French."

"Swannell, this is far too important a matter to entrust to a foreigner"

BC Archives, MS-0392 Box 1 Volume 4 / FRANK SWANNELL PAPERS / Diary and enclosures, 1915.

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