March 19, 1918 – Full diary entry:
“Plattoons drilled at parade ground with whole 3rd Batallion.
Still hot and dry. Got rain coat and fatigue suit.
No letter from Nora today. Wonder why.”
This is another one of those posts where I am bound to get things wrong and will have to rely on actual WWI historians to correct me. I hate that I can’t keep regiments, divisions, brigades, battalions and companies straight in my head.
It even seems like Robert may have struggled with the terminology; the first sentence of this entry originally said “… with whole 3rd Division.” “Division” is crossed out and “Batallion” is written above it.
Similarly, I know nothing about WWI uniforms, but I think his “fatigue suit” would have looked something like this:
As for the “raincoat” – this really blew my mind after a little research. From a BBC article about the history of British army uniforms:
“There in the trenches as the onslaught raged were the soldiers – caked in mud and battered by biting winds.
Their heavy greatcoats – long wool overcoats which had been regulation garments for British forces since the Crimean War of the 1850s – proved ill-suited to the desperate conditions.
In contrast, the lighter, shorter, waterproof coat produced by English clothing companies such as Burberry and Aquascutum was a perfect fit.
But they were not its only practical benefits.
Epaulettes displayed an officer’s rank, while a gun flap buttoned at the chest was designed to provide an amount of additional protection when in combat.”
It’s the trench coat, and now the name makes so much sense.
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.