Friday 1st June 1917
The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, are still behind the lines south of Gaza in Palestine. The adjutant sent me this summart of the cases of sickness this month as a reminder that, even without fighting, the desert is a gruelling place to be.
Average daily sick for 1st week - 75 all ranks;
Average daily sick for 2nd week - 110 all ranks;
Average daily sick for 3rd week - 105 all ranks;
Average daily sick for 4th week - 122 all ranks;
Average daily sick MONTH 102 all ranks;
Max number of sick (on 20th May) - 208 all ranks;
Minimum number of sick (on 2nd May) - 56 all ranks.
Given that the Battalion is, on average, around one thousand strong this shows that roughtly one man in every ten is sick at the moment.
The 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is currently at Fouquières-lès-Béthune, in billets. Today the battalion carried out a Contact Aeroplane Scheme in conjunction with C Flight of No. 2 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. An observer in the aircraft plotted the position of lighted flares on a sketch map, and both the original position and the advanced line and messages were sent successfully by signalling with a signalling panel to the aeroplane. The benefits of this are obvious - if men in the air can identify where a unit is at all times during an attack as well as take messages from them, such as the need for reinforcement, they can quickly update the necessary general officer of progress and needs - far more quickly than it would take a runner on the ground to get to headquarters with a message. Of course in theory communication between units and headquarters is instantaneous, via telephone, but it is usually found useless in battle as the telephone cables are frequently broken by shelling.