A hundred years ago today Hodgson and the 9th Devons were comfortably settled at Rest Camp no.5 on the cliffs above Le Havre. They had arrived the previous morning after a very rough Channel crossing on an Isle of Man paddle steamer, a long wait in the harbour and a five-hour march. Today was a rest day. The camp had a glorious view of the sea and with time on their hands, men and officers took the chance to go back down to the beach and bathe (there was even a tram to speed the journey).
Today Lieutenant Upcott of C Company began writing the diary that would preserve so much of their story over the months to come – in the morning he had been down to the bank in Le Havre to change money for his men; he rode down in afternoon for a swim. And Hodgson sent his sister a postcard: ‘You may be able to see the Gable, but you haven’t got the sunshine we have here, so there are compensations everywhere. . .’