HELLES - Lieutenant William Ker, Hawke Battalion, 1st Naval Brigade, RND. With new drafts arriving to fill the gaps in the weakened ranks of the Royal Naval Division, Ker's down-beat feelings were probably shared by many.
"It certainly gives one a new interest in things to get charge of a company, even though that only happens by the elimination of senior officers (largely by sickness), and though the company itself only numbers sixty men, as it did last time in the trenches – proper strength being about 220. Since the new draft we have four officers and about ninety-five men all told. The last lot all came from Paisley, a fact which becomes apparent the moment they open their mouths …
Trenches again tomorrow. Very few men hit nowadays; considered very bad luck if one does. As long as they don’t suddenly decide to make us take a trench or two under the influence of those threadbare catch phrases, ‘straightening out the line’ or ‘keeping up the offensive spirit,’ we shall be all right …”
W. Ker quoted by D. Jerrold, The Hawke Battalion: Some Personal Records of Four Years, 1914-1918, (London, Ernest Benn Ltd, 1925), pp.98.