The 1916 war diary of 2nd Lieut. Dick Willis Fleming
The story so far
Dick obtained a commission in March 1915 as a Second Lieutenant in the 1/1st Hampshire Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery. The Battery remained in England during 1915. His sister, Ida, recalled of this time:
Dicky was longing to get out. His team were very well trained and he took enormous pride in racing his teams with the guns stopping dead and having them manned and ready. He had two chargers; a chestnut mare, "Romance" bred by Dad and a grey. There was now a strong rumour that Dad might get a commission and be sent to Egypt - this was after Dicky's regiment had their orders to go there. Dicky remarked that he would get transferred immediately if that happened!
In January 1916, the Battery joined with the Brigade and the Essex and West Riding Batteries to form the 1/5th Lowland Brigade RHA.
Dick left home for the last time on 29 January 1916, his brother John seeing him off from Southampton railway station.
The main Battery left Leicester on 17 February, sailing from Avonmouth aboard the H.M.T. Manitou. Dick was left in command of the first reinforcements, to follow one week later, on Thursday 24 February 1916, when the diary opens.