15th January 1918: Snow turned to rain and the frozen ground began to thaw. The communication trenches were in a bad way – the revetment gave way and the trench became full of mud and water, the duckboards broke loose and floated away. Shelters in the support line and in the posts were crushed in and flooded out. Gumboots were issued. Rations carried by the reserve company to the right company took six hours as opposed to the previous one hour when the ground was frozen. The water and mud in many cases was up to the men’s waists. The Germans were in even worse situation as the River Lys had flooded and they were on lower ground. Both sides were busy pumping out, repairing and draining. The tour of duty was performed under conditions the like of which the Battalion had not known since Flers and Ginchy.
13th January 1918: The 22nd Battalion moved into the front line, with the 19th Battalion on the right flank and 24th Battalion on left, at La Basse Ville facing the town of Warneton, in an area with a very bad reputation owing to the number and size of ‘minnies’ employed by the Germans. The line was held by a system of posts, ‘B’ & ‘D’ Companies in the firing line, ‘A’ in support and ‘C’ in reserve. The ground was frozen hard, and snow a few inches deep lay on the ground.
12th January 1918: The 22nd Battalion moved to Romarin and then via Light Railway to a system of dug-outs called the Catacombs just behind Ploegsteert Wood. These catacombs were an underground dug-out city, large enough to comfortably house a couple of thousand men, consisting of great timbered drives and tunnels into the side of Hill 63. In galleries driven at right-angles off the main passages, long rows of wooden bunks were erected. The place was electrically lighted and though the atmosphere was a little stuffy, troops fresh from the line were very appreciative of the solid comfort of a good dry bed. [Photograph of the 6th Brigade in the Catacombs].
11th January 1918: Inspection of Box Respirators followed by gas drill. Orders received to relieve the 25th Battalion in the front line.
8th January 1918: Heavy fall of snow during the day, approximately 3 inches deep. ‘C’ Company tasked with laying duckboards, and a detachment of men from other platoons on cable laying duties. 150 men went to baths during the morning, who then worked on reveting the huts.
7th January 1918: Lecture on night operations including defence of strong points garrisoned by a platoon.
6th January 1918: Church parade held. A special day of prayer by Kings Proclamation.
2nd January 1918: Weather was very cold and ground frozen. ‘D’ Company and 2 platoons of ‘C’ Company employed on Corps defence under Capt Kennedy & Lieut. Gorman, plus continued salvage work, stores and corduroy road construction.
1st January 1918: Fatigues – 200 men employed on salvage in Ploegsteert Wood under direction from Major Dooley, MC.; 100 men loading & unloading stores at Romarin Siding; and 33 men constructing corduroy road for Balloon section.