On the first of April, we received a message at Brigade Headquarters, which appeared to be addressed also to most units in the Division and a good many others as well, inviting us to a party at the Faughs at 11 o’clock. It seemed rather short notice and rather an odd hour – but I had forgotten the date! When I mentioned the thing to Paddy Bowen Colthurst – who had remembered the date – it seemed that it might be worth investigating to see what happened as a result of the message. A cursory check up suggested that the invitation probably originated from the London Irish, who were evidently intent on holding a party at the Faughs’ expense. We decided the correct technique was to arrive at the Faughs at one minute after midday. Quite a few people had turned up – it’s amazing what the prospect of a free drink will do, even on April Fool’s Day! With true hospitality, the Faughs had risen to the occasion that the Faughs had rung up the Town Major of Forli and told him that the London Irish were leaving their billets that day and their accommodation would be available for anyone he liked to put there. Whether the London Irish heard about this counter stroke or not, I do not know – the next thing that happened was a report received by the Police and by the Fire Station that the Faughs’ billet was blazing. An infuriated fire engine and some Red Caps, who had turned up to quench the flames were sent away uttering threats of vengeance. It rather devolved on me to quieten the outraged dignity of those excellent fire fighters, but I do not suppose it did them any harm, as I believe the fire engine had never been called out before and, after all, it needed practice like everybody else.
Forli was becoming quite a second home for the Brigade and, what with the activities of the Regimental Pipe Bands, the smartness of the troops, and the attraction of the hackles, they were quite popular residents. Their advantages over others with the fair sex were not left unexploited.
There was a general reshuffle going on about this time in preparation for the final contest, which necessitated us providing a battalion for a few days to take over from the Argylls on the Senio. The Skins went up to do this on the 2nd and came under command 11 Brigade. It was originally intended that the London Irish would relieve them after three days but, owing to the shortening of our commitment, the Skins stayed until the 7th, when they were relieved and came back to Forli.
Training went on until the morning of the 9th. Each battalion had had a crack at exercise ‘Hosannah’ and, where possible, had had a run over the course with their affiliated squadron of Bays.