[Home] - Diaries - [Preface] : [1914] : [1915] : [1916] : [1917] : [1918] - [Family and Friends]

1915 - Edward Packe's diary of World War I

Grey background shows when Edward Packe was in Britain.

JANUARY 1915

Jan 1st. Go bomb throwing (dummies). Letter from F.G. and Olliphant, in the evening go and buy bread.

Jan 2nd. More dummy bomb throwing in morning. Tom Marshall arrives and I borrow five francs off him (subsequently killed). I hadn't seen him of course since we were up at Exeter, it seemed very funny for me, a private soldier, to be talking to an officer on the terms of friendship. Letter from Sis, had some soup au lait, got a couple of eggs. Move to Three Huns Farm. Don't feel very well,

Jan 3rd. Go sick and the M.O. sends me off to the Field Ambulance at Steenwark. Spend a very good night.

Jan 4th. Read the Cardinal's Snuff Box. Write letters and play whist. Talk and go to bed early.

Jan 5th. Play whist and read, write letters and play Patience. Had a troublesome cough going to sleep.

Jan 6th. Play Patience and read in the morning. After lunch play Whist, have a bath and shave after tea. More Whist, sleep like a top.

Jan 7th. Kept indoors, slack about all day. Have a jolly good night.

Jan 8th. Still kept indoors. Sent off Wogg's letter. Read and played Whist and Patience all day. Talk to Ellard and borrow two francs off him.

Jan 9th. Still kept in; slack about and have a very good night.

Jan 10th. Write to James, still kept in, spend a slack day again,

Jan 11th. Sent back to the Battalion, stopping at various pubs on the way. Connie's note and P.C. from Sis, two letters and a Strand from James, a letter from Hollins and Pen and a mouth organ and letter from Roy. Move up to the breastworks.

Jan 12th. Very constipated, go sick and get two more No. 13s and some Castor Oil, then return to breastworks. Letters from Sis and Aunt Edith. Slack about all day. Have to turn out at 10pm. for pseudo fatigues which don't materialise.

Jan 13th. Still stuck up so report sick again, am given four No. 9s and told to go for a walk and drink a lot of Belgian beer. As it comes on to rain, don't go for a walk. Have a tophole night at the Sick Farm.

Jan 14th. Have more pills and go for a walk with the Sergeant of the Stretcher Bearers, go through Romarin, Nieppe to Armentierre where the medecines work. Have supper in Ploegsteert. Letters from Pen and Beats. Bed about 9.45pm. in the Sick Farm.

Jan 15th. Sleep till 9am., am given M & D. so after brekker return to the breastworks. Play pontoon in the morning and get ready to shift, March off about 4.30pm. and on arrival at Nieppe find Christopher's letter with papers about getting a commission. Break out to get supper, play pontoon.

Jan 16th. Clean rifle, Physical Training. Rifle inspection, Lunch at Madame Demulierre. Write letters; go to a concert party in the afternoon, jolly good so go again in the evening. Letter from Cassidy, tongue from Aunt Edith, a Cardigan from Christopher and Olive, and a candle from Pen.

Jan 17th. Had a bath. Rifle inspection and Physical Training. Write to Wogg. Lunch at Madame Demulierre, slack about in the afternoon; go to a rehearsal in the evening. Letter from Wogg.

[Extract from letter]

Jan 18th. Rifle inspection. Write to Wogg. Lunch at Madame Demoulierre. March out at 2.30pm. arriving about 4.30pm. in trenches on the left of the line, nearly copped by maxim, a rotten night.
Dorsetshire badge
Dorsetshire badge, E.A.P.'s new regiment


Jan 19th. Go to Batt. H.Q. before light to get my Commission papers signed by Bully Compton, also to be inspected by the M.O. (Waddy) who keeps me there. Walk around and do well. Play cards in the evening, have twelve hours sleep. Socks from Gaye King.

Jan 20th. Have brekker and then Waddy signs my medical papers and I send them off. Go up to the breastworks about 1pm. and I move out to the left trench again at 5.30pm., rains most of the night. These trenches, which ran out from the wood, were all flooded and we existed behind low sandbagged breastworks on the top. The breastwork was moon shaped and each one just held one section of men. There was no communication sideways except by the flooded trench which was very shallow. There was no communication trench to the rear.

Jan 21st. Rain the whole day, which I spend under the hutch produced by the R.E. Relieved about 7.30pm. and go to No 2 breastwork. A chilly night.

Jan 22nd. Letter from Pen and Beats and cocoa from James. On fatigues at Boyd Fort at midday, finish at 3.30pm. and get ready to move. March to Ploegsteert at 5.pm. A Punch from James. Have a good night.

Jan 23rd. Clean self and rifle. Write letters, rifle inspection. Slack about all day. Letters from Pen and Christopher. Fallen in in a hurry but it was only a test to see how long it took us to get to Batt. H.Q.

[Extract from letter]

Jan 24th. Have brekker and wash. Go on fatigues at 11.45am., some shells over, come back and make tea, talk and bed about 9pm. The Weekly Times arrives.

Jan 25th. Wash and make some brekker, rub jelly on my feet. Move up to left trench at 4.45pm., spend the night on a biscuit tin, some snow and very cold.

Jan 26th. Read all day, everything pretty quiet. Start to learn the maxim. At midnight the Germans celebrate the Kaiser's birthday by firing volleys and Maxim fire. Singularly ineffective.

Jan 27th. Read, play Whist and eat all day; pretty quiet except for snipers and maxim. Very cold, sleep on biscuit tin. Webber goes on leave.

Jan 28th. Our trench is to be evacuated starting at 3am., myself and another Corporal to stay and light small fires, to mislead the Germans into thinking we are cooking our breakfasts, and then rejoin the others in the breastworks. At 6am. our Artillery shell the German trench which was rather close by ours. They only put one or two back by way of retaliation. We march back to Nieppe at 8pm. and have a good night's sleep.

Jan 29th. Letter from Sis, Rifle inspection in the morning. Go for a walk and try to dry boots. Food at Mme Demoulierre, go to The Follies.

Jan 30th. Letters from Sis and Pen and underclothes. Went to Romarin in the morning for boots, my third pair since coming out. Slack about in the afternoon, go and have some food and go to the Follies.

Jan 31st. Rifle inspection and Physical Training. Paid out (50 francs). Waterproof sheets given out. Some absentees when we marched out at 3.45pm. to No. 1 breastwork. Take rations to Maxim Farm.

FEBRUARY 1915

Feb 1st. On fatigues from 8.45 till 12.30pm. Slack about in the afternoon, not a bad night. A 'stout' frost.

Feb 2nd. On a wiring party in the wood from 8.45 to 12.30pm. Parcel from James and the Times. Read in the afternoon. Some rain.

Feb 3rd. Letter from Christopher and parcel from Beats. Fatigues at 12.30pm. at Boyd Fort. Move at 5.30pm. to Ploegsteert.

Feb 4th. Parcel from James and letters from Wogg and Pen. Slack about in the morning, one or two shells over. On fatigues at Boyd Fort at 12.30pm. More shelling on our return. Write letters.

[Extract from letter]

Feb 5th. Fatigues at 8.45am. and last till 5.30pm., a rotten time. Go to a concert. Letter from Olive and a Punch from James.

Feb 6th. Fatigues again from 8.45am. to 4.30pm. with an hour's break for lunch. Go up to left trench at 5pm., fill sandbags.

Feb 7th. At Stand-to Carr who had been on listening post in advance of the trench had not come in in accordance with orders. I looked over the breastwork and saw him lying on the ground as if asleep and as it was impossible for him to stay there in full daylight, I went out to him and shook him by the shoulder only to find he had been shot through the head and was quite dead. Rest of the day pretty quiet. At night fall I guided the stretcher bearers out to Carr and back. Chuck out barbed wire, spend rest of the night with the maxim gun crew, heavy rain. Chocolates from Olive.

Feb 8th. A little more rain, read all morning, go to sleep in the afternoon; in the evening guide reinforcements back; chuck out more barbed wire. Socks from Gaye King and letter and Keatings from Pen.

Feb 9th. Read in the morning and sleep, some rain; get ready to move. Relieved at 6.30pm. and march to Nieppe.

Feb 10th. Letter from Pen, various parades, lunch at Mme. Demoulierre. Talk to Tom Marshall, go to Cinema, write letters.

Feb 11th. Physical Training, rifle inspection, route march; lunch at Mme. Demoulierre. Letter from Sis, read in evening; sleep well.

Feb 12th. Delayed letter from Sis. It snows and there is no parade till Company Commander's inspection at 11.30am. Have some lunch and pack up. Inspected by Prowse, Acting C.O., march off at 3.30pm. to No. 7 breastwork.

Feb 13th. Letter and a candle from Pen. Fatigues in morning, carrying up rations in pouring rain. Move up to C breastwork at night, sleep well.

Feb 14th. Parcel from James and the Times. On fatigue on the Corduroy Path in morning. Slack about in afternoon. On guard on No. 5 breastwork.

Feb 15th. Letter from Sis. No fatigues, heavy rain, read all day. Some talk about our making an attack. Move up to the breastworks in the evening and stand to; then go to Ploegsteert and sleep in boots.

Feb 16th. On fatigues at midday, making screens. Sent for to the Orderley Roam and am told that my Commission has come through; sent back to billets. Pack up, get money and say farewell. Walk and ride to Romarin and on to Nieppe, where there is a bus to Steenwerke, entrain at 10.30pm.



Pip
'Pip' of 2nd Lieutenant. E.A.P. was temp. 2nd Lieu. of the Dorsets at this time.
Feb 17th. Arrive at Boulogne at 4.20am. and embark on the S.S. Victoria, settle kit in and have brekker and go ashore. Have a shave, wash and shampoo. Get tickets and embark again at 9.30am. Sail at 10.30am. A rough passage arriving at Folkestone at 1pm. and entrain, reaching Victoria at 2.45pm. my uniform was muddy, I had no seat to my trousers and there was a huge burn in the skirt of my greatcoat. Have tea. Meet Evelyn Lawson and Beats at the War Office, am given my Commission. Go to the Clays, See Sis and Pen then to Liverpool Street. On the train I remembered my rifle still had some rounds in the magazine and these I unloaded to Sis's amusement, Got back to the Firs and had a bath, throwing my uniform out of the window, article by article as I undressed. Supper and a civilised bed.

Feb 18th. After brekker talk and write letters. Walk to Witham after lunch and make some purchases. Go and meet Ruth and James after tea. Talk, bath and bed.

Feb 19th. Talked after brekker and then went to see the Bickmoores and Coopers. Play cricket after lunch. The Coopers come to tea. Kitty Hunt arrives, talk after dinner.

Feb 20th. Letter from Wogg; Went for a walk with Derek Cooper, killed a couple of rabbits. After lunch went and met Beats and Bryan. The Reids come to tea, talk after dinner.

Feb 21st. Talked after brekker. Went to second Service. Read after lunch and went for a walk, played cricket after tea, then Church. Wrote letters after dinner.

Feb 22nd. After lunch bicycled to Witham and went up to London to buy kit. Lunched at Princes and shopped again afterwards. Caught the 5pm. train back. Talked after dinner.

Feb 23rd. After brekker cricket, then Mr. Salter comes and we talk for some time. After lunch go and see the Pellys. Play Ping Pong after tea and after supper play Patience and talk.

Feb 24th. After brekker go down to Witham and see Barty (?). Go up to London, do some shopping, lunch with the Clays. Go with Sis and see Gerald du Maurier in Raffles at Wyndhams. Catch the 5.29pm. train back to Witham. Play Canfield after dinner.

Feb 25th. After brekker went to Colchester and did some shopping. Saw the Inglis family and collected my Rudge Multi. Lunch at Feering Bury. Go to Marks Tey and on coming back find Betty Pym has come. Talk and write letters after tea and ditto after dinner.

Feb 26th. After brekker exercised Roy, and saw Mr. Allan and wrote letters. After lunch went over to Feering and saw various people. Wrote letters after tea. Dined with the Harcourt Golds. Packed.

Feb 27th. Started on my Rudge about 10.45am. and reached Hertford Heath at 1pm, and had lunch. Left at 4.15pm. and reached Harrow at 6pm. Had supper, talked, read and bed.

Feb 28th. Started about midday and had rather a foul ride down to Wareham. Had dinner with Christopher and Olive at The Haven and then go to the 6th. Dorset Mess, talked for a bit and then dossed down for the night.

MARCH 1915

March 1st. Interviewed my new C.O. (Rowley) at 9.20am. Go on the Barrack Square for the rest of the morning. After lunch went and looked at the practice trenches. Had tea with Olive. Parade at 5.30pm. to practise relieving trenches by night. Back about 9.15pm. and to bed an hour later.

March 2nd. Cut the early morning parade, the R.S.M didn't turn up. Letter and cheque from Bertie Pell, answered it. Was innoculated, After lunch went to The Haven and shopped afterwards, then to the Cinema with Christopher and Charles. Then back to camp and changed and had dinner at The Haven.

March 3rd. Arm feeling stiff, wrote various letters, read after lunch. Had a talk with my Company Commander (Hughes Onslow). Tea with my nephews at The Haven, Christopher dines in Mess, talk and bed.

March 4th. Miss early parade. Outposts to set and criticism on fire drill. P.T. at 3.15pm. A night march across country. Dine with Christopher and Olive.

March 5th. Early parade at 6.45am. R.S.M.'s drill at 9.30am. to 12.30pm. Letter from Wogg. No parade in the afternoon. Write letters and shop, tea with Dove. Take Olive out on my carrier. Supper with Dove. Go to N.C.O.'s concert.

March 6th. Wasn't waken for early parade. Parade at 9am. for R.S.M.'s drill. Nothing in the afternoon. Tea and dinner with Olive.

March 7th. A slack morning. Church Parade. Lunch with Olive, go for a walk with Christopher, tea with the Reays (our Brigadier). Church, and supper at The Haven.

March 8th. Early Parade. R.S.M.'s parade in morning and afternoon. Sis comes to The Haven, tea and dinner there.

March 9th. Early morning parade, The Battalion parade at 8.55am. for a practice attack in No. 2 area. Back at 1.30pm. Parade at 2pm. to take the Casuals on the miniature Range. Tea with Christopher and Olive, Cinema, dinner and bed.

March 10th. On early parade, and second inoculation. Go to The Haven for lunch, several people for tea.

March 11th. Don't get up till 1.30pm. Sit at The Haven; arm very stiff.

March 12th. Practise Outposts. Tea at The Haven. Nothing much doing.

March 13th. Go to the trenches (practice) in morning. Lunch at The Haven. Walk to Poole with Christopher to fetch his car. Charles ill when we got back. Supper and bed.

March 14th. Slack morning in bed. Go over in Christopher's car to lunch with the Fawkes and on to tea with Aunt Emma. Church and supper, bed.

March 15th. Late for early morning parade and report myself to the Orderly Officer. Physical Drill and inspect the new equipment (the leather stuff). Instruct Casuals on miniature range. Tea with Olive. Cinema with Mrs. Thornton and R.Reay.

March 16th. In time for early morning parade. Outpost scheme, in the afternoon instruct Casuals on the miniature range.

March 17th. No early parade. Take casuals up to the range.

March 18th. Letter from Claudia. Take Casuals to range.

March 19th. Casuals on range.

March 20th. Casuals on range.

March 21st. No parades, write letters. Go for a walk with Christopher. Go to Church. Tea and Supper at The Haven.

March 22nd. Do a Brigade attack, Go to the Cinema with the Reays.

March 23rd. Practise marching by compass in the morning and carry out a compass march at night.

March 24th. Do a Battalion attack.

March 25th. Battalion route march in morning, inspect rifles and do Musketry.

March 26th. Brigade attack in the morning, a lecture in the Cinema in the afternoon. Night operations.

March 27th. Early morning parade, Brigade attack. Do map reading with Christopher. Get hair cut, go to a theatre in Bournemouth.

March 28th. A slack Sunday morning in bed. Wrote letters, lunch at The Haven. Go and see Pike's collection of animals. Tea at the Reays, supper at The Haven, Rendall comes, write an essay.

March 29th. Running Drill in the morning, then a Battalion attack. Supper at The Haven.

March 30th. No early parade. Send off the Barclay's telegram, Parade at 9.30am. for taking up a Divisional position, back by 3.45pm. Take Olive to tea and the Reays to the Cinema. Toby Pilcher comes to dinner.

March 31st. I set off on my young Officer's course at Glasgow catching the 9.30am. train with Olive. Lunch at the Trocadero, go and call on friends of Olive's, go to a cinema then tea and on to the Colliseum. Supper at the Trocadero see Olive off to Wareham and I catch the midnight train to Glasgow.

APRIL 1915

April 1st. Slept pretty well arriving at the Windsor Hotel Glasgow at about 10.am. Find Francis Pym (subsequently killed) also on the Course. Report at the Headquarters of the O.T.C. and were detailed into Squads and then dismissed. Do some shopping and go to the Picture House and to the Colliseum in the evening.

April 2nd. Running parade at 7am. then lectures and drill for the rest of the day. After dinner go to the Scala.

April 3rd. Running drill before breakfast then various lectures during the day. Had lunch at Henglers and tea at the Picture House, Go to the King's Theatre and see Land of Promise.

April 4th. The usual drills and parades. Talk after dinner and bed.

April 5th. Go to McGaie (?) quite good fun, back at 9pm., bed early.

April 6th. Usual parades and lectures, have tea at the Picture House and go to the Alhambra.

April 7th. Cut early morning run. Usual lot of parades and lectures during the day. Tea at the Picture House, go to a shooting range. Go to the Alhambra and meet Beatie and Babs, see them home.

April 8th. Cut early run, overslept. Musketry exam, otherwise the usual parades. Tea at the Picture House and to the Empire in the evening, missed Beatie and Babs, Bed about 12.45am.

April 9th. Cut early run. Entrenching at Carkerhill, home at 4.30pm, have tea at the cinema with Beatie and Babs. Dine at the Hotel, then go to the Empire again and send Bananas up to Beatie and Babs. See them home again after the show.

April 10th. Go with Laidlay to Edinburgh, arriving about 1pm. and motor to North Berwick. Try for geese but weather and the time of day all wrong. Talk after supper.

April 11th. Motor back to Edinburgh in the morning and after lunch go to the Zoo and have a great time. Bed about midnight.

April 12th. Rise at 7am. and arrive at Glasgow at 9.15am. Usual work. Tea at the Picture House and go to the Palladium, awful. Ripping letter from Wogg.

April 13th. Entrenching at Corkerhill. Tea at Picture House, go to the Empire, Jolly bad.

April 14th. Early morning run. Various letters. Tea at Picture House. Go and see Mr. Wu. See Robin Gordon (up at Exeter with me).

April 15th. Early morning and various parades. Draw maps in the afternoon, Robin Gordon comes round and we go to the Alhambra.

April 16th. Early run, and various parades. Tea at the Picture House. Write to Aunt Addie. Go to Mr. Wu again with Laidley.

April 17th. Early morning run. Racing Francis Pym down the hotel stairs for the bath, I fell and sprained my ankle. After breakfast went up to hospital and am kept there.

April 18th. Spend all day in bed, very bored, read.

April 19th. Another day in bed. Read, played Patience and the Gramophone.

April 20th. Spend another day in bed. Read and Patience etc. Banana sandwich and tea at midnight.

April 21st. Allowed up in the afternoon for tea. The ankle massaged. A midnight picnic.

April 22nd. Get up in the morning. Read and go out in a wheeled chair.

April 23rd. Get up in morning. Rowley and Morgan come to see me.

April 24th. Get up early. See an aneurism removed from a knee. Leave hospital at 4pm. Letter from Wogg. Tea at the Picture House, have a bath, bed.

April 25th. Get up at 11.30am. Play Billiards and read. Write letters.

Edward Packe's sovereign case

Edward Packe's sovereign case
Edward Packe's sovereign case, with a half sovereign.
April 26th. Various parades, Buy some shoes. Tea at the Picture House. Go to the Alhambra.

April 27th. Go out to Bishopsriggs and back. Letter from Wogg; write to Wyndhams. Get hair cut. Go to Picture House. After dinner to the Pavillion. Play poker.

April 28th. Late for Parade. Lectures and various duties. Get passes and cash a cheque. Say goodbye to everybody. Laidlay, Forbes and I go to Edinburgh and to the Zoo. Catch the 10.50pm. train down, have a sleeper, read and talk.

April 29th. Arrive at Euston and take a taxi to Liverpool Street, arriving at Hertford at 11am. Up to Hertford Heath and see Bay. Claudia arrives on the scene at 5.30 and goes back to the Hospital at 9.15pm. Bed.

April 30th. Rise at 8.30am. After brekker talk and rag about. After lunch Bay goes to Hospital. Talk and Wogg tries to go to sleep, no catch. After tea go down to Haileybury and see Latham, also Dibdin and Weaver Adams, getting back to the Vicarage at 7pm. After supper talk till bedtime.

MAY 1915

May 1st. Start from the Vicarage in the car at 9.45am. and go up to London and the zoo. Lunch at the Trocadero and then to Wyndhams to see Raffles. Back to the Troc. for tea and then to Mrs. Barclay's flat at 49 Harley House, Harley Street. Back in the car and play 'Glad Eyes'. Bed about 10pm.

May 2nd. Late for brekker. Claudia goes to bed. Write letters, Church. After lunch rag about. Weaver Adams and Dibdin come to tea. I go to tea with Latham. Claudia comes down after tea, walk to Hertford with her after supper. Bed.

May 3rd. After brekker ragged about. Wogg comes down and sees me off by the 3.12 train, Reach Wickham Bishops at 6pm. Played Double Demon after supper.

May 4th. Wrote to Mrs. Barclay after brekker. Went to Coopers but got no rabbits. Went again after lunch and got two. Hunts came to tea. Went to Coopers again and got another rabbit. Played Double Demon after dinner.

May 5th. After brekker went to the Post Office to book seats. Mrs. Merriman (sister of Frank Bradshaw of the 1st. Som. L.I.) came to tea, saw her off at the station. Tried for rabbits and played golf. Double Demon after supper and bed early.

May 6th. Ripping letter from Claudia with Gilbert Anthony saying they can't come on Saturday but a telegram arrives to say they can after all. Write and go up to the Post Office. Have a picnic lunch in Podd's Wood, back for tea. Play golf and try for rabbits. Double Demon after supper,

May 7th. Played golf after brekker, read and slacked. Went over to Feering after lunch and had tea at the Warrens. Bagged a rabbit on return. Double Demon after dinner.

May 8th. Went up to London by the 9.45am. train and met Wogg and Bay at Liverpool Street at 11.45am. Drove in the Park and then to the Trocadero for lunch with Sis, Pen, B.M. and Lancelot. Went and saw the Argyle Case. Tea at Fullers and then back to Wickham Bishops. Double Demon after dinner.

May 9th. Went to Church after brekker and talked to the Coopers. Read after lunch and went down to Witham with Hubert Pelly (subsequently killed) and had tea there. Back to the Firs, after dinner played Double Demon.

May 10th. Ripping letter from Wogg. Go up to London with Sis and meet Pen and Betty Pym at Charing Cross. Arrive at Wareham at 5pm. Tea and dinner at The Haven.

May 11th. Am Orderly Officer and perform various duties. Write to Claudia. Get leave to dine at The Haven.

May 12th. Go to the practice trenches in the morning and throw bombs. After lunch doing rapid loading. Pay out. Tea and dine at the Haven.

May 13th. Rained all day, did bayonet drill in the hits. Went to Bournemouth after lunch and went to a Cinema. Quite a capable Guest Night in Mess.

May 14th. A Divisional Scheme. March to Wool and on the way back take up a position. Letter from Wogg. Dinner at the Haven. Sing,

May 15th. Company arrangements in the morning, The Children go. Play Rounders at the Ashens. After riding with Christopher a telegraph arrives from Pen to say she is engaged. Go into Bournemouth and dine.

May 16th. Rise about 11am. Lunch at The Haven, Go for a walk in the afternoon. Church in the evening.

May 17th. Early rise. A Brigade Exercise. Put in charge of the Scouts. A sweat over Creech Hill.

May 18th. Letter from Wogg. The morning under Company arrangements. Go up to the practice trenches in the afternoon and stay there until relieved by the E. Yorks.

May 19th. Slack morning. Ride in afternoon. Go to the trenches at 9pm. Rains all night.

May 20th. Dry clothes and dig; spend a pretty futile day; the R.E. play about with dugouts. Relieved at 9.30.

May 21st. Very slack day under Company arrangements. Dinner at The Haven,

May 22nd. Letter from Wogg. Staff ride in the morning. Picnic in the afternoon at Kimmeridge. Dinner at The Haven,

May 23rd. Rise at 10am. Lunch at The Haven, slack in the afternoon. Tea at Askews and go on the river. Bed early.

May 24th. Day devoted mostly to packing up. Bayonet fighting in the afternoon and Sports. The move reported off, have supper on the river, it is now known that we do move to Romsey.

May 25th. Bayonet fighting all the evening, a very slack day, dine in Mess.

May 26th. Ripping letter from Claudia. Bayonet fighting etc. Various people come to dine at The Haven. Bed fairly early.

May 27th. Marching out from Wareham at 8.20am., arriving at Canford Park where we bivouac at 1.30pm. Bathed. Pretty cold.

May 28th. Reveille at 4am., brekker at 5am. and march off at 6am. March most of the day, Do an outpost scheme. Bivouac at Somerley Park, a ripping place, bathed.

May 29th. Reveille at 5am., brekker at 6am., move at 7am. Bivouac on White Moor Common at Lyndhurst, rather a public place,

May 30th. Reveille at 6am. and march out at 8.30am., reaching Romsey at 2.30pm. Feed and find tents, Kindersley shares one with me, sleep the sleep of the just. Went to Church in the Abbey with Shaw and Hugh Rendall.

May 31st. A settling-in day. Go over in the afternoon and try and find bike, meet Olive and dine at The George Hotel.

JUNE 1915

June 1st. Bayonet fighting etc, in morning, bathe in the afternoon. Olive comes over. Go to dine at The George with Rendall, meet Charles Dibdin.

June 2nd. Bayonet fighting in the morning, dig a rifle range in the afternoon. Ripping letter from Claudia.

June 3rd. Finish Claudia's letter. Bayonet fighting in the morning, kit and rifle inspection in the afternoon. Go off to Southampton with Babe Homan (subsequently killed) and go to the Hippodrome.

June 4th. Trench digging and making clips for targets, lecture at 4pm. After tea take the M.O. to the Hippodrome at Southampton. Am told I am to go on leave.

June 5th. Start at 8am. and all goes well till Windsor when a leak develops in the petrol tank. Arrive at Hertford Heath at 3pm., leaving there at 5.30pm., getting to The Firs at 7pm. Talk after dinner.

June 6th. Exercised Roy after brekker, Went to Church and stayed for second Service. Sleep after lunch. Church again after tea and talk after supper.

June 7th. Pack up and leave The Firs about 11am. Bike not going too well, arrive at Hertford Heath about 1pm., leave the bike in Hertford. After lunch play Clock Golf. After tea Mr. & Mrs. Barclay arrive. Do parlour tricks; bed about 11pm.

June 8th. Rag about with Angel. Go down to Hertford and see hospital. Lunch at 2pm. with Claudia and Bay. Slack in afternoon. Leave at 5pm, but bike breaks down outside Hertford so push it to Hatfield and go on by train arriving at Harrow at 9.15pm. Bath and bed,

June 9th. Brekker at 10.15. Go in the motor and inspect Pen's new house, I drive the motor. Lunch and tea at 22 Butler Avenue. Leave Harrow at 7.30pm., meet Waller at Waterloo, bed about 11.30pm.

June 10th. No early parade. Trench digging in the morning and bathing in the afternoon. Pyjamas from Claudia. Play cricket, write letters. Rumour of a move to Lyndford.

June 11th. No early parade. Take the Company in rapid loading etc. bathing in the afternoon. Go for a walk after Mess. Rumour of a move to Lyndford cancelled. Bed about 10.30pm.

June 12th. Rapid loading etc. in the morning, go for a ride with Shaw after lunch. Go into Southampton and go to the Hippodrome.

June 13th-19th inclusive. No entries.

June 23rd. Rise at 10am., slack about till the car comes over at 12.30pm., Shaw and I go into Winchester and lunch at Westgate House. Play football, also go and see the College and after tea go to the Cathedral and see Dudley Dibdin. After supper drive back in the car.

June 23rd. The Battalion marches away. Go round the cookhouse, Go down to Romsey, shoot at the range from 12.45pm. to 8pm. Bed fairly early.

June 23rd. Rose at 5.15am. and shoot till 1pm. Go into Southampton with Wallace and go to The Palace.

June 23rd. Cash cheques. Various presents and letters which I answer, Go and meet Sis, play tennis in the afternoon. Go into Winchester for dinner and go to the Cinema.

June 24th. Took early parade. Went into Winchester with Sis and came back at midday. Went into Southampton with the Padre and Eccles and went to the Hippodrome.

June 25th. Brekker at 9am. Write to Bay. Went and put out a fire. Read after lunch and went and fetched strawberries for tea. Wrote to Claudia.

June 26th-30th inclusive. No entries.

JULY 1915

July 1st to 3rd inclusive. No entries.

July 4th. Poured with rain all day. Wrote various letters and pack.

July 5th. Bike arrives and I go into Winchester. Go to Southampton in the evening and go to the Palace, get a glad eye from the oriental dancer.

July 6th. Nothing much doing in the morning. Go into Southampton and do some shopping. Go into Palace and see Purchase, find out from the Manager the name of the oriental dancer (Lily St. John) and send round a note, see her and a friend home.

July 7th. Various parades in the morning. I was to take Babe Homan but he was on the Range and doesn't get back till late. We go into Southampton and rag at the Palace. Sleep on the floor of the smoke room of the Dolphin Hotel.

July 8th. In the Butts in the morning. Went into Southampton with Collot, have tea at Gattis with Lillian. Went to the Palace and afterwards Collot and I see Lillian and Minnie Lytchfield home. Ragged over food.

July 9th. Went into Winchester after various parades and saw the Grahames and Uncle Claude and Aunt Lucy.

July 10th. Various inspections finished at 11.30am. Went into Southampton and took Lillian St. John out for a joyride getting back at 2.30pm. Went back to Romsey and changed, then took Waller in and picked up Lillian and Minnie Lytchfield and went to a cinema. Tea at the Rose Tea Rooms. Saw them to the theatre and then went to Winchester to dine and found Hugh Rendall there; then back to Southampton and Lillian and Minnie to supper and then home.

July 11th. Pretty busy with kit inspections etc. and packing, have tea at Southampton and have a puncture coming home. Bed early.

July 12th. Took Walker over to Winchester and found Sis there, had lunch and went to the Picture Palace. On to Southampton and to the Palace, supper at Rose Tea Rooms.

July 13th. Ammunition given out. Sis and Olive come over and we have a lunch party at my tent, they leave at 3pm. Take Gilbert into Southampton and have tea at the Rose Tea Rooms and we have an awful time coming back. March out of camp at about 5.30pm. to the station and arrive at Folkestone at 12.30am.


July 14th. Embark on the St. Ceiriol and sail at 1.50am. and reach Boulogne at 2.45am. March to rest camp and eat and sleep. Talk to Georgette. Leave Boulogne at 1.30pm.

July 15th. Entrain at 3am, and arrive at Lumbres at 7am., get a billet with Tarbet in a cottage, Coy. H.Q. at Mme. De Long. Visit the Café Charles Constant. Bed early.

July 16th. Various inspections in the morning and a route march in the afternoon. After tea visit the Café Charles Constant. Letter from Claudia.

July 17th. Various inspections. Ordered to be ready to move but nothing happens all day. In the evening play bridge with our French host.

July 18th. March out at 9am. and arrive at Arques. Get the Company into billets, causing in some cases a certain amount of annoyance. Made the acquaintance of Amelienne. Slept very soundly.

July 19th. My soldier servant packed my collar in my main kit which had gone; went out and tried to buy one with the help of Amelienne but couldn't get one for love or money and make do with a khaki handkerchief. Moved off at 9am, and had rather a trying march over Casel to Steenvoorde arriving about 6pm. At the last halt before getting into billets, five of my platoon said they were unable to go on which annoyed me and I took their rifles and made them fall in with the platoon. I carried the five rifles into camp. Bed early.

July 20th. The usual inspections plus an inspection by Plumer the Army Commander. Go into Steenvoorde. Letters from Kitty Hunt and Olive. I was sharing a bedroom of the Estaminet "Au Ciseau", which was also out Coy. Mess, with O'Hanlon; got to bed early.

July 21st. The bomb party goes into town. News of a move, O'Hanlon goes off to the trenches. Write letters in the afternoon. Mess with D Coy.

July 22nd. A quiet day getting packed up. March out at 7pm, and arrive at hutments at La Clytte at about 1am., rather a tight squash. Filthy rain during the march. Ripping letter from Claudia.

July 23rd. Most of the day spent in getting dry and settling down. Write to Claudia. Christopher comes to tea. Bed pretty early and sleep well.

July 24th. Brekker at 8.45. Parade for a route march in the afternoon. Buttson, Collot and I go up to inspect the trenches at Wytschaete, where we are going under instruction from the 5th. K.O.Y.L.I. Came back and collect my Platoon and take them up safely and get them settled in.

July 25th. Retire to 'bed' at 4.30am. and sleep till 10.30am., have some food and go to sleep again till 2.30pm. Relieved at 10pm., getting back to La Clytte at 12.30am.

July 26th. Rifle inspection etc., go reconnoitring with Babe, get home about 8pm.

July 27th. Bombing in the morning. Kit inspection and P.T. in the afternoon. Go out with Shaw and look out (?). Bed fairly early.

July 29th. Go out with O'Hanlon after lunch. P.T. and Rapid Loading in the afternoon. Punch from Wogg. Slack and read.

July 29th. Go out with Hughes Onslow (Company Commander) and O'Hanlon and the Platoon Sergeants, meet one or two shells. Rapid loading in the afternoon. Christopher comes over after tea. Some bombardment on in the distance. Bed early,

July 30th. Fatigues and digging. No parades for No. 9 Platoon in the morning. Read and censor letters. A letter and a pencil from Claudia. Francis Pym comes over for tea. Go back and dine at Div. H.Q. Bed early.

July 31st. Get hair cut. Read and write letters. Reconnoitre with O'Hanlon. Inspect the Sniperscope. Take Christopher to the Subsidiary Trench and get him shot at. Bed early.

AUGUST 1915

Aug 1st. Read and censor letters. March out at 9pm, to near Dickiebusch. Saw Christopher.

Aug 2nd. Lay about all day. Received orders to relieve some trenches but these were cancelled. Moved to another bivouac.

Aug 3rd. Sleep like a top under a borrowed tarpaulin. Read most of the day. Fell in at 8pm, and marched till midnight, our guides losing their way as usual, finally reaching trenches at La Brique near St. Jean.


Aug 4th. Sleep from 5.OOam, till 11.30am. and a fairly quiet morning until our Artillery start and this provokes the Germans to retaliate by shelling the farm buildings through which our trench runs. One man of my platoon and five of 10 Platoon are hit by one shell that pitches in the trench. More shells over at 6pm. but no more damage. After dark I was out in front inspecting the damage done to the parapet by the shelling when my sergeant cock his rifle and say very quietly 'Halt'. I froze and stared towards the German trenches but could see nothing so finally said 'What do you see, Sergeant Court', to which he replied 'Good God, sir, is that you? I was just going to shoot. I thought you were a German!'

Aug 5th. One or two shells over but no damage. Come off duty at midday and sleep from 2pm. to 6.30pm. Boots arrive and a Medley (Grange). Go on improving parapet. Take Tarbet round the trench. Write letters.

Aug 6th. A day of not much import, go on with parapet, one or two shells over. Letter from Sis.

Aug 7th. Letter from Olive. Had a shave after Stand Down, nothing much doing all day. A bombardment had been planned for the evening, make preparations accordingly but bombardment postponed. Relieved and back to Support Trenches. Wrote to Claudia.

Aug 8th. Pretty quiet day with nothing much doing. Bombardment on left at 6.30pm. Took fatigue party 'digging.'

Aug 9th. A bombardment and an attack on Hooge at 2.30am., slept 4 to 8.15am. Ripping letter from Claudia. Certain amount of firing on our right, possibly a German counter attack. Had a shave and a wash. Chocolates from some Unknown.

Aug 10th. Slept pretty well. Read in morning, also washed. Very heavy shower in afternoon, spent day cleaning place up, tidied up Praed Street at night.

Aug 11th. A few shells over in morning. Letters from Sis, Brian and Longmore. Slept and read. Started letter to Claudia. Some more shells over. Wiring at night with H.A.C. party, slept from midnight to Stand-To.

Aug 12th. Started mending floor boards, Letter from Blummers. Same shells over. Mended boards in Praed Street. Relieved about midnight and move into Fire Trenches, build up Traverse.

Aug 13th. Sleep in morning. Have a shot at a Boche at about 2pm. Write letters, dull day, no shells over so far, pretty quiet time and nothing much doing,

Aug 14th. Ripping letter from Claudia. Parcel from Sis, also from James. Nothing much doing all day. Two men brought up for being asleep. Pretty quiet, built up sniping post.

Aug 15th. Nothing much doing all day, pretty quiet till Relief comes up, Listening Post bombed and Williams badly hit in the neck and Rendal in fleshy part of the back behind armpit. Anchor down about 1am.

Aug 16th. Don't get up till about 11. Rifle inspection at 12. Letter and parcel from Sis. Punch from Christopher. Write letters in afternoon. Bed early.

Aug 17th. Rifle inspection at 10, write to Sis, bomb instruction. Go into Ypres with Shaw. Take a fatigue party up to R.I.R trenches, mistaken for a spy, bed about midnight.

Aug 18th. Letter from Pen. Attacked by usual complaint, sleep in bed till 2pm. Get up and have food. Read and bed.

Aug 19th. Rifle and Smoke Helmet inspection. Fly stuff from Claudia. Revolver shooting. Pack kit. News of not going into trenches. Start at 8.30pm, and arrive at Save Colon at 12.30am, and bivouac.

Aug 20th. Ripping letter from Claudia. Shift further up the field and start building 'booby hutches'. Nothing much of import happens. Christopher comes to tea. Bed early.

Aug 21st. Running drill. Rains most of morning. Parcels from Sis and Gage. Have a hot bath in afternoon. After tea carry on with Booby Hutch. Parcel from James. Dine at Div. H.Q. Visit Duttson. Bed.

Aug 22nd. Write letters and read. Pretty slack day, nothing much doing.

[Extract from letter]

Aug 23rd. Running and physical drill etc. etc. Slack and write in afternoon and in evening surprise 'turn out'.

Aug 24th. Various inspections, physical drill, route march, bombing. After lunch censor letters and read. Go into town (Reninghelst). After dinner talk to B Coy.

Aug 25th. Letter from Claudia. Running drill, route march. Write letters and read. Bed pretty early.

Aug 26th. Inspection, physical drill, route march. In afternoon go with the Babe to Poperinghe and see the 6th. Divisional Fancies, quite good. Fed at l'Hotel and had champagne in memory of a year ago. Back and bed by 11.30pm.

Aug 27th. Inspect rifles and ammunition. Physical Drill. Letters from Gage and Beatie and Babs. Parcels from Gage and Sis (Socks and Morphia). Slack about, have a bath. Clear up lines and fall in at 6.50pm. The Regiment marches out at 8pm. to Voormezeele, we take over the Monastery. Turn in at about 1am. in a dugout containing two beds (sandbag variety), two chairs, one jerry; collect one looking glass and a table.

Aug 28th. Rise at 6am. and have a look round. Wash and shave, brekker at 8am. Go for a walk, four 'crumps' at the church at about 12.45pm., otherwise peaceful all day. Built one or two 'hutches'. Ration fatigue at 9pm. Letter from Claudia and Sis. Waterproof from Hawkes. Bed at about 2am.

Aug 29th. Rise at 8.30am. Fatigues and putting the place in a state of defence. Nothing much doing, rather cold and some rain. Get rubble at night. Figs from Mrs. Bickmore and letter from Ruth.

Aug 30th. Continue fortifications, not much else doing, more rain, put 'knife rests' in position.

Aug 31st. Mouth organs and whiskey from Olive, walk round, do fatigues, nothing much happening. A little rain, get beams from church, bed early.

SEPTEMBER 1915

Sept 1st. No mail. Start off fatigues and then write letters. In afternoon walk round and put up 'knife rests'. After tea get timber from church with 0'H. Todd returns after dinner. Mine exploded. Carry timber from church and dig "berm" (?) Letter from Claudia. Bed.

Sept 2nd. Show Todd round. Write letters, nothing much doing. Work on 'fort' in afternoon. Rather a boring day.

Sept 3rd. Rain during the night and morning. Read and slack about, not much doing, candles and cake arrive. Go out 'spy' hunting in afternoon. Nothing much doing in evening, sleep part of time in Mouldy's hut, return to my own about 3am.

Sept 4th. Collect tools and do some work, then read. Awful rain most of afternoon. Show S. Staffordshire man round. After dinner move to Scottish Wood and find very little room and an awful mess, rain; finally settle down about 1am.

Sept 5th. Rise about 11 am. Franklin comes along, wash after lunch and go into village to R.F.A. estaminet. Rifle inspection at 6pm. Retire early after dinner.

Sept 6th. Letter from Sis. Tobacco from Gage. Rifle inspection. Not much doing. Very good night.

Sept 7th. Build bridges. Message comes through that we move tonight. Tea with Bernato of R.F.A. Watch 18 pdrs. fire at an aeroplane. Move at 9pm. and arrive in billets without mishap at about 11pm.

Sept 8th. Letter from Claudia. Rifle inspection. Charles Dibdin's friend comes round. Write to Claudia. Band plays. Dudley Dibdin arrives after lunch. Robinson comes to tea. Dine at Div H.Q.

Sept 9th. Rifle inspection and Physical Drill. Charles Dibdin arrives. P.D. comes round afterwards, stroll about. Play gramophone after dinner.

Sept 10th. Inspect road to trenches. Meet Christopher. P.D. comes to lunch, go and watch him pack and have tea at Div. H.Q. Write to Sis. Bed.

Sept 11th. Parcel from Gage and letter from Beats. Cut wood at Div. H.Q. Slack about. Sports in afternoon. Prize Giving in evening. Bed early.

Sept 12th. Church Parade, slack about and read, nothing much doing. Go with Babe in afternoon to take over trenches; tea in Dickiebusch. Relief completed safely. Sleep from 11pm. till Stand-To.

Sept 13th. Wash and shave, very quiet morning so far. Read and change into 'shorts'. Nothing much doing all day; a few bombs thrown on our left in evening, bed about 1am.

Sept 14th. Rise at 5.30am., wash and shave, letter from Sis, nothing much doing, Go down to Voormezeele in morning and have a look at the remains of the Convent. Start a new dugout, strafed slightly at 6.30pm. Put out wire at night. Bed about 1.30am.

Sept 15th. A few 'crumps' over behind us, fairly quiet day. Put wire out at night. Letter from James.

Sept 16th. One close whizz-bang in morning. Make wire balls. Several trench mortars burst in trench by no means the least being Pilcher who irrupts from the communication trench and puts O'Hanlon, our Company Commander, under arrest because he had found some men in the C.T. who had not got their Gas Masks with them, incidentally these men were R. E. who had been sent up to mend the telephone wire broken by the shelling. Germans continue their strafe with mortars, Sgt. Court, Mainwaring and Parry hit, none seriously. More mortars at night, a short sleep. Letters from Claudia, Angel and Penelope and a P.C. from Sis.

Sept 17th. Fairly quiet morning. Go down to Batt. H.Q. to give evidence for Court of Enquiry, wait about till about 7pm, but nothing happens so return, uneventful night.

Sept 18th. Babe killed by a bullet through the head. A small strafe on C.T. Go dawn to Batt. H.Q. again to give evidence, lunch with D Coy; give evidence then return to trench about 3pm. a few trench mortars over at about 5pm. and again at about 9pm. but shut up by a battery. A few shells on Batt. H.Q. in morning.

Sept 19th. Hooge, a long way away on our left, being shelled. Munition Workers brought up to be shown round, rather amusing. Mend Verey Light pistol. Tea with B Coy. Hooge again being strafed. Saw two aeroplanes scrapping for a short time, in the morning.

Sept 20th. 'Shanty' opposite shelled by our Hows., quite good shooting. Read and slack around; relieved about 9pm. Get home about 9.45pm.

Sept 21st. Rise at 10am., various inspections. Read in afternoon. Christopher comes round in evening, go for a walk with him. Bed early. O'Hanlon officially strafed by Pilcher amounting to a 'Reprimand', but goodness knows on what grounds.

Sept 22nd. Running drill, read and write letters. In afternoon go to Div. H.Q. and thence under the auspices of its Commander, Pilcher, to the top of Mt. Scheppenburg to watch the attack at Hooge, too much smoke and dust to see much. This command to come and view the attack was the outcome of a remark I made while dining at Div. H.Q. in Pilcher's hearing that the 'Gunners always shot up their own trenches'. Tea at Div. H.Q. afterwards and stayed on to dinner.

Sept 23rd. Various inspection, P.D., clip firing (?), Write to Claudia after lunch, read after tea. Rained early.

Sept 24th. Rain during the night. Go for a route march in the morning. After tea go into Poperinghe with Kindersley and dine at 5a Rue de Dunkerque, good fun, rained on way back.

5A Rue de Dunkerque
5A Rue de Dunkerque. Sylvanie & ? Pareyn. Possibly taken in 1923.
Sept 25th. Too much rain for running drill. Various inspections, route march, slack about. Parcel from Gage. Make up parcels to reduce my kit to 35lbs.

[Extract from letter]

Sept 26th. Rise late, attend H.C, in Y.M.C.A. tent, also Battalion Church Parade. Parcel from home and letter from Sis. Read and get money. Play poker with D Coy. Bed fairly early.

Sept 27th. Skip running drill, various inspections. Detailed to attend a Bombing Course at Terdeghem and to be ready at 1.10pm., the time changed to 2.30pm., and then again to 2.30pm. (sic). Interview with Brigadier over my application for a Regular Commission. The car to take me to Terdeghem arrives at 3pm., arrive there and find I have a tophole bed and bedroom.

Sept 28th. Rise at 6.15am. Various lectures and throwing exercises all day. Write to Claudia in evening; bed early.

Sept 29th. Lectures in the school all day; go out in the afternoon and throw dummy grenades, much more fun. Write letters after tea, bed early.

Sept 30th. Rain most of the day and spend most of the time in the School, nothing much doing, bed early.

OCTOBER 1915

Oct 1st. Throw live bombs and the mechanical Thrower. Nothing much doing, bed early,

Oct 2nd. Throw live bombs etc., clear trenches in afternoon. After tea go into Cassel and have dinner, a jolly good evening, bed about midnight,

Oct 3rd. No early morning parade, 'Test' in morning; talk and pack up, Leave in lorries at 2,30pm., myself sitting on a 'wing', Arrive at Renninghelst and find there's a Move on. Stay at Div. H.Q.

Oct 4th. Talk to Green, the Quartermaster, after brekker. Write to Thresher and Glenny, Go out on billeting scheme with Christopher in a car, great fun. Franklin and I start to go into Pop in the evening but find it being energetically shelled so return. Get letters from Claudia and a parcel from Home and from James.

Au Ciseau
Au Ciseau. Msieur, Madame et la petite. Photo taken in 1923 on a visit after the war.
Oct 5th. After brekker, rifle inspection, bombing in afternoon. Move off at 6pm, and march to Steenvorde, quite an hilarious march, arrive at our old billets at the Estaminet Au Ciseau.

Oct 6th. Rifle and foot inspection etc. Write letters in afternoon, letter from Olive. Go into Steenvorde after dinner. Bed early.

Oct 7th. Rifle inspection and bomb throwing. Bombing again after lunch, talk after tea and write letters after supper.

[Extract from letter]

Oct 8th. Take Bombers and start digging a bomb pit. After tea go into Cassel with Kindersley, quite good fun. Met Browne (?).

Oct 9th. Parcel from Olive. Carry on with bomb pit all day. Bed early.

Oct 10th. After brekker lecture the Bombers on trench bombing and German grenades. Gamble with B Coy, in the evening, Kindersley to dinner.

Oct 11th. Talk to N.C.O.s, nothing much doing, throw live grenades in afternoon. Charles Dibdin comes to tea. Letters from Sis and James, bed early.

Oct 12th. Inspected medically for my Regular Commission. Whitewash targets etc. Route march in afternoon. Gamble with B Coy., Kindersley to dinner,

Oct 13th. Put Bombers on to making home made bombs. Write to Nixon and Thew. Do a Brigade attack, rather a fiasco. Roly to dinner.

Oct 14th. Bombing in the morning and afternoon, nothing much doing.

Oct 15th. Brigade Route March but the Bombers are exempt. Take on twenty new Bombers, go down to B Coy, for tea and a gamble. Kindersley back to dine with us.

Oct 16th. Bombing in morning, Soccer match v. D Coy, which we lost 0-1. D Coy, to tea, I go and dine with them and gamble. Letter from Claudia.

Oct 17th. Church Parade. Play rugger for No. 9 Platoon against 10 and 11 Platoons. Won 13-3, Wrote to Claudia, Go down to B Coy, for tea, Christopher comes over, walk back with him. Bed early,

Oct 18th. Bombing in the morning. Letter from Claudia, add to yesterday's letter. Gale and Cummins come to dinner, gamble. Letter from Sis.

Oct 19th. Bombing in morning. Parcel from home, also magazine from James. Sent off letter to Claudia. Bombing again in afternoon. Gamble in evening, various visitors to dinner, bed early.

Oct 20th. Letters from Hollins and Pen. Wrote to Mrs. Pelly. Bombing in morning. News that we are moving. Read in the afternoon as our rugger match has to be cancelled. New officer arrives. Gamble with D Coy after dinner. Bed.

Oct 21st. Tidy up and pack up kit. O'Hanlon and Mozeley sent on ahead to take over camp, so I have to act as Company Commander. Move out in afternoon myself on the Company charger which would walk on the edge of the deepest ditches. March about tea miles go under canvas. Busseboom I expect. Spend a good night.

Oct 22nd. Letter from Bettie and Babs March out at about 4.30pm, and go into trenches near Hooge. Spend a quiet night.

Oct 23rd. Take a look round, a pretty desolate spot, lot of straffing on our right otherwise a fairly quiet day.Letter and books from Jim also parcel from Nixon and Thew.

Oct 24th. Write letters during the morning, several visitors arrive. After lunch censor letters. Straffed from Hill 50 direction, sixteen shells in all but no damage done. After tea read and slack about, nothing much doing, bed about 12.30am.

Oct 25th. Rained all night. everybody rather subdued except our Artillery but the Boche very long suffering. The trench starts collapsing but manage to build it up again.

Oct 26th. The weather clears, a lot of fatigues as usual. Nothing much doing and a pretty quiet day. Go for a walk in No Man's Land at night.

Oct 27th. Weather rather stormy but otherwise a pretty quiet day except for our Artillery ranging with shrapnel. Relieved in evening, some difficulty getting out, our Doctor wounded by H.E. A horrid long march back to Busseboom, it starts raining soon after our arrival.

Oct 28th. Rain like mad all day, letter from Claudia, answer it. It rained nearly the whole day, read most of the day

Oct 29th. The Company goes to the Baths. Write letters, in the afternoon, go into Poperinghe and have tea, then go to "The Fancies". Meet Alec Gordon who was up at Exeter with me, and Bramwell, also some of the 6th. Som. L.I. Dinner at 5a Rua de Dunkerque. Get a lift back.

Oct 30th. Parcel from home, see about revolver. Detailed for Divisional Guard. Offered A.A. (?) but had to refuse. March the Guard to Reninghelst and take over. A decent bed to sleep in.

Oct 31st. Write and censor letters. Go over to the 6th. Dorset camp in afternoon and play polka (sic) with D Coy. Back to Div. H.Q. for dinner. Wrote letters to Hawkes and Leyland also Fortnum and Mason.

NOVEMBER 1915

Nov 1st. Write and censor letters. Go into Poperinghe in the afternoon where I find Kindersley, Franklin and Gilbert. We go to the "Fancies". I also meet Browne and the Producer of the old Nieppe "Follies".

Nov 2nd. A lot of rain. Pay a visit to the D.A.D.O.S. about the billet. Read and write to James. Bed early.

[Extract from letter]

Nov 3rd. Didn't do much, visited Burgomaster about the billet. New Guard relieves us at 4pm., hand over and march away at 5pm. Arrive at Kruistraate at about 8pm., have a very good night.

Nov 4th. Not much doing all day, collected wood and built a fire. An aerodrome scrap in the evening and the German was brought down near Zillebeek. Took a fatigue party up to the trenches in evening and there was a 'wind parade' while we were up there. Back about 1.15am.

Nov 5th. Rose pretty late. In afternoon built a chimney for the dugout. Went and visited a Belgian Battery of 75s nearby and watched them fire 'Retalliation', they got off 12 H.E. in 30 seconds. No mail.

Nov 6th. Nothing much doing all day. A parcel from home and books from James. Went on fatigues up to trenches. Dined with Franklin.

Nov 7th. All sorts of rumours of Moves, but all of them counterordered. Went and visited the Belgian battery of 75s again and also the A.A. people. A parcel from Beats. The officers of the Belgian Battery to tea. Fatigues again. Dined with the Doctor. Bed about 1.30am.

Nov 8th. Very quiet morning, make preparations for the move, buy souvenirs from the Belgian Battery, A lot of shells come over and we laugh a lot when one Jack Johnson drops on the road just behind a Staff car that was going along it. Move about 4.45pm. and arrive at Everard (?) and get into billets there at 6pm. and settle down. Letter from Sis.

Nov 9th. Spend most of the day cleaning up. Have to go on fatigues in the evening but back early. Socks from Sis, breeches from Hawkes and tobacco from Gage. Lot of rain.

Nov 10th. Move troops into fresh billets. Visit D Coy. Collot comes to tea. Go round to D Coy. for dinner. Puttees and Camp Bucket from Hawkes and letters from James and Tim Holley.

Nov 11th. Smoke helmet drill. Write letters then go round to B Coy, and listen to their gramophone. Franklin comes to tea. Talk and read; my Waders arrive.

Nov 12th. Rifle inspection. Read and write letters, letter from Claudia. It rains like mad and we move up to the Hooge trenches.

Nov 13th. Rain nearly all day long and pretty cold. Our guns do a strafe in the evening and make a damned noise. The Boche rather windy.

Nov 14th. An early morning strafe on but nothing else much happens till the evening, The sun shines and manage to get some of the water out of the trench.

Nov 15th. Do some pumping. The usual strafe on all day.

Nov 16th. Nothing very much doing all day. Some rain in the evening and the usual strafe. Relieved by the Northumberland Fusiliers.
Badge of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry badge, E.A.P.'s new regiment


Nov 17th. Rose at 3.45pm. Christopher arrives with the news that I had been granted a Permanent Commission and that he had been promoted to Major. Go over to Div. H.Q. at Reninghelst to dinner.

Nov 18th. Nothing much doing all day, very cold indeed, talk to B Coy.

Nov 19th. Rifle inspection. Write to Claudia, Go into Poperinghe after lunch and see The Fancies, afterwards dine at 5a Rue de Dunkerque. Back about 11pm.

Nov 20th. Rifle inspection. Slack about, take Bombers in afternoon. Letter from Beattie and Babs. Talk in evening. bed early.


Nov 21st. Took the Bombers in the morning, afterwards took two N.C.Os to fine a technical school, had no lunch. Go on to Pop about 5.30pm. and meet Rendall and Kindersley, went to the Fancies then on to 5a Rue de Dunkerque.

[Extract from letter]

Nov 22nd. Take bombers in the morning. Ordered to report to R.F.C. H.Q. (Royal Flying Corps headquarters) for Interview at Abeele; start after lunch and get there about 4pm., and find I ought to have gone to St. Omer. Asked to have tea with 4 Sqn., meet Barry Moore, play polka and stay the night. Bush also there and we talk over old times, get to bed about 10.30pm. (N. B. Marked in ink that this and the previous day should be transposed, but this obviously cannot be so.)

Nov 23rd. Talked all morning and packed up.

Nov 24th. Got up about 10am. and started for R.F.C. H. Q, at about 11.30am., arriving at St. Omer at about 2.30pm. My 'Pass' caused a certain amount of suspicion at first but I am eventually let in to H.Q. and have an Interview with Festing. Am given tea and allotted a billet. Have an excellent dinner at the Hotel de France then bed and sleep like the dead.

Nov 25th. Walk around and do some shopping also draw some money from the Field Cashier. Have lunch then catch the 2.50pm. train arriving at Poperinghe at 7.30pm. Have dinner at 5a Rue de Dunkerque and sleep at the Divisional Baths.

Nov 26th. Get up at 10.30am. and have a bath then brekker at 5a Rue de Dunkerque. It comes on to snow and then rain, get a lift in a lorry and rejoin the battalion at midday in a camp at Busseboom. Find a letter from James waiting for me. Freezes like mad in the evening, bed pretty early,

Nov 27th. Felt pretty rotten and didn't get up till late, talked and played gramophone. Freezing like mad.

Nov 28th. Still feeling rotten so get up late, Home parcel arrives with tobacco and books. March out at 2pm. and get into the trenches without incident. I have quite a nice dugout and spend a quiet but cold night,

Nov 29th. Rain all day, quiet till 3pm. when we get whizz-banged and three 'minnies' on the road at 4pm. Go and dine with Collot and stay there till 1am. when I come back, still raining.

[Extract from letter]

Nov 30th. A fine morning. Letter from Sis and Mrs. Sedgwick, and photo from Angel. My revolver comes at last. Write several letters and read, rather a noisy day but nothing comes near us. Cummins comes and plays Picquet. The Ypres - Menin road rather unhealthy at night. Dine with Broad and Collot. It comes on to rain.

DECEMBER 1915

Dec 1st. It continues to rain all day. Read, write and play patience and at last Night arrives. Send some men to the Pumping Station and then go to bed.

Dec 2nd. Crumps on A Coy. Read and play Patience, prepare for our relief in the evening which was carried out without mishap. Letter from Claudia when I get back to the camp at Basseboom.

Dec 3rd. Rains like mad during the night. Rise at about 3pm. and visit Bde H.Q. to write letters about getting a commission in the 43rd. Go to bed early.

Dec 4th. Kit inspection and more rain. Parcels from James and Army & Navy, Sis and Robinson & Cleaver. After lunch go into Poperinghe with Kindersley.

Dec 5th. Attend at Orderly Room. Have a rat hunt and kill five, Write various letters. Dudley Dibdin comes over. Talk, go to bed early.

Dec 6th. Nothing much doing. Letter from Sis. Read and slack about. Clean up camp.

Dec 7th. Nothing doing in morning. Detailed to take a Working Party up to Ypres. Pick up tools and told to pick up a Guide at the Lille gate. The Guide was there and he told us we had to wait for an R.E. officer who was to show us where we were wanted to work. It comes on to rain. After a very long wait, as the R.E. officer had not turned up, I asked the guide if he knew where we were supposed to be working and what work it was. He told me we were to dig a trench for a signal cable, that the trench was to be 18 inches deep and that he knew where it was to be dug, I ordered him to take us there, which he did. We dug the trench, in the pouring rain, and I asked the Guide what more was wanted and he said that the officer would have to lay the cable and we should have to fill the trench in again. I replied that I was waiting for no officer and that I would lay the cable and we'd then fill the trench in. This we did, and we were just collecting the tools etc. when the R.E. officer arrived. I told him what we'd done and asked him where he'd been. His reply was that we'd have to dig the cable out again to enable him to lay it properly. I told him I would do no such thing and that I was taking my men, who were soaked and plastered with mud, back to camp. We got back to camp about 11pm.

Dec 8th. Beautiful day, Make out a written report on the R.E. officer of last night and give it to Hugh Rendall, our Adjutant. Do some rat hunting and bag one. Go into Poperinghe with Blitz and O'Hanlon, meet Francis Pym.

Dec 9th. Wet and cold. Have hair cut and read. March out about 2.30pm, and arrive at Ypres at about 5pm, and put into billets in houses; I noticed that the houses on the opposite side of the street were all badly knocked about by shell fire and was therefore very glad when we were taken out of there and put into a cellar in the Rue au Beurre; one felt pretty safe in the cellar as the roof and upstair floor had collapsed on to the ground floor, but we were barely settled in when the cellar roof supports started to give way but my platoon, being many of them Welsh miners, were not in the least dismayed and very soon had the roof shored up.

Dec 10th. Improve cellar and make it into a Heath Robinson redoubt. On fatigues in evening on 'Oxford Street'.

Dec 11th. More rain. Improve our Heath Robinson redoubt, Play cards. Go on fatigues in evening on the Culvert on the Menin road, back early. News of my transfer to the 43rd. comes through.

Dec 12th. Report at the Orderly Room and have my transfer corroborated. Pay Mess bill, write letters and pack. Leave at 5pm. with Collot who has got a permanent commission in the Berkshires. Get a lift into Poperinghe where we stay the night at the 17th. Div. Baths. Go to the Cinema.

Dec 13th. Proceed next day to Hazebrouck to the D.A.D.R.T., who tells Collot to go south to the 18th. Div. and me to Poperinghe to the 14th. Div. Spend the night at Hazebrouck, walk round, have dinner and sleep at Hotel de Buffet.

Dec 14th. Bid farewell to Collot (subsequently killed) and start back to Poperinghe, get as far as Vlamertinghe where I have lunch at some Artillery H.Q. Start for Janten der Bizen about 2.30pm. and arrive about 3.30pm. Interview my new C.O. (Webb) and meet my new fellow officers; go with some of them to Poperinghe and see the Fancies and dine at 5a Rue de Dunkerque.

Dec 15th. Start at 10.30am. and reach Herzeele about 1.30pm. Start back for Poperinghe for equipment, feed at Watou and get lorry back, bed.

Dec 16th. Orderly officer. Various inspections otherwise a fairly slack day. Bed early.

Dec 17th. Drill in the morning, nothing in afternoon. Bed early.

"WIND" PARADE 17/12/15.

The Germans made a gas attack in the Ypres Salient. We were at Herzeele some twenty miles away and the following were some of the orders our Company received:

  • Men will not leave billets till further orders. In the event of the attack developing the Brigade will move to Brandhoek. Companies will put an operator an the telephone at once and he will remain there. Parties of 16 men under a Sergeant will be sent immediately to the Q.M.'s Stores to draw helmets; parties will report numbers of helmets required. On the Alarm (Code Word 'Avant') Coys will fall in and move to the cross roads on the main road at once. They must arrive there within one hour of receiving the order. Pioneers will proceed with the Battalion if it moves. Company guards will immediately be found by the unit if not already arranged. B Coy's kits to be stored at B Coy's H.Q. farm. Q.M. Sergeants and assistants will accompany the battalion.
  • The German attack is progressing, get men dressed and all spare kit stored in one barn. Get breakfasts cooked and eaten.
  • The centre of the 6th. Div. report that no more gas is coming over. The Infantry are all right. (Time not given but probably 7.15am.)
  • 6th. Div Report: The Germans started a gas attack at 5.40am. against our right Bde, at C.29.c with heavy firing. Gas reached Ypres at 5.45am, Gas also reported on front of the 49th. Div., being heaviest at about C.15.c and C.14.d. The 49th. Div. report that at 6.40am. the gas was clearing. The Div. also report that the Infantry in Wieltze are alright at 6.30am. At 6.55am, the left Bde. of the 6th. Div. report that there has been no infantry attack on their front, or on the front of the 146th. Bde. on their left.
Dec 18th. Clean up for C.O.'s inspection, this takes place in the afternoon. Shocking 'wind up' about a gas attack at Potije but eventually everything calms down,

Dec 19th. Have a slack morning in bed. Go to Q.M.'s Stores in afternoon making it too late for Church Parade. Play Patience and read.

Dec 20th. A Battalion Route March in the morning. Revolver practice in the afternoon. The first mail arrives since I've joined the 5th. Oxf. & Bucks. Lt. Infty. Write letters till late.

Dec 21st. Certain amount of rain. Platoon and Company drill. The C.O. arrives in the middle of it, rather an amusing incident. Nothing much doing for the rest of the day.

Dec 22nd. Baths at 12.30pm. Go over and see Dorsets, meet Browne on the way. When I arrive at the camp I find Mouldy on his own. Get back wet and muddy.

Dec 23rd. Extended Order drill and Bayonet Fighting in the morning. Nothing much doing for the rest of the day.

Dec 24th. A Route March in the morning, nothing doing in the afternoon. A mail of 12 letters, four Bills and a parcel in the evening. Bed early.

Dec 25th. Nothing much doing all day. The mail arrives in the afternoon with lots of parcels. Various people to dinner and quite a cheery evening.

Dec 26th. A scare about the trenches at 2am, An early Church Parade, then kit inspection and after lunch an inspection of Smoke Helmets. Read and slack about.

[Extract from letter]

Dec 27th. Shoot in the morning. A lecture in the afternoon, read and play Patience.

Dec 28th. Smith goes up to the trenches. Train Bombers and take a Smoke Helmet drill. Letter from Claudia. News that I am going on leave. Write letters and bed.

Dec 29th. Parade at 12.30pm. and embark the company on lorries which take us to B. Huts at Brandhoek where we wait for Smith. I get my leave warrant and go into Poperinghe. Sleep at the Divisional Baths.

Dec 30th. Rise at 3.15am. and catch the train for Boulogne arriving at about 9.30am. Have brekker then have a shave and shampoo, Meet Tom Mason (subsequently killed), who was up at Exeter with me. Arrive at Folkestone at about 3.30pm. and find Moore (?). Get to Victoria about 6pm. and on to Harrow arriving at 7.30pm. to stay with Beats and Bryan. Talk and then bed.

Dec 31st. Rise late, Pen comes over. Go up to London and visit Pulfords, afterwards go and see Peg o'my Heart, a very good show. Bed early.

[Home] - Diaries - [Preface] : [1914] : [1915] : [1916] : [1917] : [1918] - [Family and Friends]