A new map has been added – June 1916 – ALL’s movements since his arrival in France.

29 June 1916; Thursday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Walked up the bank for breakfast. Lee gave me a slice of bread – a nice change from biscuit. Standing by all day. In the evening walked with Lee and Duggins to the next village (Hénencourt) to the Y.M.C.A. there and counted 22 observation balloons in the air on the way there. Watched a German anti-aircraft gun shelling our planes and saw one shot down. Turned in about 9 o’clock.

29 June 1916; Thursday

Up at 7 o’clock. Washed in bucket. Walked up to the cooks’ place and had breakfast. Lee gave me some bread the night before. Had good breakfast. No letters. Saw some of the observation balloons up and watched one go down and go up again. Walked to the next village and visited the Y.M. Watched the Germans shelling an aeroplane – and miss it. Watched the shells bursting round Albert. Met a chap called Crooke who belongs Castletown1. Had walk2 with Leaky, Duggins and Lee. Saw 22 Balloons up and one quite near. Watched Germans shelling aeroplanes last thing, and saw one brought down in the distance. Went to bed about 9 o’clock.


  1. Castletown: on N. bank of Wear, about 1¼ miles W of Southwick (Sunderland.)  

  2. In his 1976 transcription ALL says that this walk, presumably from Laviéville (A), was to “Hehencourt”, with an ‘n’ typed over or under the ‘h’, so it was probably Hénencourt (B), but could (just) be Béhencourt (C). The name is definitely not written in this diary entry. Hénencourt is 2km N of Laviéville, 9km W of Albert, ref H7; Béhencourt is some 15km W of Albert, N of the D929, ref G8

28 June 1916; Wednesday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Up at 9 o’clock. Very heavy rain all night and all day. Wet through walking from billet up to plateau for meals. Our billet in a squalid farmyard where a shrewish wife blaggards us all day in shrill French we do not understand. To repay her, Charlie Ford, a lively Cornishman is trying to teach her little boy of about five years a few ugly English swearwords. Ordered to parade at 5 p.m. and then this order was countermanded. Bully and biscuits for midday meal. An R.E. told me the attack was postponed for forty eight hours owing to the heavy rain. Rain stopped in the evening and we walked to the end of the village and watched German shells bursting in Albert a few miles away. Most of the men playing housey-housey.

28 June 1916; Wednesday

[The pencilled shorthand of this day’s entry is exceptionally faded.]

Got up at 9 o’clock. Rained heavily. Met two [illegible word deleted by ALL] Sheffield men. Had to walk about a mile to the canteen and got wet through. Shaved and washed under difficulties. Rained all morning. Had orders to parade ready for the lines at 5 o’clock but orders subsequently cancelled. Had to walk up to the top of the bank for each meal. Bully1 and biscuits. Walked to the bottom of the village at night and watched the shells bursting over Albert. An Engineer told us that the attack had been put off for 48 hours on account of the wet. The men played House2 nearly all day. Received letter from Franchie Inwood.

Saw shells bursting first thing.


  1. “Bully”: Short for bully beef, more commonly known as corned beef, a staple of troops in WW1 and all later conflicts until quite recently

  2. “House”: housey-housey, the WW1 name for WW2 (and later) tombola; now known as bingo. 

27 June 1916; Tuesday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Paraded as usual. It rained. We were told to get ready for moving. Helped to load waggons in the afternoon. Walked to the village in the early evening. Fell in and marched off at 6.40. Long march and guide lost his way and we had to sit down and wait until the officers found the right road again. Packs got heavy and hard going towards the end. Reached steep bank which the transport mules could not manage. Ordered to take off packs and push the waggons up the bank to help the mules in the dark. Reached a sort of “plateau”. It rained. Headquarters, tent sub division (dressing orderlies) and horse lines, stayed at the top. We stretcher bearers were marched down to the bottom into the village of Laviéville and billeted in a dirty barn. Finished the march at 1.40 a.m. A stray German shell hit the church as we marched through the village in the dark. Slept well.

27 June 1916; Tuesday

Up as usual. Paraded first thing but it rained. We were told to get ready for moving. Had stew and biscuits for dinner. Helped to load waggons in the afternoon. Walked to the village at night. Packed up kit and marched off at 6.40. Long walk with few rests. Pack again heavy. Heard heavies1 towards the end of the journey. Lost way and had to sit down and wait for the officers finding the way. Arrived destination about 1.30. Had tea served with cheese and bread. Walked on to the billet. Was detailed off for the stretcher bearers. Decent† barn. 2 tiers of beds. Slept well. Shell hit church tower as we passed. Sky lit up with the light of the guns. Very pretty.

Left Raineville. And arrived at Lavieville2.


  1. “Heavies”: heavy guns. The front line at the start of the first battle of the Somme was on the E. outskirts of Albert, and the main British sector of the battle straddled what is now the D929 – an old Roman road – towards Bapaume. 

  2. Laviéville (B), 5km W of Albert and about 20km E of Rainneville (A), just N of the D929; ref H8. See also June 1916 map (movements since arrival in France). 

26 June 1916; Monday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Paraded with the guard. Tossed up and I won the officers’ guard. Had a bath in a biscuit tin. Also on guard at one o’clock and finished at five. Went to the village at night and bought three handkerchieves. Listened to the bank of 8th Glosters in front of the village church. It rained later on in the evening. Owing to the guns again? Saw twelve observation balloons in the air. A damaged aeroplane went through the village on a trailer.

26 June 1916; Monday

On guard in the morning. Paraded with the guard. Tossed up and won for the officers’ guard. Wrote letter home in reply to one received. Had a bath in a biscuit tin. Also out at one o’clock and finished at 5 o’clock. Went to the village at night. Bought 3 handkerchiefs. Listened to a band of the Gloucesters in front of the village church. Rained later on in the evening. Heard guns again. Saw 12 observation balloons. Saw aeroplane go through the village on a waggon while band was playing.

25 June 1916; Sunday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Up at usual time. Attended church parade. Wrote letters to Geo. Crawford and Roland McDonald1. Now nine observation balloons up. Noise of guns very heavy at night. Bonny calm evening.


  1. “Roland McDonald”: sic; RM was a Sunderland contact, first mentioned on 30 August 1914, but his name is unmistakably Ranald MacDonald. This is written several times in lists of addresses contained in the diaries, these lists including a service number which leads to this record at Lives of the First World War.