21 August 1917; Tuesday

Up at 7.15. Most of the chaps *. I got a pair of new boots. Fine morning. No parade in the afternoon and I did a bit French. Had short walk at night with Harry Bascombe and Vic Barber. Read a bit from Everyman1 and read an account of an Italian and a French victory. Italians 7600 prisoners at *2. French 4000 prisoners.


  1. “Everyman”: See Everyman at Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. Name (shorthand outline S-v-d- ?) not identified, but in the 6th Battle of the Isonzo (August 1917), the best episode of the War for Italy, Gen. Cadorna captured Gorizia on the 8th, made a bridgehead over the Isonzo (now Soča), and ended this offensive on 17th August. 

20 August 1917; Monday

Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded at 9 with our pals and went off to the Divisional sport. Went on the main road to Boulogne to a village called Lumbrubert1 and in a field near the sports were held. Everything laid out nicely. The medicals won the relay race and the * race and we were second in the high jump and the tug of war. Some very good sport. The Chesters top by one point, 26 and the medicals next 25. Fine day. Divisional band in attendance. Left about 7 o’clock and got back about 9. Walked most of the way there and rode most of the way back. Knocked about with Ben Jenkins and Billy Truman and that lot. Received letter from home telling me that Charlie had a gathered thumb and had burned his foot.

Divisional sports.


  1. Lumbrubert: not identified on the Michelin map; there is a Brunembert (B) just S. of the N42 Boulogne road, 11km W. of Nielles-les-Bléquin (A), so within walking distance; Michelin map square D3. 

18 August 1917; Saturday

Up at 7 o’clock. Sergeant Hughes told me that we may be going to Boulogne today. The brigade sports on and most of our chaps went out for the day. Over 4 leaves through. Started off for Boulougne [sic] about 11.40 and went there within 90 minutes including a puncture on the way. The country very beautiful and I enjoyed the ride immensely. Went up to the hospital but found that Ranald had been cleared on the 14th to England. Walked round the town a bit. Had dinner with the others. Went down by a beach and watched the sea and the shipping. A lot of girls, both English and French and they looked very pretty. Had tea in the Y M and got the car about 5 o’clock. Stopped on the way back for the chaps to go into a pub. Bought a packet of photographs.

17 August 1917; Friday

Up at 7 o’clock. Glorious day. Squad drill first thing, then kit inspection by new officer. Went down to the lower part of the stream but the water was too shallow for swimming. After dinner bath parade and a clean change by the stream at the old place. Went to the Follies at night with John Dory. They were very good and much better than before. Received letter from Charlie and one from home and wrote long letter home.

16 August 1917; Thursday

Up at about 7 o’clock. Parade at 9 o’clock and went on with the cleaning up. Parade at 2 o’clock and route march. At night went out with John Dory and read and wrote a bit. Had supper at the Sedan1 Hotel. Got permission to go to Boulogne2 first car.


  1. Sedan: a surprising name? – as Sedan was the scene of the principal French military disaster of the Franco-Prussian War. 

  2. ALL evidently planned to visit Ranald MacDonald in hospital at Boulogne. 

15 August 1917; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Rained heavily all morning and nothing done. Wrote to Ranald MacDonald and a letter home.

The Number 9s1 gave a concert in a little hut near the village. Pretty good and a good audience of the mayor, brigadier and all sorts.


  1. The Number 9s (assuming as always that the transcription is correct) were presumably a Forces concert party (and if so, presumably based on some medical unit). 

14 August 1917; Tuesday

Up about 7 o’clock. Cleaned up stuff in the panniers until about dinnertime. Went up for a bath before dinner. Worked an hour or so in the afternoon. Went out with John Dory at night. It rained heavily and compelled us to return. Had long talk up the river side. Had some eggs in the farmhouse last thing.

Received letter from Ranald MacDonald saying that he is in hospital at Boulogne slightly gassed.

13 August 1917; Monday

Up at about 7 o’clock. On fatigue in the morning. Pay parade at 11 o’clock. Box respirator1 and clothes inspection at 2 o’clock. A few chaps drunk on parade and got into trouble for it. Lovely day. Had walk with Dory at night on to the top of the ridge. Had eggs for supper at the farm house.


  1. A box respirator was a kind of gas mask using  a two-piece design with a mouthpiece connected via a hose to a box filter. Two types of box respirator were used, the large box respirator (LBR), which was ultimately deemed too bulky for use by infantry, and the small box respirator (SBR). It is unclear which type of box respirator was issued to ALL although it seems likely to have been the SBR which would have been more suited for use by stretcher bearers in trenches. See also Chemical Weapons in World War I at Wikipedia.