25 September 1917; Tuesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Went down to the Divisional train to see the sick with the American officer. Told off for night duty with Bromley for tonight. Glorious day. Received letter from home telling me that Mr Aitken has died1. Warned for night but brought off it again at 7.30 and warned for stretcher bearing tomorrow.

Slept in the back part of the dispensary.


  1. Mr Aitken had been ALL’s boss at the Hendon Paper Mill. ALL also added a note of Aitken’s death to his diary on 20 September, the day it had actually happened. 

24 September 1917; Monday

Up about 7 o’clock. On fatigue for a short while and then told off to go with the American doctor to see the Divisional column sick. Ernie called for me at noon and I got the afternoon off. Went into Locre. Called at the Y M and had tea and a tune; had tea in a house and then walked in to Mont Rouge. Called in at the Follies and started back shortly after 7 o’clock. Left Ernie about 8.30 near to La Laiterie1. The longest stay yet that we have had together. Enjoyed the day immensely. On return found that Driver had come down with shell shock, and that Holman had taken his place. They had wanted me but I was out. Nick Stake† sleeping above me and drunk. He fell out of bed and spent the night on a stretcher on the floor.


  1. La Laiterie: A military cemetery begun in November 1914 and named after an old dairy farm which, perhaps, had previously occupied the site. La Laiterie (B) is located about 1km NE of Kemmel (A) on the N331 road to Ieper/Ypres. 

20 September 1917; Thursday

Up at 5 o’clock. Got on our overalls and waited until 9 before the first batch of wounded were down. I worked most of the day with the new American officer, Lieutenant Gutteridge. Went off about 8 or 9 o’clock. Between 4-500 cases.

Day of big push1.

Mr Aitken died2.

Battle of Ridges commenced3.


  1. “Big push”: Presumably the “Battle of Ridges” mentioned below. 

  2. Mr Aitken had been ALL’s boss at the Hendon Paper Mill. ALL’s longhand note recording Aitken’s death on this date was added later; the news had not yet reached him

  3. “Battle of Ridges”: Probably the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. Sometimes called “Battle of the Menin Road”, this was the third British general attack of the Third Battle of Ypres. The battle took place from 20–25 September 1917. Like the above longhand note about Mr Aitken, this was probably added later – ALL clearly knew of a “big push” on this day but probably only later came to know it as “Battle of Ridges”.