14 August 1918; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded at 8 o’clock. Bath and clean change in the morning, and then fatigues all day. Did a scrap of French and read a bit.

Jerry over at night and bombed a distance away. Terrific machine- and anti-aircraft gun-fire.

Good news from the French and British fronts.

13 August 1918; Tuesday

A stretcher case in about 2 o’clock. A lot of shelling in the night. Did a scrap of French, wrote a letter home, washed a pair of socks and my feet and read a bit. Relieved in the morning at about 9.30. Slept a little in the afternoon and got down soon at night. Absolutely tired out. Jerry over at night and terrific anti-aircraft gun fire.

10 August 1918; Saturday

Off duty at 9 and went down to headquarters at about 9.30 to have new eye-pieces fitted into our box1 respirators. Met Harvey, Holman and Benn. Returned in the afternoon. Headquarters bivouacking in a wood. Harvey and Benn returned with us to relieve the day men and Holman went up stretcher bearing. Lay down after tea and talked with Billy Truman about home and leave. On duty about 10. Jerry bombing at night and shelling pretty heavily.

Heard from the Somme that we have advanced 10 miles captured 25000 prisoners and 400 guns.


  1. ALL’s shorthand reads as ‘Beck’s’, but he probably meant ‘box’ as no Beck’s respirator is traceable; see also 13 August 1917

9 August 1918; Friday

Up all night and rather tired. Heavy shelling round about but none too near. Relieved about 9. Read some of The History of Mr Polly1. Up with diarrhoea a few times during the day.

Heard that the British have advanced to Ruyaulcourt2 and taken 17 thousand prisoners and 250 guns.

New number of the magazine out.

Turned in to sleep from 3 am to 6.


  1. The History of Mr. Polly: 1910 comic novel by H. G. Wells. See also The History of Mr. Polly and Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. Ruyaulcourt (if this is correct): 12km E. of Bapaume, in the old Somme battlefield, retaken by the Germans in their March offensive; Michelin square K7. 

The History of Mr Polly

cover imageThe History of Mr Polly is a comic novel by H. G. Wells, first published in 1910.

The History of Mr. Polly has three parts. The first part (chapters 1–6) tells of his life up to age 20, when he marries his cousin and sets up a shop. The second part (chapters 7–8) tells of his  suicide attempt, after which he abandons his shop and his wife. The third part (chapters 9–10) and an epilogue sees him becoming a happy and settled assistant innkeeper.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had read some of The History of Mr Polly on 9 August 1918, while stationed at Choques, midway between Lillers and Béthune in Northern France.

8 August 1918; Thursday

On duty all night and nothing to do. Did some French. Turned into bed shortly after 9. Didn’t get much sleep owing to Billy Montessori†. Went on duty again at 9 o’clock.

The Wilts backed up and advanced a *.

A Wilts brigade advanced their line a good bit and the Germans fallen back a couple of kilos on the front.

6 August 1918; Tuesday

Up at about 7 o’clock after a good night’s sleep. Got into cars and moved off about 9 o’clock. Arrived at the advanced dressing station, a château near Choques1 about mid-day. Fitted up a place and went to bed after tea. Came on duty about 10 o’clock.


  1. Choques (B): about 9km ENE of Auchel (A) and mid-way between Lillers and Béthune; Michelin square H4.