Monthly Archives: July 2015

30 July 1915; Friday

Up at 5.30. Nearly late for first parade. Paraded 3 times before dinner. Met Roscoe† when the quartermaster came along with a lot more chaps. Received pay in the afternoon, 3/-, and finished early. Went over to the Soldiers’ Home last thing. Received 3/-­1 pay.

  1. 3 shillings = 15p; about £15 in 2015. For comparison, basic pay for a National Service private in 1952 was 4/-­ a day; about £40/week in 2015. 

29 July 1915; Thursday

Got up at 5.30. Passed doctor, Captain Seely, and got uniforms and kit. Half day off. Cricket match on the parade ground. Had good dinner and tea. Went into town at night with two soldiers from our room. We went into a pub and they came on with me. Wrote home. Went round the town a good bit. Went to bed about 10 o’clock.

28 July 1915; Wednesday

Got up about 7 o’clock. Got dressed and had a run over Charlie’s latest songs. Father, Charlie, Marmie and Uncle Jack saw me off. Left by 9.35, changed at Durham and Rotherham. Between Durham and Rotherham there were two men with a deserter in the compartment. Some trouble at York with a dog in the carriage. Arrived shortly before 2 o’clock. Went into the town and had dinner, then went on car to find the barracks. Forgot parcel at the café. Got to the Territorial place first. Arrived shortly1 before tea. Other two recruits with me. A Scotsman and a Sunderland lad called Williams. Had a shave and simple tea in the barracks, and went into town at night with Williams. Got bedding and room.

  1. Unless “shortly” should be “Sheffield”, which it really doesn’t look like, ALL seems to have forgotten to mention that it was Sheffield (the Hillsborough Barracks) that he had gone to.

    Hillsborough Barracks was converted for commercial use in the late 1980s, but many external features were retained. The main focus of the development is a Morrisson’s supermarket. See also Sheffield map

↑ The diary, hitherto written in ink, is mainly in pencil from here to mid-­October. ↑

27 July 1915; Tuesday

At work as usual. Mother not well first thing. Busy all day. Bid goodbye to the people at the office last thing. George Crawford gave me a Testament. Mother Got new purse, new glass1, new nail brush, handkerchiefs, and so on. Went to the station at night and made enquiries about the train. Willie Whittaker up. Went to bed late. Had a bath.

  1. “Glass”, if correct, is probably “mirror”. 

26 July 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Decided to go in the R.A.M.C. Met Tommy in the morning going to the recruiting office to join the R.G.A1. I went down at night. Waited from 7.30 until 9.45. Waiting for over an hour for Major Burn to swear us in. Met Uncle Jack outside and he waited for me. Went down to Grandmother’s and bid her, Aunt Esther, Mrs Whittaker and Lily goodbye.

Sworn in at the Recruiting Office. Received 1/112. 11 of us sworn in, including Willie Reed. Went to bed late.

  1. “R.G.A.”: Royal Garrison Artillery

  2. One shilling and elevenpence – about 9.5p – roughly equivalent to £9.50 in 2015. 

24 July 1915; Saturday

Work as usual. Busy all morning. Finished about 2 o’clock. Went into the town and met Tom and Willie. Willie can’t join. Tom and I went into the recruiting office, and decided to do something on Monday night. Tom not very keen. I decided to join either R.A.M.C. or Royal Anglesey Engineers1. Had walk in town at night with Willie and Charlie, and finished off at Grindon2.

  1. “Royal Anglesey Engineers”: apparently there actually was a territorial Royal Anglesey Royal Engineers (sic), though why ALL should have thought of joining it is quite unclear. 

  2. Grindon: a suburb of Sunderland, approximately three miles to the west of the city centre along Chester Road.