Up at 6 o’clock. Shaved and washed in a bucket of pond water, – green. Scrambled through breakfast, dinner and tea. Got to know men a bit better . On fatigue in the morning and afternoon. Physical drill first thing in the morning – a short double. Beginning to get to know men better.
Paraded before a Captain Newton and told him that I had been a lance-corporal1.
See note on 31 May about ALL’s possibly mistaken demotion to Private while aboard Karnak. In an interview given in 1976, ALL recalled a conversation with an officer about his demotion shortly after his arrival in France. This may have been the same conversation with “Captain Newton” as is recorded in this diary entry, although ALL did not mention a name during the interview.
ALL said, “When I was made Lance Corporal in the barracks at Sheffield, I was full Lance Corporal with pay. I was moved up to Alnwick. We came back and we were there a month or two before I went to France. Now almost invariably Lance Corporal was acting rank and when he crossed overseas he took down his stripes and when I was on the boat there was a strange officer who didn’t know me at all and said ‘take your stripes down’ and I did as I was told. When we got to the unit in France where I was going to, I remember the officer who saw me, examined you when you joined up. He looked up at me and he said ‘but you were a Lance Corporal and now you are a Private’. He said ‘do you mind acting as a Private?’ I said, ‘no, not at all.’ He said, ‘alright’, but I had Lance Corporal’s pay.” ↩