30 June 1916; Friday

Up at 7 o’clock. Had breakfast up at the field. Noticed how strange it was over to the left peaceful and to the right shells bursting. Received orders that B & C sections are ordered† <to> go up tonight. Paraded in the afternoon with skeleton equipment and received two days’ rations besides emergency rations. Fine night. Handed in pack. Read Bible1 the 23 Psalm and St. John2. Were detailed off in sections, Paddy, Leaky, Duggins and myself. Supper at 8.30. Saw a troop of cavalry go through the village, and then watched some aeroplanes being flushed† out. Decent gramophone playing some Welsh songs. Formed up at 10 o’clock. Marched off in the dark. Carried stretcher with party most of the way. Reminded me of “Invasion of 1910”3. Lay beside a broken down barn for a short time. Arrived reserve trench 12 o’clock.

ALL's pocket bible ALL's pocket bible

  1. We still have the morocco-leather pocket Bible, 12cm x 7cm x 2cm, which ALL carried throughout his service. It contains a pressed flower from a French field, and pencilled on the fly-leaf “A Linfoot 64061 RAMC 58th Fd Amb”, and “24 Herrington St, Sunderland, Durham”, with “47 Eldon St, Chester Rd” crossed out. (And in a deeply-regretted piece of vandalism, the title-page records in Biro the Army number, name and home address of the editor of these Diaries, who had this Bible with him during his National Service in Malaya, 1953-54.)

    See pictures above. 

  2. ALL’s Bible readings for the day: The 23rd Psalm – “The Lord is my sheperd…” – now popular at funerals and; St John’s Gospel – “In the beginning was the Word…”. 

  3. The Invasion of 1910 is a 1906 novel written by William Le Queux. Its subject is an imagined war starting with the invasion of England by Germany in 1910. Something in Le Queux’ description of a contemporary war seems to have resonated with ALL’s own experience on this particular evening. See also The Invasion of 1910 and Arthur Linfoot’s Library