Monthly Archives: June 2016

Simon the Jester

Cover ImageSimon the Jester is a novel by by William J. Locke, first published in 1910 and twice made into films, in 1915 and 1925, both silent.

After learning he has but six months to live, the wealthy Simon de Gex decides to tell no one of his impending death and to spend his fortune madly.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had “read a lot of a story called Simon the Jester” on 22 June 1916 while stationed at Rainneville in northern France during the build up to the battle of the Somme. He finished the book the next day.

21 June 1916; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Reported sick. Had tooth out. Sat on cart shaft. Captain Johnson pulled it out1. Route march in the afternoon. Very hot. Stayed in at night and wrote letters. Received letter from Leishman and replied to it. Had milk and marmalade for supper. Fine day.

Had tooth out.


  1. Without anæsthetic, naturally; in later life ALL described how the MO, Capt. Johnson, sidled up to him hiding the pincers behind his back. 

18 June 1916; Sunday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Up at 7 o’clock. Could hear the guns at the front very distinctly. On Church parade at 9. Open air service. After the service each of us were given a pair of socks. First time I have been at a field service. In the afternoon lay in a field writing a letter to Mr Inwood. Watched aeroplanes playing about. Fine day. Went to field service again at night. Had discussion with Lee about singing words in hymns which we didn’t agree with. Walked to the village in the evening.

18 June 1916; Sunday

Up at 7 o’clock. Church parade at 9 o’clock. Open air service. After service we were given a pair of socks each. First field service I have attended. Spent the afternoon in the field writing a letter to Mr Inwood and watching aeroplanes playing about. Fine day. Went to service in the field again at night. Read Epistle of St. James. Had a discussion with Lee about singing words in hymns which we don’t believe. Short walk in the village.

Can hear guns at the front very distinctly.
Had one cup of coffee.
Received 4 letters.

17 June 1916; Saturday

This is an extract from Arthur Linfoot’s own transcription of his diary, written in 1976.

Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded first thing and cleaned waggons. An hour’s physical drill – and pretty hard too. A nice little route march in the afternoon. Walked into the village at evening and bought a paper. (Probably Paris edition, Daily Mail). Russians still advancing. Posted letter home.