Monthly Archives: July 2016

31 July 1916, Monday

Up at 7 o’clock. Very hot all day. Remainder came down from trenches in the afternoon. We marched off to Laviéville1 at night. Went to old billets. Slept on top again.


  1. Fricourt, presumably the starting point for this march, (A) on map, and Laviéville  (B). 

30 July 1916; Sunday

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

Up at seven a.m. After breakfast we walked down to the horse lines. Made a big shelter from rain with waggon sheets and waggons. Very hot day and I felt very tired. Germans shelled very heavily to the left and right of us with big stuff. After tea a few squads were sent up as reserves to the 59th Ambulance and the rest of us came back to the Chateau near Fricourt. Told to be ready to fall in and go up the line any time. Slept in the bivouac with Lavere again.

30 July 1916; Sunday

Up at 7 o’clock. Had breakfast. Marched down to the horse lines. Made big shelter with the big waggon sheet and the waggons. Hot day. Very tired. Finished writing little story. Germans shelled heavily to the right and left of us with big stuff. After tea a few squads went up in reserve to the 59th and the remainder of us came back to the château near Fricourt12. Told to be ready to fall in and go up the line any time. Slept with only Lavere again.

Gas alarm at night.


  1. Fricourt: This is the first time ALL mentions Fricourt by name although this château was very probably the same one mentioned on 7th July and again on several occasions since. Fricourt is between Albert and Mametz, about 2km from latter; map sq. I 7/8 in Michelin. The map accompanying this post shows the approximate location of the château. 

  2. Fricourt had been a salient in the German front line prior to July 1916 and was taken by the British on 1-2 July. It was presumably during this fighting that the château was ruined. 

29 July 1916; Saturday

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

Slept well and up at 8 o’clock. Marched up to the big Canadian dugout and on from there to our advanced dressing station at 8 o’clock. Built bivouac in the big open dugout. Dealt with five stretcher cases and a few walking cases from artillery nearby. Lay down about 4 a.m. but slept badly owing to the noise of our guns and a few German shells. Felt depressed and “windy”. With Bascombe all day.

29 July 1916; Saturday

Slept well. Up shortly after 5 o’clock. Marched up but stayed at the big Canadian dugouts. Went to A.D. station at 8 o’clock. Stayed all night. Built bivouac in the big open dugout. With the stretcher cases and a few walking cases from artillery. Didn’t get down until about 4 o’clock and then slept badly from noise of guns and German shelling. Felt a bit “windy”. Bascombe with me.

28 July 1916; Friday

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

Up at about 5 o’clock after sleeping very little. Walked to and fro to keep warm. Saw a small book lying on the salvage dump (stuff taken off dead and wounded) outside aid post. It was a New Testament and on the flyleaf was written , “Read a verse every day and God will keep you safe. Mind you say your prayers. Loving Mother.” In the grey dawn it was depressing. Moved back to old bivouac near Chateau. Weather fine. Had a bath in horse bucket. Letter from Sandwith. Turned in about nine o’clock.

28 July 1916; Friday

Up about 5 o’clock. After sleeping very little. Read inscription in Testament on a heap of woundeds’ equipment, From your loving mother Dear Will read a verse every day and God will keep you safe. Mind you say your prayers.

Marched back to near the chateau and went to our old bivouacs. Weather still fine. Had bath in a horse bucket. Felt better after it. Newspapers from home and letter from Sandwith. Went to bed about 9 o’clock.

27 July 1916; Thursday

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

Had an egg for breakfast then we proceeded up to some dugouts, German, where there were places with long underground tunnels. Some Canadians in them and one of them sat and told us yarns. They were making a new (corduroy) road1 over recently [?gained] ground. Ordered up the line at 5 o’clock and went to Capt. King’s dressing station at the chalk quarry. Nothing for us to do. Sat about in the cold all night. Managed to scrape about two hours sleep. Felt very miserable and “funky”. Not many German shells over but our guns bombarded fearfully all night and the noise was deafening in the quarry. 6th Black Watch cut up badly in the reserve trenches. Lavere and I tried and failed to build a shelter against splinters. Very cold. Wrapped myself in an overcoat and ground sheet I found on the aid post dump to try to keep warm. Seven dead men lying side by side on stretchers at the aid post.


  1. corduroy road is a type of road made by placing sand-covered logs perpendicular to the direction of the road. 

27 July 1916; Thursday

Had egg for breakfast then proceeded up to some dugouts near the A.D.S.1 Wonderful places with some long tunnels underground. Some Canadians in them and one sat and told stories. Were ordered up the line at 5 o’clock. Went to Captain King’s dressing station. Nothing for us to do. Sat in the cold all night and managed to scrape about 2 hours sleep. Felt pretty miserable and funky all night. Very few German shells over, but our guns bombarded fearfully all night and the noise nearly deafened us. The 6th Black Watch2 cut up a good lot in the reserve trenches. Lavere and I built a shelter, and then the side fell in and pinned me until I got Lavere to lift off the packs. 7 dead men lying on stretchers outside the aid post. Wrapped myself up in a wounded soldier’s overcoat and ground sheet. Kept awake with, *, guns, *, lice, German shells and nowhere to lie.


  1. “A.D.S.”: advanced dressing station. 

  2. The Black Watch’s own (on-line) newsletter says that their 6th (Perthshire) battalion was in the central sector at the Somme, but does not give dates. However according to information gathered from the Aberfeldy Museum by a correspondent to whom we are grateful, the 6th Black Watch had arrived at the Somme battlefield shortly after 20 July, and as ALL records, suffered considerable casualties.