22 July 1916; Saturday

Up at 5 o’clock and marched off. Felt pretty jaded to start with. Walked up by Mametz Wood1 and to Hardecourt Wood2. Bascombe and I left at the East Lancs aid post. Had our break fast (cooked ourselves.) Other two of our squad there. Took down a man on our backs. Ran some messages to the very heavily shelled sap at night and a machine gun fired over our heads all the night. Took down 9 wounded cases. Carried one on my back. Under shell fire and machine gun fire all the time. Met a Jock with a bad wound in the thigh. A Coal Box3 burst a few feet away from us and nearly blinded us with dirt and fumes but didn’t hurt us. Got him to the King’s Own4 aid post by myself. Returned to rest. Waited until shells eased off. Returned to rest place. Tried to sleep in garments† by position. Shells falling all round us.

  1. Mametz (A) and its Wood are on the bottom limb of the “L”-shaped front line , some 5 – 6km east of Albert, in square I8 of the Michelin map. 

  2. “Hardecourt Wood”: there is a Hardecourt-aux-Bois (B), 5km E. of Mametz, but the shorthand is unclear, and I don’t know whether Hardecourt-aux-Bois, or its remains, were yet held by the British. 

  3. “Coal Box”: Another name for a German heavy artillery shell used by British troops, seemingly interchangeably with “Jack Johnson”, which ALL had also used in a diary entry on 9 July

  4. “King’s Own”: the 7th Battalion of the King’s Own Regiment was in the 19th Division, but in the 56th Brigade (ALL’s 58th Field Ambulance was attached to the 57th Brigade). But so was the (7th) East Lancs.