Monthly Archives: October 2016

12 October 1916; Thursday

Up at 7.15. On fatigue in the morning picking up leaves. Had a bath at dinner-time and got a new shirt and pair of pants. Physical drill and smoke helmet drill in the afternoon. Wrote letters and diary in the evening. Captain Birrell spoke to me about a letter which <I> had written home and told me not to mention anything about journeys†1. I got the letter back.

Received letter from Ernie, and one from Ray McRoss.

  1. Letters home from the front would doubtless have been subject to censorship. ALL was evidently in the habit of including details of his movements in France in letters home, probably in very much the same way as he did in his diaries. Unlike in letters home, there does not appear to have been any prohibition on the use of personal diaries in this way. 

9 October 1916; Monday

Was told off after dinner1 to go with other three to take over a place. Went in the motor ambulance with the C.O. Couldn’t find the place and returned about 7 o’clock at night. Was not sorry.

  1. “Dinner”, as usual, means lunch. This was an afternoon, not an evening excursion. 

7 October 1916; Saturday

Arrived Doullen1 at midnight. Stood about until about 2 o’clock and then marched off. It rained heavily at first. Arrived Authie2 about 5.30 and after waiting some time we were billeted in a wood† in some little houses. Rained most of the day and we slept a good bit. Pretty tired after our walk.

  1. Doullen [sic]: Actually Doullens (A above, Michelin map square G7) is 28km NW of Albert – some 22km from the N end of the Somme front. 

  2. Authie (B above, Michelin square G7) is 12km ESE of Doullens, and 18km NW of Albert; back in the Somme area. 

6 October 1916; Friday

Up at 7 o’clock. The 111th Ambulance took over from us at 9 o’clock. Went up to the Belgian house and had dinner and then paraded at 2.15, full pack. Marched to Bailleul1 station and entrained there. Slept most of the time in the train and arrived at our destination2 about midnight.

  1. Bailleul (B) is 3km E of Méteren (A) and 16km SW of Ypres. 

  2. Doullens (C), see next day’s entry

5 October 1916; Thursday

Up at 6.30 and on duty as usual. The 111th Ambulance1 came to take over in the afternoon. I spoke to a few of the old Hillsborough lot. A third bomb accident at night2.

Bought a lace collar at night from the Belgian refugee people.

  1. The 111th Field Ambulance was at this time with the 16th (Irish) Division

  2. The diary makes no reference to a first or second bomb accident, and offers no clue about the nature of any of these accidents, but Mills bombs (hand grenades) were sometimes used in ponds or watercourses to kill or stun fish (for eating), and their time-fuses could be unreliable.