6 April 1917; Friday

Up about 8 o’clock. Harvey and Holman had had a busy night – 15 wounded and one sick. One man had died and Ben Jenkins and I had to go through his pockets for personal stuff and look for his identity disc. His name is Seagrave1 of the East Surreys23. He was fearfully mutilated. Lower jaw blown off, right arm by the shoulder and both legs below the knee merely hanging and an ugly wound in the chest. Rolled him in a blanket.

Not much to do all day. Had oranges supplied to us. Rather rainy in the afternoon.

Rumours still current of the intervention of U S A in the war.

  1. Who was Seagrave? Read our analysis here

  2. East Surreys: rather irrelevantly at this date – according to the well-known story, it was a company of the 8th East Surreys, in the 18th (Eastern) Division, XIII Corps, whose commander, Captain Nevill, apparently hoped to make the first day of the Somme less stressful for his men by requiring them to kick footballs across No Man’s Land (near Montauban.)  

  3. RC Sherriff based his 1928 play, Journey’s End, on his own experiences of the Western Front with the 9th Battalion of the East Surreys.