Monthly Archives: December 2017

31 December 1917; Monday

Got into a car at headquarters and went up to the A D S 1 with it. Murrill, Truman and myself stayed at the dressing station and the other men went up. Sat all night. Got to know that our bearers had had a rough house in the night and that we had 20 casualties to clear 17 stretcher cases.

THE END      

Bob Forrest, Webbs†, Jarratt, Frankland, Wood and three others went down the line. Billy Truman and I returned to headquarters in the evening about 7. Spent afternoon in the Hindenburg Trench bringing down sick.

  1. A D S: Advanced Dressing Station. See The evacuation chain for wounded and sick soldiers at The Long, Long Trail. 

  2. It was ALL’s habit to write “THE END”, or some variation thereof, on the last day of each diary; q.v. 1914, 1915, 1916

30 December 1917; Sunday

Up about 7.30. Woke up by heavy gunfire and German shells bursting near. Heard that the Germans had attacked and taken two lines of trenches. Saw a few German prisoners. On fatigue all day. Went to a C of E service at night and it was very good. Commenced letter to Mr Eaves1 and then had a discussion about war and armies and all the rest of it. Turned in about 11 o’clock. Pulled out again about 12 to go up the line. About 30 of us altogether.

  1. Edward Eaves was a minister at the South Durham Street United Methodist Free Church in Sunderland where ALL had been a member before joining the RAMC. See also all diary entries tagged Eaves

27 December 1917; Thursday

On working party again. Stayed at night with Harvey, Holman and Mills and had tea <in> another little dugout. Left about 8 o’clock and came down. Met Mark Jackson, half drunk, and he came into the billet and talked until late. Had good night’s rest.

Received Christmas card from Ranald MacDonald. Big peace rumours. Read account of the official entry into Jerusalem1.

  1. “Official entry into Jerusalem”: Following a long battle, Jerusalem had  fallen to the Allies on 9-10 December 1917. On 11 December 1917, Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, GCB, GCMG, GCVO (23 April 1861 – 14 May 1936), commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), made his formal entry into Jerusalem on foot through the Jaffa gate, instead of by horse or vehicle, to show his great respect for the holy place. 

25 December 1917; Tuesday

Up at about 7.30 after rather restless night with the cold. Paraded at 9 o’clock and did a small fatigue job. Cleaned canteen and wrote up diary. Two dining sessions and I went into the second one at 1.15. Very good spread. Menu and all the rest of it. C O and officers came in and made usual speech. Room very nicely decorated. Concert at 3.30. Steve Bott and John Dory pretty good and the others pretty awful. Corporal Chapman and Cotter about the worst singers. Went to A section billet to hear the R F’s1 band. Returned about 9 o’clock and went to bed.

Received letter from home saying that they had heard from Charlie dated 18th November.

  1. R F’s: probably Royal Fusiliers 

24 December 1917; Monday

Awake about 3.30 and heard shells going over. Some of them pretty near and a few gas shells amongst them. Had our respirators on for a few minutes. Had to keep awake until nearly 6 o’clock. Murrill brought us our breakfast into bed and we didn’t get up until 9.30. Not much to do. I saw the train1 off. Received orders to pack up and go to headquarters. All got away before tea but Sergeant Powell and myself. We had to wait until 8 o’clock at night before the cart came for the last of the things. Someone stole a Sir’s2 stuff and we searched high and low for it. Had a long discussion last thing on chance†, summer† and Christmas. Talked until nearly midnight. Very cold and rather wet at night. Holman made some tea and Harvey looked after the equipment while we went for it.

  1. The train: See 22 December

  2. Sir’s: “a sir” means an officer or other superior; if correct here (not used elsewhere by ALL), it perhaps indicates ALL’s irritation at the delay. 

22 December 1917; Saturday

Up about 7.30. Went up to the next village walking wounded post with Sergeant Powell and MacDermot at about 9.30. Found a little dugout for the sergeant and men and improved it and put in a fire. Spent most of the day on the dugout. Saw the train1 away at night.

Looking after walking wounded and sick and putting them onto the light rail.

  1. “The train”: perhaps a train evacuating wounded to a base hospital? It seems to have been a regular service.