7 June 1918; Friday

Jerry commenced to shell the village in the early hours of the morning. We were awake from about 3 o’clock. A big shell dropped into the end of the dressing hut. Killed a gassed patient, badly wounded the CO (he died at C C S a few hours later)12 and wounded Smith and Surridge. We packed up and moved down to a farm near Hautvillers3. Rested after arrival at midday. Glorious evening. Billy Truman and Lieutenant Mann went down with the C O and reported that he died just before being operated upon. Anniversary of Messines4.

  1. The Commanding Officer of the 58th Field Ambulance at this date was Captain (Acting Lieutenant-Colonel) Richard Amyas Preston M.B., B.S.. Captain Preston was born on 15th April 1891. He was just over one year younger than ALL, being 27 years of age at the time of his death, had already served in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and had enlisted in the R.A.M.C. in August 1914, initially at the rank of Lieutenant. He had been CO of the 58th Field Ambulance since September 1917. See also Richard Amyas PRESTON M.B., B.S. at RAMC in the Great War and Lieutenant Colonel Richard Amyas Preston at Lives of the First World War. 

  2. From A Short History of the 19th (Western) Division 1914-1918 (John Murray, 1919), page 88: “Lieut.-Col. R A Preston, MC, RAMC, No 58 Field Ambulance, was mortally wounded on June 7th while superintending the evacuation of wounded from the Main Dressing Station at NANTEUIL.” ALL has written in the margin of his copy “Killed a few yards from me.” 

  3. Hautvillers (B): 5km S. from Nanteuil-la-Forêt (A), 4km N. of Épernay; Michelin map 515 square D8. 

  4. Anniversary of Messines: See 7 June 1917