Category Archives: August 1914

All diary entries written in August 1914.

20 August 1914; Thursday

Got up about 7.30. Busy all day, but finished a bit sooner. Had short walk up town with Charlie. Had a bath. Read usual war news. A bit better but troubled with toothache.

Nothing very fresh from front. Our soldiers being well received in France. Official report of the loss of the “Amphion”1 and description of brave behaviour of men. Two airmen & 2 motorcar men killed in France.


  1. Amphion: See note on 7 August

19 August 1914; Wednesday

Busy all day. Finished about 6 o’clock. Felt rather tired and had a walk to Roker with Charlie. Saw a liner go south all lit up. It caused a lot of stir in the town. A little bit better, but still unwell.

News to hand of the arrival of our soldiers in France. A report of some desultory fighting in the North Sea. Pope Pius X died1.


  1. According to Wikipedia, Pope Pius X died on 20th August 1914. ALL was in the habit of writing up events in his diary on the date they were reported to have happened and not on the date he became aware (see, for example, “we didn’t get to know until the 18 & 19th” on 13 August 1914). It seems he may have missed by one day on this occasion. 

18 August 1914; Tuesday

Busy all day Finished rather late. 60 tons gone out.

Heard of Gen. Grierson being died 1 [sic]. He died of heart failure in France. French capture Saarburg2.

Went down to play for Mr Lawson’s meeting. Shook hands with him at the close of the meeting. He is leaving on Thursday for home in Leeds. Felt very much off form.

Scarcely any soldiers left in Sunderland.


  1. Haig and Sir James Grierson commanded 1 and 11 Corps respectively, and crossed to France together on 16 August. Grierson died of natural causes on the 17th; replaced by Gen. Smith‐Dorrien. 

  2. Saarburg: then in Rhenish Prussia, just N. of Lorraine, near the (then) French border; an early and somewhat deceptive French success. 

17 August 1914; Monday

At work as usual. Very busy. Last week’s sent out 269 tons1. About 50 tons went out today. Played and read war news.

French occupied Mulhausen2 on Sunday. French troops showing good form & spirits. Belgians holding out well, but slowly retiring. Leige [sic] forts still intact.


  1. 269 tons etc: quantities of paper despatched from the paper mill. 

  2. Mühlhausen: Mulhouse since 1918, in Alsace; see note on 4 May 

16 August 1914; Sunday

At church and School as usual. Got on very well. Had short walk in the day and long walk at night. We looked in the new park and had to climb over the gate at the top.

Nothing startling from the front. Sir John French1 arrived at Paris. Mr Lawson spoke in the pulpit. His last Sunday at So. Durham St. Mr Blott & Mrs & Joyce at Church.


  1. Sir J. French: Field Marshall, Commander‐in­‐Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, replaced by Haig in December 1915. 

13 August 1914; Thursday

Got up about 7.45. Busy all day. Finished shortly before 6 o’clock. Left Alf at the office because he was carrying on with the lads at the stores. Not much more war news tonight. Grand weather. Mrs Rowe to tea. An aeroplane passed over Sunderland and back again at tea time. Walked up town at night.

News from front scarce & uncertain. Our troops commenced to go across to France.

We didn’t get to know until the 18 & 19th.

12 August 1914; Wednesday

Very busy at work. Finished late about 6.15. Went up town with Father and Charlie. A few battle ships off Roker. Soldiers still busy making entrenchments. Read a bit and played a very little. Had walk last thing with Joe. Received postcard from Ernie saying how things were out there1.

A great battle commencing between Liege and Namur. About 2,000,000 men engaged and 200 miles of battle front.


  1. “Out there”: presumably St Andrew’s, where he was working.