Category Archives: June 1916

All diary entries written in June 1916

Simon the Jester

Cover ImageSimon the Jester is a novel by by William J. Locke, first published in 1910 and twice made into films, in 1915 and 1925, both silent.

After learning he has but six months to live, the wealthy Simon de Gex decides to tell no one of his impending death and to spend his fortune madly.

Arthur Linfoot wrote that he had “read a lot of a story called Simon the Jester” on 22 June 1916 while stationed at Rainneville in northern France during the build up to the battle of the Somme. He finished the book the next day.

18 June 1916; Sunday

Up at 7 o’clock. Church parade at 9 o’clock. Open air service. After service we were given a pair of socks each. First field service I have attended. Spent the afternoon in the field writing a letter to Mr Inwood and watching aeroplanes playing about. Fine day. Went to service in the field again at night. Read Epistle of St. James. Had a discussion with Lee about singing words in hymns which we don’t believe. Short walk in the village.

Can hear guns at the front very distinctly.
Had one cup of coffee.
Received 4 letters.

17 June 1916; Saturday

Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded first thing and cleaned waggons. An hour’s physical drill and pretty hard too. Nice little march in the afternoon. Walked into the village at night and got a paper. Russians still advancing. Posted letter home and one to Green.

Fine night.

Called at farm house and had two glasses of coffee.
and heard guns at the front very distinctly.

16 June 1916; Friday

Paraded in the morning and marched to Raineville. * of whole brigade marched past and it was a most interesting sight. Carried full pack about 8 miles. Warm day. Found new billet. In a barn in a French house. I had coffee and lay in the house. Quaint old fashioned house with big fire place. New billet much cleaner than the old one. Went to bed early.


Wrote letter home and posted letter to Betty.

  1. Rainneville (B): 10km NNE of Amiens and about 30km E of Longpré-les-Corps-Saints (A); on D11; ref G8. ALL spells it “Raineville”, but it is only identifiable in Michelin with the two n’s; the location seems consistent. See also Note on Locations in France

14 June 1916; Wednesday

Paraded in the morning with full pack and marched to a village a nice distance away and back. Physical drill in the afternoon. Walked to the village1 at night.

Received letter from home and one from Betty.

  1. “Walked to the village…”: Possibly Vignacourt again? Not the same village “a nice distance away” as had been the objective of the earlier route march on this day. 

13 June 1916; Tuesday

Got up about 6 o’clock. Double along the road first thing. Breakfast dinner and tea as usual. Paraded 9.30 with skeleton equipment and overcoats and gas helmets. Marched about 8 miles. It rained heavily and the roads were fearful. Our coats wet through. Had to go to bed at night with nothing to cover us. Managed all right and had good night. Used newspaper to help me to keep warm.