Up before 7.30. Helped Billington as usual. Not much to do. No post from England.
Up about 7.30. Helped Billington as usual. Wrote letters and helped at the officers’ dinner at night.
Up about 7.30. Not much to do all day. Helped Billington. Had good dinner and tea. Rumours that the U S A have joined in on the enemy side.
Up at 7 o’clock. Not much all day. Helped Billington†, officer’s servant, and wrote a couple of letters.
Up about 7 o’clock. Helped officers’ servants by washing up breakfast things. Wrote letters to Ernie and Charlie. Wet day again. Received letter from Hilda Linfoot1.
Hilda Linfoot: believed to be Hilda Tate Linfoot, ALL’s cousin, daughter of Charles Poulter Linfoot, who with his brother William Gaylard Linfoot and their families emigrated to New Zealand on 25 July 1912. Hilda had sent ALL a birthday card in January 1914 (Diary, 31 January 1914). Very little other communication is recorded until now, but the Diary mentions further letters in 1917 and 1918, and Hilda’s address in Auckland is noted in ALL’s 1917 Diary. Hilda was a younger sister of Lily Linfoot, who married Willie Marshall; see 10 June 1914. See also Family page and Hilda disambiguation page. ↩
Had practice going all day. Received news of big French successes at Verdun1 and also that we captured 200 Germans in a counter-attack up here. Read a good bit and got into bed in good time. Pretty cold and wet. Received letter from Charlie and papers from home.
Verdun was a key point in France’s defence system, very strongly fortified, 100km E of Reims. French defeat there would have had great strategic and symbolic significance to both France and Germany. The prolonged siege took a heavy toll on French manpower, significantly influencing Allied strategy. See Battle of Verdun (Fourth Phase, 20 October – 2 November) at Wikipedia. ↩
Up before 7 o’clock. Detailed off in the morning to assist Sergeant Macdonell In the dressing station for walking cases. Heard that the Cheshires1 tried to get over the top and failed in the wet. Rain all the morning. Wet day, and cold.
The 9th Cheshires were in the 58th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. ↩
Up before 6 o’clock and marched off before washing or shaving. Arrived <at> a dressing station and we were stuck in a tent standing by. Got mud up to the eyes taking down a tent. A few shells came over. Had to move again and put up some new tents. Received parcel from home after my bread ration was finished. Ike† and most of the others went on to the aid post. I was left behind1 on account of being sick. Got down to bed about 8 o’clock and slept pretty well.
“Left behind” might suggest that ALL remained at Brickfields after “Ike and most of the others” left. ↩
Up about 7.30. Helped in the ward a bit. Packed up things and moved off shortly after dinner. I rode with two divisional patients as bus-man in the first car and the others marched. Arrived about 2 kilometres from Albert1. The M.G.C.2 man and I walked to a Y.M. hut but we got nothing to eat so had some tea. Waited by the fire until about 6 o’clock when the rest came up. Slept in a tent† and had a good night.
Brickfields Camp W3
M.G.C.: Machine Gun Corps. ↩
The Brickfields, an old brick factory on the outskirts of Albert, was used as a large billeting area by Allied troops. Its close proximity to Albert and the front line made it an ideal position for soldiers to stay in makeshift shelters for short periods of time. The Photograph – ‘Brickfields near Albert’ – is from Museum Victoria and not from ALL’s archive. ↩