Category Archives: September 1917

All diary entries written in September 1917.

30 September 1917; Sunday

Up at 8 o’clock. The place very heavily shelled all the morning and part of the afternoon. Carried one case in the morning and were shelled most of the journey. Fine night. Received newspapers mentioning Mr Aitken’s death1.

Newspaper cutting
Cuttting from Sunderland Daily Echo
20 September 1917.
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD
via the British Newspaper Archive.

  1. Mr Aitken had been ALL’s boss at the Hendon Paper Mill and had died on 20 September. This news had first reached ALL on 25 September. The cutting reproduced above could possibly have appeared in one of newspapers received by ALL on this day.

    See also William Robertson Aitken and all diary entries tagged “Aitken“. 

28 September 1917; Friday

Up about 8 o’clock. Kept fairly busy all night with infantry owing to a dugout being blown in. Two men died near the place. Working well into the night.

Fell on my right shoulder1 and hurt it rather badly for a time. Managed to carry on all right.


  1. “Fell on my right shoulder”: I know that ALL got his shoulder dislocated on one occasion while carrying stretchers, and I don’t see anywhere else in the diaries more likely than this. He told me that one of the others got it back into joint, and that he fainted with the pain. This might be consistent with “hurt it rather badly”. (DL)  

25 September 1917; Tuesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Went down to the Divisional train to see the sick with the American officer. Told off for night duty with Bromley for tonight. Glorious day. Received letter from home telling me that Mr Aitken has died1. Warned for night but brought off it again at 7.30 and warned for stretcher bearing tomorrow.

Slept in the back part of the dispensary.


  1. Mr Aitken had been ALL’s boss at the Hendon Paper Mill. ALL also added a retrospective note of Mr Aitken’s death to his diary on 20 September, the day it had actually happened. 

24 September 1917; Monday

Up about 7 o’clock. On fatigue for a short while and then told off to go with the American doctor to see the Divisional column sick. Ernie called for me at noon and I got the afternoon off. Went into Locre. Called at the Y M and had tea and a tune; had tea in a house and then walked in to Mont Rouge. Called in at the Follies and started back shortly after 7 o’clock. Left Ernie about 8.30 near to La Laiterie1. The longest stay yet that we have had together. Enjoyed the day immensely. On return found that Driver had come down with shell shock, and that Holman had taken his place. They had wanted me but I was out. Nick Stake† sleeping above me and drunk. He fell out of bed and spent the night on a stretcher on the floor.


  1. La Laiterie: A military cemetery begun in November 1914 and named after an old dairy farm which, perhaps, had previously occupied the site. La Laiterie (B) is located about 1km NE of Kemmel (A) on the N331 road to Ieper/Ypres.