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.
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.
Up at 8 o’clock. Kept pretty busy after tea with stretcher cases. Germans shelled heavily at night and kept us awake most of the time. Had to visit the posts with Captain McCombie. Shelled most of the way round and had one particularly near thing. An artillery man died in the dressing station.
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.
“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) ↩
Up at 6.30. Paraded at 7.30 and marched to La Laiterie1. Got car from there to Norfolk House. Went up to pontoon bridge and after staying there a while we were returned to Norfolk House. Carried a case down with Lee Hughes first thing after dinner. Jack Trayner, Brooksbank and Hughes.
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.
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 Stack sleeping above me and drunk. He fell out of bed and spent the night on a stretcher on the floor.
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. ↩
Up at 7 o’clock. On duty about 7.30. Not so much work – only about 50 cases all day. Stayed on all night and let Billy Truman off. Felt very tired in the night. An aeroplane dropped bombs not far away and we had a few cases in.