Category Archives: May 1918

All diary entries written in May 1918.

19 May 1918; Sunday

Up about 7 o’clock. Paraded in the morning and spent the morning rearranging the stuff on the limber. In the dinnertime detailed off to go to the *1 to run a small hospital, Truman, Harvey and I. Got to the village about 3 o’clock and got the place fitted up before tea. Walked along to Sarry at night with Harvey. Pleasant walk and glorious evening.

  1. The indecipherable place (?W-s-(t)-l-n/s, or ?Ch-r-s-(t)-l-n/s) was c. 8 miles from Châlons, but we don’t know in which direction. See footnote 2 on 18 May

18 May 1918; Saturday

Woke up in the train about 7 o’clock after tolerably decent night. Splendid scenery, the best I have seen, up the Marne valley. Arrived at Châlons1 about midday and detrained. Passed through the town. People looked very nice. Marched 8 miles in the fearfully hot sun and arrived at [space left, presumably intending to fill name in later]2 about 5. A lot of the chaps drunk at night. Walked out with Billy Truman and heard some nightingales singing.

  1. Châlons: apparently Châlons-en-Champagne; map square G9 on Michelin Regional map 515 (Champagne-Ardenne). This train journey of more than a day had taken ALL from near Esquelbecq (A) to Châlons-en-Champagne (B). 

  2. It is frustrating not to have even an indecipherable name (though ALL left a space of 1.8cm, enough for a hyphenated name). The next indubitable place-name is Chambrecy, on 29 May, some 18km NW of Épernay, itself some 30km WNW of, so one might assume that the 8-mile march on 18 May was in that direction. However the place to which ALL and Harvey walked the next evening can be credibly transcribed as ‘Sarry’, which is about 6km down the road SE from Châlons to Vitry-le-François; if they were walking from the place reached on 18 May, 8 miles/13km from Châlons station, that would be a long evening walk, but they were presumably now at ‘the village’ where the ‘small hospital’ was located. No place-name has been found to fit the shorthand word represented by the asterisk in the entry of 19 May, and as it is prefixed with a ‘the’, perhaps it is more likely to be a common noun than a place-name. The outline could be “Wesleyans”, or “wasteland/s”; the former does not seem possible, the latter does not suggest an obviously suitable site for a hospital. 

17 May 1918; Friday

Dreadful all night. German aeroplanes over the top of us the early part of the evening. Dreadful along the coast in the dark. Slept a little after the early hours of the morning. Slept a good bit during the day. No tea to drink and not much to eat. Very hot sun. Watched the passing scenery and it was very pretty. Turned it in about 10 o’clock. Humphreys illustrated an old woman’s face in a passing train.

16 May 1918; Thursday

Paraded at 9 o’clock. Short route march in the morning. Sun very hot. Lay in our dugout all afternoon after taking down the flags and pole. Paraded at 5.30 full marching order and marched off to a rail head1 about an hour’s march away. Entrained at 8.

  1. It is not clear where this rail head was. 

15 May 1918; Wednesday

Up about 7.30. In the ward but read part of the morning. Went to Esquelbecq1 in the afternoon on a car with some cases. Several bed <cases> also with me. Glorious day and ride. Had tea in neighbouring village. The 16th Ambulance took over from us2.

  1. Esquelbecq (B): 18km SE. of Dunkerque and 19km W of Proven (A); Michelin square G2. 

  2. The 16th Ambulance presumably took over the DRS at Proven, which ALL had just left.