15 April 1917; Sunday

Up at 6 o’clock and went up the line on the dugout fatigue. Rained heavily all day and we returned at dinner time after simply unlocking a waggon of stuff. Good news in the papers about the advance at Arras.

Went to service at the Y M at night and played1 for a short while afterwards. Had serious talk with Harvey and felt better after it.

  1. “Played”: Not a game but a keyboard instrument of some sort; a piano or organ if such was available in the YM. 

14 April 1917; Saturday

Up at 6 o’clock and out on the dugout after the fatigue. Stayed up until 3.45 and arrived back about 5 o’clock. Sergeant Wilson with us and the chaps pulled his leg all the time. Had a rather awful dinner. Was very tired at night. Had a short walk and went down to La Clytte Y M and listened outside to the Follies.

13 April 1917; Friday

Slept in the guard tent. Up at 6 and on guard from 6 to 10. Fine morning. Sat in guard tent and read. Lay about most of the day and read a good bit. Sergeant MacDonnell in the tent most of the time and in one of his silly moods. Had a short walk at night.

Heard that we had met with a reverse at Vimy Ridge.

12 April 1917; Thursday

Up at 7 o’clock. On parade at 9 o’clock and told off for the usual fatigues. Went up to the dressing station at 12 o’clock and worked until after 3. Returned close on 5 o’clock, pretty tired, and found that Harvey, Holman and I were on guard at 6 o’clock. Went on first. Finished at 10 o’clock and turned in for the night. A boycott† on a well because a well has been poisoned in the neighbourhood.

Heard that we have captured 11,000 prisoners, over 100 guns, 60 trench mortars and 163 machine guns.

11 April 1917; Wednesday

Up at 6 o’clock. Marched off at 7 o’clock. Arrived at the dressing station about 8 o’clock. Spent the morning digging and was very tired after it. Returned about 1 o’clock. Turned out wet in the afternoon so we did nothing in the afternoon. Went to the Y M at night to the Follies. Saw Billington on dancing.

We were shelled pretty heavily going down the road. Got lift in a lorry. One of the North Lancs wounded by the first shell.

10 April 1917; Tuesday

Up at 8 o’clock. Relieving party arrived between 8 – 91. The Germans shelled the road very heavily and by about 3.00 were into two fields on the right. Had a bath parade in the afternoon.

Walked about at night.

Heard of the capture of Vimy Ridge.

  1. ALL does not record his destination, having been relieved of front line duty after  a week (he arrived at the front line on 3 April), but it was probably La Clytte again. 

9 April 1917; Monday

Up at 8 o’clock. Practically nothing to do all day. Wrote letter to Ernie. Received letter and parcel from home. Cold day and a few showers of snow. Read some of “Villette.”1 The man badly wounded in the arm2 died tonight. I felt a bit * as is Captain Strickland.

Vimy Ridge captured by the British.

Sat† at *.

  1. Villette: a novel by Charlotte Brontë. See also Arthur Linfoot’s Library

  2. “The man badly wounded in the arm”; possibly the unnamed man mentioned on 7 April as having a cut artery? 

8 April 1917; Sunday

Up about 8 o’clock. A glorious day. Read one of the sermons received from Joe. Read a sermon on †Judas and the Great Commonwealth†123. Were sitting outside at night when an aeroplane was shot above us. Came into the door of the dugout and a piece of shell fell pretty near. Splendid night. Harry Howells lost his pay book and 50 francs. Wrote a long letter to Joe. Had our usual porridge for supper. Bonny night. Read sermon in the †Great Commonwealth†. Turned in about 9.30.

  1. “Judas and the Great Commonwealth”; the transcription is uncertain but, if correct, this sermon would have used a text from a book of the apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 13 vv 13-15, which describes how Judas Maccabeus, defending “the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the commonwealth”,  led a small army to victory against a superior foe by entrusting the outcome to God. 

  2. Sermons were certainly being preached on this text in early 1917; see this notable example from a service held in St Paul’s cathedral on 20 April 1917 to mark the entry of the USA into the war and attended by the King and Queen and the American ambassador. 

  3. The story of the same Judas Maccabeus from another book of the apocrypha, 1 Maccabees, is retold in an oratorio by G. F. Handel, Judas Maccabaeus, written for the Duke of Cumberland after his victory at the Battle of Culloden. 

7 April 1917; Saturday

Up at about 7.45. Very busy all day. A man brought in before dinner and was dead. He had a nasty wound above the left eye. Captain Strickland on all day. A man with a cut artery – posterior * artery, and it was drained† 3 times. Harvey and Holman said at night that the U S A have declared war on Germany. Were paid at night. I drew 40 francs. A very heavy bombardment at night and the 47 Division went over to our left. Germans used liquid fire. I saw the spray very well. Turned in about 10 o’clock.