Tag Archives: Aitken

Mr Aitken was management at the Hendon Paper Mill, and Arthur Linfoot’s boss before he joined the RAMC. His death is recorded in September 1917. See also William Robertson Aitken and diary entries about Arthur Linfoot’s work at the Hendon Paper Mill.

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“. 

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. 

20 September 1917; Thursday

Up at 5 o’clock. Got on our overalls and waited until 9 before the first batch of wounded were down. I worked most of the day with the new American officer, Lieutenant Gutteridge. Went off about 8 or 9 o’clock. Between 4-500 cases.

Day of big push1.

Mr Aitken died2.

Battle of Ridges commenced3.


  1. “Big push”: Presumably the “Battle of Ridges” mentioned below. 

  2. Mr Aitken had been ALL’s boss at the Hendon Paper Mill. ALL’s longhand note recording Aitken’s death on this date was added later; the news had not yet reached him

  3. “Battle of Ridges”: Probably the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. Sometimes called “Battle of the Menin Road”, this was the third British general attack of the Third Battle of Ypres. The battle took place from 20–25 September 1917. Like the above longhand note about Mr Aitken, this was probably added later – ALL clearly knew of a “big push” on this day but probably only later came to know it as “Battle of Ridges”. 

6 November 1915; Saturday

Got up at 9 o’clock. Walked down to the office1 about 12 o’clock. Saw all but Oliver and Mr Aitken. Oliver has enlisted in the Royal Engineers and is at the War Office. George to be married next Wednesday. Edward leaving to go to Fourstones2. Didn’t see Mr Aitken. Walked round the town with Joe in the afternoon. Played the piano a bit. Mrs Wiseman and Co. to tea. Went down to see Willie Wanless.


  1. “The office”: Hendon Paper Mill, where ALL had been employed prior to joining the RAMC. See Sunderland map

  2. “Fourstones” refers to another paper mill (marked on map) near a village of the same name, between Hexham and Haydon Bridge on the river South Tyne. The Edward mentioned in this diary entry evidently planned to take up employment there.

    Unlike the Hendon Paper Mill, Fourstones Paper Mill remains a thriving business to this day. 

2 March 1915; Tuesday

Pretty busy at the office. Wrote for two boys to call. Two boys called and were interviewed by Mr Aitken regarding† the office-­boy’s job. I shaved and played a bit, and went round by Gordon’s and paid his bill and placed an order. Called by the chapel and came up with Blaikie and Billy Whittaker. Talked to Blaikie until after 10 o’clock. Lay awake tonight with toothache.

1 March 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Tom Faichen commenced in the mill. Father recommenced work at 9 oclock, first turn out since his accident. I had to do Mr Aitken’s letters, the summary, and the forecasts. Received news that the Queen Elizabeth 15 inch gun ship1 has been engaged at the Dardanelles. Wrote for two boys to call.


  1. HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched on 16 October 1913 and entered service in January 1915. She was the only modern battleship to participate in naval operations in the Dardanelles