Tag Archives: Draft

Arthur Linfoot was not sent to France straight from his Sheffield training, though quite a lot of his comrades were. In October 1915 he was sent to a camp at Alnwick in Northumberland. He was sent back to Sheffield in March 1916, put on a draft to France, and was home on final leave from 3 to 7 April; but he was then taken off that draft, and was not put onto another until 26 May. These drafts for France were no doubt part of the build-up for the Somme attack, which began some six weeks later.

27 May 1916; Saturday

On parade in the morning as usual. Went to Inwoods’ after dinner and missed train through being late. Went by bus to Hallam Gate1 and walked to Wharncliffe Cross. Fine day but thundery at tea time, but we had splendid day and walked back. Played games and asked conundrums on the way back. Leishman and I went for bread and had some cakes given to us. Stayed until late. Had grand day out.

Leishman put off the draft.

  1. ALL’s last “grand day out” before his departure to France was “splendid”, and sounds like a comparatively rural walk, so it would be nice to trace it exactly; but it’s difficult. Leishman and ALL (and who else?) must have gone first from the Hillsborough Barracks to the Inwoods’ house, in Broughton St, Hillsborough. Then they “missed train” (or “missed Brian”? but no Brian is named anywhere in the Diary); the nearest rail stations were at Parkwood and Wadsley Bridge, on the line between Sheffield and Penistone, to the NW. So they got a bus; to the same intended destination? The Diary seems to say ‘to Hallam Gate’ (though ‘Gate’ isn’t certain). There was a Hallam Gate Road and a big Hallam Gate house in the Crookes district, 1½ miles due W of the city centre, but ‘Wharncliffe’ names occur out of the city, NW from Hillsborough, so it would be illogical to get a bus to Hallam Gate Road to start walking there. The location of Wharncliffe Cross itself has not been traced, but one’s best guess is that it might be at or near Wharncliffe Wood, NE of Oughtibridge (A6102, 5 miles NW of Sheffield), about 3-4 miles for the walk back to Broughton Street or the barracks. 

30 April 1916; Sunday

[The pages for 29 & 30 April, which face each other, are badly smudged, in part illegible.]

At church in the morning. Band of Hope and * anniversary. Went again in the evening with Green. At Inwoods’ to tea. Slipped away from church at night to see the men before they go. Draft went to France. 500 men and a few N.C.O.s. All Alnwick men<,> nearly went with them. Paraded 9.30. Marched off about 11 o’clock. Awful crowd in the town. Great excitement. Left station shortly after 12 o’clock. The band played them out and there was tremendous cheering. Shook hands with Jackson, Foot, Metcalfe, Plummer, Parkin†, and all the rest of them. Also Willie Hunter, and George Baglin†.

3 April 1916; Monday

A lot of parading with the draft. Route march in the afternoon and we lay down a long time while the band played. Received orders to put in passes in the afternoon. Received them back at night. Borrowed 5/-­ off Bennett. Wired home. Got the 8.33. Delayed at York. Arrived about 2 o’clock at home. Watson and I travelled to Sunderland together.

Home on Final Leave.

30 March 1916; Thursday

Turned out at 7 o’clock parade and left it early after reporting Jackson sick. On parade at 9, 10.30 as usual and went to be medically examined at 11.30 in the orderly room. Both Captain McGlashan and another officer along with Lieutenant Johnson examined me. Got leave off route march in the afternoon and dusted. Tea brought along with Jackson. Arm pretty painful. Rumours current about final leave and Holden told me we would probably get it.

Got to know definitely that I’m on the draft.

In soldiers’ home at night. Wrote up diary.

29 March 1916; Wednesday

On 7 o’clock parade, but left it after calling roll. On parade as usual in the morning. Half day off in the afternoon and stayed in the room lay in bed all the afternoon. Up for tea and out last thing in the soldiers’ home. Our men paraded for overseas boots and I was told that I am not on the draft. Spoke to Sergeant-­Major Ford and he said he would try to get me there.

20 March 1916; Monday

Up at 6 o’clock. No 7 parade on account of wet. Paraded at 9 in greatcoats. Lecture by officer. Parade 10.30 to 11.30 and another lance corporal and I drilled everyone there. An officer joined me too. Lecture by N.C.O. at 11.45 and at 12.30 we paraded for the major, but he didn’t turn up. Paraded again at 2 and were taken in and examined for the draft. Pinkney and Watson turned back. Party taken up to hospital and vaccinated.


Went to Wesleyan recreation room and wrote up diary. Spoke to Staff Sergeant Boys.