Up at 7.15. On duty as usual. Busy at dinner time. Received letters from Ernie and Charlie. Replied to both. Fine day. Heard that the French have captured 19,000 prisoners and 100 guns.
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 *.
Up at 7 by new time – 6 in reality1. On duty as usual. Sandwith and a friend came very gamely to see me in the morning and we talked of the war. We were issued with waterproof capes in the evening. Received letter from Ernie. Went to service at the Y M at night and after the service played the piano until closing time, while several other chaps sang. Had a good time. First time I have played since last August. Went to bed and swotted a bit French last thing.
Up at 7 o’clock, on duty as usual in the hospital. Finished after dinner and went up to Y M. Wrote two letters, one to Ernie and one to Charlie. Stayed to tea. Came down and received a letter from home. Heard that we are moving this weekend. Went to the concert of the * Shifters and it was not up to much.
Busy all day. Finished at 6 o’clock and went up to the service in the Mairie. The padre was very good and we enjoyed the service. Received letter from Ernie, also parcel from Betty.
Heard that at the French victory at Verdun 9 000 prisoners and 81 guns had been captured.
Up about 7 o’clock. Helped officers’ servants by washing up breakfast things. Wrote letters to Ernie and Charlie. Wet day again. Received letter from Hilda Linfoot1.
Hilda Linfoot: believed to be Hilda Tate Linfoot, ALL’s cousin, daughter of Charles Poulter Linfoot, who with his brother William Gaylard Linfoot and their families emigrated to New Zealand on 25 July 1912. Hilda had sent ALL a birthday card in January 1914 (Diary, 31 January 1914). Very little other communication is recorded until now, but the Diary mentions further letters in 1917 and 1918, and Hilda’s address in Auckland is noted in ALL’s 1917 Diary. See also Family page. ↩
Up at 7.15. On fatigue in the morning picking up leaves. Had a bath at dinner-time and got a new shirt and pair of pants. Physical drill and smoke helmet drill in the afternoon. Wrote letters and diary in the evening. Captain Birrell spoke to me about a letter which <I> had written home and told me not to mention anything about journeys†1. I got the letter back.
Received letter from Ernie, and one from Ray McRoss.
Letters home from the front would doubtless have been subject to censorship. ALL was evidently in the habit of including details of his movements in France in letters home, probably in very much the same way as he did in his diaries. Unlike in letters home, there does not appear to have been any prohibition on the use of personal diaries in this way. ↩
Called up at 6 o’clock. Had breakfast shortly before 8 and was relieved then. Wrote letter to Joe and one to Charlie. Went on at 12 o’clock. Was relieved shortly before 2 o’clock. Just beginning dinner when we received orders to go to our billet and pack our kit. Packed kit in 20 minutes and paraded by the A.S.C. park. Had tea and waited. Received orders to go back to the billet and wait there. Beautiful afternoon. Wrote to Ernie. Turned in at the usual time.
At church parade. Wrote letter to Betty and one to Ernie in the afternoon. Green and I went to Inwoods’ to tea and supper. At church at night. The choir sang “While she dwelt in the land” in the morning.