Up about 7 o’clock. On double1. Spent morning practising stretcher business. In afternoon played football. First game I have played since I left school. Sprained my ankle at the start of the match but kept on playing. Had short walk at night but had to turn it in2.
Up about 7 o’clock and on double1 as usual. Spent morning at stretcher drill. Went to match in the afternoon. We scored first half. They equalised second half. Played extra time and we scored shortly before time. Ambulance team beat North Lancs 2 – 12. Letter in the Daily News from Lord Lansdowne asking what we are fighting for?3
Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, famously wrote a letter which called for Britain to negotiate a peace with Imperial Germany in 1917. The letter was published in The Daily Telegraph on 29 November 1917; presumably The Daily News had subsequently picked up the story. The letter was highly controversial at the time. See Lansdowne Letter at Wikipedia. ↩
Up shortly before 7 o’clock. Paraded at 10 o’clock with full pack and were inspected first by the C.O. and afterwards by the A D M S 1.
In the afternoon went to the football match between our team and the North Lancs2. A very exciting game. They scored in the second half and we scored in the last three minutes. Played extra time 10 minutes and played the Lancs to a standstill, but couldn’t score.
Up at 7 o’clock. On parade in the morning. Wet day. I played the part of wounded man and was carried on a stretcher for the first time in my life. Football match in the afternoon between our team and the King’s Own1, first round in the cup tie – and we won 6 – 0. Received papers from home and “Everyman”2 published my letter in reply to Roderick Random. Received letter from Charlie written on the 28th October.
Up at about 7 o’clock. On parade in the morning doing squad drill. Swim before dinner. Pay parade in the afternoon. I swotted a little French. Football match at night between our team and the Lancs brigade. We won 2 – 0. Had walk round with Holman and finished up with eggs at the station cafe with John Dory, Harvey and Holman.
Definite news from Piggy Wood that we are moving in a day or two.
Italians doing well and captured 20,000 prisoners, French over 7,000.
We are fighting very hard round Lens and in front of Ypres1.
“We are fighting very hard . . . in front of Ypres . . .”: this was no doubt a reference to Passchendaele (or the Third Battle of Ypres; see 31 July). Passchendaele (now Passendale) is at (A) on the map. Lens is further south (at B, Michelin square D5), about half-way between Ypres and the Somme battlefield; it had been behind the German line until early 1917, when the Germans withdrew to their Hindenburg Line, thus obtaining a considerably shorter and much more heavily-fortified defensive line, and surrendering the Somme area, Bapaume, Péronne and Noyon. ↩
[This entry written on page for 16 March, “16” altered to “15”.]
Up at 8 o’clock and rested all day. Spent the forenoon in the village. After dinner cleaned waggons and then went to the Canadian camp and listened to the Divisional band and watched two football matches. After tea went round the village with Stanton. Called in the church and stayed a few minutes to a service and heard the organ. Turned in pretty early.
Up about 7 o’clock. Missed the parade. Got off in the afternoon and went in the bus to the football match. About 14 kilos ride. Lovely day. Enjoyed the ride. Our team lost. Loyal North Lancs 3 – 1. Divisional band after dinners. Got back at tea time. Only peas†.
Up about 7.30. Rained heavily in the morning. Played football good part of the day. Had bath in the afternoon in the village of Aveloy1. Got out fine in the evening. Helped Billington as usual. Helped with the supper at the officers’ mess. Rumours of peace, which we would like to believe but dare not. No post.
Shelled heavily during the night and not so far away.
Aveloy: there is an Aveluy (A), 2km N. of Albert town centre, not far from the Brickfields camp (B), Michelin square H7. ↩