Up at 8 o’clock. Helped to rig up dispensary during the morning. Did a bit French at dinner time. Walked into Méteren1 at night and called at Jeanne’s†2. Bought an apron for Gertie. Stayed a good while and talked. A young New Zealander there. Returned about 8 o’clock.
Up at 7 o’clock. Parade at 9.15 for inspection and afterwards gas inspection. Nothing to do in the afternoon. Walked into Doullens with Holman and met Harvey there. Went to the picture house. Bought some fancy work for Gertie and Dorothy. Returned about 8 o’clock. Had 4 eggs for tea.
Up at 7. No bread and rotten dinner, boiled bully. Got hair cut. Physical drill at 11 o’clock. Wrote to Gertie. Received two copies of the Daily News from home. Rain in the morning but fine in the afternoon. Got new cap two sizes too small. Paraded at 6 o’clock with the guard. Went on from 6 until 10 o’clock. Got two blankets and slept with Lee on a fairly comfortable bed in the hospital barn.
Up at 7 o’clock after a bad restless night. Hunted in shirt and pants and found about 6 big lice. Paraded in the morning for cleaning waggons etcetera and then physical drill. Lay down all afternoon – no parade. Had some peaches for tea. Received some papers from Betty and also a letter from home. Went out at night with Lee and called at a village. Bought some chocolate. Afterwards met Leaky and Duggins and went with them to Ribemont1. Had eggs, coffee and cakes and bread. Walked round village and bought card for Gertie. Saw a few thousand cavalry go by our village and understand they are going to charge in the morning.
Ribemont: presumably Ribemont-sur-Ancre, 7km SW of Albert, not Ribemont, SE of St Quentin. ↩
Up at 7.45. Got 9.30 train. Mr and Mrs Whittaker and Lizzie and Daisy to see me off besides Mother, Gertie and Dorothy. Father out first thing. Arrived at Alnwick about 12.30. At lecture in the afternoon.
Received letter from Betty in reply to mine1. Wrote acknowledgement and said that I would be travelling through Morpeth. Out in the town at night and got one or two things. A bottle of scent for Gertie and a brooch for Dorothy.
Got up about 7 o’clock. Dressed, paraded for pay, and got 10.20 train. Arrived Sunderland about 2 o’clock. Walked in as they were reading my letter saying I wasn’t going to get home. Played piano most of the afternoon. Went into town with Gertie at night, but it rained heavily and I sent Gertie back. Went to Whittakers’. Had supper. Met their soldier friend, Mr Spencer. Willie set me back. He looks all right in uniform1. Didn’t go to bed until late.
Got up at 9 o’clock. Played the piano and then went into the town before breakfast. In the afternoon played duets with Marmie and then walked out with Gertie. Called at Lily’s, Grandmother’s and Whittaker’s. Had tea at home, and then got 7.30 train. Father, Mother, Marmie, Gertie and Dorothy saw me off. Met Metcalfe at Newcastle. Fell in with two decent chaps too.
Left home for Alnwick.