Up at about [7 written over 6, or vice versa?] o’clock. Paraded and marched off at 9.30. Marched through Dizy and Épernay. Arrived at Pierry1 about dinnertime and found ourselves billeted near a château. The château outhouse to be the hospital. Had a C E service behind the château at night. Only a handful there. Beautiful swans. Walked in the woods later with Harvey and had a long talk.
[1½ lines crossed out by ALL.] On parade in the morning and cleaned up waggons a bit. Spent afternoon reading and writing. Lovely place. In the evening walked with Holman to a village and back to Dizy1 later.
Jerry commenced to shell the village in the early hours of the morning. We were awake from about 3 o’clock. A big shell dropped into the end of the dressing hut. Killed a gassed patient, badly wounded the CO (he died at C C S a few hours later)12 and wounded Smith and Surridge. We packed up and moved down to a farm near Hautvillers3. Rested after arrival at midday. Glorious evening. Billy Truman and Lieutenant Mann went down with the C O and reported that he died just before being operated upon. Anniversary of Messines4.
The Commanding Officer of the 58th Field Ambulance at this date was Captain (Acting Lieutenant-Colonel) Richard Amyas Preston M.B., B.S.. Captain Preston was born on 15th April 1891. He was just over one year younger than ALL, being 27 years of age at the time of his death, had already served in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 and had enlisted in the R.A.M.C. in August 1914, initially at the rank of Lieutenant. He had been CO of the 58th Field Ambulance since September 1917. See also Richard Amyas PRESTON M.B., B.S. at RAMC in the Great War and Lieutenant Colonel Richard Amyas Preston at Lives of the First World War. ↩
From A Short History of the 19th (Western) Division 1914-1918 (John Murray, 1919), page 88: “Lieut.-Col. R A Preston, MC, RAMC, No 58 Field Ambulance, was mortally wounded on June 7th while superintending the evacuation of wounded from the Main Dressing Station at NANTEUIL.” ALL has written in the margin of his copy “Killed a few yards from me.” ↩