Up about 7 o’clock. On fatigue all day [“morning” written above, but “day” not erased]. Got pass to go and see Ernie in the afternoon. Walked to Dikbush and when I found the place he wasn’t there. Got tea with them and left about 5 o’clock, after speaking on the telephone to Ernie. Walked back by La Clytte and called in to Y M C A. Got back about 8 and wrote to Charlie but didn’t get letter finished. Warned for working party in the morning.
Up about 7.30. Decided to go to meet Ernie but he came to see me with a friend. Harvey joined us and we walked into Locre and back by La Clytte1. He told me that he had been recommended for a Military Medal2. Had good time together. Had tea in Locre.
The map shows this journey, from Kemmel (A) to Locre (B) and back via La Clytte (C). ↩
Although not recorded in the diary, Ernie had been awarded the Military Medal on 4th October for repairing communication wiring at night in No Man’s Land. The staff officer who saw Ernie doing it recommended him for the award because – perhaps with limited experience of front-line realities – he assumed it must be an exceptional act of bravery; an assumption about which Ernie remained indignant for the rest of his life. Courageous it clearly was (however modest Ernie may have been about it), but it was routine rather than exceptional. See further narrative about Ernie and the R.G.A. in the footnote on 12 May 1916, all posts tagged “Ernie” and the Family page. ↩
Up at 7 o’clock. Off in the afternoon and night and went to La Clytte to see Ernie, but he didn’t turn up. Gus Rodman and Bob Walker with me. Stayed to the service at the La Clytte Y M. Service not up to much. An R F C motor-cyclist came to grief on the way down and we helped him. Not much worse. Beautiful night. Turned in in good time. Received field card from Ernie to say he couldn’t get.
Up at 6 o’clock. Got ready for the march. Fine morning. Arrived at Mont des Cats12 at about 1 o’clock. Very hot on the march and the heavy bank at the end nearly did us all in. A splendid place. An old priory or something of the sort with monks in it. A very large place. Watched view from the top. Had dinner and then went to our billets upstairs. On night duty. Went on at 7.30. Old Sergeant Wilson incensed†. Didn’t get down to bed at all. Took officer’s temperature. Sat in easy chairs to sleep.
ALL brought home a postcard (image above) from his 1935 tour of his battlefields showing the Abbey at Mont des Cats, with a note that he had lived there for a week. Interestingly, the name “Mont des Cats” had been neatly excised from the card, presumably during WW1 for security reasons – but the card must still have been in the shop’s stock in 1935. ↩
Up at 6.30. Packed all up and ready to move. Left about 10 o’clock and marched to Le Clyte [sic]1. I had a touch of diarrhoea and fell out at Locre and visited a latrine there. Followed them up and arrived shortly after 6. Spent afternoon cleaning up equipment. Had a dose of castor oil. Went over Mont Rouge2 at night with Harvey and Holman. Splendid night and I enjoyed the walk. Sat on the hill and looked round a bit. Returned via West Outer [sic] 3. Went to bed about 9 o’clock.
Up shortly after 7 o’clock. Paraded at 9. Cleaning waggons until 12 o’clock. Sergeant-major ordered me over Baileul after dinner1. Gave me five minutes’ notice. Rode down in car with Bromley. A splendid place. Washed and cleaned up in the afternoon and then went to the concert. A very good concert. Good orchestra. First half turns and second half “dramatic fragments.” Looked up news at night, which spoke of heavy fighting. Went to bed late.
Will have to play my cards very carefully. Finished reading Villette2.
“Baileul”: Baileul: ALL always omits one ‘l’ from ‘Bailleul’ in his longhand; the transcription follows this, but where he writes it in shorthand, ie phonetically, it is transcribed with the correct spelling. Bailleul (B), is 10km SSW of La Clyttte/Klijte (A). As usual “after dinner” means “after lunch”; the move to Bailleul would have been in the afternoon, not the evening. ↩
Up at 7 o’clock. On working party at 9. Busy in the end place with Harvey again. Worked pretty hard. Sergeant MacDonell in charge. Returned about 5 o’clock. Went to Locre† at night to the Bible class. Saw Sandwith there. Had very good little meeting. Went down with Holman.
Up at 7 o’clock. On working party at 9 o’clock. Very busy all day in the end breaking through into the old passage. The Germans shelling a battery behind us and we watched shells falling very thickly. Returned about 5 o’clock. Sergeant Watson in charge. Had short walk at night with Holman.
Up at 7 o’clock. At the hospital on duty. Cleaned things pretty well up. Finished at night at 6.30 and were relieved by A section. Had short walk out at night.
Up at 7 o’clock. On duty all day. Read a good deal. Stayed on until 8 o’clock for Billy Truman. Pretty cloudy all day.