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 about 8 o’clock. A glorious day. Read one of the sermons received from Joe. Read a sermon on †Judas and the Great Commonwealth†123. Were sitting outside at night when an aeroplane was shot above us. Came into the door of the dugout and a piece of shell fell pretty near. Splendid night. Harry Howells lost his pay book and 50 francs. Wrote a long letter to Joe. Had our usual porridge for supper. Bonny night. Read sermon in the †Great Commonwealth†. Turned in about 9.30.
“Judas and the Great Commonwealth”; the transcription is uncertain but, if correct, this sermon would have used a text from a book of the apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 13 vv 13-15, which describes how Judas Maccabeus, defending “the laws, the temple, the city, the country, and the commonwealth”, led a small army to victory against a superior foe by entrusting the outcome to God. ↩
Sermons were certainly being preached on this text in early 1917; see this notable example from a service held in St Paul’s cathedral on 20 April 1917 to mark the entry of the USA into the war and attended by the King and Queen and the American ambassador. ↩
The story of the same Judas Maccabeus from another book of the apocrypha, 1 Maccabees, is retold in an oratorio by G. F. Handel, Judas Maccabaeus, written for the Duke of Cumberland after his victory at the Battle of Culloden. ↩
Up at 8 o’clock. Not much to do all day. Read British Weekly and Sunday School magazine† received from home. The batteries put over a very heavy bombardment about 9 o’clock.
Rumour that U S A has declared war on Germany.
Received letter and papers from home and Joe.
Up at the usual time and on duty in the hospital as usual. Billy Truman sick and off work. I managed the feeding <and> treatment†. Had walk at night. Wrote letter home. Some preparations going on for making some accommodation for wounded, and the sick to be treated† in our old billet.
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. Kept pretty busy in the hospital all day. Sergeant Powell in rather a bad temper during the morning. Up at Y M at night and tried to write a letter.
Up at 7 o’clock. Marched off at 9.15. Had good march mostly on the main road. Our section leading. Had rain part of the way. Arrived at Pernes1 about 2 o’clock. Went into the village at night and wrote two letters at the Y M hall. Quite a big place with a market place. Billeted in a loft above a house.