Tag Archives: Mack

The Mack family in Alnwick appear to have been members of the Clayport Presbyterian Church, which Arthur Linfoot attended regularly during his days in Alnwick. He appears to have been particularly fond of Betty Mack.

13 July 1916; Thursday

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.


  1. Ribemont: presumably Ribemont-sur-Ancre, 7km SW of Albert, not Ribemont, SE of St Quentin. 

24 June 1916; Saturday

Received letter from Betty telling me that she understood1, but would like to keep on corresponding with me. I replied. Physical drill. [Some words about ‘drill’ crossed out by ALL.] Also foot and chest inspection in the morning. No parades in the afternoon. Wrote letter. Went to boxing test at night and saw about 6 matches and some decent boxing. Went to bed early after talking a bit with Walsh. Saw 3 observation balloons up.


  1. This letter from Betty may have been her reply to the letter to her written by ALL on 15th June and posted on 16th. Neither of those earlier diary entries offers any clue about the reason for Betty’s understanding. 

16 June 1916; Friday

Paraded in the morning and marched to Raineville. * whole brigade marched past and presented a most interesting sight. Carried full pack about 8 miles. Warm day. Fine new billet. In a barn in a French house. I had coffee and lay in the house. Quaint old fashioned house with big fire place. New billet much cleaner than the old one. Went to bed early.

Raineville1.

Wrote letter home and posted letter to Betty.


  1. Rainneville (B): 10km NNE of Amiens and about 30km E of Longpré-les-Corps-Saints (A); on D11; ref G8. ALL spells it “Raineville”, but it is only identifiable in Michelin with the two n’s; the location seems consistent. See also Note on Locations in France

13 May 1916; Saturday

On parade in the morning. Fine afternoon. Went for walk with Leishman. Walked up from Nether Green car1 to Wyming Valley and back by Rivelin Valley2. Grand walk and grand day. Had tea in Hudson’s café and returned to barracks about 8 o’clock. Commenced letter to Betty.

Received letter from Ernie saying he has joined R.G.A. 3 and leaves Sunderland for Great Yarmouth on Tuesday next.

Leishman4 told me all about dissecting bodies.


  1. “Car”: means tram-car, as usual. 

  2. Nether Green (A on the map) is c. 2½ miles WSW of Sheffield city centre, on the Fulwood Road. Wyming Brook (B on the map) is a river which flows from Redmires Reservoirs near the Hallam Moors in a northeasterly direction down quite steep terrain into the lower of the Rivelin Dams. The River Rivelin rises on the Hallam moors and joins the River Loxley at Malin Bridge (D on the map). The Rivelin Valley (C on the map) is a three and a half mile long woodland valley which now includes the popular Rivelin Valley Nature Trail, created in 1967. See also Sheffield map

  3. “R.G.A.”: See 12 May 1916

  4. Corporal John Leishman (service number 73063) may have had some medical-technician occupation; as with some other comrades, ALL remained in occasional touch with him when no longer in the same unit.