Tag Archives: Map

Diary entries which illustrate the locations of the events recorded using maps. See also Maps.

19 July 1917; Thursday

Up at 7 o’clock. Cleaned dixie in the morning. Had jacket mended at Madame’s. Ernie down in the afternoon and I walked up to Kemmel†1 with him after seeing the town and having tea at a little place in town. Both had a lot to say. On duty at night. An officer of Freddie’s taken rather worse and needed attention.

Ernie paid me a visit.

  1. Kemmel (A) (if correct transcription), a small town in Belgium just over midway between Bailleul (B), where ALL was stationed, and Dikkebus (C), where Ernie was stationed. 

5 July 1917; Thursday

Up at 7 o’clock. Busy all morning. Lieutenant Jones number 2 turned up again in the afternoon with his ankle trouble and two brothers in beds next to one another.

Ernie called to see me and met me as I was putting Captain Stridgeham’s kit into the ambulance. He looked round the place, had a wash and brush up and then we had tea †in the small town, looked† round and back again. I set him up to Locre. He is at Dikbush1 with 8” guns. Told one another a few adventures. Jolly called to see me.

Walked round with Walker at night.

  1. Dikbush: apparently (Flemish) Dikkebus (A); Michelin square J3, 4km SE. of Ypres and 12km NE of Bailleul (B) where ALL was stationed at the time. 

7 June 1917; Thursday

[Written above date:] Messines – Wytschaete1

Awake at 3.15 am with the mines going up2 and shaking the ground. The barrage commenced then and continued until 9 o’clock. Most intense bombardment in the world’s history. A man on the battery behind got his heart smashed† with the recoil of the gun and we brought him round to the aid post. Bascombe, Driver, Lee and I in number 8 squad from 2 parade. Went up the line about 9 o’clock. Brought our first case from the Red Line3 post. German trenches absolutely knocked out of existence. A fair number of Germans dead, but not many injured. A good number of German prisoners, who carried down wounded as they came. Worked from the relay post (our old front line) to the P & O4 line most of the afternoon. The first party went down at about 9 o’clock. We stayed on for the night. Called out before midnight to go to the blue line. A long walk and we were shelled most of the way down. Had to go round to P & O trench and were shelled very heavily at the new dugout.

  1. Messines village (Mesen; A), on the crest of the Messines Ridge, is 9km due S. of Ypres (Ieper), about half-way to Armentières; Wytschaete (Wijtschate; B) is 2km N. of Messines: Michelin square J3. 

  2. “The mines going up”: This was the beginning of the Battle of Messsines Ridge, which started at 3:10 am with the detonation of 19 large mines under German army lines, still said to be collectively one of the largest non-nuclear explosions of all time; see note on 22 May. It is interesting that by the time ALL wrote up this date in his diary – which would necessarily have been a few days later – it was already known (or at least being said) that this had been (in ALL’s own words) the “most intense bombardment in the world’s history.” The mines are well known to have been heard as far away as London. 

  3. The Red Line, Blue Line etc were targets set for the British advance on specified days of the attack. 

  4. P&O is the correct reading. Other contemporary records speak of a P&O line or trench, but none appears to offer any clue about the derivation of the name. See contemporary map (with “P&O trench” clearly visible) and associated discussion at this page on the Great War Forum. This P&O trench is said to be to the South-West of Sint Elooi (a.k.a. St. Eloi; C on the map), which would put it somewhere to the North of Wytschaete. 

10 May 1917; Thursday

Up at 5.30. Turned in after a bath and slept until about 1 o’clock. Up pretty early but had no dinner. Ordered at 3.50 to be ready at 4.15 to go to Baileul. Got out there and marched off with the party. Captain Jackson and a few men came down from Ypres to the town track† shortly before we got there. Fell out at Meteren 1 and waited about half an hour for Sergeant Holmes. Had short walk round the town at night and got down to bed pretty late. Very warm day.

  1. The map shows the entire journey, from Mont des Cats (A), via Méteren (B), where ALL fell out during the journey, and back to Bailleul (C). 

7 May 1917; Monday

Up at 5.30. Took temperatures and emptied bucket as usual. Turned into bed about 9 o’clock and slept until 2 o’clock. Walked into the village of Berthen1 after tea. Read a bit in the afternoon and went on duty at night. Shaved† two officers – one deaf and had killed† a lot of Germans. Busy until after midnight. Went to sleep at 2 o’clock and woke at 5 o’clock.

  1. Berthen (B): 2km E of Mont des Chats (A) and midway between Poperinghe (to the North) and Bailleul (to the South), rather to the W. of both; Michelin square I3. 

6 May 1917; Sunday

Up at 5.30. Kept busy until 7 o’clock. Finished at 7.30 and had breakfast. Went into bed but slept badly. Up at 2 o’clock and washed. Did a bit French in the afternoon. Glanced at the British Weekly. At the evening C of E service in the dinner hour. News that the British have lost Bullecourt1, but the French have advanced a bit and captured some prisoners.

  1. Bullecourt is in the triangle Arras-Cambrai-Bapaume, 4km E. of the A1/E15 road; Michelin square J6. 

2 May 1917; Wednesday

Postcard of the Abbey at Mont des Cats
Postcard of the Abbey at Mont des Cats (see footnote)

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.

  1. Mont des Cats (B): 12km W. of La Clytte/Klijte (A), Michelin squares H3/I3. 

  2. 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. 

1 May 1917; Tuesday

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.

  1. “Le Clyte”: The march was from Bailleul (A) to La Clytte (now Klijte; B). La Clytte is about 10km NE of Bailleul. 

  2. Mont Rouge (C): Now known as Rodeberg, a peak 143m high about 1.5km W. of Locre/Loker. 

  3. West Outer (if correct): Westouter (D), 4km W. of La Clytte/Klijte, Michelin square I3. 

28 April 1917; Saturday

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.

  1. Méteren (B); 3km W of Bailleul (A). 

  2. Jeanne’s: Possibly the same “Jeanes” or “Jennis” mentioned on 20 March. A café? 

26 April 1917; Thursday

Up shortly after 7 o’clock. Paraded at 9. Cleaning waggons until 12 o’clock. Sergeant-major ordered me over Baileul [sic] 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 fragment.” 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.

  1. “Baileul”: Actually Bailleul (B), 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. 

  2. Villette: Novel by Charlotte Brontë first mentioned by ALL on 9th April. See also Arthur Linfoot’s Library