Tag Archives: Nanteuil-la-Forêt

7 June 1918; Friday

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.

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.” 

  3. Hautvillers (B): 5km S. from Nanteuil-la-Forêt (A), 4km N. of Épernay; Michelin map 515 square D8. 

  4. Anniversary of Messines: See 7 June 1917

6 June 1918; Thursday

Up about 7 and on duty at 8 o’clock. The Germans attacked in the morning but gained little or nothing. We were busy all day and had some very bad cases through.

Brewis, Preston & Harman killed1 and a few men went down wounded gassed. Had bath at night and changed shirt.

  1. 89034 Private Robert Ernest Brewis, 84720 Private T E Preston and 53797 Private Albert Hiram Harman were killed on this day and were interred at the same site as Sharpe and Lewis a few days earlier. Their graves were also later concentrated to Marfaux. See notes re concentration of graves on 3 and 4 June.

    Brewis had, evidently recently, been awarded a Miltary Medal (recorded here, after his death, on 29 Aug 18) but no citation has been found. He was evidently from Burnopfield, a village about 17 miles W. of Sunderland, although there is no suggestion that ALL had known him well. 

4 June 1918; Tuesday

Up shortly after 6 o’clock. Fairly busy. A shell fell in amongst some of our chaps, killed Arthur Lewis123, and wounded Vince, Wright, McCarter, Bicknell and Tillot. Glorious weather. Slightly better news.

Concentration of Graves Record
Concentration of Graves Record. See footnotes. Click or tap to enlarge.
Location of Graves
Locations of Sharpe’s and Lewis’ graves. See footnotes.

  1. Arthur Lewis: Probably 42096 Private G A Lewis, 58th Field Ambulance, RAMC. Pte Lewis was, like Sharpe the previous day, initially buried at a site near the dressing station. His body was moved at the same time as Sharpe’s in February 1920 and is now buried at Marfaux British Cemetery. approximately 4km N of Nanteuil-la-Forêt; see yesterday’s entry

  2. The Concentration of Graves record reproduced above identifies both Lewis and Sharpe (killed yesterday) and gives the initial location of their graves as “221.8 x 266.3”, the lower of the two circles on the contemporary map also reproduced above, near a place named as Nanteuil-la-Fosse (clearly now known as Nanteuil-la-Forêt). 

  3. The co-ordinates given for Marfaux British Cemetery, where Lewis and Sharpe were re-interred, are given on the Concentration of Graves record as “269.9 x 220.8” (sic; actually 220.8 x 269.9), the upper of the two circles on the map (cf modern map accompanying the entry for 3 June). 

3 June 1918; Monday

Up about 6.30. On duty at 8 o’clock. Fine morning. Jerry commenced machine-gunning first thing. Heard that a chap called Sharpe1 had been killed in the morning. He was buried at night near to the dressing station2 and we paraded for it. Had short walk at night.

Received 3 letters, 2 from home and one from Ranald MacDonald.

  1. Sharpe: Probably 118184 Private F E Sharpe, 58th Field Ambulance, RAMC. Now buried at Marfaux British Cemetery (B), approximately 4km N of Nanteuil-la-Forêt (A). 

  2. Sharpe was re-interred at Marfaux British Cemetery in February 1920, as part of the “concentration of graves” process initiated by the Army Graves Service. See glossary at the CWGC and Lewis on 4 June

31 May 1918; Friday

Turned in at 1 o’clock and slept until about 6, [3 words deleted by ALL] this without undressing and with one blanket. Went on duty about 7 o’clock. Busy in the afternoon, †our dressing station† evening. Finished at 8 pm. Left the place full of wounded. Jerry came over and dropped bombs pretty near about 11 o’clock.

30 May 1918; Thursday

Up pretty early and on duty at 7 o’clock. The place shelled and we moved up the bank. A battery of field guns came behind us and about noon we moved. Just as we were leaving about 6 shells fell into the camp and killed two slightly wounded men. A beautiful (though warm) walk through the woods and country. Arrived at Nantueil [sic]1 about 5 o’clock. Opened up dressing station straight away. Worked until about 1 o’clock.

  1. Nanteuil: presumably Nanteuil-la-Forêt (B), 10km SE. from Chambrecy (A), 17km WSW. of Reims; Michelin 515 square D8.