Ranald MacDonald appears to have been known to Arthur Linfoot through the South Durham Street United Methodist Free Church. He is first mentioned on 30 August 1914. Intermittent correspondence with Ranald MacDonald continues throughout the diaries. See also Private Ranald MacDonald at Lives of the First World War.
Up about 7 and went to the baths all day. Pretty unsatisfactory job. Finished about 4 o’clock. Commenced to write letter to Ranald MacDonald and didn’t finish it. Heard that we have taken another 100 guns and advanced further. Guns sound a long way off.
Up at 7 o’clock. Detailed for working parade at A D S at 9. Worked until 2 and then walked back. Billy Truman, Harvey, I and three other men on it. Received a letter from Ranald MacDonald. Wrote letters at night. Free day. Heard of another push down south.
Up shortly after 6 o’clock. A lot of messing about and marched off 10 o’clock. Arrived, after numerous stops at our headquarters about 4.30. Headquarters near Esems1. Got a kip, had tea, read letters. One told me of the death of Kenneth MacDonald2 and another of the death of Mr Rowe. Fairly tired. Got down to it early.
Esems: not identified under this name; something that looks more like Essars (B), 20km ENE of Floringhem (A) occurs on 2 October (Michelin square H4); see 2 October. ↩
Kenneth MacDonald, Ranald MacDonald’s brother whom ALL had noted as missing on 27 August. ↩
On duty at 9 o’clock. Not much to do. Lay down for an hour about 4.30. Relieved at 9 o’clock. Had a short lie in bed and then relieved from headquarters. Walked down to headquarters at Gonnehem1 and arrived in time for dinner. Billet in a hut with proper beds and bedclothes. Slept most of afternoon. Had walk after tea with Harvey and Billy Truman and slept with Billy in a real bed. Slept well. Heard from Ranald MacDonald that his brother Kenneth is missing.
Gonnehem (B): 4km N. of Choques (A); Michelin square H4. ↩
Up about 7 o’clock. Busy until 6 o’clock at night. Walked round town and round pit head. Saw the engine room, the winding gear and watched men and tubs going up and down. Watched the girls sorting at the screening place. Very interesting. Had a drink of coffee with Steve Bott and Edgar, Billy and Steve. The news pretty good. Received letter from Ernie and one from Ranald MacDonald. Jerry over at night but dropped nothing very close.
Up about 7 o’clock. On parade and dismissed. Spent morning and afternoon reading and writing. Received interesting letter from Charlie and a letter from Ranald MacDonald. Better news from Italy. Went into village at night and heard the Italian band play. It was very good.
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.
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. ↩
Up about 7 o’clock. Received 4 patients in the ward and had to attend to one sick officer in his billet. Glorious day. Our Commanding Officer and medico came round in the evening. Wrote letter to Ernie. Wrote letter to Ranald McDonald at night.