Tag Archives: Rouen

17 September 1918; Tuesday

Travelled all day until about 2 o’clock when we arrived at Pernes1. Marched to the reception camp at Floringhem2 and put up for the night. Saw Piggy Wood and Don Gordon. A lot of Americans there – hefty fellows. Poor billet.

  1. Pernes (B), about 160km NE of Rouen (A). 

  2. Floringhem (C): close to Pernes on the D916, midway between St Pol and Lillers; Michelin square G5. 

15 September 1918; Sunday

Up about 9. At the Madeleine church in the morning to a service and walked through the Tuileries Gardens1. Had lunch at the Y M near the barracks. Went up to the Invalides2 in the afternoon and had a hurried look at Napoleon’s tomb and then back, tea and to the train. Moved off at about 4.40. Had an A S C man in the carriage who †had been south†. He spoke French and was rather enlightening†. Arrived at Rouen3 about mid-night.

  1. The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It was created by Catherine de’ Medici as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564 and is famously the subject of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, No. 3, “Tuileries (Children’s Quarrel after Games)”. 

  2. Les Invalides is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans. 

  3. Rouen (B), about 120km NW. of Paris (A). 

7 September 1918; Saturday

Travelled all night in truck and arrived at Rouen about 9 o’clock1. Left our things at a rest camp, had dinner2 at a restaurant and visited the town. Went through St Ouen’s church3 and up the tower, and through the cathedral4. Pleasant day. Moved off at 9 o’clock at night to Paris5.

  1. ALL arrived at 9:00am, having travelled all night. 

  2. “Dinner” means “lunch”, as usual. 

  3. Saint-Ouen Abbey Church is a Gothic church in Rouen. It is famous for both its architecture and its Cavaillé-Coll organ, described as “a Michelangelo of an organ” by Charles-Marie Widor, which would doubtless have been of some interest to ALL (himself a capable organist) although he makes no mention if it here. 

  4. Rouen cathedral; the other famous Gothic church of Rouen. 

  5. The map shows ALL’s continuing journey, from Rouen (A) to Paris (B), where he eventually arrived on 8 September. 

6 September 1918; Friday

Up at 6 o’clock. Set out for Lillers at 7. Left Lillers about 10. Changed at Etaples and left for Rouen1 at 9 o’clock. Travelled all night in box truck.

  1. The map shows the entire journey from Gonnehem (A) to Rouen (D), where ALL eventually arrived on the morning of 7 September, via Lillers (B) and Étaples (C). 

7 June 1916; Wednesday

Up at 5 o’clock. Breakfast at 9 o’clock.Paraded for gas helmets. Had dinner at 11 o’clock. Paraded squad 11.45. Left some of the men including Green to follow 1.15. Marched down to station. Had a bit bother about getting into the train. Left at 3.50. Train moved very slowly. Stopped at siding place all night and we left the train about 8.30 and got some tea and cake at a canteen. Tried to sleep at night but pretty uncomfortable and cold.

Received news of the loss of Kitchener1 on the Hampshire.

  1. Field-Marshal Earl (Herbert) Kitchener of Khartoum (1850 – 1916): secured Sudan, 1898; Commander-in-Chief, 2nd Boer War, 1900 – 02; Commander-in-Chief, India (1902 – 09; the Viceroy, Lord Curzon, resigned), then Consul-General in Egypt; Secretary of State for War (1914 – 16); was going to Russia for negotiations in the Tyne-built cruiser HMS Hampshire (which had been present at the Battle of Jutland a few days before: see reference on 31 May.) It struck a mine West of Orkney, in bad weather, on 5 June. K’s home was Broome Park, at Denton near Canterbury.  

6 June 1916; Tuesday

Up at 5 o’clock. Breakfast at 6 o’clock. Two route marches morning and afternoon. Detailed off for places. Green 12†th Division1 and I to the 19th. All the party hopelessly split up. Walked round camp at night. Said goodbye to Bennett, Metcalfe, Salisbury, Pinkney and one or two more.

  1. This looks something like (figures) 12th, but no 12th Division was there at the start of the Somme (I assume that this RAMC draft had been sent out specially for the build-up of troops for the Somme offensive.) I can’t interpret the characters as shorthand for any of the Divisional numbers which were there. 

5 June 1916; Monday

Up at 5 o’clock. Breakfast at 6 o’clock. Paraded at 9 o’clock and went on to the Moors parade ground where we were lectured on gas attacks and then passed through a test with the helmets on.1 On route march in the afternoon by the forest. Walked round camp at night. Went to Y.M. Route march in the morning.

  1. Deleted by ALL, presumably entered in wrong day. 

3 June 1916; Saturday

Up at 5 o’clock. Breakfast at 6 o’clock. Paraded at 8.45 and went to the big parade ground. Were lectured on gas helmets, given one each, and put through a gas test. Our buttons nicely blackened1. Very interesting. Heavy shower as we sat. Wrote letter to Mr Inwood in the afternoon. Went to lecture by an Indian doctor at night. Went to bed shortly after 9 o’clock.

Received news of North Sea fight2.

  1. “Our buttons nicely blackened”: Following the first use of gas by the Germans at Ypres, a team of scientists was sent to Belgium to find out what gas was being used. They identified chlorine from the way it had discoloured buttons on soldiers’ uniforms. Given the blackening of buttons noted here by ALL, it seems likely that chlorine was also the gas used for this test. 

  2. Presumably the news of the Battle of Jutland reaching ALL.