Tag Archives: Russia

Diary entries which mention aspects of Russia’s involvement in the War.

8 July 1918; Monday

Up about 7 o’clock and on duty. Received other two patients in the afternoon, making a total of 7. Had bath in the stream in the afternoon. Got boilers and baths underway. Heard that the German minister1 in Moscow had been assassinated2. Harvey and Holman went to number 8 C C S for duty. Wrote letter to Mother and one to Franchie Inwood at night. Thunder storm after tea. Sanders came to help us.


  1. “German minister”: Actually the German ambassador to Russia, Wilhelm von Mirbach

  2. The assassination (on 6 July 1918) was an attempt by the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to re-start war between Russia and Germany. 

16 August 1917; Thursday

Up at about 7 o’clock. Parade at 9 o’clock and went on with the cleaning up. Parade at 2 o’clock and route march. At night went out with John Dory and read and wrote a bit. Had supper at the Sedan1 Hotel. Got permission to go to Boulogne2 first car.


  1. Sedan: a surprising name? – as Sedan was the scene of the principal French military disaster of the Franco-Prussian War. 

  2. ALL evidently planned to visit Ranald MacDonald in hospital at Boulogne. 

22 July 1917; Sunday

Usual day’s work. Heard that the Russians have stopped fighting in places1 and the Germans are driving them back. Freddie went on leave. Fritz2 shelled a lot. I got a new patient in Freddie’s ward.

German aeroplanes over at night bombing. A lot of anti-aircraft stuff in action and the noise pretty loud.

Off at night and went to Y M with Harry Bascombe and Gus. Had short walk afterwards.


  1. “The Russians have stopped fighting…”: ALL had noted the February Revolution in his diary entry of 18 March, and had also noted a rumour of Russian withdrawal from the war on 19 May. In fact Russian involvement in the war, though increasingly unenthusiastic, continued officially until October/November 1917

  2. Fritz: a name given to German troops by the British and others in the First and Second World Wars. 

4 July 1917; Wednesday

Up at 7 o’clock. Fairly busy all day. My turn out at night and went to the Australia concert party’s concert. It was pretty good and they had a good band and some good singers especially the bass.

The King visited the town in the afternoon. News of a Russian offensive.

I made an awful fool of myself at night.

19 May 1917; Saturday

Up at 6.40. Kept busy all day. Stayed in at night and helped with dinner. Wrote some letters. A lot of guns going up the line1. Rumours of Russia turning it in2 and the war being over soon3.


  1. “A lot of guns…”: This movement of guns (and troops) is noted over a period of several more days. See note on 22 May

  2. “Turning it in” (if this reading is correct; it seems an early date for this colloquialism) means withdrawing from or abandoning some endeavour. 

  3. Revolutionary Russia did eventually withdraw from the war in October/November 1917, having been increasingly disorganised in its war efforts after the February Revolution of 1917, the rumour of which ALL had noted in his diary on 18 March, but sadly the war was not over soon. 

18 March 1917; Sunday

Mooned about until 2 o’clock. Came back to the billet and roused * house. Up at 6.30. Cleaned up ready for parade. Dull morning. Marched off about 11 o’clock. Passed through Hazebrouck1 and saw the people going out of the big church. Sat by the roadside and had tea served up. Arrived at Outersteene2 about 4.30. Decent village and good billet. Went out with Holman and had eggs and chips. Supposed to finish guard but didn’t go on it. Had short walk in the direction of Meteren3. Four of our chaps went into Méteren. Turned in early. Had meat and tinned tongue for supper. 22 kilos. Heard rumour of Bapaume being captured and revolt in Russia4.


  1. Hazebrouck (B): 11km NE. of Boësighem (A); Michelin square H3. 

  2. Outersteene (C): Outtersteene is 10km E. of Hazebrouck, 5km SW. of Bailleul (D), Michelin square I3. 

  3. Meteren (E): Méteren is 6km NNE. of Outtersteene, 5km W. of Bailleul (D); also Michelin square I3. 

  4. The February revolution in Russia had started on 8 March 1917 (23 February in the Julian calendar). 

2 January 1917; Tuesday

On duty as usual. Harvey’s turn off. Kept busy all day. A man with a temperature of 103 at night. CSM1 had a temperature of 103.22 and was delirious. We moved him to the hospital at the top of the village in the Ford car at 10 o’clock. Rain a good part of the night.

News of Russian retreat in Roumania34.


  1. CSM: Company Sergeant-Major. 

  2. 103.2 °F is c. 39.5 °C; a moderate fever. 

  3. In late 1916, the Russians began sending numerous reinforcements to Moldavia to prevent an invasion of southern Russia, significantly reducing their presence in Romania. Southern Romania fell into the hands of the Central Powers. See Romania during World War I at Wikipedia. 

  4. See also note on 30 August 1916 re spelling of Romania. 

10 November 1916; Friday

Up at 6 o’clock. Cleaned up place, shaved and went off duty at 8 o’clock. Slept most of the day. Duggins not well. On duty at 8 o’clock at night. Germans counter-attacked in the morning. Our guns smashed them up. News that the Germans have been driven back 12 miles by the Roumanians, that the Russians and Italians have advanced and that the French have captured some forts at Verdun. Rumours of air raid at London.

17 June 1916; Saturday

Up at 7 o’clock. Paraded first thing and cleaned waggons. An hour’s physical drill and pretty hard too. Nice little march in the afternoon. Walked into the village at night and got a paper. Russians still advancing. Posted letter home and one to Green.

Fine night.

Called at farm house and had two glasses of coffee.
and heard guns at the front very distinctly.