Up at about 7 o’clock. Kept busy all day. Off in the afternoon and went to the Church Army reading room and read two short stories from a magazine. On duty at night and did some French. Lay awake and talked to Freddie about churches and festivals of the church year.
Rumours of the Division going out and of the ambulance moving.
Although the diary is silent on the matter, 6th August 1917 was the day on which ALL’s Sheffield barracks friend, Ralph Kenyon Sandwith, was killed in action near Kemmel in Belgium.
The images here are of a postcard sized portrait of RKS which exists in ALL’s collection. The front is signed “Ralph K. Sandwith” and the back has an address in Louth, RKS’ home address presumably written by RKS himself, and a note in ALL’s hand about the date of the photograph (1915) and the circumstances of Sandwith’s death (at Kemmel in 1917). Private Sandwith was about 21 years old at the time of his death, and 19 years old at the time of the photograph.
Up at 7 o’clock. On working party at 9. Busy in the end place with Harvey again. Worked pretty hard. Sergeant MacDonell in charge. Returned about 5 o’clock. Went to Locre† at night to the Bible class. Saw Sandwith there. Had very good little meeting. Went down with Holman.
Up at 7 by new time – 6 in reality1. On duty as usual. Sandwith and a friend came very gamely to see me in the morning and we talked of the war. We were issued with waterproof capes in the evening. Received letter from Ernie. Went to service at the Y M at night and after the service played the piano until closing time, while several other chaps sang. Had a good time. First time I have played since last August. Went to bed and swotted a bit French last thing.
Daylight saving in France started at 23:00 on 24 March 1917, with clocks being advanced by one hour to 00:00 on the 25th. ↩
Up about 5 o’clock. After sleeping very little. Read inscription in Testament on a heap of woundeds’ equipment, From your loving mother Dear Will read a verse every day and God will keep you safe. Mind you say your prayers.
Marched back to near the chateau and went to our old bivouacs. Weather still fine. Had bath in a horse bucket. Felt better after it. Newspapers from home and letter from Sandwith. Went to bed about 9 o’clock.
Up at 7.30. Paraded before the adjutant. On fatigue all morning. Had lecture in the afternoon. Went to town to get hair cut and saw Miss Mack but didn’t speak. Wrote letter to Sandwith. Bulmer said he had sent a letter for me to the colonel by mistake, but I can’t find anything about it. Went to bed at usual time.
Up shortly after 7 o’clock. Very cold and frosty and all taps frozen. Walked into town in the morning with Dunbar and in the afternoon got our rations in. Read a bit at night and wrote up diary. Went to Y.M. last thing. Wrote to Sandwith.
On parade as usual. Had to go to Orderly Room in the afternoon & received first stripe along with other chaps. A good bit excited about new position. Went with Sandwith to a friend’s house & had supper.