Tag Archives: Willie Whittaker

Diary entries which mention Willie Whittaker, a friend of Arthur Linfoot from South Durham Street Chapel. Willie Whittaker enlisted in the 13th Battalion of the Yorkshire regiment in November 1915.

16 July 1916; Sunday

Up at 7 o’clock. Still standing by and no church service. Rumours of Germans’ retreat up the line. Wrote to Willie Whittaker. Fine morning. Service in the field in the afternoon but it rained and so we stopped before the sermon.

Rained a bit at night. Wrote letter home in reply to one received and also to Willie Whittaker and Franchie Inwood. Went to bed early at night. Lay awake with toothache, but generally slept well.

1 killed and 9 wounded of the 57 Ambulance at La Boisselle.

7 April 1916; Friday

Went out with Mother in the morning. Visited Granny and Whittakers and Uncle George and Aunt Mary. Stayed in and played duets all the afternoon. Left by the 6.38. All family to see me off, and Willie Whittaker, Uncle Jack and Hilda1 and Whittaker family. Joe travelled with me to Pallion. Met Shepherd at Durham and travelled by a through train. Got car into city and arrived at barracks about mid night.


  1. See Hilda disambiguation page. 

5 April 1916; Wednesday

Visited Grandmother, Whittakers’1 and Jack’s. Mr Dill’s funeral in the afternoon and I went over to see it with Ernie. Met George Crawford2 who was in the procession. Climbed Ernie’s backyard wall to get in. Ernie took my photo3. Down to chapel at night and saw Mr Blott, Arthur Mullins, Billy and Edie and a few more.

Arthur Linfoot in Uniform
Photograph of ALL in uniform, with lance-corporal’s stripe, seated in a back yard; undated, but possibly taken while on embarkation leave, April 1916.
Ernie Linfoot in Arthur Linfoot's Uniform
Photograph of Ernie, ALL’s elder brother, apparently wearing ALL’s uniform and seated in the same back yard, possibly taken on the same day.

  1. “Whittakers'”: Willie Whittaker‘s family. Willie might not have been there, having enlisted in November 1915, although he was present a few days later. 

  2. George Crawford: a colleague of ALL from the Hendon Paper Mill, still working there as late as the 1950s. 

  3. While apparently taken in a back yard, there is no other evidence to suggest that the photograph of ALL accompanying this entry (top) is the one taken by Ernie on this day although a very similar photograph of Ernie himself (bottom) also exists in a family collection. See also Family page

4 April 1916; Tuesday

Lay in late. Went down to see Ernie. Out with Mother and over the water1 to see the damage done by the Zeppelin raid2. Out late in afternoon. Called at Whittakers3. Called for Ernie at night. Went over with him to Whitburn later. Had photo taken at Eccles’† in Holmeside4.


  1. “over the water”: phrase commonly used by ALL and his contemporaries for “across the Wear to north Sunderland”; nothing to do with the Jacobites. 

  2. “Zeppelin raid”: Presumably the raid on Sunderland of 1 April noted in that day’s diary entry

  3. “Called at Whittakers”: Willie Whittaker‘s family. Willie might not have been there, having enlisted in November 1915, although he was present a few days later. 

  4. Holmeside was (and remains) a shopping street in the middle of Sunderland. Perhaps “Eccles” was a commercial photographer? 

24 December 1915; Friday

Got up about 7 o’clock. Dressed, paraded for pay, and got 10.20 train. Arrived Sunderland about 2 o’clock. Walked in as they were reading my letter saying I wasn’t going to get home. Played piano most of the afternoon. Went into town with Gertie at night, but it rained heavily and I sent Gertie back. Went to Whittakers’. Had supper. Met their soldier friend, Mr Spencer. Willie set me back. He looks all right in uniform1. Didn’t go to bed until late.


  1. This would have been Willie Whittaker (not Willie Marshall); see 2 November for his enlisting. His death is recorded in November 1917. 

19 September 1915; Sunday

Got up at about 9 o’clock and had to hurry to chapel to the Harvest Festival. Had walk with Father in the afternoon. Mr Blaikie, and Willie Whittaker to tea. We were at chapel at night and sang Sun of my Soul, and Charlie took the solo. Said farewell to †several people†. Charlie had a big crowd to see him off including some from the chapel and Mr Newrick and his daughter. Went to Newcastle, changed again at York and left Charlie there.

12 September 1915; Sunday

On Fire Picquet & Canteen Cpl. C.B.1 all day. Tried to clean belt, wrote to Willie Whittaker and wrote up diary. Song† by Mess in the barrack room at night.


  1. “C.B.”: “confined to barracks”, usually signifying a low-­level military punishment (incorporating frequent inspections in full kit, extra fatigue duties etc), popularly known as ‘jankers’; but ALL seems to be using it here in a purely literal sense – he couldn’t leave barracks due to his picquet and canteen duties. 

27 July 1915; Tuesday

At work as usual. Mother not well first thing. Busy all day. Bid goodbye to the people at the office last thing. George Crawford gave me a Testament. Mother Got new purse, new glass1, new nail brush, handkerchiefs, and so on. Went to the station at night and made enquiries about the train. Willie Whittaker up. Went to bed late. Had a bath.


  1. “Glass”, if correct, is probably “mirror”.