Up at about 10 o’clock. Walked round town. Went to pictures at night with Father. Heard clever pianist and violinist but saw a rotten picture. Went into Whittakers’ last thing and saw Billy1.
The mill: Hendon Paper Works, where ALL had been employed prior to joining up. ↩
Up about 7 o’clock. On parade at 9 o’clock. Helped to pack in the morning. Got pass to Bailleul in the afternoon but Ernie didn’t turn up there so I only went into Locre. Returned in good time.
Heard of the death of Willie Whittaker 1 in a letter from Ernie.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Up as usual. Walked round the town in the afternoon. Went down to the chapel at night and met a few people including Willie Whittaker senior1.
Willie Whittaker senior was the father of ALL’s friend from chapel, Willie Whittaker junior, whose death is noted retrospectively in the diary entry for 22 October. It is very likely that Willie Whittaker senior did not yet know about the death of his son – ALL himself only found out after his return to France, on 8 November. ↩
Willie Whittaker3 killed in action.
“Played” without a direct object generally means “played the piano” or according to context “- the organ”. ↩
The entries from 18 to 29 October are in ink, but the note about Willie Whittaker (of the Chapel family in Sunderland) was added in pencil, obviously later. The diary records that ALL heard of W.’s death only on 8 November (when he was back in France), in a letter from Ernie; presumably W. Whittaker senior (27 October) did not yet know. Among the addresses at the back of the 1917 diary is “Cadet W G Whittaker, 24837, . . 15th Artistes [sic] Rifles O C B, Giden Hall, Romford, Essex”; “Cadet” means “officer-in-training” and O C B is probably Officer Cadet Branch or Base. This appears to mean that W. had consented to become an infantry officer. It is well known that junior infantry officers had by far the highest casualty rate of any rank in WW1. ALL (2 November 1915) says W. joined the 13th [Battalion of the] Yorkshire Regt. where he attained the rank of Serjeant. Lives of the First World War indicates that he subsequently joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, rising to Second Lieutenant by the time of his death.
Willie Whittaker appears in a photograph accompanying the diary entry for Easter Monday, 1914. See also all diary entries tagged “Willie Whittaker” and William Gaylard Whittaker at Lives of the First World War. ↩
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.
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.
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 Mullens, Billy and Edie and a few more.
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. ↩
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.
“over the water”: phrase commonly used by ALL and his contemporaries (usually rendered as “ower the watter”) for “across the Wear to north Sunderland”; nothing to do with the Jacobites’ “King over the water”. ↩
Holmeside was (and remains) a shopping street in the middle of Sunderland. Perhaps “Eccles” was a commercial photographer? ↩