Tag Archives: Work

Arthur LInfoot was employed as a clerk at the Hendon Paper Mill in Sunderland prior to joining the RAMC. He rejoined the company after demobilisation and remained there until his retirement, rising to become a Director of the company by that time.

22 October 1917; Monday

Up the town part of the day. At the mill1 in the afternoon and stayed in and played2 at night.

Willie Whittaker3 killed in action.


  1. “The mill”: Hendon Paper Mill, where ALL had been employed as a clerk before volunteering to join the RAMC. See also Sunderland map

  2. “Played” without a direct object generally means “played the piano” or according to context “-­ the organ”. 

  3. 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. 

6 April 1916; Thursday

Up late. Went to Mill1 in the morning and saw them all.

Nedderton.

Went to Newcastle by 3.30 train. Arrived Stannington2 at 4.5 and Betty waiting for me. Took me to their digs. Introduced to Miss Wells. Had tea. Another chap arrived after tea. Sat in with Betty in front of the fire and talked. Betty had a headache. Had supper. Had to hurry to the station. Betty set me down. Train a few minutes late. Stayed a few minutes in the station. Said goodbye to Betty.

Arrived Newcastle after 11. Left 11.45 and in Sunderland after mid night.


  1. “Mill”: Hendon Paper Mill, where ALL had been employed prior to joining the RAMC. See also Sunderland map. 

  2. Stannington: adjacent to Nedderton, but apparently on the rail line. 

6 November 1915; Saturday

Got up at 9 o’clock. Walked down to the office1 about 12 o’clock. Saw all but Oliver and Mr Aitken. Oliver has enlisted in the Royal Engineers and is at the War Office. George to be married next Wednesday. Edward leaving to go to Fourstones2. Didn’t see Mr Aitken. Walked round the town with Joe in the afternoon. Played the piano a bit. Mrs Wiseman and Co. to tea. Went down to see Willie Wanless.


  1. “The office”: Hendon Paper Mill, where ALL had been employed prior to joining the RAMC. See Sunderland map

  2. “Fourstones” refers to another paper mill (marked on map) near a village of the same name, between Hexham and Haydon Bridge on the river South Tyne. The Edward mentioned in this diary entry evidently planned to take up employment there.

    Unlike the Hendon Paper Mill, Fourstones Paper Mill remains a thriving business to this day. 

18 September 1915; Saturday

Arrived home about 12.30 a.m. Didn’t expect me. Charlie and Joe at the station waiting for Ernie. Ernie arrived about half an hour later. Father in bed and didn’t know that we were all here. Got up about 9 o’clock. Telegraphed for an extension until reveille. Went to the office1 and saw them there. Stayed in in the afternoon. Blaikie called and we had a few songs. Went to Grandmother’s later and saw them. Called into town at night and then down to the church. Decorating for the Harvest Festival. Spoke to a good many people.


  1. “The office”: Hendon Paper Mill, where ALL had been employed prior to joining the RAMC. See Sunderland map

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”. 

26 July 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Decided to go into R.A.M.C. Met Tommy in the morning going to the recruiting office to join the R.G.A1. I went down at night. Waited from 7.30 until 9.45. Waiting for over an hour for Major Burn to swear us in. Met Uncle Jack outside and he waited for me. Went down to Grandmother’s and bid her, Aunt Esther, Mrs Whittaker and Lily goodbye.

Sworn in at the Recruiting Office. Received 1/112. 11 of us sworn in, including Willie Reed. Went to bed late.


  1. “R.G.A.”: Royal Garrison Artillery

  2. One shilling and elevenpence – about 9.5p – roughly equivalent to £9.50 in 2015. 

24 July 1915; Saturday

Work as usual. Busy all morning. Finished about 2 o’clock. Went into the town and met Tom and Willie. Willie can’t join. Tom and I went into the recruiting office, and decided to do something on Monday night. Tom not very keen. I decided to join either R.A.M.C. or Royal Anglesey Engineers1. Had walk in town at night with Willie and Charlie, and finished off at Grindon2.


  1. “Royal Anglesey Engineers”: apparently there actually was a territorial Royal Anglesey Royal Engineers (sic), though why ALL should have thought of joining it is quite unclear. 

  2. Grindon: a suburb of Sunderland, approximately three miles to the west of the city centre along Chester Road.