Diary; 31st October, 1914.

Saturday 31st October: Ypres

We are still in this hospital though they have tried to shell us out. We have not a minute to spare to ourselves day or night. It is awful, the Germans are still trying to get through and our troops have had to retire about a mile. We can’t get moving for wounded, we had 1082 through our hospital yesterday; we were out all night again.

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Diaries; 24th – 30th October, 1914.

Saturday 24th October: Langemarche

This morning opened very quiet but it was not long before shells were dropping all around and a great many passing over our head.

We had orders to pack up and get ready to move. The French are relieving us. We marched on to the road at 7pm then halted and waited for our brigade to come down from the trenches when a terrible rifle and artillery fire broke out on both sides. The bullets were whistling past our head and we had to get down under cover. We then had to go back to the farm as the French could not get up to release our Brigade owing to the heavy fire.

It was a great sight, just like a display of fireworks on a large scale, only we could not stand up and see it. We got inside the farm but shells kept dropping all around it all night. Our luck was in and the farm was not hit though we expected one through it every minute.

Continue reading “Diaries; 24th – 30th October, 1914.”

Diaries; 23rd October, 1914.

Friday 23rd October: Langemarche

We wakened up with shells bursting all around us and the artillery who were only 20 yards from us had 3 horses killed and one man wounded. The shells are coming over in showers.

At the farm behind us where the Glosters were billeted a shell went right through killing 3 and wounding 9.

Excitement was at its height when a few Uhlans broke through; the battery beside us made off at the gallop but came back later when the Uhlans disappeared.

The Germans put over 100 shells through the church spire in the village then it caught fire and burned to the ground. A good part of the village is also on fire but our Brigade still hold it. Our farm seems to have a charmed life as almost every building has been hit but it.

We went out again almost all night assisting No. 1 Field Ambulance and we did not get back till 3am. We had to carry the wounded over 3 miles each time and along a road that all the farms on it were on fire and the Germans sniping at us all the time. We had to bring the wounded from the trenches and the last man we brought back the Germans turned a machine gun on us. We had to get under cover in case the wounded man might be hit again.

We got back alright at the finish but it was touch and go.

Our troops had made some fine charges today driving the enemy back on both flanks as they had us in a horseshoe shape. When our troops got amongst them, they howled for mercy and if it had not been for our officers they would have got very little mercy. This is the German army that took Antwerp that we are fighting here.

Letter; 22nd October, 1914.

Letter continued from 14th October

I hoped to have been able to send the first part of this letter off on the night I wrote it with one of the wounded but that night we got orders to get ready to move off. We did so at 10pm after the French reserves had relieved us.

We marched on all night going south and after we had marched about 20 miles we had a rest for 6 hours. Then we were off again and marched on all next night doing another 30 miles till we came to a place called Nimilly? where we got the train.

The train then took us down and round through Paris. We then went north by the coast past Amiens, Boulogne, and Calais then inland again till we came to a place called St. Omer where we detrained and marched on into Belgium. This is the second time we have been in Belgium.

I will not forget the first time and yesterday we were up against it again for we were up against the enemy yesterday after marching two days since leaving the train. We are now marching in the direction of Brussels and I hope by the time you get this we won’t be too far off that place. The Germans tried to stop us yesterday and did so for a time but we are gradually driving them back.

I thought it was all up again yesterday but I am still alive. There was only one Regiment in front of us when we met the enemy and they lost a lot of men. We were out all night getting in the wounded.

Houses here are burning in all directions. We were passing remarks on a church Tower when the enemy’s guns started and a shell went right through it. They can fairly hit the Churches. They are banging away at us now but we are quite used to them and as we have got five minutes to spare before we go out for more wounded, I am taking the chance to write this letter and send it home with one of the wounded.

This is just like the battle of the Aisne all over again but the Germans have not got such a good position as the country is more flat but they are like bees they are so thick.

I am just after bringing in a wounded German who worked in the Loch Lomond Hotel in Glasgow. We were both nearly over as the shells were dropping everywhere but on us. It is hot work.

No time for more at the present, hope to write you later.

Diaries; 17th – 22nd October, 1914.

Saturday 17th October: Boulogne/ Calais/ Saint-Omer/ Hondeghem

Awakened by the train halting at Boulogne, we were halted an hour here, as there had been a railway smash in front of us and then we were off again, the people of Boulogne giving us refreshments before we left. We next halted at Calais for 2 hours, we had a wash and some more refreshments and as we moved off the people shouted Vive L’Angleterre. The same shout that had greeted us when we first landed in France. This is like coming back to civilization after being in the wilderness for 2 months.

After a few more hours we dis-entrained at Saint-Omer at 3pm then we marched off at 4. Marching on till we came to a village called Hondeghem. We billeted here for the night in a school. Schools seem to be our favourite billets.

Continue reading “Diaries; 17th – 22nd October, 1914.”

Diaries; 15th & 16th October, 1914.

Thursday 15th October: Monte-ne- Dame

Marching all night in a southerly direction, marching further and further from the firing line.We have just heard that the whole Division has been relieved by French troops. 

We have just passed some of the French going in the direction we came from. We passed through the village of Mont-ne- Dame once again at 6pm and marched on all night till 5am in the morning.

Continue reading “Diaries; 15th & 16th October, 1914.”

Letter; 14th October, 1914.

Dear Jim,

Just a few lines to let you know I am still in the land of the living. I had a letter from T. Alcorn.

I got it alright though he had No. 2 Field Ambulance instead of No. 3; you might tell him, though all the rest of the address was right. I hope he got my letter though he did not say so.

I see by his letter that Mooney and a lot more had joined the R.A.M.C. Well, I hope they have joined under the same terms as the St. John’s Ambulance men. We have had some of them with us right through from the start. They are getting 4 shillings a day. Their wives are getting the same allowance as ours and we are only getting 1 shilling and six pence per day.

Continue reading “Letter; 14th October, 1914.”