Diaries; 25th – 31st July, 1915.

Sunday 25th July: Fouquieres

Nothing doing. We are training for some sports which our Ambulance is going to hold shortly.

Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th July: Fouquieres

Nothing doing.

Wednesday 28th July: Fouquieres

Nothing doing. Sports to be held tomorrow.

Thursday 29th July: Fouquieres

We entertained the people of the village to sports which were a great success.

Friday 30th and Saturday 31st July: Fouquieres

Nothing doing.


Letter; 24th July, 1915.

Letter 24th July: Fouquieres (continued from July 16th )

For the second time, I did not get this letter away, as the day the man went on leave, I heard that one of Kitchener’s Divisions was in the next village and I wanted to see if any of the boys were amongst them. I went to find out and when I came back the man was gone. I knew I wouldn’t be long in finding any of the boys if they came near here, for, within an hour of hearing that one of Kitchener’s Ambulances was near, I found Sgt Kirkwood and a few more Kingston boys. I don’t know all their names but knew them by sight. When I found them they were in the village of Heodignill. Their Ambulance is still there but Kirkwood and some others have gone up to Sailly- Le-Bouse, Cambrin and Vermilles. Vermilles is right on the Firing Line.

They went up on Thursday, had a day with our Bearers to learn the ropes, and are now up there with No. 1 Field Ambulance as our Bearers came down yesterday. I gave them as much as I know about looking after themselves, told them what we had been doing and everything I could think of, but they will be finding out for themselves now. Three Officers of this 15th Division were killed the first day up there but that is just the luck of the whole thing. I was with Kirkwood for two nights and got all the news. He is married now.

I see by the papers the 5th Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders have been in action, I hope all the boys pulled through all right. I met Coutts brother in the Royal Scots Fusiliers out here.

He is in the same Division as Kirkwood.

I hope to tell you all the news when I come home on leave.


Diaries; 17th – 23rd July, 1915.

Saturday 17th July: Fouquieres

The German aeroplane was over this morning again. A few of our airmen went up after him but he got away.

Sunday 18th July: Fouquieres

The German aeroplane was over this morning again. I went up to the next village to see if any of the Kingston Boys were in the ambulance there which has just come out. I found Sgt Kirkwood and a few more of the boys. They are in the 45th Field Ambulance, 15th Division.

We had a chat about old times.

Monday 19th July: Fouquieres

We the orderlies on the car are all returned to duty with the Bearers as they are going to try and do without orderlies on the cars.

Tuesday 20th July: Fouquieres

German aeroplane over this morning again but driven off by our airmen. I was up seeing Kirkwood again. They are in the next village Hesdigneul (-les Bethune).

No. 2 Field Ambulance has been shelled out of Bethune again so we are taking in the wounded.

Wednesday 21st July: Fouquieres

Nothing doing.

Thursday 22nd July: Fouquieres

Three Officers of the 15th Division “just-out” were wounded by a shell at our Advanced Dressing Station at Vermelles. Two died one in our hospital and one has gone down to the Base. Sgt. Kirkwood and a section of Bearers of his Ambulance have gone up to our Advance Dressing Station for instructions. We buried Major Gordon Forbis of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers who died in our hospital.

Friday 23rd July: Fouquieres

We were digging graves all day and had to bury one officer and two privates at night. The officer being Lt. Mitchell of the Black Watch. Our Bearers were relieved by No. 1 Field Ambulance and are now back at Fouquieres.

Letter; 16th July, 1915.

Letter 16th July: Fouquieres (continued from 21st June)

I did not get the first part of this letter home at the time I intended as the driver went on leave while I was away getting in some sick cases, so I have just to wait my next chance as I prefer to send my letters by this method. Passing the through the Censor I would not be allowed to say what I do. Some think the censor cannot be dodged but I have managed to do it.

Well, Bob, it won’t be long before I will be on leave. They have taken the names of all the N.C.O.s and men in the Ambulance who came out here last August and all the names are put into a hat and every week two or three are drawn out. This is the second batch that is going home this Sunday and I will send this letter home with them. 3 went last Sunday, 2 this Sunday and 3 next Sunday. Married men are getting first but there are few married men. We are drawing every week and I might be in the 3rd or 4th lot, so roll on it won’t be too long now before I get it.

We have done nothing from the time I wrote the first part of this letter. We have 4 cars and 2 sections of Bearers at Cambrin, just in front of La Bassee, and the remainder here at Fouquieres. We sleep in a field, just like being on summer holidays only for the noise of the guns in the distance.

I hope to go up beside the Bearers tomorrow as our Brigade are up there in the trenches.

There has been nothing doing in this district for the past two months, but I think there will be a big burst up before long.

One of our men had told me the 5th Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders were out here in Locon but had shifted to some other place. He said they and the 5/6th Seaforth Highlanders were in the same Brigade, but I had a letter from my wife saying Coutts was in the Dardanelles so it must have been a mistake.

I also heard Jack McDonald had been home and I was glad to hear it. I know he deserves a few days at home. I think his Division is about Ypres at present. I hope he had a good time at home. I received the Post Express all right and was sorry to see in it about Peter McArthur.

This is all at present, hoping to see you all in a week or so. I hope you are enjoying married life. It is the finest life of all in the long run. Wait till you hear them shout “Daddy”. I hope Bob you will manage to read all this letter but will try to make myself plainer when I get home for a few days.

Two of our drivers were mentioned in dispatches. They forgot about the orderlies but better luck next time.

Your old friend and Holeborer


Diaries; 10th – 16th July, 1915.

Saturday 10th July: Fouquieres

Still here at Fouquieres, nothing doing.

Sunday 11th July: Fouquieres

A and C-Section Bearers left here to form an Advanced Dressing Station at Cambrin. Three cars, one of which I am on, being left behind.

Monday 12th July: Fouquieres

We are still at Fouquieres and are taking in the wounded sent down from our Advance Dressing Station.

Tuesday 13th July: Fouquieres

Nothing doing except one or two wounded coming down from the Bearers at Sailly La Bourse and Cambrin.

Wednesday 14th July: Fouquieres

Still doing the same.

Thursday 15th July: Fouquieres

Still here at Fouquieres, nothing doing.

Friday 16th July: Fouquieres

A German aeroplane flew over our heads this morning with our shells bursting all around him.