Diaries; 20 – 26 August 1916.

Sunday 20th August: Bertrancourt/ Saton

We left Bertrancourt at 9am and marched to a village called Saton about 8 miles away and near the town of Doubliers, we billeted here for the night.

Monday 21st August: Saton

We stayed here all day in this village but expect to leave here tomorrow for Albert.

Tuesday 22nd August: Gezaincourt

We left Saton at 9am and marched to a village called Gezaincourt about 8 miles from our last billets and further away from the firing line and the other side of the town of Doubliers.

We billeted here for the night.

Wednesday 23rd August: Gezaincourt

We stayed here at this village all day but expect to leave here tomorrow. This part of France is not unlike Scotland with its hills and dales.

Thursday 24th August: Gezaincourt/ Vignacourt

We left Gezaincourt at 8am and after marching about 15 miles we halted and billeted at a village called Vignacourt about 12 miles from the town of Amiens and about 24 miles west of Albert.

Friday 25th August: Vignacourt/ Mericourt

We entrained at Vignacounrt along with our Brigade at 10am but our transport went by road. We dis-entrained at Mericourt at 3pm and billeted there for the night.

We are now 6 miles south-west of Albert.

Saturday 26th August: Mericourt

We, the bearers of the Ambulance have been told off in squads for collecting the wounded when we go up the line. Our Headquarters and Nursing Section have gone about 4 miles further up and along with all the other Nursing Sections of Ambulances of the 14th Army Corps have formed one big Dressing Station.

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Diaries; 13 – 19 August 1916.

Sunday 13th August: Bertrancourt

Nothing much doing round this quarter yet, all the firing is going on to our right, Albert way.

Monday 14th August: Bertrancourt

Another fairly quiet day and more good news posted up. Weather threatening to break down.

Tuesday 15th August: Bertrancourt

We are expected to leave here tomorrow, the whole Division is leaving here. A party of bearers left here tonight to take over some other place of the 61st Field Ambulance.

Wednesday 16th August: Bertrancourt

We are not leaving here at present; the party who went yesterday to take over from the 61st Field Ambulance are to remain there temporally. The guns have been very quiet around here lately. We are expected to move Albert way shortly.

Thursday 17th August: Bertrancourt

We are still here at Bertrancourt, “B” Section of our Ambulance is the other side of Mailly Maillet and a party under an officer is the other side of Bus. Very heavy bombardment all last night I expect there was something doing.

Friday 18th August: Bertrancourt

Two years today this Ambulance left England for France- how much longer.
Another heavy bombardment Albert way last night, we have taken some more trenches there again. There is word of us going near Albert Sunday or Tuesday.

A German aeroplane paid us a visit this afternoon but was driven off by the anti-aircraft guns. A German aeroplane was brought down beside “B” Section at Mailly Maillet last night.

Saturday 19th August: Bertrancourt

We are leaving here tomorrow. Heavy artillery fire all last night again, nothing much doing on our part of the front but we have advanced on our right again, taking over 1000 prisoners.

Diaries; 6 – 12 August 1916.

Sunday 6th August: Bus

We are still here and doing nothing though our artillery are doing something every night. The whole of the 14th Army Corps are here now and the artillery are taking up their positions. An anti-aircraft gun brought down a German plane today.

Monday 7th August: Bus

We are still hanging on here waiting for orders to go up the line.

Tuesday 8th August: Bus

An extra heavy bombardment by our artillery all last night and they are at it as hard as ever today. We were told that the Germans had made five counter-attacks but were driven back every time.

Wednesday 9th August: Bus

Another bombardment last night again and we made some slight advance Guillemont way. A party of our Ambulance went up the line this afternoon to take over from the 77th Field Ambulance. We leave here tomorrow.

Thursday 10th August: Bertrancourt

We left Bus at 9am and marched to Bertrancourt a mile nearer the firing line than Bus and took over a hospital there. One Section “B” went up to Mailly Maillet 3 miles further on and opened an Advance Dressing Station there with Aide Posts further up.

The Guards are relieving the troops on this part of the line at Hamel and expect to make an attack before long.

Friday 11th August: Bertrancourt

There was a heavy bombardment all night on this part of the front and we had a few wounded in here otherwise things normal.

Saturday 12th August: Bertrancourt

Another heavy bombardment all last night and we had 17 wounded cases in, some of them gassed by gas shells. Otherwise things quiet.

Diaries; 1 – 5 August 1916.

Tuesday 1st August: Halloy/ Bus

We marched off from Halloy at 6am and after marching for about 8 miles up hill and down dale we reached the village of Bus where we stayed for the day.

Wednesday 2nd August: Bus

We are still in the village of Bus and are staying here for the day and having a rest but we expect to move off tomorrow. We are now in the Somme district and nearly all the houses about here are made of mud and everything is very dear. We expect to be in action in the big advance in a day or two.

Thursday 3rd August: Bus

We expected to move off today but it has been canceled and we are expecting to stay here for another week.

This village is about 6 or 7 miles behind the firing line and it is about 9 miles from Grandcourt where our artillery assisted by our airmen blew up 6 ammunition dumps and 7 gun-pits last night.

We can hear the roar of the guns and the rattle of machine guns every night here.

Friday 4th August: Bus

We are still staying on here in the village of Bus and the weather we have been getting here is splendid. In fact, we haven’t had rain for a fortnight.

It is two years today since I was called up and it is not finished yet but I have hopes of seeing the finish this year.

Saturday 5th August: Bus

We are still here in Bus and getting nothing to do but we often waken up at night with the roar of our guns. There is a heavy bombardment every night Albert way.

Nearly every day a squad of our aeroplanes pass over our head going to bomb some part of the German lines.

Diaries; 30 & 31 July 1916.

Sunday 30th July: Millam/ Bapinchove/ Frevent

We marched off from Millam at 11am and after marching for 14 miles under a scorching sun we halted at the village of Bapinchove and entrained at Cassel station in the village. We had one or two men drop on the road with sunstroke owing to the terrible heat but after getting all our wagons on the train and everything ready the train moved off at 6pm. After traveling for five hours we reached a place called Frevent where we dis-entrained at 11pm.

Monday 31st July: Frevent/ Halloy

After dis-entraining at Frevent we had some tea then started off at 1am to march to our billets. We marched all through the morning and after tramping for 14 miles we reached our billets in a village called Halloy where we stayed for the remainder of the day and all of the night. We are now nearing our destination the Somme and by the look of this place, it is not as good a place as Belgium.

Diaries; 23 – 29 July 1916.

Sunday 23rd July: Peselhock

A few German aeroplanes were over here today again. Our artillery were very lively all last night.

Monday 24th July: Peselhock

There is some word of the whole 14th Army Corps moving from here before long.

Tuesday 25th July: Peselhock

Our Ambulance is moving from here on Thursday. The 1st and 2nd Brigade of Guards leave here today.

Wednesday 26th July: Peselhock

We leave here tomorrow and we are all busy packing up today. Where we are going we don’t know but think it is the Somme as we are going in the train and the divisions who are relieving us have just come from there. The 4th Division being one of them.

Thursday 27th July: Peselhock/ Herzeile

We left here at 8am being relieved by No. 10 Field Ambulance. Before we left all our parties had re-joined the Ambulance. The party from the canal bank lost one man (Price) seriously wounded in the abdomen, the night before they joined us. We marched about 10 or 12 miles to a village just over the frontier in France called Herzeile and billeted here for the night.

Friday 28th July: Herzeile/ Millam

We marched off from Herzeile at 9am and after marching 18 to 20 miles in a scorching sun we arrived at a village called Millam where we billeted for the night in a barn. We had one or two men drop out with the stiff march today.

Saturday 29th July: Millam

We stayed here at Millam for the day having a rest. Moving off tomorrow for some place to entrain.

Diaries; 16 – 22 July 1916.

Sunday 16th July: La Brick

We had only two wounded to bring down last night. This day is the opposite from yesterday being very dull.

Two batteries alongside us kept up a lively fire all afternoon and though we see very little of what occurs we get all the latest news from all parts of the line from headquarters.

Four of us went up to the reserve trenches at 10pm to see if there were any wounded. There being no cases, two men went back and two of us stayed till 2am but there was nothing doing though the German machine guns were very lively on the roads.

Monday 17th July: La Brick

We did not do any sandbagging today as the dugouts are almost finished and the day was very clear, so if we worked in the open the German balloon would have seen us. Our batteries kept up a very heavy fire all day and the Germans did not reply till after 6pm when they sent over a few coalboxes, some of them being not far off our Aide Post. We had two wounded to bring down at night but I expect the Germans had more than two after our batteries knocked off.

Tuesday 18th July: Peselhock

At 3am five of us were sent down from the Aide Post at La Brick as the work was finished and there were too many men up there. We arrived at “B” Section headquarters at 6am then we were sent on to the Ambulance headquarters at Peselhock. We have still 12 men at Poperinghe and by all accounts, they did some good work there when the Germans were shelling the town.

Wednesday 19th July: Peselhock

We are to stay at headquarters doing fatigues.

Thursday 20th July: Peselhock

The Germans have not shelled Poperinghe for over a week now and the troops and civilians are allowed in the town again.

Friday 21st July: Peselhock

We are still here at Peselhock, nothing much doing here except for a few German
aeroplanes who pay us a visit nearly every morning and evening.

Saturday 22nd July: Peselhock

Nothing much doing

Diaries; 9 – 15 July 1916.

Sunday 9th July: Brielen

We had a lively night as the Germans dropped a few shells near us when we were filling sandbags in the garden but nobody was hit.

At night, another party of our Ambulance (24 men) and some of No. 9 Field Ambulance are digging a trench from the second trench to the third trench in the first line, the other side of the Yser Canal. They are having a lively time too but they stay up there and sleep through the day in dugouts on the canal bank.

We came back at 3am as usual

Monday 10th July: Poperinghe

Coming back from the chateau this morning three German aeroplanes flew over our heads and dropped a few bombs on the railway and also one or two in Poperinghe.

Tuesday 11th July: Poperinghe

We had another lively night last night but nobody was hit. They also shelled Poperinghe about 11pm. There is some good news from the Somme district, we are still advancing.

Wednesday 12th July: Chateau Rizebourgh

We had a fairly quiet night last night. I am one of the party who will stay up here for the next 56 hours. After a few hours’ sleep, we got up and had dinner at 1pm then started to work laying the sand-bags we had filled on the top of the dugout. We were working when the other party came up at 10pm then we had to work with them all night till 3am the next morning.

Thursday 13th July: Chateau Rizebourgh

We had a fairly quiet night and after having our breakfast at 3am we had a sleep till 1pm. Then up and worked till the other party came up at 10pm.

Friday 14th July: Poperinghe/ La Brick

We had another fairly quiet night but the Germans shelled Poperinghe causing a few casualties. After working till 3am we went back to “B” Section’s Headquarters leaving another party up at the Chateau.

The Germans shelled Poperinghe very heavily today, a few of the shells going through our Hospital but they still managed to take in all the troops and civilians who were wounded or killed in Poperinghe.

Our Ambulance had to clear out of Poperinghe leaving 12 men, 1 N.C.O. and 1 Officer to take any cases getting wounded in Poperinghe. Our headquarters is moving to Peselhock.

Nearly all the civilians and troops have cleared out of Poperinghe and all the shops are closed. The Germans sent over 200 shells into it today and there was over 90 wounded and a good few killed.

Instead of going to the Chateau tonight 4 of us were told off to go up to the Aide Post at La Brick.

Saturday 15th July: La Brick

We came up to La Brick last night and we are to stay here on duty. This place is near St. Jean and Ypres about midway between and is well in the Salient. We have 12men, 1 N.C.O. and 1 Officer here. We are clearing any wounded and making a few dugouts. This has been a splendid summer’s day and our guns have been hammering away all day.

Diaries; 1 – 8 July 1916.

Saturday 1st July 1916: Poperinghe

Things are growing very lively and I expect something to burst very soon. Rumors of all kinds are flying about. It is a splendid day and the sun is shining. The Canadians are holding their Sports here today. In the afternoon we had a notice posted up saying that the French and our 4th Army had obtained their objective in the Somme district.

Sunday 2nd July: Poperinghe

Not much doing up here except for the artillery who are keeping up a heavy bombardment on the German lines. We have made more progress in the Somme district and telegrams are posted up for us twice a day from headquarters. The Push has started at last but we are not in it yet.

Monday 3rd July: Poperinghe

Still more good news posted up from the Somme district and everything is normal here.

Tuesday 4th July: Poperinghe

A heavy bombardment around Ypres way last night and we had 24 wounded down after the Guards had made a raid on the German trenches. That is the most wounded we have had here since we took over this Hospital. More good news posted up from the Somme district, we are still advancing there.

Wednesday 5th July: Poperinghe

Last night we had one of the worst thunderstorms I have seen out here and it rained the whole night. Heavy gunfire still going on round Ypres. The weather checked our advance on the Somme is the latest news posted up.

Thursday 6th July: Poperinghe

The weather is a bit better though still threatening and we had no more news from the Somme district.

Friday 7th July: Poperinghe

Our guns bombarded the Germans last night again and the Guards made another raid. We had over 30 wounded down here after the raid. Seven extra Bearers of our Ambulance went up to the Aide Post for duty there. Six more of us were warned today to get ready and at 4.30 this afternoon we marched to “B” Section headquarters about 3 miles outside Poperinghe but nearer to the Firing Line. At 9pm the six of us and 24 of No. 4 Field Ambulance went up in Horse Ambulances to Chateau Rizebourgh about a mile the other side of Brielen. We are going to work here at night making the lodge of the Chateau into an Advance Dressing Station and gas and shellproof dugout.

Saturday 8th July: Brielen

We worked up at the Chateau till 3am in the morning then came back to “B” Sections headquarters for a sleep throughout the day. We can only work at night up there so as not to be seen by the Germans and even at night they send over a good few shells. We left a small party who are to work through the day inside the Lodge. We went up again at night.

Diaries; 25th – 30th June 1916.

Sunday 25th June: Poperinghe

Our guns are bombarding every night now and the infantry are making raids but we are getting very little wounded. Weather still rainy.

Monday 26th June: Poperinghe

The Canadians had another bit of a scrap up Ypres way again. Otherwise, nothing doing.

Tuesday 27th June: Poperinghe

Everything fairly quiet except for the bombardment at night time. We are only getting about four wounded in each night.

Wednesday 28th June: Poperinghe

Very wet weather. Nothing doing here.

Thursday 29th June: Poperinghe

Great preparations being made for a big attack and our guns are growing livelier every day.

Friday 30th June: Poperinghe

We have drawn six days of rations so we expect something big soon.