Diaries; 19th – 25th March, 1916.

Sunday 19th March: Proven

We are going to have a safe and easy time here, only sick to look after and to improve the place.

Monday 20th March: Proven

The 6th Division have been running this place before us and it was the 6th the Guards relieved and they have now gone down to Calais for a rest.

Tuesday 21st March: Proven

There is going to be nothing to write about here as it is the same work day after day, very uninteresting but very safe.

Wednesday 22nd March: Proven

Still the same.

Thursday 23rd March: Proven

We had a change in the weather last night, snow was falling heavily and still falling today.

Friday 24th March: Proven

The snow is clearing away and the weather is improving again.

Saturday 25th March: Proven

Weather good. A good deal of sick came in today.


Diaries; 12th – 18th March, 1916.

Sunday 12th March: Calais

We witnessed a very good football match between the 1st Scotch Guards and the 3rd Coldstreams which ended in a 0-0 draw after extra time had been played.

Monday 13th March: Calais

The weather here has improved a good bit. The Scotch Guards beat the Coldstreams today 2-1. In the afternoon our C.O. took us round the bake-house at Calais, where the bread is made for the troops, it is a wonderful sight.

Tuesday 14th March: Calais

We had a very severe thunderstorm over here last and it has been very misty all day. The Scotch Guards beat the Grenadiers in the final for the Calais Cup 1-0.

Wednesday 15th March: Calais

We leave here tonight and have been packing up all day. We left at 9.45pm and marched to the station outside Calais where we entrained.

Thursday 16th March: Calais/Cassel/ Winnezeele

The train steamed off at 2am and arrived at our destination Cassel at 6am. After
disembarking we marched to the village of Winnezeele where we billeted in a barn for the night. The weather is splendid.

Friday 17th March: Winnezeele/ Proven (Belgium)

We marched off from Winnezeele at 10am and marched on till we came to the village of Proven where we took over a Hospital and rest camp for the sick from No. 9 Field Ambulance. We marched 15kms today and for the third time in this war, we have marched into Belgium.

Saturday 18th March: Proven

We are to be here for some time are going to run this place for the sick of the Division. The other two Ambulances of the Division are going to look after the wounded. This village of Proven is only a few miles in Belgium and is only a small place about 10 miles from the nearest point of the firing line. One good thing about this place-everything is cheaper here than in France. The weather these last few days has been splendid.

Diaries; 5th – 11th March, 1916.

Sunday 5th March: Calais

Weather fair but dull. The 1st Brigade leave here today and tomorrow the 2nd Brigade will be taking their place.

Monday 6th March: Calais

Weather again dull but dry, some of the 2nd Brigade arrived here. One of our Ambulance has died of pneumonia in the hospital at Calais where a great many had gone sick.

Tuesday 7th March: Calais

Another snow storm is on today and the snow is lying over a foot deep, fine weather to be under canvas.

Wednesday 8th March: Calais

The snow is clearing away but it is still very cold at night. We gave the chap who died a military funeral today.

Thursday 9th March: Calais

We had a better day here today though it is still cold. I had a chat with a few of the Kingston Boys who are in the 1st Scotch Guards.

Friday 10th March: Calais

Another bombing accident happened here today; the 3rd Grenadiers were practising bomb throwing when one burst killing 3 and wounding 21.

Saturday 11th March: Calais

Five more of the men wounded here yesterday have died. The weather has improved.

Diaries; 1st – 4th March, 1916.

Wednesday 1st March: Calais

A wet and miserable morning but it brightened up in the afternoon and we were able to get a route march to stretch our legs.

Thursday 2nd March: Calais

A better day, more route marching and physical drill.

Friday 3rd March: Calais

Another day of rain. The Irish Guards were practising bomb throwing in the forenoon when the “Padre” dropped one which killed Lord Fitzgerald, wounded the Padre and three other Officers and one Private.

Saturday 4th March: Calais

A better day, route marching and parades.

Diaries; 26th – 29th February, 1916.

Saturday 26th February: Calais

Another day of snow and frost, it is still very cold. The 1st Brigade are coming here next.

Sunday 27th February: Calais

It was still snowing this morning but in the afternoon it turned to rain and when we went to bed at night it was raining in torrents.

Monday 28th February: Calais

It was again snowing when we got up this morning and it has again turned to rain in the afternoon. We can’t get anything done but have to try and keep dry and warm inside the tent.

Tuesday 29th February: Calais

This has been a better day, not nearly so cold but at night it again turned to rain.

Diaries; 19th – 25th February, 1916.

Saturday 19th February: Calais

This has been a very good day, just like summer. Every man of the 3rd Brigade here is undergoing the strictest training. Route marching and all kinds of trench warfare.

Sunday 20th February: Calais

Another fairly good day but it broke down in the afternoon. The Belgian flying ground is next to our camp and all the troops parade on it. In our spare time, we also watch the airmen going up and coming down. We of the Ambulance are getting it very easy at present.

Monday 21st February: Calais

This has been a very cold day and nearly everybody has the cold; otherwise, the sea air is doing us good.

Tuesday 22nd February: Calais

Another cold day, we are getting a late winter here now and it is very cold sleeping under canvas.

Wednesday 23rd February: Calais

I had a walk into Calais which is two miles from our camp. It is a fine town and not unlike Edinburgh in places. The weather is getting even colder.

Thursday 24th February: Calais

The weather is now like mid-winter and we had a heavy fall of snow last night and frost has now set in.

Friday 25th February: Calais

It has snowed very heavily all last night and today it is very cold. The 3rd Brigade leave here today and tomorrow but we are to stay here till the other two Brigades of the Division have each done 8 days here. This is to save the other Ambulances from coming here.

Diaries; 12th – 18th February, 1916.

Saturday 12th February: Epinette

The Germans dropped a few shells on the Welsh Guards billets wounding 4 otherwise things quiet. Three of us went up to the Advance Aide Post and relieved the men on duty there.

Sunday 13th February: Epinette Farm

Nothing much doing all day when a few German and some of our aeroplanes were up and there was some lively shelling by the Anti-aircraft guns, but no hits.

Monday 14th February: Epinette Farm

This has been a dirty stormy day with very little shelling going on. We should have been relieved tonight but as our Ambulance is to be relieved; we are staying on here for another night.

Tuesday 15th February: Epinette Farm

A very quiet day; but a wild one with the weather. We were relieved at 1pm by another Ambulance of the 19th Division and went back to our Dressing Station at Epinette then we marched back to Lagorgue to our Hospital there, where we billeted for the night.

Wednesday 16th February: Epinette/ Merville

A wild and stormy day, raining in torrents. The whole Ambulance marched off from here at 12.30 mid-day and marched to Merville where we entrained and the train steamed off at 5.15pm. We arrived at our destination “Calais” at 10.45pm then we had to start unloading the wagons-a lively job.

Thursday 17th February: Calais

It took us till 2am this morning before we had the train unloaded and marched off to our camp outside Calais. We reached the camp about 4am and a great many of the tents were lying flat with the gale. We lay down inside a tent covering ourselves with our coats; glad to get out of the rain and wind, and in spite of the wind and the cold we snatched an hour’s sleep before daylight.

After daylight appeared, we started to get things ship shape. The whole of our Brigade are here under canvas.

Friday 18th February: Calais

We had a better’s night sleep last night as we had been issued with blankets. This would be a fine place in the summer but it is rotten at present as the weather is always breaking down.

The whole of the 3rd Brigade of Guards are here. The 1st and 2nd Brigades are lying about Poperinghe and the whole Division is under strict training.

Diaries; 5th – 11th February, 1916.

Saturday 5th February: Epinette

Another man came up from Lagorgue and took over the cook’s job and at night I went up to our Aide Post at Epinette Farm. A few shells are coming over but we are getting no wounded.

Sunday 6th February: Epinette Farm

Another day of the same; only more shells over but still no wounded.

Monday 7th February: Epinette Farm

The Germans sent a good many shells over today setting a farm on fire; still, we had no wounded. We were relieved at night by two other men of our Ambulance and we went back to Epinette.

Tuesday 8th February: Epinette

Another quiet day and the weather has broken down again. I had a narrow escape today when taking a stretcher up to Epinette farm, a shell burst a few yards off covering me with mud but did not hit me.

Wednesday 9th February: Epinette

Everything as usual or otherwise nothing doing. Weather improving.

Thursday 10th February: Epinette

Another day of the same only the Germans shelling Laventie, also one of our airmen flying very low over enemy lines; a wonder he was not hit.

Friday 11th February: Epinette

There has been very little shelling today except on the left where 4 of the 2nd Scotch Guards were killed and a few wounded, we sent the wounded to Lagorgue.

Diaries; 1st – 4th February, 1916.

Tuesday 1st February: Lagorgue

Still here and a party went up to our Advance Dressing Station today to relieve some men up there. I expect to go up tomorrow with another party. The weather is still good and there is word of something doing before long. Everything is quiet at present except for the guns which are firing away now and then as usual.

Wednesday 2nd February: Epinette

Two of us went up to our Advance Dressing Station at Epinette to release two men up there. I went up as cook for a few days till some other one is sent up. Everything is quiet up here for the present.

Thursday 3rd February: Epinette

I am still doing cook here and the Germans are sending a few shells very close but
otherwise, things are quiet. We are only getting about one wounded man every two days.

Friday 4th February: Epinette

Another quiet day; except for the guns that keep on firing now and then. The weather is splendid for this time of the year.

Diaries; 29th – 31st January, 1916.

Saturday 29th January: Lagorgue

The Artillery were very lively all night and today otherwise things are the same as usual.

Sunday 30th January: Lagorgue

I expect there will be a big move before long as all extra blankets etc. have been called in. There is also a new Division here in place of the Welsh Division gone back. It is a Tyneside Division. Everything is quiet here today. General Hayworth is now in command of the Guards Division.

Monday 31st January: Lagorgue

We are still here in Lagorgue but everything seems to be waking up as everything is getting busy just as we were last April. The weather has improved and though the roads are still bad the weather is dry.