1st June, 1916
After most weary journey, hardly had room to sit down and night chilly,
we arrived at Alexandria at 5 a.m. and commenced to dis-entrain, having
been 8 1/4 hours in the trucks. Went on board Dominion liner "Canada"
and fixed up in cabins. I am in 6 berthed cabin, very comfortable. Fatigue
work all morning loading our gear on ship. Other transports loading alongside
us, the "S.S. Haverford" with C. section of our Amb. on board
and the "Transylvania" with Headquarters on board, very busy
scene. Very tired this afternoon and in my bunk again 8 p.m.
Friday 2nd June, 1916
Was up at 6 a.m. still alongside wharf. On parade on deck 6.30 a.m., orders
read out. Breakfast 7 a.m. On parade again 9.30 a.m. Orders re fire alarm,
submarine attack etc. read out and boat stations allotted, life belts
given out, have to be worn continually. Left wharf and anchored in outer
harbour at 9 a.m. Dinner 12 noon. Parade 2.30 p.m. Three men sent to hospital
ashore with pneumonia, probably result of night ride in the open trucks.
Turned in to my bunk at 8.30 p.m.
Saturday 3rd June, 1916
Pretty close below but slept well, up at 5.45 a.m., still at anchor. On
parade 6.30 a.m., physical drill till breakfast at 7 a.m. Raised anchor
and steamed out about 10 a.m. Inspection by O.C. of troops and ship's
captain at 10.30 a.m. Dinner 12 noon. On parade again 2.30 p.m., physical
drill till 3.15 p.m. Have to wear life belts all the time. Have 4.7 naval
gun mounted astern and machine guns all round ship. Machine guns practising
at noon. Patrol boats, mine sweepers etc. in sight all day. Tea 4.30 p.m.
Passed mine-layer "Lily" about 6 p.m. Played cards and read
after tea. In bed 9 p.m.
Sunday 4th June, 1916
Page 30 of 69 Up at 6 a.m., washed and on deck for parade at 6.30 a.m.,
orders read out and dismissed. Fell in for church service 9.40 a.m. Splendid
day, ship steaming very zig-zag course. Passed several light cruisers
(British) also number of trawlers mine-sweeping. Other transports been
in sight nearly all day. Passed island of Crete before dinner. Seems to
be regular chain of cruisers and patrol ships the whole way, wonderful
organization. Reading and playing cards. Saw several small islands. Church
service 7.15 p.m. Turned in about 8.30 p.m.
Monday 5th June, 1916
Woke and got up 5.45 a.m., washed and on deck for parade 6.30 a.m., roll
call, orders and dismissed. Breakfast 7 a.m. Parade again 9.30 a.m., physical
drill till 10.15 a.m. General inspection of quarters by O.C. of troops
and skipper at 10.30 a.m. Dinner 12 noon. On parade 3.15 p.m., physical
drill till 4 p.m. Wireless message from Malta of naval battle in North
Sea. Very heavy German losses supposed 12 ships sunk and 4 damaged. Machine
guns had practice this afternoon. Ships in sight all day, eleven in sight
at 7 p.m. Tucker not too good nor much of it. Turned in 9 p.m.
Tuesday 6th June, 1916
Up at 5.45 a.m., on parade 6.30 a.m., roll call, orders and physical drill
till 7 a.m. Ship received wireless last night that enemy submarines had
been seen E by N.E. of Malta, changed course and passed south of Malta
instead of north of the island as intended, losing several hours. Saw
coast of Malta. On parade 2.30 p.m., physical drill till 3.15 p.m. At
3.30 p.m. had submarine alarm for practice and fell in at boat stations.
Chief mate going round seeing all correct. Our ship carries ample boats
and rafts. Tucker slightly better today but not much. In bed 9 p.m.
Wednesday 7th June, 1916
Up at 5.45 a.m. and on parade 6.30 a.m., roll call, orders and dismissed.
Breakfast 7 a.m., then went on deck for couple of hours. On parade 9.30
a.m. and physical drill till 10.15 a.m. On parade again 10.30 a.m. while
inspection of ship took place. Dinner 12 noon, parade 2 p.m. for orders
and medical inspection. Had to hand black kit bags in by 3 p.m., mine
nearly empty. Machine guns been practicing nearly all day, passed several
vessels. Tea at 4.30 p.m. Wrote some letters tonight, expect reach port
tomorrow. Turned in 9 p.m. Saw coast of Sardinia. Rumours of sinking of
H.M.S. Hampshire and drowning of Lord Kitchener and staff.
Thursday 8th June, 1916
Up at 6 a.m., on parade 6.30 a.m., physical drill till 7 a.m. On parade
9.30 a.m., physical drill till 10.15 a.m. Ship inspection 10.30 a.m. Played
cards till dinner time. Sighted coast of France about 12 noon, through
my glasses could see houses and villages, caught sight of Marseilles about
2.15 p.m. Beautiful scene, looked real lovely. Anchored in outer harbour
3.30 p.m. Can see great viaduct on our port side and inner harbour and
township on our starboard. Forts with huge guns on the magnificent hills
round about and Church of the Golden Angel high over all else. Moved in
and alongside wharf 10.15 p.m.
Friday 9th June, 1916
Very little rest last night, noise of unloading on deck above something
awful. Up at 4.45 a.m. and had breakfast 6 a.m., then fixed up kit ready
for dis-embarkation. Official news of Lord Kitchener's death. Page 31
of 69 Commenced unloading about 8 a.m. Left our kits on deck and all morning
man-hauling loaded limbers from wharf to railway about 1 1/2 miles away.
Loaded gear on train during afternoon, had very solid day, could not get
into Marseilles proper. Got aboard train, 30 in closed in truck, train
started 4.45 p.m., passed round the great viaduct, lovely country. Lay
down about 9 p.m.
10th June, 1916
Did not get much sleep, rather cramped, but warm. Rained heavily and roof
of truck leaked a little. Got up about 4.45 a.m. Scenery beautiful. Reached
Lyons just before 7 a.m. Officials had hot water ready for tea and we
had breakfast, leaving Lyons at 7.30 a.m. Our next stop was for dinner
at 12.45 noon at a beautiful little place called Paray-le-Moniel. The
people turned out, gave us great welcome, bringing flowers and strawberries
for us. People all along line given us magnificent reception. Saw some
German prisoners at work. Sunshine and showers all day. Lay down 9 p.m.
Sunday 11th June, 1916
Slept in my clothes last night as expected to reach Paris about 2 a.m.
Very broken sleep on account of jolting. Up at 4.30 a.m. We branched off
at a junction at this time, being about 10 miles from Paris, so did not
see the capital. Red Cross ladies at a couple of stations stopped at this
morning with coffee for us. Women doing all classes of men's work. Our
great reception continued all along line. Had quarter of an hour at Amiens
and arrived "Abbervale" at 6.30 p.m. Transferred our gear to
other trucks, left 40 of our men behind. Had lemonade and cakes at Y.M.C.A.
Train left 11 p.m.
Monday 12th June, 1916
Still travelling in brake van, got very little sleep, bitter cold and
only one blanket. Passed through Boulogne and saw sea at 6.30 a.m. Couple
of hours later passed by Calais. Train stopped for few minutes at St.
Omer which used to be British Hdqrts. Arrived at Hazebrouk about 10.30
a.m., stayed few minutes, arrived at Bailleul which is almost on the Belgian
border, at 12.10 noon. Disentrained, humbugged about for couple hours,
then marched about eight miles back, raining steadily all time. Billetted
31 of us in old barn, went to village 2 miles away, got eggs for tea.
Back and turned in early.
Tuesday 13th June, 1916
Slept well last night, straw covering floor of barn keeping us warm. Could
hear heavy artillery fire in the distance last night and this morning.
Awake at 7 a.m. and had some breakfast, still raining. We are only few
miles from Lille and Armentiers. Germans held this part some time ago
and some billetted in this barn. About 2 p.m. ordered to go as baggage
guard on motor wagon to large farm 3 miles away near village called "Borre",
arrived, unloaded wagons in another large barn, left our kits and had
look round village. A number of refugees at this farm. Turned in about
Wednesday 14th June, 1916
Slept splendid, did not get up till 8 a.m. No officer with us, still raining,
awfully muddy. Spoke to man on farm, says he comes from "Lille",
drove his cattle here when Germans came, 2 of brothers killed, one still
at front. Another old lady lost 3 sons at Verdun. Rest of our men came
today from farm near village called "Strageele". Got here about
10 a.m., all crowded into small barn. About 2 p.m. went for walk to town
of Hazebrouk about 3 miles away. Fairly large place but very dull and
quiet. Did not rain this afternoon but very dull. Back at billet 6 p.m.,
turned in 8 p.m. Page 32 of 69
Thursday 15th June, 1916
Reveille 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call, orders, then went for
march till 7.30 a.m. Hazebrouk put out of bounds by our O.C. and roll
call at 6.15 p.m. Breakfast 8 a.m., had bacon. First cooked meal supplied
since leaving boat. General fatigue at 10 a.m. till 12 noon. Inspection
of billet 9.30 a.m. The corps now called "Meikles Circus", it
is a real ragtime show. Officers had burst up yesterday among themselves,
told O.C. he was no good, things very bad. Went to Strazeele at 2 p.m.
in motor for rations etc. No jam or butter today, about dozen prunes instead,
roll call altered to 7.30 p.m. Men very discontented, counted O.C. out
and generally showed disapproval of treatment. Turned in 8 p.m.
Friday 16th June, 1916
Reveille 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Have five
patients in today, so escaped route marches and did not have much to do.
Major McGregor left us this morning on account of trouble with O.C. Sorry
to lose him. After dinner handed in our web equipment and issued with
leather equipment instead. A dozen or more of our aeroplanes been about
today, usually in groups of four. Asked today to be transferred into bearer
sub-division. Wrote letter yesterday for transfer to 3rd Fld. Coy. Eng.
Squadron. About 20 aeroplanes, British, passed over this evening. Very
heavy artillery fire tonight. On duty 8 p.m.
Saturday 17th June, 1916
Had six patients, stayed up till 12.30 midnight. Artillery firing just
like continuous roll of thunder. Turned in about 12.30 midnight, handy
to patients, and slept till 6 a.m. Off duty 7 a.m. Hospital just corner
of barn covered with straw. Men getting very discontented. Tucker bad,
not much of it. O.C. can't trust the privates so have to be at billet
at 7.30 p.m. every night, all other units have till 9 p.m. Took some shirts
to be washed this morning. Had sleep after dinner, went up the lane about
4 p.m. to a cottage and had some eggs and chip potatoes. At billet at
6.30, on duty 8 p.m.
Sunday 18th June, 1916
Sat up writing till 12 midnight, only four patients a bit off colour.
Artillery fire does not sound so heavy tonight. Up again 5.30 a.m. Sound
of guns in direction Ypres heavier this morning. General leave from midday
till 9 p.m. Six of us went to Hazebrouk though it is out of bounds, had
good look around, old place and very quiet. Majority of people in mourning.
Had a good feed of chips and eggs, enjoyed it thoroughly. Saw a dirigible
airship pass over town, could not see what kind, at a very great height.
Returned back to camp at 8.30 p.m. and went on duty.
Monday 19th June, 1916
Only three patients, not very sick, so turned in at 11 p.m. Up at 5.30
a.m. It is very chilly yet in early morning and at night. Had nothing
to do this morning so sauntered along lane, very nice after Egypt. Weather
nice last couple of days but not reliable. Had sleep after dinner till
4 p.m. then yarned time away till tea-time. Hear we may be moving about
a dozen miles or so tomorrow. After tea strolled about round farm, another
patient arrived about 7 p.m. Tattoo roll call at 7.30 p.m., most of B
section missing. On duty 8.30 p.m.
20th June, 1916
Page 33 of 69 Things quiet so turned in 10.30 p.m. last night. Up at 5.30
a.m. Hear that several German aeroplanes dropped about 40 bombs near Hazebrouk
about 2 a.m. this morning, all fell in paddock, no damage at all. Members
of B. section up this morning, being out last night, about 30 of them,
stayed out on account of O.C.'s restrictions. No sentence passed yet.
One of B. section arrived today, fell out of train outside Marseilles,
no one knew. Did little washing today. Very quiet, one or two of our aeroplanes
about. Walked to village of "Borre" about 5 km and had eggs
for tea. Back at billet for tattoo at 7.30 p.m. Lovely night, turned in
Wednesday 21st June, 1916
Cleared patients away yesterday afternoon. Reveille 6.30 a.m., on parade
7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. then packed and cleaned up and on parade 8.45
a.m. Marched out in full marching order 9 a.m. Proceeded through Borre,
Strazeele and town of Bailleul. Billetted at farm about 2 miles past Bailleul,
arrived at 1 p.m. Huts for hospitals. Set to and cleaned them out after
dinner. Given one of huts to sleep in for present, ten of us. Aerodrome
not far from us, our aeroplanes flying about by the dozen, enemy shelled
them heavily but ineffectively. Turned in about 8 p.m. March was about
Thursday 22nd June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Breakfast
8 a.m., sick parade followed, three of our own chaps in as patients, several
dressings to be done three times daily. One of our chaps sent away queried
pneumonia. Did little washing this morning and fixed up huts ready for
patients. After dinner did bit of carpentering in dispensary, table and
shelves for bottles. Been lovely day, our aeroplanes very busy, drove
enemy plane away this morning. Artillery booming at intervals. Did some
writing after tea. In bed 8 p.m.
Friday 23rd June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Breakfast 8 a.m.
Only three patients. Sick parade, dressings etc. Fatigue work, cleaning
round huts etc. till dinner time. Three new patients arrived after dinner,
sent two of them on to stationary hospital after tea, one queried diphtheria,
other a contact. Heavy rain came on this afternoon, so stayed in hut and
played cards. Still showery after tea, so played friendly game of cards
again till bedtime 8.30 p.m.
Saturday 24th June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., breakfast 8 a.m. Sick parade and dressings
9 a.m. and little fatigue work. Rained fairly heavy most of morning. Dinner
11.45 a.m. today and at 12.30 noon paraded and marched about 5 miles through
"Steenwerk" where we were put through a trench with our respirators
on. The trench was full of Chlorine gas. Also had sample of crying gas.
All went well. Arrived back at billet 5.30 p.m., had tea, then game of
cards and in bed 9 p.m.
Sunday 25th June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. After breakfast
attended patients and dressings. 13 patients today, none serious, having
easiest time have had since been away. Saw several German observation
balloons this morning. Our aircraft very busy, as many as 20 being in
sight at once. Went for walk into Bailleul this afternoon, fairly large
but sleepy place, had tea at Page 34 of 69 Y.M.C.A. Back at billet at
8 p.m. Seven motor ambulances arrived this afternoon for our corps. Turned
in 9 p.m.
Monday 26th June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m., went straight on duty. Took temperatures and cleaned
up hospital huts, then off duty till 2 p.m. Spent morning writing letters.
On duty 2 p.m., did foments, dressings etc., had game of cards and at
4.30 p.m. took temperatures again. Got tea for patients, 14 of them, at
5 p.m. and did foments etc. again at 6 p.m. Our aircraft very active tonight.
Could see five German observation balloons up, about 9 of our planes went
up shortly after 8 p.m. and at 8.45 p.m. two of the enemy balloons came
down on fire. Could see our planes up above, had evidently attacked balloons
and succeeded in destroying two at least. Enemy shelled our planes heavily.
Tuesday 27th June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Breakfast 8 a.m.
Inspection of camp and billets at 10 a.m. by A.D.M.S. Heavy rain at intervals
all day, everywhere up to the knees in mud. Had game of cards just before
dinner. On duty 2 p.m., did foments, dressings etc. Sixteen patients in
today, not much trouble as none very sick. Got tea for them at 5 p.m.
and did foments again at 6 p.m. Just after tea I noticed some fish in
small pool in front of our hut, so we made a net and succeeded in catching
a couple of very nice tench. Turned in 9 p.m.
Wednesday 28th June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Rained heavily
during night, still raining this morning. Nothing much doing so played
friendly game of bridge till dinner time. On duty 2 p.m., did foments
and dressings. At 4.30 p.m. took temperatures and tea at 5 p.m. Foments
again 6 p.m. after which started fishing in the pool by our hut, caught
couple of nice tench. Raining off and on all day, fairly cold. Motor transport
very busy, passing along road in front of billet. Turned in 9 p.m.
Thursday 29th June, 1916
Up 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Breakfast 8 a.m.
At 10.30 a.m. had to go with motor ambulance to Erquingham which lies
between here and Armentiers. Had nice ride about 10 miles and arrived
at 4th Brigade H'dqrts. Erquingham looks battered about a bit. Most of
windows broken, shell holes in houses and doors and walls chipped with
bullets. Went to Telegraph and signal office which is underground in an
old cellar, very stuffy. Back at billet for dinner and on duty 2 p.m.
Same routine as yesterday, only nine patients. Raining again tonight.
In bed 9.30 p.m.
Friday 30th June, 1916
Up at 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Was awake
about 4 a.m. and could hear big guns, I think they were ours, bombarding
furiously, like solid continuous roll of thunder. At 9 a.m. received orders
evacuate patients and be ready to move at 4 p.m. Packed up drugs, instruments
and stores, also our kits. Just after dinner got word not moving till
morning. Paid this afternoon and received letter from home. Played cards
till tea time. Our planes very busy this evening, about 20 hovering over
German lines. Enemy fired hundreds of shells at them, did not see any
hit. Turned in 9 p.m.