September 1916

Friday 1st September, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Very little doing. Was disappointed at not getting trip to "Amiens" in motor but at 10 a.m. got trip to "Doullens" about 15 to 20 miles away. Very nice little town, had couple of hours to look round and make few purchases and set out back at 1.45 p.m. At billet at about 3.30 p.m.. Very nice ride, country lovely, crops being got in. Very quiet after tea so did some more writing. Finished duty at 8 p.m. and turned in about 9 p.m.

Saturday 2nd September, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Few cases this morning. Had to go on car at 11 a.m. with man badly wounded, Penetrat. Frac. skull and right arm almost blown off, to Puchvilliers where the C.C.S. is. The man was in good spirits though suffering badly. Back at Warloy about 2 p.m. Very little doing this afternoon so wrote another letter and made souvenir butter knife from German bullet and piece of Eng. shell. Our battle planes very active this evening. Off duty 8 p.m., turned in 9 p.m.

Sunday 3rd September, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Only got few wounded in all day, although our troops made big attack at about 5 a.m. this morning. Heard attack had been very successful and our troops had advanced considerably. Various rumours going about tonight in and against our side. Big guns were going tremendously up to about 2 p.m. when eased off. Our planes very active. Made up parcel of trophies ready to send home. Beautiful day till 4 p.m. when started slight rain. Off duty 8 p.m. and in bed 9 p.m.

Monday 4th September, 1916

Was up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Received orders to pack up ready to move. Canadians taking our place. Worked hard all morning and had our panniers etc. packed by dinner time. Had spell after dinner till 3 p.m. when loaded our stores on G. S. wagon. Bearers arrived in today. One Sgt. of C. section killed yesterday and 3 men wounded, making total of 1 killed and 7 wounded this last few Page 47 of 69 days. Our troops in their attack yesterday advanced 300 yards beyong Mouquet Farm making German position at Thiepval more precarious. Turned in at 9 p.m.

Tuesday 5th September, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. and after various fatigues marched out of Warloy-Baillon at 9.30 a.m., our packs and blankets being carried on wagon for first time in history. Marched through Vadencourt and Contay and Herrisart to Rubempre where we billeted in farm buildings at 12 noon, having marched about 8 miles. Divisional H'quarters at this village. After dinner had gas helmet inspection then had look round the village. Was very quiet, not a shop anywhere, roads in very muddy condition, weather being broken. Paid after tea and turned in about 7.30 p.m.

Wednesday 6th September, 1916

Did not sleep too well, have had tooth drilled ready for filling and it gave me trouble. Artillery going like thunder all night. Up at 6.45 a.m., breakfast at 7.30 a.m. and paraded and marched out at 9 a.m. carrying our packs till midday when put them on wagon. Marched from 12 to 14 miles going through "Candas" to "Longuevillette" where we arrived and were billeted about 2.30 p.m., had dinner, shave and clean up then rested. Aircraft depot at "Candas" and between there and here passed about 1/2 dozen big aerodromes. Large Nos. of troops on road going in every direction. Fine day, very quiet village and turned in 8 p.m.

Thursday 7th September, 1916

Had good billet in barn, plenty room and clean straw, slept splendidly and got up 7.15 a.m. Breakfast 8 a.m. and tidied up billet. Had day to ourselves to rest. Loafed about till dinner time and about 1.30 p.m. went for walk towards aerodromes. Had look at No. 2 Flying Corp's supply depot also at their workshops, saw them making parts of and repairing planes. Also saw 12 of our F.E. battle planes go up in a bunch, grand sight. Back at billet for tea. Young monsieur at our billet lost his leg in the war by explosive bullet. Rested this evening and turned in 9 p.m.

Friday 8th September, 1916

Had good nights sleep again and up at 7.30 a.m. Breakfast 8 a.m. and on parade for roll call at 9 a.m. as moving on sometime today. Expect to entrain for "Popperinghe" near "Ypres". Washed some socks this morning and took things easy. Rested after dinner again till 4 p.m. when paraded for roll call and orders. Tea 5 p.m. then packed up and paraded again 8.15 p.m. marching out at 8.30 p.m. Marched about 5 or 6 miles to "Doullens" where we arrived about 10.45 p.m., entrained and then moved out at 12.17 just after midnight.

Saturday 9th September, 1916

Travelling till 7 a.m. this morning, dozed off and on all the time in our horse van. About 7 a.m. arrived at "Hopoutre", a small station about mile from "Poperinghe", disentrained and after lounging about sometime marched off for about 4 miles when halted by roadside to await orders. At 3 p.m. received orders to move into village of "Reninghelst" about 1/4 mile further on, right in centre of our "Ypres" salient and take over hospital from Canadian Field Amb. Contrary orders issued so very little done. Got eggs from village for tea and turned in in roof attic above hospital at 8 p.m. In Belgium today.

Sunday 10th September, 1916

Was pretty tired last night so slept soundly till 7.15 a.m. this morning when got up for breakfast at 8 a.m. No definite orders issued yet and no-one seems to know what is doing. Orders to stand by and not to leave billet until further notice. Was reading most of day. B. section took over hospital from Canadians, some rumour of our section (A) going out to advanced dressing station but only part of tent division. This afternoon had gas helmet inspection and parade for clothing etc. we might be short of. Turned in 9 p.m.

Monday 11th September, 1916

Could not get to sleep for some time last night through coughing as have bad cold, feel much better today. No further orders given to us yet. Helped Capt. Bentley to extract some teeth this morning and at 11.30 a.m. paraded and marched to divisional baths and had good hot bath. Spent afternooon writing a couple of letters. Very little gun fire here compared with the Somme up to the present. Inclined to rain a little this afternoon but held off. Had walk up village and in bed 8.30 p.m.

Tuesday 12th September, 1916

Cold kept me awake for some time last night but eventually slept soundly till 7 a.m. this morning. Breakfast 8 a.m., no fresh orders issued yet, but have to keep in vicinity of our billet. Unloaded a German bomb, parcelled it up, and sent it home as a curio. Weather pretty dull but warm. My cold does not trouble me in day time. News of fresh advances on the Somme by our troops, but things very quiet here. Not getting too much tucker so went out this evening and had some, chip potatoes and coffee. In bed 8.30 p.m.

Wednesday 13th September, 1916

Felt very sick for a couple of hours after going to bed last night, but got off to sleep at last and woke 7.15 a.m. this morning. After breakfast had look round and made appointment with our dentist to complete filling of tooth, then played bridge till dinner at 12.30 noon. After dinner removed some drugs and stores from some tents and put them in drug store, then had sleep till tea-time 5 p.m. Rained this afternoon and after tea read till turned in at 8.30 p.m.

Thursday 14th September, 1916

Very cold last night, only have one blanket and so was kept awake some time. Up at 7 a.m. and after breakfast visited dentist who completed filling my tooth. Heard an enemy spy was shot here this morning, also half a doz. at "Poperinghe" two days ago. Wet and cold all day. Received parcel of socks from grandmother and played cards this afternooon. Two of our chaps received 10 days leave to England today. Heavy bombarding going on this afternoon and tonight. Turned in 8.30 p.m.

Friday 15th September, 1916

Sound of heavy shells at intervals all night, heard enemy put a few into "Poperinghe" behind us. Was a very cold night, woke at 2.30 a.m. and lay shivering till 6.30 a.m. when got up. Spent the morning writing letters. Inspection of billets by O.C. at 10 a.m. Just after dinner a motor bus used for conveying troops to and from trenches caught fire in main street and was burnt right out. A second blanket was issued to us this afternoon. I managed to get two more so now have three. Quiet this evening and in bed 8 p.m. Page 49 of 69

Saturday 16th September, 1916

Had lovely nights sleep, did not wake till 7.30 a.m. when got up for breakfast. Arranged my kit as expect to go out to advanced dressing station at any time now. Inspection of billet by O.C. at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m. had a general parade and were issued with new and very effective type of gas helmet and were taken to gas school and had them tested, had sniff of chlorine gas. Afterwards loaded up panniers etc. on G.S. wagon in case have to move in hurry. Some bearers went out tonight. Turned in 8.30 p.m.

Sunday 17th September, 1916

Up at 7 a.m. and after breakfast paraded to Capt. Furber to apply to be sent to regimental aid post, was turned down so wrote application to O.C., also turned down. Very heavy firing last night, our building shook very badly. About 11 a.m. warned to be ready to move out at 5.15 p.m. so packed up my kit and had hot bath at Div. Baths, also had dinner out, eggs, chips, peas and custard 2/-. At 4.30 p.m. had tea for tea, and at 5.15 p.m. marched out about 3 miles to "Ouderdom" to take over dressing station from Canadians. In bed 8.30 p.m.

Monday 18th September, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and had bread and jam for breakfast, no tea. Rained hard all day. Some more of our men and transport arrived at 9 a.m. and we took over dressing station. All morning arranging the place for reception of wounded and off duty at 12 noon as have to take charge of night shift at 12 midnight. Knocked about this afternoon and gave a hand here and there. Have got a well made dug-out to live in, would take good shell to knock it in. Turned in 8 p.m.

Tuesday 19th September, 1916

Went on duty at 12 last night, only had five sick cases in all night. Rained most of night. Had a doze and was reading. At 6.30 a.m. swept out and tidied dressing station which is a large barn with wooden floor. Hundreds of rats running about. Breakfast 8 a.m. and afterwards was kept busy till 11 a.m. attending at sick parades in lieu of dispenser. Off duty 12 noon. Fine afternoon, watched enemy ineffectively shelling our planes. Good news from Somme. Received a letter from Dais. and turned in 7.30 p.m., up 11.30 p.m. and on duty 12 midnight.

Wednesday 20th September, 1916

Rained again at 1 a.m. for about an hour. Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. our guns opened up furiously on the enemy. After that quiet except for machine guns which we could hear chattering continuously. No patients came in during night and at 6 a.m. swept out and made things tidy. Breakfast 8 a.m. and sick parades at 9 a.m., after which got 3 patients, admitted from sick parade, away on wagon to D.R.S. Off duty at 12 noon. Our guns going at intervals during afternoon and evening. Cold and wet day. Had read and turned in 7.30 p.m. On duty 12 midnight.

Thursday 21st September, 1916

Could hear our guns going at intervals during night, also could hear the shells burst. Had nothing to do as only one patient in so read most of time till 6 a.m. when straightened things up. At 9 a.m. did sick Page 50 of 69 parade with Capt. Phillips, afterwards sending men admitted to D.R.S. in wagon. Further news of our victories on the Somme, also in Balkans. Had sleep this afternoon and after tea a game cards and in bed 9 p.m. This place is absolutely infested with rats. Our planes and balloons busy. Up at 11.30 p.m. and on duty 12 midnight.

Friday 22nd September, 1916

Quiet night again, about half doz. patients, one, Capt. Coombs 15th Batt., shot through head and one case diphtheria, others just severe colds. About 7 a.m. German plane came over but was driven off by our gun fire. Had breakfast 8 a.m., sick parade 9 a.m. and afterwards sent patients away. Off duty 12 noon. After dinner walked in to Div. baths at "Reninghelst" and had hot bath, back for tea. This evening our planes were very active, enemy shelled them heavily but ineffectively. Turned in 7.30 p.m., on duty 12 midnight.

Saturday 23rd September, 1916

Nothing doing at all during night, of course got a sleep. At 7.30 a.m. enemy plane came over, heavily shelled by our guns. Couple of our planes forced it to bolt. One of our shells fired at it failed to go off and fell close to our dug-out in our lines, went over 15 ft. into the ground. Sick parade 9 a.m., afterwards got patients admitted away. Off duty at 12 noon. Another enemy plane over about 1.30 p.m., driven off at once by our anti-aircraft guns. Writing all rest of afternoon and after tea had friendly game of bridge. Been lovely day. Turned in 8 p.m. and on duty 12 midnight.

Sunday 24th September, 1916

Had four patients in during night, all slight medical cases. Sat reading most of time till 6 a.m. when tidied up and had breakfast 8 a.m. Sick parade at 9 a.m. and inspection of billeting area 10 a.m. by Capt. Furber. At 11.30 a.m. sent patients on to respective places and off duty 12 noon. After dinner read for a while and then went to sleep till tea-time 5 p.m. Had read again after tea and went to sleep about 8 p.m., getting up and on duty at 12 midnight. Have not been too well for some days, had heavy cold, but feel better this evening. Been a lovely day again.

Monday 25th September, 1916

Very quiet again last night, only couple of sick chaps and couple of mumps cases. Mumps seems to be about a fair bit also diphtheria. Tidied up dressing station before breakfast and at 9 a.m. assisted Capt. Furber at sick parade after which sent cases admitted to respective bases. Inspection of our area by Capt. Furber who is senior officer here at 11 a.m. and off duty 12 noon. Wrote couple of letters this afternoon and then had a sleep till 5 p.m. tea-time. This evening watched our planes which were very active, turned in about 8 p.m., on duty midnight.

Tuesday 26th September, 1916

Our troops were to make raid tonight (during present night) on enemy trenches so expected some casualties. Raid came off about 10.30 p.m. last night, we only had one man wounded as enemy had evacuated trench. Tidied up before breakfast. At 8.30 a.m. aeroplane fight took place in easy sight, did not see it but heard noise, didn't know what it was. Enemy plane was shot straight down a wreck and ours had to land as bullet had gone through petrol tank. Machine landed safely, otherwise Page 51 of 69 undamaged but observer and pilot both wounded, former through head and latter foot. Off duty 12 noon, slept this afternoon, tea at 5 p.m., turned in again 7.30 p.m. and up and on duty midnight.

Wednesday 27th September, 1916

Nothing doing all night, tidied up before breakfast and at 9 a.m. assisted Capt. Furber at sick parade. About 10 a.m. enemy plane flew over hotly shelled by our anti-aircraft guns and chased by our planes. Heard it was brought down near "Bailleul". About 11.30 a.m. two more enemy planes came over, engaged by our machines right above us, could hear their machine guns firing but they were fortunate to escape into a cloud bank and so got away. Off duty 12 noon. Had sleep this afternoon, heard "Thiepval" and "Combles" have fallen to our troops. This evening saw observation balloon which had broken away brought down by our fire and planes, don't know whose it was. In bed 7.30 p.m. On duty midnight.

Thursday 28th September, 1916

Had five slightly sick patients and couple of mumps, no wounded at all during night. At 3 a.m. our guns opened out in direction of (Dickibush) and bombarded for half an hour or so. Could hear maching guns rattling. Sent patients to hospital 8 a.m. and after breakfast assisted at sick parade. Balloon brought down last night was German, had broken loose and drifted about 80 miles from south. Received official news of capture of "Combles" by British and French. Off duty 12 noon, after dinner had short sleep. Numbers of very big guns gone up this last few days. Our guns firing heavily at intervals. Turned in 7.30 p.m., up and on duty 12 midnight.

Friday 29th September, 1916

Had no patients in until about 6 a.m. when car brought down two, one of whom was injured by one of our own rifle grenades, had fractured knee. Sent them on to C.C.S. after fixing them up. Cleaned up before breakfast at 8 a.m. and at 9 a.m. assisted Capt. Furber at sick parade. Inclined to rain today. Off duty at 12 midday. This afternoon had a sleep till tea-time at 5 p.m., after which had kick at a football for hour or so before turning in at 8 p.m. Up and on duty 12 midnight. Official news of fall of "Thiepval".

Saturday 30th September, 1916

Quiet night for patients till 5.30 a.m. when three came down. Attended to them and sent them on to C.C.S. Just after midnight our big guns started firing furiously for about an hour after which were firing heavily at intervals. Tidied up for breakfast, sick parade 9 a.m., then sent patients admitted to D.R.S. Did some washing afterwards. One or two sick men came in before 12 midday when went off duty. Lay on stretcher reading this afternoon till fell asleep and was woke for tea at 5 p.m. In bed again 7.30 p.m. and up and on duty at 12 midnight.