February 1917

Thursday 1st February, 1917

No cases after midnight so did some writing. Off duty 8 a.m. Snow still on ground but lovely and mild day. Handed in box gas respirators and received new ones. Turned in after dinner, up again 7.30 p.m. and on duty 8.30. No cases in before midnight. Frosty and cold again tonight. Can't hear guns so much today.

Friday 2nd February, 1917

No cases after midnight and off duty 8.30 a.m. Heavy firing early morning, our boys took Hun strong post. Very nice and mild day. Turned in 11 a.m. and up 8 p.m. Various rumours about, i.e. Austria capitulated, attempt to assassinate Lloyd George. On duty 8.30 p.m. Enemy plane dropped bombs about 9.30 p.m., two very close to us. No cases before midnight. Hear some of our boys are going over parapet tonight.

Saturday 3rd February, 1917

No cases and off duty 8.30 a.m. Was very cold night but nice day, snow still on ground. One of our chaps (Hicks) burned badly today. Gave patients concert tonight, I sang "An Emblem". On duty 8.30 p.m. Our guns very fierce tonight. No cases. Heard of Germany's threat to sink all ships of all nations on sight. Party of Cameron H'landers, one whose time expired tonight was killed by bomb explosion, nearly 30 others injured.

Sunday 4th February, 1917

Same routine, one case 2 a.m. Off duty 8.30 a.m. On duty 8.30 p.m. Our guns thundering tonight on our left, no wounded in. The heavy gunfire tonight is on our left in direction of Thiepval and Beaumont Hamel like continuous roll of thunder. Enemy shelled Albert today.

Monday 5th February, 1917

Stayed on duty till 8.30 p.m. tonight. Very heavy bombardment early this morning, hear our boys attacked successfully on 12 mile front. Only one case in all day but busy on various duties. Heard that America has given Count Bernstorf his passports. Very cold, little snow. Off duty 8.30 p.m. and in bed 9 p.m.

Tuesday 6th February, 1917

Up at 7.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Cleaned and tidied for inspection 10 a.m. by orderly officer. Various small jobs to do. Had two accident cases, not very severe. Bitterly cold wind, very biting, hard to keep warm and tucker rotten. Was cold in bed last night. Off duty 8.30 p.m.

Wednesday 7th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m. and on duty 8.30, cleaned for inspection. Too cold to sleep last night and have 4 blankets. Major Welch rejoined unit today and set about re-organizing camp. Has taken my men for ward duties, left on operating theatre by myself, have to sleep there in case wanted in night so am actually on duty all time. Turned in 10 p.m.

Thursday 8th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m. and had breakfast, got lights going, oil heaters and cleaned up, kept running round till dinner time. Just finished dinner and had to dress about 20 septic feet, busy all afternoon drawing stores etc. Very cold day, turned in 10 p.m.

Friday 9th February, 1917

Not disturbed all night, up 7.30 a.m. After breakfast cleaned up, filled lamps etc., did few dressings, drew water and general work. Expect to move into a hut in day or so, warned about it. Received a months pay today. Wrote letter after tea and in bed 10.30 p.m.

Saturday 10th February, 1917

Called up at 4 a.m. Fritz plane dropped bombs near by and one man was wounded. Tidied up after breakfast and after dinner received sudden orders to shift all gear to a hut. Worked hard till 9 p.m. and made temporary arrangements to treat wounded in new operating theatre, turned in 9.30 p.m.

  Sunday 11th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m., busy arranging things. Played soccer against A.O.C. lost 4-1. Worked hard till 9 p.m., Harry helping me. Turned in 9.30. Have to arrange and set out operating theatre in good style, not a small job by any means, difficulty in getting clean linen etc.which makes great difference. Also have to sort out good stuff from rubbish.

Monday 12th February, 1917

Up at 7.30 a.m., breakfast, tidied operating theatre and busy all day improving it. Had one case, an accident. Number of innoculations against Tetanus in various wards this afternoon and few eye and ear cases to fix up. Moved our quarters into another tent but I have to sleep on my job. Turned in about 9 p.m.

Tuesday 13th February, 1917

Up at 7.30 a.m., breakfast and busy again fixing up theatre which is to be a very elaborate affair. Various small duties. Innoculated about 30 men against tetanus. Had four cases tonight, burns, chap put petrol on a fire in hut, blew up, burns very severe, some said to be dead. Warned to be ready for rush of wounded, was still preparing at midnight.

Wednesday 14th February, 1917

Busy till 2 a.m. when turned in fully dressed, no wounded came in, heard Jocks had taken some enemy trenches. Up 7.30, had breakfast and cleaned up. Very busy all morning syringing ears, innoculating and doing various jobs. Kept going again after dinner. Our guns going very solidly at intervals. Various rumours of successes. Turned in 9 p.m.

Thursday 15th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m. Had breakfast and cleaned up, various odd jobs assisting doctors at minor operations. Fritz plane over this morning. After dinner made some tin covers for kidney and other dishes. Kept going till tea time and this evening wrote a letter. Our guns very busy again. Seems to be a heavy one close to us, shakes the hut violently. Turned in 9.30 p.m.

Friday 16th February, 1917

Small ammunition dump of ours accidentally blown up today, caused by dud shell, heard explosion and saw cloud of smoke further up valley. Fritz planes over and dropped number of bombs about 5.45 a.m in our vicinity, but did not wake me, they also used their machine guns. Up at 7.15 a.m., breakfast and cleaned up, various small jobs in theatre. This afternoon our planes were very active and our guns going solidly. Weather much milder today. In bed 10 p.m.

Saturday 17th February, 1917

Up at 7.15 a.m., our guns at that time pounding heavily. After breakfast cleaned up and made various improvements. Usual number of dressings and small jobs during day. Weather warm but looks like rain, rain fell heavily about 8.30 p.m. Turned in 9.30 p.m.

Sunday 18th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m., usual routine, very muddy, guns not so loud but few shells from Fritz passed over us. Wrote letter and turned in 10 p.m.

Monday 19th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m., had breakfast and cleaned up. Few dressings, one accidental bayonet wound, innoculations for tetanus, hypodermic injections and other small duties. Some dissension amongst officers caused by Major Welch. Afternoon very quiet, only odd job or two. Rumour of us moving at end of week. Wrote letter and in bed 10 p.m. Officer gave dinner to Div. Comm. Gen. Holmes and to Brigadier Gen. Brand.
  Tuesday 20th February, 1917

Up 7.30 a.m., breakfast and cleaned up for daily inspection, Capt. Douglas orderly officer. Few dressings etc. and two wounded to fix up, one bayonet wounds in thigh and other shot through foot. Expected to be leaving about

Friday but latest reports are that moving orders have been cancelled. Rained fairly constantly, in bed 10 p.m.

Wednesday 21st February, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m. Breakfast 7.30 a.m. Cleaned up for inspection at 10 a.m. Had usual few dressings before dinner. Quiet afternoon for us but our guns to the left towards the Anere were pretty busy all day. Very muddy but not cold at all. Grenade accident at Mametz today, 4 of 15th Btn. injured. Very tired, turned in 9 p.m.

Thursday 22nd February, 1917

Was very sick at 11.45 p.m. last night, sort of Biliousness, up at 7.15 a.m. Feel just little bit shaky. Had few dressings, couple of Fritz prisoners among them, rained again and awfully muddy. Moving orders very uncertain. C. Section bearers went this morning to Millancourt. Wrote letters after tea and in bed 9 p.m.

Friday 23rd February, 1917

Slept well and up at 7.15 a.m. Breakfast and cleaned up for inspection, O.C. very pleased with arranging of theatre. Few dressings before dinner, and afterwards packed some of our panniers as might have to move at short notice. Were paid at 2 p.m. Did some sewing after tea and turned in about 9 p.m. Feel a little shaky.

Saturday 24th February, 1917

Slept pretty well and up 7.15 a.m. Was called up at 11.45 last night for morphia. Few dressings this morning. Very busy packing as far as possible ready to move tomorrow. Slightly frosty, our guns pretty busy. Turned in 9.30 p.m.

Sunday 25th February, 1917

Up at 7.15 a.m., had breakfast and finished packing panniers. Worked hard and loaded panniers and gear on the G.S. Wagon by 10.30 a.m. On parade and marched out 10.45 in full marching order, carrying full kits with 2 blankets and waterproof, passed through Albert and Millancourt and arrived at Laviaville at 1.30 p.m. Billetted in old barn, had dinner, very small village, hardly any civilians left. News given out as official that Germans have evacuated Bapaume and retired a good distance, fairly cold tonight so turned in at 7 p.m.

Monday 26th February, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m. Breakfast 7.30. On parade at 9.30 a.m. Roll call, orders and dismissed to billets. On parade again 10.30 a.m. Major Welch took us for route march through Henencourt close to Warloy. Did 144 paces per minute on return. Dinner 1 p.m. On parade at 1.45 p.m., had kit inspection by O.C. and dismissed, removed to barn next door, slightly better. Our guns sound very busy tonight, turned in 8 p.m.

Tuesday 27th February, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30. On parade 9 a.m. Major Welch took us for march through Henenc't and Millanc't, also gave us section drill till dinner time 12.30 noon, very stiff going. On parade 1.45 p.m. Major Welch and Capt. Spargo took us for short march and section drill till tea time 4.30 p.m. After tea sat talking to W.O. Mr. Baber till 9 p.m. when turned in. No confirmation of fall of Bapaume but British advance.

Wednesday 28th February, 1917

Our guns sound very active though far away. Reveille 7 a.m. Breakfast 7.30. On parade 9 a.m., went for bath to Millancourt, not much good, back for dinner. This afternoon had football practice as 12th Field Amb. have challenged us for tomorrow. Other men went for route march. Tea 4.30 p.m. News of further British victories, fall of Kut yesterday. Had plate of Quaker oats with Mr. Baber and turned in about 9 p.m. Guns booming solidly.