Jan. 20, 1918
Entrained Steentje at 1.00pm (noon) for MEZEROLLES, FRANCE. Left Peselhoek at 3.00pm and arrived DOULLENS at 11.00pm. same night. On guard at station & proceeded via GS Wagon to MEZEROLLES, 10 km from Doullens. Billets in very poor condition but Mac Roode, Vale and I succeeded in getting room with farmer for 40 francs. Family consists of old lady and husband and daughter of 20 years & little girl of 10 years. Very clean and sociable family. Taking physical training in AM's Musketry and working rest of day on orderly room.
Received word from Rear guard at old HQ (Belgium) that Scotty Cameron had committed suicide with razor. Insanity cause.
Moved from MEZEROLLES to PERONNE. Left Mezerolles on motor lorry with convoy at 5.00pm. Stayed overnight at ALBERT and saw overhanging figure of CHRIST. Left next am and arrived Peronne at about 10am. Billeted in Peronne College and are fixed up fine. Town badly ruined and few buildings intact.
Moved to VILLERS-CARBONNEL, 5 miles south of PERONNE. Living in tents. Tonight at 10.00pm terrific bombardment commenced.
Bombardment still continues and Fritz is reported to be advancing. Unable to ascertain whether he started it or ourselves.
Bombardment continued all night and is still on. Our companies have been moved many miles back. At 10.00am Fritz occupied ROISEL. Dumps, etc. destroyed by us before leaving. At 9.00pm Fritz reported to be successfully resisted at TINCOURT. Our material yard dynamited, including 46000ft. of ties urgently required for our work. Have received orders to be ready for the stand to tonight and am sleeping with full equipment and everything in readiness.
11.00pm Still going on (guns). AMIEN Road black with traffic, mostly guns and ammunition. Many guns moving back. Latest report says we have successfully held him at Tincourt. Have been issued Bandolier of AMMO (50 rounds). Alarm sounded at shortly after 12.00 midnight and we packed up essential stuff and via March Route to ESTREES. Slept till 8.00am Put up big marquee tent for Orderly Room. At 4.00pm reported that Fritz was rapidly advancing so we struck tents, packed lorries and moved, March Route, full equipment to CHOIGNES. Camp site shelled and 6 German planes swooped down on the cross road and opened up their machine guns & 1 dropped bombs. Took refuge in a ditch and escaped injury.
Arrived CHOIGNES at about 12.00 midnight after tiring march. Slept till 7am Again reported that enemy advancing. Pulled up stakes and hiked all day arriving at LAMOTTE at 5.00pm. Very hard march and we thought for sure we were safe. Shortly after 10.00pm night picquet (small body of troops sent out to watch for enemy (concise Oxford}) reported that Hun cavalry had broken through and was advancing down AMIEN ROAD. Everybody ordered to stand to. Officers sent out to verify rumour. In half hour reported that [there] was nothing in it, although everybody in the village had the same scare.
At 7.00 am started out on long hike as Fritz was still advancing. Marched all day and at midnight reached CORBIE.
Left Corbie at 9am. Marched all day and at midnight reached FLESSEL. Stayed overnight in billets.
Very hard day. March[ed] 21 miles.
Left at 10.00am and arrived VIGNACOURT at dinner time. The last week has been like a dream to me and I can't remember half the rumours I have heard about Fritz. Expect to push on again tomorrow.
Found now that I've got my dates twisted somewhere but I know today is the 28th. This morning about 10.00am we broke up camp and marched to BONNEVILLE reaching there shortly after 1.00pm Took over a small hutted camp and everything is jake. At about 5.00pm started to blow and rain and we consider ourselves very lucky to be in huts and not on the march. We are now near POULLENS which is some hike from PERRONNE. Our pace throughout the whole march was very good. Walked 45 minutes and rested 15 in each hour. Nearly everybody stuck it out - very few falling out on the way.
Has rained every day since we moved to this Camp but as we are in huts it is not too bad. Bought pair of tan rubber boots from Capt. James for 20 francs as the mud here is fierce and my feet we always wet.
Marched away from MONTRELET at about 8.30. Just as we reached DOULLENS it started raining heavily.
Reached Grande Rullicourt at about 4.00pm wet to the skin.
Left at 8.00am in lorries to AVEGENS-LE-COMPTE. Hinny around billet all day and started at 9.00am.
Arrived at IZEL LE HAMEAU at dinnertime.
After a lapse of to weeks will carryon - dates nil. After a 3 or 4 day stop at IZEL LE HAMEAU we marched to Savvy en - a distance of 3 or 4 miles. Entrained on narrow gauge cars and arrived at CHOCQUES about midnight. Marched all night and arrived HEUT RIEUX about 3.00am. Stopped there 3 days then B'n. was moved via lorries to GONNEHEM & went into canvas 2 miles behind German line. While at HEUT RIEUX we were started on a course of infantry training and Can. Railway Troops Brigade was formed. Disbanded after 2 days owing to urgent trench and wiring work. Shelled out of GONNEHEM on 3rd night at 2.00am & marched all night reaching Taft(?) line at HAUT RIEUX 7.00am. B'n. left HAUT RIEUX next am at 9.00am via Busses and detrained THIENNES. Marched to STENBECQUE immediately behind NIEPPE FOREST. Were allocated to reserve line in case of alarm but were not called out. On 25th entrained at THIENNES & arrived CONCHE-LE-TEMPLE at 7.00pm. Left at 8.00am in lorries arriving at CRECY 10.00am. Working on standard gauge near Abbeville-Etaples. Moved from GRECY to CONCHE-LE-TEMPLE on May 23. Camped in Chateau grounds and this is, by far, the best camp we have ever had. We are about 8 kilos from the sea on the River Authie where there is fairly good swimming. At FORT MAHON (8 kilos) there is a fine bathing beach & accommodation for mixed bathing. It has rained the last two days but when it gets warm I am going to the sea.
A Bathing Party was arranged to Fort Mahon. About 30 of us went down by lorry & had a great time. Water fairly warm. Arrived back at camp just in time for tea at 5.00pm.
Left camp at 7.00am enroute to England on 14 days leave. Walked to Conchil-le-Temple Station to get 7.52 train. Train late & did not arrive till about 10.30. Arrived Etaples about noon but could not get across bridge as Fritz had bombed it the night before. They finally got it fixed and we arrived at Boulogne at about 4.00pm. We were marched to rest billet in town and for a small tip the guard let us out to see the town. Am now sitting up on a high hill watching the sea.
Forgot to post up the diary till now. Will carry on from June 1st. Took in Boulogne and returned to billet at about 8.00pm. Returned early and nothing eventful happened until Reveille at 7.00am. Left rest billet at 10.30 & proceeded to wharf where we embarked almost immediately. Arrived in Folkestone about 1.00pm & entrained at wharf arriving in London about three pm. Went to Maple Leaf (2 pages missing, could they be in hands of Adams' relatives?)terror was not over yet however as I had to scare Uncle Arthur & Marjorie & Aunt June, all of which I accomplished without fatal results. Had one good time at Aunt Flo's from June 4 to June 11 when I transferred my presence to Uncle Will. Had very good time there & on Saturday am 13th, I reluctantly kissed them all good bye & departed for London town. Bummed around the M. L. Club until 7.00am June 16th and then entrained at Victoria. Got into Folkestone at 12.00 or so and were held there until 4.00pm when we embarked. On arrival at Boulogne we were marched up a helluva hill to another rest camp & were sorted & resorted & sorted again until 8.00 or 9.00 o'clock when I sneaked off to a vacant tent and went to sleep without blankets or anything. At about 11.00am I was awakened by guns and had to get up and go into trench about ~ mile away. I stayed there for ten minutes but as there were no bombs dropping slipped back to the tent and died till 5.30 when Reveille woke me up. We paraded at 7.00am and after laying around until 10.00 or more we were marched down to the station & hopped on a troop train which crawled to Etaples. After another two hours of sorting we (our party) were sent to the Passenger Depot to get to the Crovy(?) train. Train time 9.50 so we had a long wait. Went to Paris Plage and interviewed a few WAACS & American nurses. Finally arrived "home" at about 11.00pm. As luck would have it Mayon (?) immediately applied for leave to Paris and got 10 days so I have to carryon for him. Trust and believe if I'm working when he gets back on the 1st, I'm going to take a few days myself and get away to Abbevile or up to Can. Corps. Oh, Cheerio for another 12 months of this bally country.
Nothing much doing till this date when we moved to MARCOING a shot-up town near CAMBRAI. Whole bally place is mined and almost every night there's a big bang with a wreck of cars in the morning.
Moved to HONNECHY. A special siding for train near station. This district is not shot up as Jerry left in a hurry. Lots of civilians living hereabouts & being fed by British Army.
November 11th 1918
Following wire received at about 0730 hours this am: "Hostilities will cease at 1100hours 11/11/18 AAA Troops will stand fast on line reached at that hour which will be reported by wire to Army HQ as soon as possible AAA Defence precautions will be maintained AAA There will be no intercourse with enemy until receipt of instructions from GHQ AAA Further instructions follow AAA"
Needless to say we are all tickled to death and there's been all sort of celebrations during the day. Whale of a blow out in the officers mess last night. The next question is when will we get home.
Moved to SOLESMES near LE QUESNOY. Took a long time to get down here. Working on yard & bridges mostly. Lots of civilians in town and a large camp of repatriated prisoners from Germany.
[Editor’s note: The diary transcriptions (including transcription annotations) have been provided by the collection donor.]