The War Diaries of Roger Stamp: December 1916

The War Diaries of Roger Stamp: December 1916

Roger’s diary continues on from November 1916

Friday 1st December 1916 – Moved to BAIZIEUX today with division HQs and have a sleeping place in a barn. Staff are in the chateau, the barn has 2 rows of shelves for sleeping. I was on duty this morning and go on again at 9pm for 2 hrs. I walked to HENINCOURT to pass the time away; the nights are a problem and go so slow if one is not occupied. I don’t blame anyone for going in to estaminets where it is warm and plenty of company, if one isn’t too particular, also they can linger over the beer but where one buys anything to eat, it comes straight out, the money goes so sharp. Things are so dear; 10 francs a fortnight are nothing.

2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, December 1916 – Still orderly delivering messages to BAIZIEUX, the English authorities have renamed the streets and numbered the houses.

7th – 13th December 1916 – Still at BAIZIEUX, orderly at division. Have had a lot of rain in the past few days and a little snow today. The orderly room here have seen about my proficiency pay which is about 6d per day due from 5/8/15 but the battalion have only put it due from 1/7/16 but I am seeing about it.

Thursday 14th December 1916 – My proficiency pay is now alright. The 1916 has been altered to 1915, the other being left alone but instead of 1st July I am only due to it from 5th August. More rain today.

Up to 19th December 1916 – Am still on divisional at BAIZIEUX. Have had a little snow and frost for a couple of days but now 22nd it has rained. I’ve had parcels sent from home, Annie, Nurse Bainbridge, L Taylor, E Green and the Corney kiddies but none have arrived so far. The Sunday School and Guild will each send one but I don’t know if they have yet been dispatched.

23rd December – Nothing special.

Sunday 24th December 1916 – We were paraded for Church Parade this morning but it was cancelled till this afternoon, only to be again cancelled.

Monday 25th December 1916 – I went to the YMCA at HENENCOURT this morning to see if there was a service but there was not one. I thought there would be one on Christmas day, but the Christmas service was held last night. We were to have a church parade this morning along with the 5th DLI and 5th Yorks; we got to the field where the service had to be only to learn once more it had been cancelled. It is a nice day not like Christmas today, but like a wild April day, the sun shone occasionally and the wind had a nip in it and was strong enough to blow one along, and to battle against it. Our officer of the signal company stood us all dinner. There is a school in the village which has been used as a school of instruction for signals and we had dinner there, comprising of dumpling, cabbage, beans, onions and potatoes with beef, then plum pudding (issue) with white sauce . The pudding was set alight to bring in, figs, assorted nuts, beer for those who wanted it, a cigar each and cigarettes. After dinner a few songs were given and then broke up. We had to go to the school for tea but it was nothing except butter, jam and bread, but the idea was to get the men together to have a night of it but about 6 o’clock, the time when the estaminets open the place soon emptied and the evening spoilt. I would have gone to a sing song at the YMCA at HENENCOURT but the chap who sleeps next to me would not and I did not care to go myself. We played whist to pass the time away till 9pm when we had to go on duty. Two men are back from leave and the two reliefs of orderlies now have four men each, but for each relief three of us is quite sufficient so one man has a day off, taking in turns, every four days. It is my day off today but my turn on all night.

Boxing Day 26th December 1916 – I got down to sleep about 12.45am and was awakened at 6.40am to go and get some men up. This comprised of my all night duty but had any messages come I would have had to take them anytime. I had a round of the village to do before going off duty, 7.30am. On again at 1.30 till 9pm, it was a fine morning but wet afternoon and night. Tonight I had a nice tea, other three orderlies with me. I had salmon, Christmas cake, coconut drops, chocolates and nuts, bread and butter. I bought some sauce for the salmon but the remainder came out of the parcels I’ve had sent. At BAIZIEUX till 31st December. On Friday 29th I went to FRANVILLIERS.

Sunday 31st December 1916 New Year’s Eve – The division is moving and I with some others had to go up to Fricourt Farm, the new HQs, going up in a rolley with a load of office staff etc. When we got there, there was no accommodation as the division at present in is not going out till tomorrow. We found room at the horse lines and although plenty of room in the hut, the Sergeant Major threatened to turn us out. We brought rations with us and soon had some tea made and after a talk got down to bed about 8pm, and so off to sleep, myself nor any of the others not caring to stay up and see the New Year in.

Roger’s diary continues in January 1917