The War Diaries of Roger Stamp: February 1917

The War Diaries of Roger Stamp: February 1917

Roger’s diary continues on from January 1917

Thursday 1 February 1917 – Had the ball out again and had a great time on the ice of rugby and football combined, not having any sides not being sufficient of us, each man on his own against the rest.

Friday 2 February 1917 – Went to HEILLY this morning. Here is a nice church and at the back of it on a hill is a lovely shrine.

Saturday 3 February 1917 – The weather is still cold, although the sun does shine sometimes, but it seldom is strong enough to thaw even a little bit.

Sunday 4 February 1917 – Went to HENENCOURT tonight via BRESLE hoping there would be a service but there was not one. Here is a good rigid YMCA tent and no service on a Sunday night from what I’ve seen of it. While at MILLENCOURT and BAIZIEUX I think it was a new manager as there is no attraction whatever.

Monday 5 February 1917 – Went to HEILLY this morning for a bath, on duty this afternoon, stayed at HEILLY till Saturday 10th February when we moved part of the company to PROYART, south of the SOMME. We came on horseback, I having two horses, we walked the horses all the way. Are in a barn for billet.

Monday 12 February 1917 – The enemy bombed a railhead near PROYART on Saturday and last night the aeroplanes dropped about 38 bombs. On Saturday night I did not hear them but heard three last night. There are a lot of French soldiers here, we are taking over some trenches from French, the French are well fed and have given us about as much bread as our issue, we are getting very poor rations, loaves which are only about half the size they used to be between 3, but more often between 4 men. The loaves have not been reduced at all but gradually got smaller, the rations are poor altogether, the jam which used to be thrown away barely goes round now, and butter is issued about every four days. Moved to a place past FOUCAUCOURT, divisional headquarters. The French seem a clean, tidy, well ordered lot, here they have mess rooms to eat their meals in and seem very comfortable.

Wednesday 14 February 1917 – We have the dugouts the French had, they have 14 beds or bunks in the dugout which I am in. I’ve got a pillow from one of the English soldiers who is attached to the French. Here again there is plenty to eat, we get what the French have over, my issue of bread last night was about 5ozs, the French say we get more pay than them, they get better food and I think they are best off, our pay is spent on eatables when we are able to buy anything. We have now taken over completely and most of the French have gone. Our chaps are in the trench also.

Sunday 18 February 1917 – A murky wet day today and I’m thankful I’m not in the trenches, everything is slushy under foot.

Monday 19 February 1917 – More rain today and a dull day on 20th.

Wednesday 21 February 1917 – After consideration and prayer in which I asked God’s help and give me good hearing I went to see Major Raimes, my company officer at the battalion about a commission. He advises me to return to the battalion so he will have some opportunity in seeing if I am suitable to hold a command. I value his esteem and will act on his suggestions. I want some new clothes as I am at present very scruffy and will put my mail right before I ask to be sent back, I have got the address of a chap who has gone for a commission and intend writing to him to see if he can give me any suggestions.

Friday 23 February 1917 – Have written to R.Fowsey about a commission.

Monday 26 February 1917 – Went to CHUIGNES this morning, a village about 2km away.

Tuesday 27 February 1917 – Went this afternoon to FONTAINE LES CAPPY and here saw a big sucre [sugar] factory which had been badly damaged, practically half ruined. Still at P.C. Gabrielle near FOUCAUCOURT. The weather is now getting better; the sun shining during the day but the ground is damp and is slushy under foot. Nothing special happening up to March 4th. Had had some lovely weather, sun shining, drying up the damp and mud.

Roger’s diary continues in March 1917