Roger’s diary continues from his last entry in May 2016…
Thursday 1st June 1916 – Up at company office charged with being 38 hours late, it seems I was not due back until 9pm Monday although in my pass I had to be at Victoria at 7.30 Sunday, this put the day extra, I could explain the 38 hours. The captain said it would be alright but I had to go to battalion office.
Friday 2nd June 1916 – My case was dismissed at battalion office. I had some custard on Wednesday which did not agree with me and have been off colour yesterday and today.
Saturday 3rd June 1916 – Inspections this morning and 2 hours work on shell trenches for our huts in case of shelling. Had sports last night and tonight got up by J M Gill.
Sunday 4th June 1916 – During the night we were called up, told to dress fighting order and after getting ready, issued with biscuits and a wait on the parade ground, we were dismissed, it had only been a test and after breaking our sleep and getting us up we were told that we may be called again. However we went to bed, bed being the boards with our boots off and our over coats and ground sheets on top of us. Had a Wesleyan parade in yard.
Monday 5th June 1916 – Moved to the trenches last night, ‘A’ company in support.
Tuesday 6th June 1916 – Last night No 1 platoon went to ‘stand to’ at the Glory Hole in case of attack from ‘stand to’ to ‘stand to’ but instead of ‘standing to’ all the while had to work but this passed the time for us.
Wednesday 7th June 1916 – We have news now of the big naval battle in the North Sea. I share the general opinion that it is a big help to the end of the war and can already see home ahead, my word how I have longed to be home since coming back from leave. Was put on sentry duty last night and am on today.
Thursday 8th June 1916 – On ration fatigue, last night we had to go along ‘Suicide Road’ to the dump, no casualties.
Friday 9th June 1916 – Last night moved to the firing line, I was told to go with the battalion bombers and some of us are on duty at the post in the Glory Hole, our post is about 20 yds from that of the German post, both posts being at corners of the trenches, no bombs were exchanged last night and so far today, 4am. Rained last night which made it bad for us on sentry.
Saturday 10th June 1916 – The trench mortars were active on both sides this morning for a good hour, one dropped right near us where we were serving dinner, about 10yds, but it was a dud, well for us, I think we would have been buried if nothing else, then later we found another which had not yet gone off 4 ft from my dugout, had it exploded the dugout and all our kit inside would have been spoilt. The shell was taken away by some chaps.
Sunday 11th June 1916 – Showery weather, nothing else special. My fare today was breakfast, two slices of bread, tea, bacon, and bacon fat, dinner, stew and a biscuit, tea, 2 slices of bread and butter with golden syrup, tea. Rice for supper, this is the first supper I’ve had while up this time.
Monday 12th June 1916 – Rained all today, to be relieved tonight. Parcel from home containing iced cake, scotch and ginger biscuits, apricots, caramels and chocolate also 8 photos from Bradburys making 11 I have and Mother has one.
Tuesday 13th June 1916 – Came to Wakefield huts at LOCRE. Today a memorial service was held for Lord Kitchener, so many a company told off to parade. A lot of rain today, inspections in our hut. On working party tonight, falling in at 7.30pm, it poured down and we had a long way to go and were put to dig in an old trench to rebuild it. Water and mud covered the bottom and we were not fit to work, some men did nothing, others very little, finally we were taken back, getting to our huts at 3.40am.
Wednesday 14th June 1916 – Rained part of the day today, pay day. Paraded to the baths, I was not on tonight’s working party.
Thursday 15th June 1916 – Went to DRANOUTRE this afternoon and to WEST OUTRE tonight getting back for digging fatigue at 8.30pm. Given out on orders the daylight saving as in England comes into force today. A different trench tonight to work in and much better working, got back about 2am.
Friday 16th June 1916 – Moved to some other huts today near LOCRE, not on working party tonight. Wanted to go to BAILLEUL but was stopped on the Belgique/France frontier.
Saturday 17th June 1916 – This morning about 2.30am we were awakened and told to fall in fighting order, the enemy had used gas but we felt no signs of it, the artillery was roaring away, ‘we stood to’ till about 3am and dismissed as things had quietened. Later on I learnt the 4th East Yorks had 200 casualties and ‘D’ co[mpan]y’s working party (5th DLI) had 4 casualties. A splendid fine day.
Sunday 18th June 1916 – Church parade this morning and went to a service in the YMCA tonight. On digging party tonight, as we came back we had to drop down 5 or 6 times on account of machine gun fire which I think had not been aimed at us but at the trenches in front. We came back right down Suicide Lane getting back about 2am.
Monday 19th June 1916 – Moved from LOCRE nearer DICKEBUSH and are again in tents.
Tuesday 20th June 1916 – No fatigue tonight, fine weather, morning parade.
Wednesday 21st June 1916 – The usual parade, digging fatigue tonight, we went to DICKEBUSH trenches, on the way the guide took the wrong turning and we were lost for about half an hour, we got back about 4am.
Thursday 22nd June 1916 – Rifle, bayonet and gas helmet inspection. This morning I saw an enemy war plane brought down, two of the enemy planes came over and two of ours attracted their attention while another got above them. I did not see our third machine until it was above the two enemy planes, our plane succeeded in separating the enemies, then we saw one of the enemy planes dropping down, it turned over and over just like a kite broken from a string. Again on digging party falling in at 9pm and getting back about 4am.
Friday 23rd June 1916 – We had to help build a communication trench. Again working tonight. The usual inspections also iron ration, several were short of these including myself. Heavy storm at teatime.
Saturday 24th June 1916 – At co[mpan]y office for not having iron ration, I with others were dismissed as we had long ago indicated for them. Working party tonight.
Sunday 25th June 1916 – Wesleyan parade this morning. Working tonight, we go to the trenches, drill order, and tea is made for when we get back, sometimes rum is issued for those who want it.
Monday 26th June 1916 – Usual rifle and bayonet inspection. I’ve heard the 11th KRR [King’s Royal Rifles], Albert’s lot, are at POPERINGE and have applied for a pass to go, I am at present waiting to see if it will be granted. Later the Captain told me the Colonel would not grant me permission. I was vexed, had I known I would have gone earlier in the morning. Just after falling in rain started and we were all wet through before reaching the RE [Royal Engineers] dump at RIDGE WOOD and all parties were turned back. Before going on this parade I went to RENINGHELST.
Tuesday 27th June 1916 – Parade at 12 noon. After dinner I went to POPERINGE and after going all over the place I found Albert, he with his lot had just come from the trenches this morning, said it was well I did not come yesterday. When going I got a lift up on a motor lorry for about 4 kilometres out of the 7. Had tea with Albert and afterwards he set me back to RENINGHELST and we had a supper there at the YMCA. I got back just as the working party was falling in and fell in myself in time for roll call. We had to do a carrying fatigue getting back about 2am.
Wednesday 28th June 1916 – A wet dull morning, parade at 2pm for inspection. Had to work on a communication trench tonight, some tear shells had been sent over earlier which made our eyes water.
Thursday 29th June 1916 – Tonight while going up to the trenches the road was slightly shelled, once we doubled about 200 yds in parties of 6, a heavy bombardment was taking place on the near right, tear shells again were used, these make our eyes water and taste, the gas that comes from the shells, like essence of almond, it causes a choking sensation if a strong dose.
Friday 30th June 1916 – Usual parade and inspection, tonight we had an easy job not going right up to the trenches but filling sandbags near VIERSTRAAT, we fell in at 7.30pm and were back in camp at 11.40pm.
Roger continues his diary in July 1916 …