The War Diaries of Roger Stamp: October 1917

The War Diaries of Roger Stamp: October 1917

Roger’s diary continues on from September 1917

Tuesday 2nd October 1917 – Still in bed-feeling alright myself, about a week ago I tried my left leg to see if it would bear me but it was not strong enough.

Friday 5th October 1917 – Allowed up after tea.

Thursday 11th October 1917 – The lady doctor saw me on the stairs today and evidently considered I was not fit to be up, I’ve been put back to bed for a few days.

Tuesday 16th October 1917 – Allowed up again after tea.

Friday 19th October 1917 – Got up this morning to see the ear specialist. I have to continue using camphor/menthol to my nose. Get up each night after tea now.

Tuesday 23rd October 1917 – This morning the Sister came to do my leg, she told me I was to parade in front of the CO, I did so, all he asked was my number and then I was told to wait outside. Later I was given a slip with an order on for my kit; I go to convalescent camp at Ayr along with others. I was taken to the station, cars being used. We had tea on the station and carriages reserved for us to travel in. On reaching Ayr, motors were waiting to take us to the home, Carrick House. Four of us were put in a room which had been governors’ quarters, before changing into blue we had tea, then supper at 9pm.

Wednesday 24th October 1917 – We have a fire and are very comfortable. This morning set off to look for the sea but went in the wrong direction. This afternoon was Wounded Soldiers Day at the pictures, three of us went.

Thursday 25th October – Found the sea this morning, it is really the Clyde Mouth, very dirty and little sand, only poor prom, I was going back in time for a dressing when a storm came on, a lady asked me in her house, I had a cup of tea and have an invite to go any time. This afternoon a party of us were taken in a brake to Hill House past Monkton, a drive about 6 ½ miles, here we played games till tea time, then had a great tea. The maids acted as your hostesses, the family being away. After tea went into another room where we had a song or two and dancing to the pipes, my leg stopped me from dancing. All too soon it was finished, all came out to say goodbye and the pipes played us off. On the way home saw the Scottish wild fire, similar to lightening.

Friday 26th October 1917 – A party was taken to a whist drive and dance tonight, I being one of the party, had a good time, the special car waited for us at 11.30pm. This afternoon I had a look round the only shipyard here, The Ailsa.

Saturday 27th October 1917 – Just in the town, a little after tea, got a bit of fruit, everything is very dear, dates that used to be 2d per 1lb are now 1/-.

Sunday 28th October 1917 – Could not find a Wesleyan chapel so went to The Church of Scotland, I was either very deaf or it was a poor preacher, I did not like it. On coming back found the Sister playing hymns, old tunes on our piano so had a good sing here.

Monday 29th October 1917 – Went to Alloway, the birth place of Burns and saw his cottage and monument and gardens, the village is a very pretty place even at this time of the year, did not go inside the cottage as I was short of time.

Tuesday 30th October 1917 – Just out on the sea front.

Wednesday 31st October 1917 – Halloween Party. Some of the games played at the social at Prestwick Cross, Ayr. We from the home were all strangers. To set the evening going the girls all dipped in a bag and got slips of paper, we boys did the same in another bag, I got ‘Charlie find his aunt’, others were, ‘Dick Turpin find Black Bess, Prince Charlie find Bonnie Mary,’ etc, etc. All having found the right partners, two large bowls of mashed potatoes was brought in, all were given spoons and the lights let down very low. We had to eat the potato mash, in which was mixed thimbles, rings, and small silver coins, forfeits were not taken. I’ve learnt later at Halloween this is the regular thing, the potato mash, we had it at Carrick House, also Halloween cake. I got a three penny piece and a wedding ring and button at the house, similar to pancake Tuesday then we had lighting the candle, one to hold, the other to light, both being on one knee only and holding the other leg up by the foot, blowing the candle out while blind folded, after turning round 3 times- Balancing on the legs of a chair , keeping the hands behind the seat and with the mouth taking a sweet or pen from the top of the chair.

Bobbing for apples with the mouth, two apples on a stick suspended from a door top-walking on jars, potato picking and becoming a member of our ‘own band’, all these provided plenty of fun but best of all was feeding the blind, a couple blindfolded kneel opposite each other and are provided with spoons and a plate full of crumbs, it is especially funny when the girl has a low necked bodice. None of these games introduced kissing and all are suitable for everybody.