April 2021: I have received details of a 2nd diary and it is posted here. It is that of “Mimi” Boos, a 33 years old wife and mother of 4, from a town near Essen, Germany and records her thoughts of the first month of the war, August 1914 when her husband left to serve in the Army. The first diary is that of Sergeant T. Rowlandson, a pitman from Willington, County Durham. He was a territorial soldier, a veteran from the Boer War and a man to whom King and Country meant everything. It is Tom’s Diary which has been posted since the start of this website and can be accessed below. But first, Mimi’s Diary – thanks to Caroline Kemp for allowing me to use her family diary and photographs. Please hit the link below.
And now, back to the original post of Tom’S Diary.
Thomas Rowlandson (1882 – 1956) hailed from Willington and served with the 50th Northumbrian Division throughout the war. He’d served in the Boer War and thereafter continued his military service with his local Territorial Force, the 6th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry (6/DLI), 309 Serjeant T. Rowlandson, 6th DLI (TA). He was mobilized 5 August 1914 when aged 32 and the following month was transferred to the Royal Engineers Signals and given the regimental number 1801 (later 463163). He entered France 18 April 1915 and served on the Western Front throughout the war. Whilst he did not come from one of the Gaunless Valley villages and was not in an infantry unit, he will have served with men from our district and his experiences will have been similar.
I thank Alan Stoker (Evenwood) for allowing me to reproduce his grandfather’s diary.
This section will take a similar format to the individual details of servicemen throughout this work then diary extracts will be provided in full. Some entries are difficult to decipher so please bear with us. Entries will be written out as close to the centenary anniversary as possible. Click on the section or month of interest.