August 1915


Sunday 1: [at home on leave] rate of exchange 3/9 to 5 francs

Monday 2: no entry

Tuesday 3

Left home 8.14am arriving Kings X 4.10am Left Victoria 6.10pm arriving Folkestone about 8.45pm Left on SS London 15 mins. Later arriving at Boulogne 11.5pm.  I thought there was something wrong the way the boat travelled besides being so long on the crossing.  The sea was rather rough to feel comfortable, the vessel rolling very heavy.

Wednesday 4

Left Boulogne just turned midnight arriving Steenwerck 6am.  Slept the whole way up.  Rode up with motor bus through Armentieres to Point Nieppe to find the Bde HQ had moved into Armentieres so had to walk it back again.  4pm three shrapnel shells burst just over our billets.  I am in amongst it once more.

Thursday 5

Nothing very much doing, an odd shell or two put into the town.  Aeroplanes busy most fired on but without any result.

Friday 6

Visited our new trenches before taking over tomorrow at Houplines.  Enemy put plenty over the place coming uncomfortably close.  Went down to Div HQ for cable and clothing.  No shells fired on the town today.

Saturday 7

Bde. went into trenches after dark.  We took over from 150th who left all billets in a very filthy condition.  They also wanted to keep their cookhouse, ours as well, both being very close together.  Had a very busy day until midnight.  Enemy put a few shells into the town square about 4pm.  8th & 9th DLI & 5 L.N.Lancs. went into trenches 7th 6th DLI & one coy. of the 9th in reserve.

Sunday 8

Visited HQ again to – and get clothing but it was useless.  A few more shells again today.  6pm until after 7pm very heavy firing went on somewhere between Dickebusch and Kemmel.  3 shrapnel proof helmets came today as samples.  They have been issued to the snipes.  11.25pm very heavy outbursts of rifle & MG fire lasted for half an hour on our front.

Monday 9

4am enemy aircraft heavily shelled our artillery here.  Also busily engaged.  Quiet the remainder of the day.  Very heavy fighting in the direction of Dickebusch at dawn.  It lasted for 2 hours.  Result 6th Div. captured some of our lost trenches taking over 127 prisoners of the 126th Regt.[1]

Tuesday 10

Nothing of importance today except that our aircraft are shelled more than usual when they attempt to cross into enemy territory.  A French plane so shelled was obliged to descend near the canal at Point du Nieppe owing to petrol tank being punctured.  3 Batts N.F.A. shelled Black Redoubt at 4pm but were obliged to cease as all communication broke down under enemy fire.  They found our 3rd Battery in good time.

Wednesday 11

Same activity by enemy aircraft guns otherwise all quiet until about 6pm when the enemy put about 7 shells of a larger calibre than usual into the town.  5 men and a few civilians wounded more or less seriously.  One shell burst right in the billet occupied by the 150th Bde.  We just left it on Sat.  No injured in there.  Enemy plane hit came down just in their lines.

Thursday 12

Aetoplanes as busy as ever.  6pm shells again fixed on the town.  One burst where the houses of HQ staff are, 2 men wounded.  Our guns shelled Black Redoubt again.  Had 3 direct hits.  Enemy shell came through—Ofrs. Post and broke all communications.  Firing then ceased on that account.

Friday 13

The enemy still continue to shell our aircraft very heavy as soon as they get near to German lines.  There must be something unusual going on in the enemy’s lines.  No shells fired today.  Div. of Cavalry arrived here today, rumoured that other three are behind Ypres.  Must be something doing soon.  8th DLI & 5 Lancs relieved at night by 7 & 6 DLI.  Heavy fire heard at a distance, could not locate it.  Shells fired into town killed 3 civilians & 1 Belgian.

Saturday 14

Enemy shelled town the whole afternoon, a good few casualties both soldiers & civilians.  I was in an estaminet when shell burst killing 1 and wounding 1, both Belgian soldiers.  The shock sent the landlady into fits.  It took us three-quarters of an hour to get her pulled round again.

Sunday 15

A mountain battery of ours in the trenches is doing good work dropping their shells right into German trenches.  Our artillery is also making the enemy very uncomfortable.  Shells bursting in town about 4 pm, wounded 4 of the 10th Hussars one seriously.  This occurred near 2nd North. Bde RFA HQ.  Many lines were cut.  Heavy thunderstorm about mid-day.

Monday 16

Dull & foggy consequence artillery and aeroplanes quiet.  Heavy firing heard at 9pm in direction of Kemmel.  A light has been seen floating in the air over the trenches.  No-one seems to know the cause of it.  They think it is from a balloon of some kind.

Tuesday 17

Morning very heavy fire, a few enemy aeroplanes fired on without result.  Mid-day very heavy thunderstorm.  The enemy in our immediate vicinity very quiet.  The trenches were shelled by our own French howitzers but the enemy would not reply.

Wednesday 18

Enemy very busy, made up for yesterday.  Houplines heavily shelled result ten houses burnt down.  Blue Blind Factory shelled.  This is worked almost entirely by female labour.  Have not heard of any casualties.  One of our planes had over 200 shells fired at it, still got away.  He had some very near ones.  One I saw burst right again the nose of the machine.

Thursday 19

Enemy shelled the town and Houplines all day long.  Many houses in Houplines burnt down, again caused by incendiary shells.  We have been relieved by the N. Fusiliers Bde. for our six days, so called rest.  I wish they would let us stay in one place instead of carrying equipment all around the countryside.  Heavy artillery fire in southerly direction.

Friday 20      

Enemy again shelled Houplines burning some more houses with their incendiary shells.  Our aeroplanes, also the enemy’s, not so busy owing to dull weather.  I visited swimming baths today this makes my 10th visit in eleven days.  The men enjoy these baths A1.  Heavy outbursts of rifle fire on our right flank about 10.30pm until midnight.

Saturday 21

Enemy aeroplanes very busy so was our Archies but without result.  Enemy again shelling Houplines also Hospice Civil where the 7th DLI are resting resulting in a broken cable only.  Again visited the swimming baths, also the weekly concert at the Div.  This is the second time this has been held.  I spent 2 jolly hours listening to the various singers etc.  Our transports, in fact, all transports ordered right back out of town.  They fixed up this side of canal.  Great preparations are being made expecting a heavy bombardment of the town any day.  All cellars are being located for use if this should take place.

Sunday 22

All leave stopped for the present owing to the activity of German U-Boats.  Our transport ordered to move still further back.  Aeroplanes & ant-aircraft guns on both sides exceedingly busy this afternoon.  A few shells fired on town again today.  Artillery and trench howitzers gave the enemy in Black Redoubt a very hot time.

Monday 23

Rather dull all day result fewer aeroplanes.  No shells on town.  North Cyclists put 2 tons quick lime on the 250 bodies of the guns corpses in the crater at Hooge then covered with earth from the sides and top.  Crater caused by us blowing up enemy trench.  It was 80 yds. long 60ft. deep.  German Navy hard hit, losing 10 vessels in Baltic.

Tuesday 24

Enemy bombarding Houplines all day.  Left at 10am and went to trenches to look at wires we are to take over tomorrow.  After dark heavy machine gun and rifle fire, at times very severe.

Wednesday 25

Enemy putting large number of whizz-bangs and shrapnel over in vicinity of Plank Avenue.  One farm set on fire.  Into action again we relieved 150th Bde at Chapelle d’Armentieres.  Very heavy outbursts of machine gun fire from dusk until 1am.  The same every night from the enemy, the same with us, always on the lookout for chances to catch us.

Thursday 26

Working parties therefore both sides keep the maximum guns continually working on all roads.  This tends to make it more dangerous at night time on these roads.  Paid another visit up to trenches today, it was very hot.[2]  Four houses to be demolished at 9.30pm.  I intend to see them go up.  Zeppelins posted over Poperinge at 10pm moving west, bound for England probably.  Charge not strong enough to knock houses down, only two destroyed.

Friday 27

Very hot today[3]  One of the batteries annoyed enemy all day.  They replied with three shrapnel near our HQ. about teatime.  Enemy aeroplanes tried to locate it.  Enemy transport has been heard nightly for a good while now.  Tonight at 10pm our Bde and the 80th concentrated heavy machine gun fire and artillery fire on the enemy roads.  What effect I cannot say.  It lasted about 30 mins.  Capt. went on leave today.

Saturday 28

Heavy guns could be heard all day south towards La Bassee and north towards Ypres. 6pm enemy fired two lose to our billets, they burst in houses occupied by civilians, two wounded.  Then four more burst in town on Rue de Lille killing two soldiers and a woman, wounding three soldiers and civilians.  I then saw two German planes attack one of ours.  He was able to keep them at bay with his machine guns until he got clean away.  It was almost dusk and we could barely see them so cannot say what class of planes they were.  I do not feel so well today, just as though I was to have an attack of Flu.

September 1st rate of exchange 3/8 to 5 Francs.

Sunday 29

Fell no better today, taking quinine tablets.  Our howitzers French mortars, Grenades, Mountain Battery & other instruments of destruction commenced at 1.45pm and gave the enemy a lively 15 mins.  There was in all about 70 guns at it.  The enemy only made a very feeble reply, probably just –at home.  We know nothing of casualties but enemy trenches were badly damaged.  No casualties our side.

Monday 30

Up at Batt HQ again this morning.  Enemy shelling Houplines again about mid-day.  Town shelled also, shells fired searching for a battery of ours at Point de Nieppe.  They fell near transports, no damage.  Aeroplanes busy as usual.

Tuesday 31

Enemy firing heavy shells into asylum about 4pm.  Everyone on the alert tonight as we are intending blowing an enemy trench up.  It is also known that enemy have mined one of ours so men have all been withdrawn just behind and all put in readiness to give the enemy a warm reception.  The mine scare as turned out a farce.  6th 9th DLI relieved 7th DLI 5th Lancs 8th DLI staying another 8 days.


[1] 2/DLI was in action at Hooge Crater

[2] Probably not referring to the weather!!

[3] ditto