December 1917


1 Saturday        

Had a walk up to chateau where school is to be fixed.  Got myself a hut fixed up.  The school arrived about 3pm.  Weather is very wild and wet today.  Turned in about six for a nights’ rest.

2 Sunday

Freezing today.  The only parade today was Church Parade and had Bishop Gwynne speaking to us.

3 Monday

Still freezing the usual work this morning.  This afternoon the school had to move into other huts in the chateau grounds to make room for the RAMC who move in tomorrow.  There is four Sergts of us and we are billeted in the chateau, OK.  It is named the Chateau du Givinchy.

4 Tuesday

The usual work today.  I have been detailed to take No.1 class again.  It is decided to form an Instrs. Mess so we held a meeting to that effect.  It will start on Thurs. morning.  Orders at 10pm to be at Serques 150 Bde at 9.30 in the morning.

5 Wednesday

Left school at 8.15 walked and arrived at Serques at 9.15.  It is bitter cold.  The Batt, 4th Yorks to be classified did not turn up until 10.30 so it made us later than we should have been.  We finished about 1.30 and set off back.  I got a lift on a motor cycle and reached the school about 2 o’clock.  Nothing no more all day.

6 Thursday

Commenced the Instrs. mess this morning and everything seemed to go alright.  I broke one of my teeth this morning at breakfast.  Still freezing.

7 Friday

Frost has given and the ground was quite soft ay 7 this morning.  The usual weekly tests today.  Pay today and the officer insulted me by offering to give me 15Frs.  I refused as it was not three days’ pay to me, besides I drew none last week.  I intend seeing OC about it.

8 Saturday

On station work this morning.  Saw school Cmdt. about my pay but he would not give me any more than the officer offered me.  I expect he was backing this officer out in it.  So I refused again and will do without until next pay day whenever it is.  Weather still mild and damp.

9 Sunday

A dozen men out of number one class picked to go forward tomorrow to keep visual cmmn. between Bde and Div.  Church parade this morning at 11.45.  Very wet all day.  Church service was held in chateau.

10 Monday

Weather dry and mild.  No-one went forward today but about 14 of my class returned to their units passed out 1st class signallers.  I had a stroll out tonight about 7.30pm.  My first look out since a week gone Sunday.

11 Tuesday

A party of Sigs 20 strong went forward this morning to Ypres.  Div. HQ going there in the ramparts near Menin Gate.  We are moving to re-join the depot Batt tomorrow.  I would rather have stayed here as we have fixed up very comfortable in a room in the chateau.

12 Wednesday

No work today I moved off with Lt. Bramwell and another Corpl. to our new billets on the Calais road but about 29 kms from that place and 11 from St. Omer.  I got a card from my brother this morning to say that he had landed in Italy, the lucky dog.  We are in the 14th Corps Rein-Foumont camp[1] along with 17th 50th and 58th Divl. Depot Batts.  It is just a new camp and miles away from any village.  I was speaking to our OC this morning and he told me that he is trying to get us back to the chateau again.  The billets for us are insufficient and the men are crowded in the huts.

13 Thursday

We had no early parade but remainder of day was put in as usual.  I fixed up a stove in our hut and I must say it is A1.

14 Friday

Weather bitter cold this morning and our usual weekly tests did not improve matters as we were standing outside the whole time.  I drew extra money today to send some home and also to get presents for Xmas to send home.

15 Saturday

Still cold today.  Nothing special.  Half holiday in the afternoon.  Put a pass in for St. Omer tomorrow Sunday

16 Sunday

Left at 10am with lorry going for mail for St. Omer.  Had a good look round the town but did not think much of it as there is nothing much to see.  Got some Xmas presents and cards and left at 3pm.  Got a lorry just outside so we got a lift into Moulle and walked the rest about 5kms arriving at 4.30pm.  It was snowing during the last part of journey and it seems set in for the night.

17 Monday

Still freezing.  Very little snow fell last night.  Nothing but the usual work all day.  Got my Xmas cards etc ready for sending tomorrow.

18 Tuesday

Bitterly cold this morning on 7 o’clock parade.  It was as cold as anything I have experienced out here.  Out of door was a torture all day.  There seems very little signs of it giving much.

19 Wednesday

Quite mild today, a pleasure to be out.  Fritzy was over bombing about 7pm towards St. Omer

20 Thursday

Very cold all day and we were compelled to work in the huts.  Had two hours out this afternoon standing flag reading.  Fritzy was over St. Omer and dropped two bombs.

21 Friday

Weather still very bitter cold.  Usual weekly tests today.

22 Saturday

Very fine and clear today. While we were on our gorlock[2] parade of some of our officers came over in a small scouting aeroplane and gave us a very interesting exhibition of fancy flying.  It was a treat to see him.  I had supper with two pals at some French friends of ours.  It was A1.

23 Sunday

Church parade at 11am.  After we got paraded it was cancelled as the Padre did not arrive.

24 Monday

I have been laid up with cold all day and not able to go out tonight through it.  It is not very pleasant being tied up like this instead of being out with the boys.  Hope I am fit tomorrow.

Xmas Day Tuesday

Got up about 10 o’clock after having a good breakfast in bed.  I was famished as I did not touch a bite all day yesterday.  Had a decent dinner, roast meat with plenty vegetables then Xmas pudding with sauce.  The officers gave us two bottles of whisky and one of port.  They came into the mess and had a drink with us.  We had our usual tea with a good supply of cakes.  The men had their dinner at 5pm, all NCOs doing the serving.  They got a dinner similar to ours and finished up with rum punch, beer, cigars, cigarettes, nuts and fruit, after which there was a concert.  The PT Instructor Sergt. Cook and I left about 7pm as we were invited out to a spread at a Frenchman’s house.  We had a right good tuck in finishing up with stout, wines, rum and whisky.  We left there at 13.30am.  We left our host, an old soldier well filled.  We got along alright for about 200yds then we had to carry Jock.  We got as far as Bayenghem then I got two men from the W.Kents to guard to carry him.  We eventually dumped him in an old barn, the cook stopped with him.  I went on and got in about 2.30.  They landed about 4 o’clock.  Thus ended a very eventful day.

26 Wednesday

No work today so got up about 10.30.  Did nothing all day and went to see our friend the Frenchman at 6pm.  The weather was very stormy and snowing heavy.  We fell in with some pals who were leaving next day and got kept at their place until midnight.  We got back to camp at 1.45am.

27 Thursday

Work again today and we had big signalling scheme on.  I was out from 9am until 4pm and I might say it was no catch without a bit dinner and the snow lying 6 inches deep.  Spent the night up to gorlock at the Frenchy’s.

28 Friday

The usual tests today.  Weather still very cold and put in wild and stormy at night.  I spent the night indoors.

29 Saturday

Usual work up to noon.  We had a cross country run this afternoon, all the school marching out to Eperlecques and then cross country back.  Weather very fine all day.

30 Sunday

School attended baths today.  Church parade at 11.15.  Had supper again with our friend in the estaminet at Eperlecques.

31 Monday

The usual work all day but spent a very jolly night of it up to ten o’clock.  Jock our PT & BF Instr. has got word to proceed to Aldershot on a course of PT.  The old year went out with much singing in the camp and the bugles playing the last post.  They then played the reveille at the start of the New Year.  This ends another year on active service, a year that one and all fully expected would be the last on this campaign.  I wonder how things will be going at the end of 1918.


[1] Check name of camp

[2] Gorlock=do not understand this expression