November 1917


1 Thursday  

Dull and cold turning to rain after dinner.  Had a good mornings’ work on station work.  Another party of men going forward with the 6.12 in the morning to Elverdinghe.[1]  Artillery signallers this time.  Another push is expected either Saturday or Sunday so these men will be for that.

2 Friday

Up at 5am to see this party on to the train.  No movement order for them to travel with so I had to get the Corps Orderly Room clerk up to make one out before I could get the men away.  Got the men off alright.  The usual weekly tests today.  Weather dull and very damp.

3 Saturday

Nothing of importance all day.  Weather still keeps dull and wet.  Another party of signallers to go forward tomorrow.  I think it is a good thing for the Div. that they had a Sig School to draw signal reinforcements.

4 Sunday

Church parade at 11am.  Had a walk out after dinner, it was so fine up through Merckeghem where I noticed the 63rd RN Div. have their Depot Batt.  Just before tea I came across a lad from home in the 63rd Div. young J.S. Harland[2] and we spent a jolly day together after that.

5 Monday

Usual work at the school.  Had our first rum ration tonight at 8.30.

6 Tuesday

Weather broken again.  We have rain once more and it makes things miserable.  Clothing inspection this morning for the school.  It is that long since we had any new clothing every man is in need of something.

7 Wednesday

The usual work.  Half day holiday again.

8 Thursday

The usual signal practices.  Three artillery signallers went forward at 3pm today and other five going up with the 6.12 in the morning.

9 Friday

The usual weekly tests.  Up at five this morning seeing five Arty men off with the 6.12 train.

10 Saturday

Weather very wet again today, result work inside all day.  Half day off.

11 Sunday

Weather still wet, raining very heavy.  151st Bde. detail move out to join their Batt this afternoon.  Weather cleared at dusk.  9.30pm Fritzy over with his bombs but not near our camp although an antiaircraft battery near us was firing a lot.  We could hear bombs in the distance.  He was also over just after midnight.

12 Monday

Usual work all day.  Weather A1.  Like a spring day.  All bell tents fitted out with wood bottoms so we fixed ours up a little better before putting in the bottom.  It is now A1 and feels much warmer for the feet especially.  I had our motor lorry man in tonight and according to him the Sig Coy has suffered a large number of casualties through gas.  One man killed.

13 Tuesday

When I awoke this morning the first thing I missed was the sound of our artillery which had been bombarding without ceasing since Friday night.  The line is 27 miles distant so it would only be the heavies that we could hear and the vibration would be distinctly felt.  I have never heard anything like it ceased abruptly about midnight.  Then the official communique comes out with the statement, “Nothing to report except artillery activity.”  We are on our usual instructional work.  Our Div. is now out of action and the OC Signal Coy. sends an appreciation for the work done by signallers from this school.

14 Wednesday

Half day off so I had a good look around the village to put the afternoon in.  Nothing of special importance.  Weather still keeps fine and open, quite good for the time of year.

15 Thursday

Nothing to report except the usual work in the school.

16 Friday

I can hear our Arty firing very heavy again.  It started during the night at least I first heard it in the early hours.  The usual sig tests today.  It is rumoured that we move within a week, Sunday being the most likely to Houle[3], a place about 6kms from St. Omer and 16kms from Eperlecques where our Div. HQ are present.  Our Arty is still going strong.

17 Saturday

Half day holiday.  I had quite an enjoyable afternoon.  A Frenchman here promised to take four of us out rabbit shooting.  The rabbits turned out to be hares.  We started at 2pm each with a service rifle and came back at 4pm as we went except a few rounds less.  We turned up about eight and missed every blessed one.  I did not expect anything else with our ordinary service rifle because a hare takes some hitting at 100yds range and moving as it does.

18 Sunday

Church parade at 11am.  Stood on parade ground until 12 noon.  Padre did not turn up so the parade was dismissed.  Three parties, 31 and an officer all told, went this afternoon on various courses.

19 Monday

The usual work today.  One orderly room clerk went away yesterday so I am tackling the job along with other work.  The whole place is in a tangle not a complete roll of one of the classes, never mind one of the school.  I expect I will get it straightened out through time.

20 Tuesday

This afternoon we had a few sports with an eye, I think to getting some men to represent the school at the Div. sports.  I had a go at the tug of war.  Our team pulled five times until we were all knocked up with it.

21 Wednesday

Nothing doing today.  It is so wet and dirty.

22 Thursday

We had another practice at tug of war today, did not feel so bad after it.  The ground was fearful and soft and we were sliding all over the place.  One of the Sigs from the school who was up forward has been awarded the MM.  Weather still very damp but not much rain.

23 Friday

Nothing just the usual weekly tests.  Had another dust at tug of war with a team of the 17th Div.  We pulled them over three times.  I have had rather a busy time of it.

24 Saturday

Nothing special.  Half day off so had a good walk this afternoon.  Dry but very strong cold wind blowing.  Saw a farm burnt to the ground.  All cows, pigs and fowl were lost, not a thing was saved.  The thatched roofs burnt like tinder.  This happened after 8 at night.

25 Sunday

No church parade for us today.  A large number of marquees blown down during the night.  About one in every six left standing.  Our bell tent was almost down, still we stuck it in kip until reveille.  It rained heavy after 6pm and then started to freeze.

26 Monday

Very cold this morning and freezing.  Nothing special all day.

27 Tuesday

A party of 70 officers and men left the school today as qualified signallers.  Myself and other two NCOs also left for Div. HQ to help in the classification test at the Bdes.  I was just in charge of kits etc. on the lorry to be dumped at different places.  We were supposed to leave at 11am but did not get away until 4.15pm calling at Watten, Houlle, Moule, Serques, Yournehem[4], Bayenghem and Eperlerques where I got off for Div. HQ at 10.20pm.  I had quite a night of it.  I am billeted with our MCDRs.

28 Wednesday

Left in lorry for Serques 149 Bde. HQ carried out tests.  I did flag sending and reading.  Walked back and got lost on the road.  I eventually landed at Houlle and spent the night there along with a few of my own townsmen.  Got back to Div at 9.30pm.  I had row with CQMS about rations.  Got turned in at 11.30, same time as last night.

29 Thursday

Orders at 8.40 to be at La Grand Marniere Quarries, 7 kms away at 9.30.  Had to walk result arrived 9.45am.  Three batts of the 150 Bde. were examined today.  We only sent four messages on the flag today compared with 16 yesterday.  Got back at 4pm.  Never had a bite from breakfast.  Had a jolly night with the NCOs on the horselines.  Going to the 151 at Houle tomorrow.

30 Friday

Left Div HQ for 151 at 8.50.  The test was held in the 5th Border football field.  Sent 6 messages today.  Weather damp and started to rain just before we finished.  9th DLI did not turn up like the 4th Yorks yesterday so I expect they will be examined later.  Advanced party from the School arrived today, the others come tomorrow.  So I expect I will get back to the school tomorrow.


[1] A few miles North West of Ypres

[2] KP926 L.Sig. J.S. Harland, Hawke battalion, 63rd (RN) Div. Depot Battn. BEF

[3] Houlle, probably 1.6kn from Eperlecques

[4] Yournehem=can’t locate on modern map