The Soldiers Own Diary [for 1917/1918]

Draft left Kinmel Pk  Dec 1st. Arrived in France Sunday morning Dec 3rd 1916. Camped Sun & Monday (3rd & 4th) at Le H [illegible]. Entrained[?] for Rouen and had one w[ee]ks training there. Left 11th for ------ to join the 17th Welsh, but was taken ill & put in hospital on Dec 13th. The 47th Field Arm[y?] Hos near Fresincourt 

Sunday Dec 17th discharged from hospital proceed to Fresincourt and entrained for Rhones Camp left follow[ing] morning in cattle trucks and passed thro St. Roch (weather frosty). Arrived and joined Bat at Cel Lestin Wood [Bois Celestin] on Tuesday night Dec 19th . Had Christmas Day at latter[?] Camp and marched on Boxing Day thro Bray to Camp 21 & slept there that night. Next day 27th we marched to the trenches & did four days in reserve & 4 out in communications. Sat night (30th Dec) was on fatigue party to the front line trenches. Jan 4th we came back to camp 21 for 4 days rest.

J. Owen Richards - Private 46379 - “Bryn Hyfryd” Fishguard South Wales

17 Welsh Regt “D” Company, 13 Platoon Transport Section

The Soldiers Own Diary [for 1917]
Memoranda
At side of page: No of rifle 22785

1917

January

 1st 17 Welsh Regt. We are in reserve at Sally S. Velo[?] fatigue work. Twelve of us sleep in a small dug-out

2nd Still on fatigue work. Weather mild

3rd Weds night our last night at this place

4th We have a shave & wash first for 8 days & march for Camp 21 for 4 days welcome rest. Arr. At dusk

5th Having a so called rest, cleaning up etc., Letters & parcels welcomed by all the boys

6th We parade for inspection & complimented on our appearance. Blankets & a stretch out a great comfort. Read of Tom’s arrival at Havre[?]

7th [Sunday] Welsh service in hut

8th Batt goes back to another part of the line. Ammunition party

9th Doing fatigue work and up front line with rations. 2nd night up

10th Still on fatigue & up to supports with rations

11th Same as 10th . Snow on ground

12th We come out to reserve, tired & hungry and are making the best of things in dug-outs

13th Going thro trench dug-outs for wood. Rec’d parcel from home & letter from Jim. Send a field card home

14th [Sunday] On R E Fatigue

15th On R E Fatigue

16th We go back the line & am ration party. Up front same night

17th This night we take rations up & m-gun hits two out. Officer & man. Snow on ground, very light

18th We come out of the lines am as guide. Very tired & hungry. We get to 21 Camp in cars. Mail & parcels very welcome

19th We get rest & clean up etc

20th On R E Fatigue. Food improving here

21st [Sunday] On R E Fat.

22nd  Batt moves back to reserve lines & put up in huts. Heavy shelling here

23rd Aerial activity. German plane comes down in flames. Heavy shelling on [illegible]. Hard frost & snow. Rec’d letters

24th Still at same camp. Food good and easy times

25th We move back thro [illegible] to Rancourt and occupy same dug-out as previous occasion

26th Complete rest during day[? ][illegible] front line at night. Glorious moonlight. Night very hard frost.- back midnight

27th A memorable day: dug-out shelled in & we got ourselves out in about an hour by clearing entrance. Very heavy shelling all day. Later we are relieved and get back to Saille Laurette

28th [Sunday] Bro.Will’s visit

29th Back at Saille Laurette drill and afternoon off. I get three parcels letters

30th Weather still frosty. I get afternoon off to visit  [illegible] Wood (RE) Will   and myself visit village

31st Drill in morning. Letter writing   & clean up

February

1st After usual drill we go for a lovely route march, gyms etc, Orderly for day

2nd Usual drill & a stroll on canal bank towards Corbie. Before C.O. & dismissed

3rd On fatigue to 12 camp, see 6th Welsh on route, same night meet boys from K------- including Stanton[?]. At village of Sailly Laurette

4th [Sunday] On fatigue, Bro Will & Stanton

5th Marching [illegible words] but did manoevring instead

6th Parade, cleaning up etc

7th Party go to 12 camp wood-cutting. Pleasant time return at 6pm

8th Still on wood-cutting job. Fire in hut & we make ourselves comfortable

9th On wood fatigue & we fail to visit Freux[?] camp as intended. We finish early to prepare for morning

10th We march off in full marching order for 21 camp; pass thro Bray & Suzanne. We all feel exhausted on arrival & glad of nights rest

11th [Sunday] On march to line

12th At Cronital[?] Dump, Fatigue up Roncourt

13th Cleaning-up fatigue at Adelphi Dump

14th Wood cutting party go to 12 camp, return late in evening. Fatigue etc

15th 1st time in line. We march from Reserve to front line , ground very hard. Stand to all night

16th Holding front line fairly quiet, sniper busy. Thaw sets in

17th Wet, foggy weather sets and we are relieved by A & C comps, arr.back reserve lines, conditions miserable

18th [Sunday] In reserve

19th Cleaning etc & are relieved by 18th [illegible letter]. We march back to Ma[u]repas. Rec’d 2 parcels

20th Bath & change & on fatigue (N-E?) very tired

21st Advance party leaves for 111 camp (near Bray) & arr 3 o’clock. Batt comes later. Rest very welcome

22nd Cleaning equipment and go in lorries on fatigues to Adelphi & line. Return 6pm & turn in

23rd Breakfast in bed & sleep until 1pm. Again we retire early. Rather short of rations. Pay

24th Early day. I go down to Bray & buy goods which were very welcome. Compy of Y.M.C.A. officer en route

25th   [Sunday] [illegible words]

26th Course. We start at about [illegible] 112 camp. Food & treatment good

27th Out on Parade Ground, drill etc seems to give us all new life

28th On Parade Ground we march to the 17th Welsh Band

March

1st Same as previous day; in evening we return to Batt for a ”supper” (s Dd’s day) including beer, nuts[?] etc

2nd On Parade Ground inspected by General. We marched to music of bagpipes. Insp. a success

3rd Parade etc as previous

4th Half day off. Pay in Batt.([illegible])

5th Last day at school

6th We rejoin the Batt & march thro Bray to 19 camp

7th We leave 19 camp for Clary & put up at “chateau” over night & day

8th We are on Camp Guard at Clary (support lines)

9th Three of us under corpl Gwillym still on guard & doing well

10th Take a stroll thro Clary & find remains of what civilians left. Very pleasant on bank of river. Island in background.

11th [Sunday] Glorious day (on guard)

12th This night we do a route march & get to support of 18 Welsh

13th On sentry go night & day (a decent time)

14th Still in support lines. Heavy shelling etc.

15th We get off at 5pm & get shelled in trench but all get to Com H. Q. safely. March to 17 camp

16th Left 17 camp cleaning up etc

17th We move off towards ---------& put up in hall. Boys do well with canteen Ruins of church here

18th [Sunday] Bath, pay[?] etc

19th We go on H.Q.’s guard (One night)

20th Batt moves off towards Clary & march thro old German lines

21st In open trench we make a comfortable dug-out

22nd On road clearing fatigue near Allaines

23rd A long march towards line heavy fatigue wiring etc. Birthday I receive parcel from Jim

24th We leave Allaines for Bouchavesnes & are put in cellars. Very comfortable & rations good  Wiring fatigue

25th [Sunday] We leave Allaines for Bouchavesnes arr. mid day

26th Am on guard over High St[?] well

27th Still on day & night guard; same night relieved & sleep with 14 platoon

28th On road fatigue near Moslains

29th Road fatigue

30th Rd Fatigue

31st Rd fatigue

April

1st fatigues

2nd     “

3rd Day off for boot repair. Bath etc

4th Inspection. Bro Will is wounded & succumbs to same

5th – 11th – leaf missing from diary

12th Machine gun inst

13th Machine gun inst cleaning same etc

14th In morning we do gun drill in field nr our tent & carry on with instruction other part of day

15th [Sunday] Night fatigue up line

16th We return in early morning night very tired & go up same night on fatigue. Very wet & stormy &

17th we dig ourselves in & [illegible][illegible] early. We[?] [illegible] full pack & march to Fins Wood. [illegible] nights in hospital (Desart)

18th On fatigue in wood making dug-outs etc

19th Still at wood having easy time

20th We prepare for move up to reserve trenches & I carry M. Gun carrier for first time. [illegible][illegible]

21st We see prisoners go by on the road. Same night we move & relieve S.W.B. at Ravine 15

22nd [Sunday] We rescue S.W.B. man from no mans land

23rd We prepare for our do over the top & I get sad tidings of Will’s death. Am terribly upset but seek courage

24th At 3 a.m. we go over & get fine support from our own guns. We reach our objective & dig ourselves in by wire. I shelter in shell-hole along with Dai Jones & Aubrey (wounded) boys[?]

25th Am down at Ravine since previous night as stretcher bearer & unable to return owing to fire. Get back to compy at dusk

26th Weather still fine & we improve trenches. Night am on party for R.E.’s wiring & lay in no mans land 4 hours. Our ”objective” called Rhondda Hill.

27th We are still troubled by snipers & machine gun fire on right. I get two parcels in the line.

28th Still holding our position & anxiously expecting to be relieved.

29th [Sunday] we are relieved by R.W.F.

30th Get back to dug-outs in early morning . Gwyn and myself make ourselves comfortable. We leave for Equancourt

May

1st We are at Equancourt in comfortable billets & glad of a rest

2nd We get a bath & change at Equancourt & on parade in afternoon. Boys play football in adjoining field.

3rd We prepare for Line but I get instruction to report for Transport Sec & leave at 7 for Fins. A welcome change, parcel from Jim.

4th We start at 6.30 – horses to water, clean stables etc. I take horses to graze in fields. Weather lovely & work is a treat. Boys pass to Fins Wood

5th Usual work of stable – cleaning, chaffing, watering horses etc

6th [Sunday] [blank]

7th Usual work

[No entries for the period 8th – 12th]

13th [Sunday] Heavy storm washed out of billett[sic]

14th We build a new home where four of us are very comfortable

15th [no entry]

16th I go up the line with rations on pack mule & return safely at 1 a.m. Passing thro Gouzeacourt

17th Usual work

18th [no entry]

19th [no entry]

20th [Sunday] Out in field with horses & up the line cutting grass same night. Game of football.

21st We go in limbers to Etricourt & do chaffing at R.F.A. place. ”Boys” do a raid

22nd G.S. up the line & the “boys” are relieved & come back to Equincourt

[23rd – 25th no entries]

26th Bro Tom[?] sails for Halifax via New York on SS “St Louis” to join SS ---------

27th [illegible] and I stroll out together

[28th  – 30th no entries]

31st Morgan Thomas calls in afternoon & same evening we go for a walk together & chat of home etc. He goes up line next day

June

1st [no entry]

2nd Concert over at “boys” camp , troupe of entertainers there & issue of good beer. Dick & I have a walk together

3rd [Sunday] “Boys” go into the line again

4th Up line with G.S. with wire

5th Up line hay-cutting. Lovely moonlight trip on G.S.

6th Rec’d parcel from home. Letters say ”Echo” [local newspaper] contains sad news

7th Usual daily work & up line cutting hay same night

8th [no entry]

9th Some of the old boys go home. On line duty

10th [Sunday] I take on groom’s job & leave mules

11th On first guard & get heavy rain & thundering[?] in morning. Tent flooded out

12th weather improves. Morgan Thos calls up 

13th Morgan and myself meet at T. M.

14th usual work, horses out grazing near Dessert Wood

15th [no entry]

16th Morgan has a narrow escape, anti aircraft shell drops into the tent. Same evening we visit T. M. & have a long chat of the old home

17th [Sunday] Boys do raid & Gwyn is wounded

18th Another raid & some “boys” get hit. Weather very stormy

19th I receive sad news of Dick being hit, boys are relieved by H.L.I. & come out near Desert Wood. I write news home

20th Glorious day, horses out grazing & we are on picket

[21st – 23rd no entries]

24th [Sunday] Church parade

25th Bath & sports[?]. We get afternoon off, weather glorious

26th Brigade sports come off, boxing etc another afternoon off

27th [no entry]

28th Heavy rain in evening & am down at T.M.

29th [no entry]

30th Gwyn sails from Rouen on “Western Australia”. Usual work, horses grazing

July

1st [Sunday][no entry]

2nd Aerial activity. Gerry & ours come down, we walk over & see same & come back thro Heudecourt

3rd [no entry]

4th [no entry]

5th Lovely day, in evening I go cutting hay. Glorious moonlight night

6th Rec’d parcel from home, horse racing etc down near Railway

7th [no entry]

8th [Sunday] Hay-cutting up near front line. Heavy rain, Drafts arrive & I see some old faces

9th On hay-cutting fatigue

10th Included in draft were Hopgood, Sparks, Ackroyd & Thomas (Star[?]). Hay-cutting near Heudecourt

11th At night we are up & near Gouzecourt cutting hay etc. Geo Jones is home on sick leave

12th As mounted orderly up near ---------- front line

13th [no entry]

14th Bath etc.

15th [Sunday] Hay cutting near line. ramble in the evening

[16th – 21st no entries]

On memoranda page at back of diary:

June 17th George is badly wounded by a German bomb & goes down the line 

22nd [Sunday] C of E service

[23rd – 29th (Sunday) no entries]

30th Transport men are [illegible]

On memoranda page at back of diary:

He (George [see above]) sails from Rouen to S’ton on “Western Australia” & entrains for a Manchester hospital, thence to Southport

31st New stables etc.

August

1st [no entry]

2nd Carrying hay at line[?] usual work. weather very wet & stormy

3rd Little better & horses are out on grass

4th 3rd anniversary of the war, hoping for the end very soon. Horses out & weather bad

5th {Sunday] [no entry]

6th usual work

7th Am up at Brigade with the Interpreter. weather very good

8th [no entry]

9th usual work. Reveille 5.30, stables 6, breakfast, parade 9, dinner 12.00, parade 2, tea 5

10th [no entry]

11th [no entry]

12th [Sunday] C of E service & Holy Communion

13th Anniversary of my departure from home have seen & experienced a lot in that 12 months

14th [no entry]

15th Ethel Mary Watkins is born at Baldwin, Colo[rado?] Johnny Thos. Is killed at this front

[16th – 18th no entries]

19th [Sunday] C of E service

20th [no entry]

21st Field Picket. shelter Very heavy firing at planes & we seek shelter from shrapnel in old trenches

22nd Sister Lilian’s birthday. Am down Fins to P.O. & T. M. a pleasant evening , stopped for prayers at 8.15

23rd Weather really glorious, grass-cutting and guard

[24th – 31st no entries]

September

1st Grass cutting near farm. Concert at theatre

2nd [Sunday] [no entry]

3rd Lovely harvest moon, glorious night

4th New draft come up. Following day shell puts out a number of our boys – r of new lot.

5th We ride to Nurlu for fresh animals. Weather glorious, night guard

6th   On field picket near -------- Wood, enemy aeroplanes very active. Lovely concert at theatre in evening

7th [no entry]

8th weather glorious, am up B. H. Q mounted orderly

9th [Sunday] Up H.Q. with Roberts, see graves etc.

10th I start on mule driving, cleaning harness etc. Bro. Jim’s wedding at Newport

11th Weather continues good

12th Am on 3rd guard

13th I go up line with timber as driver & same night loose [sic] my wrist watch on track ; a lovely night.

14th [no entry]

15th Up the line driving again, along Tin Pot track, heavy bombardment on our left, boys on Rhondda Hill

16th [Sunday] Start as groom again. Field picket 7 church service in evening. Boys change over to reserve

17th [no entry]

18th On field picket etc. Down Y.M.C.A. with J. James in evening, very pleasant, piano & violin reminds me of old times

19th [no entry]

20th usual work

21st to 30th [no entries]

October

1st [no entry]

2nd [no entry]

3rd We prepare horses & lumbers[?] for moving off

4th  to 6th [no entries]

7th [Sunday] Boys come out to Sorrel

8th We move off at 10 am mounted & march thro Sorrel to Peronne (3rd guard)

9th In billets at Doing. March past at Peronne. I see T. Evans (Llanychaer) in ranks of R.W.. I see civilians for the 1st time

10th Batt march tp P---------- Station. I return mounted. the same night wee move off at 11.30 & spend night with horses in trucks

11th We arrive at Beaumetz & march to Simencourt & are in billets here in farm yard. I go mounted to Avesnes-le-Comte

12th Getting things straight at our new abode

13th We have a jolly time in an esteemed company of Pugh, [illegible]etc. all’s well

14th [Sunday] Exercise with horses thro Gouy where 18th are

15th Latter[?] is a fine big village. Great improvement in our food

16th I start as groom for A Coy; no exercise this day. Boys get pay & things are lovely in the “Old Barn”

17th Route march with Coy thro village, viz Guoy & see Arthur Rowlands. Mail from home.

18th Weather still keeps good

19th Route March with Batt, thro Beaumetz

20th Cleaning up etc. Half day off for football

21st [Sunday] Service in R.W.F.camp. Welsh sermon, singing a treat

22nd Usual work etc.

23rd Route march

24th [no entry]

25th [no entry]

26th Half day for football & boxing

27th We are preparing to move off from Simencourt

28th [Sunday] pay & a visit to the café

29th We move off in full-pack early & have a hard march to Goullemont [sic]; on lines same day

30th Getting billets, stables etc into shape, latter in bad condition

31st Hear sad news from home of Morgan Thos’ fate

November

1st All Saints] French people attend church & bells ring, a day for divine attendance

2nd Ditto on[?] part of inhabitants of Goullemont[sic]

3rd Letters from home, all is well. Two of transport go on leave to Cardiff

4th [Sunday] Batt attend church parade

5th We march to Leau---x for a bath & a much needed change. 18th are in billet there

6th Battalion on “Field” parade & coys horses are out, rain at mid-day

7th With Batt on route march to Saulty & back (in full pack) along march

8th Taking over a pair of horses (temporary) & on 1st guard. Pay of 5 francs & boys are out in village

9th Cleaning tack etc

10th With cart[?] to “Dump” and “Ordnance”. Passing thro R.W.F.’s camp. Sad news of Tommy Lytton’s death.

11th [Sunday] [no entry]

12th On “Field Day” thro Lucheaux & woods with pair, late returning

13th Boys have another Field Day, and transport have busy time. Terrific bombardment on

14th Weather still continues good; watering troughs at Humbercourt where 12th S.W.B.s are

15th Last day at Gullemont

16th We leave at 7am for Gemicourt[sic] & arrive early. Out in night in village & a good rest in same billets at farm

17th Preparing to move & leave at 5.30 for Gomicourt[sic], a 20 kilo march arr midnight & put up in tents. We pass thro Bapaume

18th [Sunday] No parade we do some cleaning; football etc

19th Still at Gomicourt in readiness& Guard’s Div come up

20th Still at Gomicourt & ready for line

21st Horses are off early for line & we move off at dusk pass many villages to Graincourt boys in support, we are in cellars

22nd In bivouacs with all brigade (we are in Framcourt)

Memoranda at front of diary:

On Thursday Nov 22nd we move to Graincourt village  7 following morning our boys go over at 10.30; the barrage from our guns was terrible & the fight[?] towards Bourlon Wood was striking but terrible. The tanks go over in large numbers & do terrible damage; prisoners & our wounded come down together all day. Following day our stables etc are heavily shelled & “Jerry” counter-attacks our brave lads. Deeds of heroism are performed by all concerned, & our drivers do all that is expected of them (under the heaviest shell & m. gun fire. On Sunday we again endure hell & dead & wounded lie all thro village, also animals in galore[?]. Dai Jones gets hit whilst attending to wounded in streets & succumbs to same down line. the stretcher cases line the village & the shells plough thro them. Our relief[?] same night.

23rd A terrible combt & boys go over the top. Do tanks . Things are terrible & our wounded come back, also hundreds of prisoners, our place heavily shelled

24th Hill our lads are holding on despite counter attacks & our billets, stables, etc are under terrific fire. Dai Jones wounded & East Surreys knocked out

25th [Sunday] At night we are relieved & I drive pair out. We put up for a few hours at Avecourt [NB 73 killed from Battalion on this day and 9 previous day] 

26th Leave Monday for Luchelle & sleep with comps

27th Leave early with Transport & put up at Achet-le-petit for night under canvas. J.M. in village

28th Another move for Pommel, arrive early & put up in a barn; a much needed rest

29th Grooming & washing harness & usual cleaning up. Brigade Hqrs in village

30th Some new horses are drawn to replace casualties

December

1st We prepare to move & are under 2 hrs notice to move

2nd [Sunday] We leave for Ervilliers & 16th Division move out. 

3rd Riding thro Bapaume to Barastre to fetch cart & return late at night, very cold

4th   Driving to Mory for mail, weather glorious with a little frost. We are in very comfy quarters, huts

5th Cleaning up etc all day

6th After mail to Mory & Brigade, also to R.E. dump at [blank]

7th With mess cart after mail

8th In morning to Mory & do cleaning in afternoon. Boys in line hold tunnel

9th [Sunday] Webb on leave. Service at T[?]. M. in evening

10th To Hamlincourt for stuff from 136 R.A.M.C.

11th Standing to at 3 a.m. & go to Mory for mail a heavy German straff at night

12th Our guns open a terrible combt, & we are ready to be on the move

13th Things still lively up line. usual work

14th We leave our stables for “Lines” near by, & under canvas

15th Snow & frosty weather very cold on lines. We do usual work

16th [Sunday][no entry]

17th To Achet-le-grand to canteen, for Brigade School

18th [no entry]

19th With mess cart to Bapaume etc.

20th Boys come out of line to Enniskillen Camp, first trip up line

21st With mess cart to Achet-le-grand & Boyelles-au-Mant buying Xmas goods

22nd [no entry]

23rd [Sunday] [no entry]

24th To Bapaume & on Brigade School Rations

25th On Parade in morning, some pudding for dinner, half day off

26th on usual journeys. (Anniversary of leaving 12 Camp for 21 Camp)

27th [no entry]

28th [no entry]

29th up early and leave camp at Ervillers[?] for [illeg.]incourt, stables & huts here. Boys coming back off leave. Pugh goes on leave

30th [Sunday] To C.C.S.

31st In afternoon to Ervillers & Berlagnies, roads very bad

1918 January

1st To Rail Head !st a very cold day & snow on the ground

1918 Diary

January

1st Start New Year at Hamlincourt, weather very cold; snow on the ground & frosty. Trip to Rail Head etc

2nd – 4th [no entries]

5th - 6th [Sunday] Usual journeys for Mail at Mory

7th – 10th Batt at Camp in Mory & we get a busy time

11th & 12th [no entries]

13th [Sunday] Boys move to front line, journey over track with Maltese cart

14th [no entry]

15th Preparing kit for leave a happy time, very wet night

16th Leaving camp at Hamencourt for Achet-le-grand and entrain for Boulogne. Stop there night

17th sail from B---- at 6 p.m. arrive Folkestone & London midnight. Stay there over night at Soldiers Hotel get a bath and sleep in a “bed”

18th Leave Paddington at 9 a.m. for Newport & arr. Risca at 1.30 p.m. , stop night with bro & sister at Montrose. To cinema in evening

19th We leave Risca for Newport & have a few hours there, then I go to Cardiff & call at Tin Street. Leave with Cork Express & arrive Fishgd mid-night. Bennie’s car meets me, a welcome at home

20th [Sunday] Up early & go to Hermon [Chapel] in morning, also Sunday School & service in evening

21st Early start for Letts [Letterston] Fair in trap, buy early & walk home. Weather is still bad

22nd Help at home in morning & down to see old friends in afternoon. ”Boys get a bath”!

23rd Very wet, & we leave off Dinas trip, walk down Tower Hill in evening . Sad news of Willie Davies’s death

24th Down afternoon to tea at the “Globe”. Prayer meeting at night & reception committee later. A walk down Penslade with Myrtle

25th In afternoon I meet Sarah & we get tea at B.H., leave for Dinas & call at Battin’s and Bwlchmaur. Supper at Cilwenin, late leaving & walk home, lovely night

26th Over at Goodwick at Mrs M’s to tea & return home early. Was up Tynewydd in morning

27th [Sunday] In car with Mr Evans to Solva, service at Felin-ganol, dinner at Scotland House, call to see uncle, also Miss Thomas. Back home at 6.30, out with [rest of sentence erased]

28th I call up Clive Road to see old friends, meet Jon Twm Jones, etc at Royal Oak

29th Out to tea with Bennie & Gladys, a pleasant time & arrive home early. M.A. & her boy from Swansea there

30th Leave home for Newport 10.10 train, hard to part. arr. Risca & to concert in evening

31st Jim & myself journey to Newport & I leave for London. Call to see Flo[?] James & have a jolly evening, supper, pictures etc., reach Victoria (T.M.) at 11

February

1st Up early & leave for Folkestone, sail in afternoon for Boulogne, arrive safely & sleep there

2nd Breakfast etc in camp7 train leaves at 10 a m thro Arras & arrive at Hamlincourt same night

3rd [Sunday] Start usual work to Mory for mail etc, weather lovely I write home

4th To Mory & rail head for mail etc

5th Batt. Being disbanded & boys leave

6th to join 2nd, 9th & other Batts.

7th [no entry]

8th Usual work, Mory, etc.

9th Weather is lovely & mild

10th My 2nd Sunday after returning thoughts of home and Sunday observance

11th We move by road to Hendecourt [illegible] in [illegible] camp

12th After rations to Bretencourt; countryside lovely weather nice & mild

13th Same as previous day, letter from Rachel & Tom

14th /15th Hendecourt a very pleasant place ; for Town Major’s/Mayor’s[?] rations every evening

16th – 19th [no entries]

20th usual work & fine

21st We leave H---- for another camp, I see Thomas (Star)

22nd usual work & go for post daily

23rd The milk round delivery is left off, hope to renew it someday[?]

24th [Sunday] Early morning spill, but no damage. WE play H.L.I. at football result against us 2 – 0

25th as usual mail etc.

26th/27th [no entries]

28th We take a long trip & pass thro Monchy-au-bois for Berles, a pleasant village

March

1st Usual work billet rough hear from home, St David’s Day ride[?] to Pommier

2nd Heavy fall snow very cold

3rd [Sunday] Half day, a waltz round ruined [illegible] service at the school in evening. 8 of us attend [illeg.] Presbyterian[?]

4th – 7th [pages smudged and unreadable]

8th After rations etc to Pommier. Weather glorious

9th In evening a stroll to Berles, stopped to supper at friend’s house

10th [Sunday] Preparing for inspection. Over to Berles to Presbyterian service at school

11th No inspection, so we have a football match in afternoon

12th [no entry]

13th We move off early for Berles-au-Bois in billets near church. A call at folks home

14th Usual work, &  trip to Bienvillers & Pommier with rations. Bid adieu to friends

15th We move off at 10.30 en route for Mondicourt[?], a fine village, Choc[?] factory & decent dwellings arr. 3 o’clock

16th Usual work & a look round the village

17th [Sunday] Parade in morning & afternoon off for football with S.W.B.s. Result 4-0. Pay of 20 francs

18th usual work on lines

19th Exercise & route to Pas-en-artois

20th [no entry]

21st Heavy Bombt up line & aircraft visit us, dropping bombs

22nd A busy day, move lines to rear of Choc Fac., weather wet

23rd 27th anniversary of birthday, 2nd in France (moonlight nights)

24th [Sunday] Half day off for football with R.W.F. 5-2. Weather glorious

25th Bombt still intense & “Jerry” gains ground

26th/27th off early for Doullons, see civis leaving homes & making for safety, also our men, guns etc go along main road, something amiss. Mondicourt deserted by civis

28th Civis return to their homes & situation better.

29th Australian Divisions pass thro., also 37th. Heavy rain at night

30th Things get a bit more settled at village. News of Tom’s boat sunk

31st [Sunday] people attend church & am to supper at Friend’s house

April

1st We move off to Bouquemaison arriving about 2 p.m.

2nd A decent village & heavy traffic at all times. Watering horses at pond

3rd Usual work

4th – 6th [no entries]

7th [Sunday] Horses out grazing & we have “half day” off, heavy rain

8th [no entry]

9th /10th Pay of 10 francs & am on guard. My dear friend Willie Marchant wounded and dies on the 10th. May God comfort his loving parents

11th [no entry]

12th Trip to Doullens with cart for rations

13th [no entry]

14th Up at 2a.m. & leave for Bonniers, a pleasant village. See custom of confirmation at Church

15th Leave for Hautecote[?] & arr mid-day. Trip to Somme & an unpleasant incident. Horse is badly injured. Tom at home

16th Still at Hautecote help at farm  & get supper there

17th We leave Hautecot for St Georges, a decent village

18th Leave St George for Marle & stay there overnight

19th En route for Etaples, arr & pass thro hospital grounds up to camp. Hand over limbers & put horses on lines

20th Pay of 10 Francs & three of us take tram for [Le Touquet] Paris - Plage, a lovely seaside resort

21st [Sunday] Parade & Exercise on sands half day off

22nd On the lines, exercise etc

23rd Naval attack on Zeebrugge & Ostend

24th Usual work etc

25th Each night we go down to village of Etaples

26th Under canvas at this camp. Pay of 15 Francs & visit S. A. Hut; see Pte Connor (3rd Welsh)

27th [No entry]

28th [Sunday] Church parade & day off, visit Paris – Plage , meet a Welsh New Zealander

29th Feeling unwell. Lot of illness thro camp

30th [no entry]

May

1st Bit by horse & get same dressed at hospital

2nd – 3rd [no entries]

4th On tent orderly, down Etaples in evening

5th [Sunday] Church parade etc & wet night

6th [no entry]

7th – 10th [entries erased- illegible]

11th [no entry]

12th [Sunday] Still at Etaples. Half day off at Paris Plage with G[?] Webb

13th preparing for move

14th We leave early by road for Rue nice camp[?]

15th Continue march for Abbeville. Put up at AHJD[?] Reception from the Bombers

16th [no entry]

17th Down town & visit the lovely cathedral

18th Heavy Bombing raids each night we spend most of night in trenches

19th [Sunday] Evening service at TM

20th Weather is glorious

21st 3rd anniversary of trip to L’pool, & sisters leave for USA on SS Philadelphia

22nd [no entry]

23rd Preparing to leave AHJD[?]

24th Take over convoy for Rue & put up for night. Pleasure of seeing E. Watkins

25th Leave Rue for Etaples, arr 6[?] (on guard) lovely night, no raids

26th [Sunday] Leave early on B- road thro Samer & put up at camp. 16 Div. (Bro Emlyn baptised at Glaneirin[?])

27th Convoy en route for Yanks camp at Wedenham [Widehem?] & we hand over

28th At rest at this place, lovely weather. Bro Emlyn leaves home for sea

29th Orders to proceed to Carly with cart & have comfy quarters there. Meet a native of Denver

30th Hand over horses & car takes us to Wadenham (air raid same night)

31st By car thro Samer to camp & put up at farm near by, Pass for Samer same night

June

1st Full pack & march to station. In cattle trucks down line for Rang-du-Fliers

2nd [Sunday] Dumped at Rang-du-Fliers. Leave for Abbeville, arr 8 put up at Rest Camp

3rd Usual parade & fatigue here

4th Report at Brown’s Camp & take over horses

5th [no entry]

6th Remainder of boys leave with convoy & we are all to A.S.C.[?]. Same night a lovely service at S.C.A. Home. Post souvenir home

7th With G.S.waggon 5 kilos out. A lovely spot, under canvas, no horses. Drugat [Drucat] village

8th Weather glorious & we have an easy time

9th [Sunday] Walk into Abbeville & attend service at S.C.A. Hut, arrive back 8.30. Letter from home.

10th Wet day & we keep under cover, write letters etc.

11th Just usual work & a ramble out country

12th Camp near Caours & Drugart [Drucat]

13th Pass thro Merlincourt [Millencourt] & help peasants at haymaking, folk of Le Cassall

14th Down town & see some of the boys. Sergt gets D.C.M. conferred on him

15th [no entry]

16th [Sunday] I visit Abbeville for mail & see boys & they leave same day on convoy. Jerry over

17th Orders to move to Rest Camp & get Reg [?] letter from Tom

18th Down unloading trucks, then on convoy for Rue etc (on guard) wet night

19th In morning I see Will Thomas (Eskyrn[?]) & later we leave for Cusq [Cucq] Camp and put up for night

20th Leave 11.30 for Etaples & then for Desvres Camp. I pick out Horace Stockwell of 11th Middx formerly at Wilcox’s

21st Leave for distributing camp at Lottinghen, & thence to

22nd Mix up with Yanks [?] & go out with limbers. At village of Bouvelinghem (near St Omer)

23rd [Sunday] Meet a former North Walian (from N.Y.) & have walk in country. Weather stormy

24th Helping the new drivers & an easy time

25th Out thro the lovely country each evening with Williams [ill.] N. Y. his friend

26th Weather improves gradually

27th We prepare to leave but same was cancelled

28th – 29th [no entries]; 30th [Sunday] inspection of transport & all goes well

July

1st On duty all day& a long trip towards Lumbries [Lumbres]

2nd I write 2nd letter home. Weather glorious

3rd Times are very easy & I thoroughly enjoy the company of  Wms [sic]

4th Independence Day. (no work). Yanks are big cardplayers. Haymaking at home

5th [no entry]

6th Parade in morning & half day off. Visit Aerodrome

7th [Sunday] Last day at Bouvelinghem and a lovely sermon in evening, band in attendance. I wish adieu to friends

8th We leave early for station & entrain for Boulogne, left there & thence for Etaples & Abbeville

9th A whole day’s rest & we prepare for departure for JBD. Get a whole bundle of mail

10th We leave 8.30pm for station & proceed for Rouen. Night on train in cattle trucks

11th Arrive early at Camp & see many old friends. Cousins goes on leave

12th I meet Benj Evans (State[?]} and we end up in same tent

13th In ‘A’ Coy

14th [Sunday] To Bull Ring for Gas course. Lovely Welsh service & communion at YMCA

15th Usual Parade, fatigue etc.

16th - 17th Numbers of boys from North Pem including Tom John, M.M. Letts [Letterston?] Richards (Croesgoch), Wilcox (Croesgoch[?])

18th - 19th Also Lloyd Brimaston Hall (24 Welsh) We meet W Woods of Victoria Ave outside camp

20th On Hospital Fatigue. Jack Thomas (Millfield) & Adams (Goodk) [Goodwick]

21st [Sunday] Usual fatigue & a Welsh service at YM

22nd Parade for pay & Jack Mayborne turns up

24th Get pass for Rouen & I post souvenirs home. Visit the wonderful cathedral. Letters from home etc.

25th Usual Hospital fatigue

26th – 29th [no entries]

30th On gambling picquet & in evening we meet Albert Cornick. All go to Welsh service

31st [no entry]

August

1st [no entry]

2nd Lecture on Rouen & lantern slides shown at YM

3rd Party visits Rouen & we see the wonderful sights, museum visited & cathedral etc. We climb to height of spire of latter

4th [Sunday] Fourth Anniversary of Declaration of war. Welsh service at J.M. & no other parades on

5th Fete & gala at home, memories of happy holidays gone by

6th Usual parades etc. we have  photos taken down town

7th For a ramble thro wood etc.

8th Benj leaves on draft for 5th SWB

9th Emlyn is at New York

10th [no entry]

11th [Sunday] On fatigue at No 8 General

12th Pay etc.

13th At Ysgol Gan in JM. Some good Welsh singing

14th My two years are up in army, hopes & prayers of an early end to war

15th On pass downtown for photos. Letter from home & Ethel’s photo

16th Letter & 10/- note from mother, also one from Jim

17th On fatigue at No 8 General & WAAC Hut. Welsh girl entertains us

18th [Sunday] Church parade & lovely singing at YM

19th Mayborne leaves camp for 2 SWBs

20th – 22nd [no entries]

23rd On fatigue at Docks. Sleep in wood & MPs [illegible] us in. An unpleasant affair in guard room for night

24th Tried by C.O. & we get stop pay

25th [Sunday] Fatigue at No 3 General. Service at Quiet Room & Rev. Picton Evans is back

26th On draft for Line & we are transferred to 12th Glosters. Leave camp 7.30pm for station and entrain

27th Still on train & we halt at Amiens. Weather glorious. We continue journey to St Leger

28th Spend day at little village of St Leger

29th Leave early for Bucquoy & join 12th in the Line. Rest on reserve

30th We move up & our party gets lost in No-man’s-land, narrow escape

31st In support & heavy shelling all day. Report at BHQ at [illegible]

September

1st [Sunday] Brookman is killed & others wounded. We are relieved

2nd In reserve & am on BHQ for day. Report to platoon

3rd On CHQ[?] & we move up enemy retreating rest in front trenches

4th We move back for rest to Billets

5th Cleaning up etc’ letters from home

6th Parade in morning & concert in evening

7th Usual parade etc. rec’d parcel

8th [Sunday] Church parade & day off. Service & communion in evening

9th Parade etc. letters from home

10th Parade in morning & sports on. Weather wet

11th Batt. Parade & sports

12th Very wet & no early parade

13th Start on course at camp

14th Boys leave for Line & we move to Achiet-le-grand

15th [Sunday] Open air service & day off

16th Parade with NCOs class

17th Geo Jones goes on leave

18th - 21st [no entries]

22nd [Sunday] Non-com parade & day off

23rd - 25th [no entries]

26th News from home folk take other farm

27th Up in orders for stripe

28th I visit Geo Jones’ camp but he is not back

29th [Sunday] Lovely service in open & day off

30th Parade, football etc.

October

1st We leave A.Le G. for Bapaume & join Batt, in wood

2nd Weather glorious & all boys are well

3rd We get news that Batt. Is being disbanded. I meet Geo Jones at his camp

4th Usual Parade & evening with Geo. All yarns of home related

5th An easy day & Geo comes down to wood, we go for walk

6th [Sunday] We break up & leave to join R.W. Kents at Bus.

7th Parade with same & we go to see Geo in evening

8th Usual Parades etc.

9th We leave early & pass thro Gouzecourt, Gonnelieu etc.

10th Still on march thro villages & sleep at Bettincourt [Bethencourt?]

11th Move to wood & sleep at Caudry

12th A sudden move to support lines in c. of section there

13th [Sunday] Weather good & civis pass thro lines

14th Day passes quietly sick parade etc.

15th Get a dose of gas & go down to 18th C.C.S. [Casualty Clearing Station]

16th Still at C.C.S. eyes etc. very bad

17th Put on train for Base Hospital. Treatment good

18th Arrive early at 4th General (Camiers), Ward A5 & put to bed

19th Slightly better & write home

20th [Sunday] Weather is good, many gas cases come in

21st Evacuation going on at hospital

22nd News from home. I get up & out but not very well

23rd out to breakfast & am put in bed feeling bad. Doctor marks me “Blighty”

24th Waiting for evac; war news good

25th Weather fine & all hoping to get across to old England

26th At night we travel by car to Etaples & on Red Cross train for Calais  Arr Cardiff

27th [Sunday] At Lansdowne Rd Hospital [Last entry]