Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Apr 1915
1915 diary shows Bombardier Gunner (Signalling Dept) A. G. Richardson 4th Section, West Riding Divisional Ammunition Column R.F.A., Norfolk Barracks Sheffield.
Home Address:- Station House, Ben Rhydding near Leeds. Yorks.
Thursday 1st April 1915: Rose at 8 am. Went a bike ride in morning via Ilkley, Askwith, Otley & Burly. Played & beat Dad at golf. Also played Miss M. Whitaker & Miss A. Baines. In Ilkley at night.
Friday 2nd April 1915: Good Friday. Dad & I v Mr Watkin & Mr Petty at golf. We won 12 holes, halved 5 & lost 1. Afternoon wet & went to see Mrs Hartley. Crucifixion at night at Ben R. Church. Excellent.
Saturday 3rd April 1915: Left Ben R 6.45 Sheffield arr 8.56. Saw Doctor. Vaccinated. Fainted!! Stables 4 pm. Stable Picket 6 pm. Writing letters at night.
Sheffield & Blackheath
Sunday 4th April 1915: Easter Sunday. Stables. Relieved to go to Church & Communion 10.45 am. Stables afternoon till 7 pm.
Monday 5th April 1915: Stables relieving Geo Sheard. Field Day at Totley. 29 Horses stampede. 7 men injured. Terrible accident.
Tuesday 6th April 1915: Firing at 100 yards .303 Totley Range. Scored 18 out of 20. out at night. Raining hard all day.
Wednesday 7th April 1915: Firing at 200 & 300 yards Totley Range. Rapid, Sniping & Deliberate. Gate Picquet at night.
Thursday 8th April 1915: Gate Picquet all day. Out at night. Raining. Packed up for moving.
Friday 9th April 1915: Left Sheffield 9.21 am. Arrived King’s X 3 pm & Blackheath 4 pm. Went to billets – in a mansion – Fine. On Stable Picket at night.
Saturday 10th April 1915: Stable Picquet all day. Went to Greenwich, London Bridge & Cannon Street at night. Searchlights on Thames were fine. Appointed N.C.O. in charge of Forage with Potts as my right hand man.
Blackheath Southampton Le Havre.
Sunday 11th April 1915: Went for my 1st ride on horseback with Bdr. Wilkinson. Signalling on Blackheath Common. Out with Geof Stead at night at Tower Bridge, Tower, Fleet Str., Strand, Trafalgar Square, Westminster. Bus & Tube.
Monday 12th April 1915: In charge of Forage. Potts & I obtain it from A.S.C. 50 miles.
Tuesday 13th April 1915: Forage gathering. On Guard at 6 pm. Extremely cold. 25 miles.
Wednesday 14th April 1915: On Guard all day. Packing up at night. 46 miles arrive.
Thursday 15th April 1915: Getting forage for 114 mules & 5 horses. Very busy indeed. Out with A.S.C wagon. Everything ready for moving off. Packed at 8 pm 9 pm & 12 midnight. All ready. Order to “Stand By”. Drew up in order at 12.
Friday 16th April 1915: Set off 2 am from Blackheath & went by rail to Woolwich Arsenal. Left Woolwich 6.50 am. arrived Southampton 11 am. left S. at 6.20 pm on H.M.S. “A***”. Lights out & all below deck at 8 pm. Safe & calm crossing.
Saturday 17th April 1915: Arrived Le Havre 3 am. Disembarked 9 am. All day spent in unloading & getting everything ready for entraining. Drew 3 days train rations for 120 mules & 80 men. Stable Picket at night.
Le Havre – Merville – Haverskerque.
Sunday 18th April 1915: Left Le Havre at 3 pm. Beautiful travelling in France. Scenery extra. 6 of us in forage wagon. Ripping. Arrived Rouen 11 pm. Went to “Kip” at 12 pm.
Monday 19th April 1915: Arrived Abbeville 5 am. Train via Boulogne, Calais & St. Omer to Hazebrouck. Crossed Yser Canal. 2 Bridges blown up. Trenches everywhere. Arrived Berguette 12.5 pm. Went to Camp 5 miles away.
Tuesday 20th April 1915: On Guard during night. Terrific cannonading at the front. We are only 8 miles from Neuve Chapelle. Forage all day. Beautiful weather. Met, very luckily, my brother Arnold & Wilf Dawson at night at St. Vanon. Very pleasant evening spent together. Letter from home. Saw 4 W.R. R.F.A.
Wednesday 21st April 1915: Haverskerque. Went with A.S.C. for forage. Beautiful weather. Hard work getting wagons out of park. “Fall in the Gunners”. Got Paid 5 f. Saw Arnold.
Thursday 22nd April 1915: Went for forage with A.S.C. Great trouble getting wagons away. Mules stubborn. ”Fall in the Gunners”. Saw Arnold.
Friday 23rd April 1915: Foraging with A.S.C. Attending to forage etc all day. On Guard at night. Very cold indeed.
Saturday 24th April 1915: Left Haverskerque at 9 am & travelled by road via Merville (In Ruins) to Estaires where we arrived 4 pm. 5 miles from Neuve Chapel. Heavy firing going. Whole of the line lit up with searchlights, star shells etc. Very fascinating. Weather: – Extremely hot during day & cold at night.
Sunday 25th April 1915: Reveille 4.30 am. Left Estaires 7 am via Merville & Locon & arrived Gonnehem 6 pm. Tired out. On Guard! Saw 4th R.F.A. pass en route & Arnold etc.
Monday 26th April 1915: Reveille 6 am. Went with A.S.C. for forage in morning. Afternoon filling nose bags. Gonnehem. Paid 10 f.
Tuesday 27th April 1915: Went to A.S.C. for forage. Afternoon spent lying down basking in the Sun. Went down to Gonnehem at night.
Wednesday 28th April 1915: Went to A.S.C. for forage. Afternoon went to Chocques for exchange of 6 Oats for 8 Bran. Out in village at night.
Thursday 29th April 1915: Went to A.S.C. for forage in morning. In the afternoon went to Chocques to change Oats for Bran. Place shut up at night, had a good bust up.
Friday 30th April 1915: Went to A.S.C. for forage in morning. In the afternoon, went to Chocques to change 10 Oats for 14 Bran. Evening spent in cleaning parade ground. 17 f Paid.