Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Dec 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.
Wednesday 1st December 1915: Shelled. Rain. Dec opens wet. Rations 10.30 – 3.30. Promoted to Paid a/c Bdr. (4 ½ d extra per day) Harry Eagle & Barber pro a/c Bdrs (unpaid.)
Thursday 2nd December 1915: Rose at 8 pm [8 am]. Rations 11 – 3.20. Wet day. Oilskin fine. Early to bed.
Friday 3rd December 1915: Rose at 8 am. Went for rations from 10.30 – 3.30. Wagon stuck. Building new winter bivouac. Bed at 9 pm.
Saturday 4th December 1915: Rose at 8. Rations at 11 – 4 pm. Wagon stuck in mud. On H.Q. guard. Rum issue. Nice guard.
Dec 1st. Whilst proceeding through Poperinghe at 1.30 pm, the Germans bombarded the town. First two shells 100 yds behind the wagon, just off the road. 20 or more shells burst. Population terror-stricken. Terrible sight.
Sunday 5th December 1915: Fine in morning. No rations. Building new bivouac. “Tres bon”. Raining later. Letter from home.
Monday 6th December 1915: Rose at 5 am. Joined Div Train 6.45 am. Drew rations at 8 – 11 am on Elverdinghe Road at new Railhead. Rather slow, but will prove a success.
Tuesday 7th December 1915: Rose at 5 am. Joined A.S.C. 6.45 am. Rations 8 – 930. “Home” at 11. Saw one of our aeroplanes brought down by enemy. Landed on tip of wings. Pcl from Scarbro’.
Wednesday 8th December 1915: Rose at 6 am. Joined A.S.C. at 6.45. Away with rations at 8.30. Remarkably quick. Spent afternoon building new bivouac & writing letters. On Guard.
Thursday 9th December 1915: Went for rations 5 am – 11 am. Coal 12-30 – 4 pm. Capt Walker goes on his 2nd leave. Rotten Day – Raining all day.
Friday 10th December 1915: Rose at 6.30 am. Late for train. Walked to A.S.C. Back at 10.30. Transferred all ammunition to H.Q. Heavy work.
Saturday 11th December 1915: Rose at 6 am. Joined Div Train 6.45 am. Drew rations & back at 10.30. Reading & writing rest of day.
N.B. I have been acting Q.M.S. for the whole D.A.C., Q.M.S. Shearman being too idle to get up at 5 am!
Sunday 12th December 1915: Rose at 5.30 am. Joined Div Train 6.45. Back at 11 am. Received two pcls from home. On Guard at H.Q. Beastly Cold. (Redge Dean comes over to see us again. Jolly good tea).
Monday 13th December 1915: Rose at 5.30 am. Drew rations and returned at 11. Cold weather & a change to first!
Tuesday 14th December 1915: Rose at 6 am. Joined Div Train 6.45 am. Cold & dark morning. Back at 10.30 am. Had a jolly good tea. Invited Clough & Forsythe. Ham, Sausage, Cake etc.
Wednesday 15th December 1915: Rose at 6 am. Joined Div Train 6.45 am. Drew Rations & arrived back at 10.30 am. Rest of day writing & reading in farm. Beastly cold & frosty.
Thursday 16th December 1915: Went for rations at 6.30 am. Back at 11 am. Spent afternoon reading & writing. On Guard at night.
Friday 17th December 1915: Went for rations at 6.30. Back at 11. Great aeroplane duel over us. Thrilling at night in farm house.
Saturday 18th December 1915: Went for rations at 6.30 & back at 11.30. Very quiet.
Poperinghe – Ben Rhydding.
Sunday 19th December 1915: 3.30 am. Germans launch big gas attack & come over 3 times. Big artillery duel.
Monday 20th December 1915: Rations.
Tuesday 21st December 1915: Rations.
Wednesday 22nd December 1915: Rations.
Thursday 23rd December 1915: Rations.
Friday 24th December 1915: Went for rations at 6.30 am. Back 10.30. Spent aft preparing for Xmas Dinner at Farm. Excellent dinner at 6 pm – steak & kidney pie – plum pudding etc. At 9.30 Capt Walker gave me pass for leave. Exciting.
Saturday 25th December 1915: Left Camp 3.30 am with Sergt Becket. Left Poperinghe 4.50 am. Arr Boulogne 2 pm. Left Boulogne 3.3 0 & arr Folkestone 5.15 pm. Arrived Victoria 10.30 pm. Left St Pancras at 12 midnight & arrived Leeds 4.50 am. Went to Y.M.C.A. until 7.45. Left Leeds 8 am & arrived Ben R. 9.10 am. Great excitement. Dad & mother Cries with joy. Grand in “Blighty”.
Sunday 26th December 1915: Arrived Ben R 9.10. Slept 18 hours.
Monday 27th December 1915: Visiting.
Tuesday 28th December 1915: Visiting.
Wednesday 29th December 1915: Went to Scarbro’ for the day.
Thursday 30th December 1915: Visiting.
Friday 31st December 1915: Left Ben R. at 10 pm. for Belgium. Good bye dear old Ben R.