Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Jan 1916
Inside front cover: – A.G. Richardson, Scarbro’ Dec 29 1915
317 Bombr A.G. Richardson, 4th Section 49th (W.R.) D.A.C.
B – E – F. Somewhere in Belgium. Jan 2nd 1916.
Brought at Scarboro’ Dec 29th 1915.
On Memoranda from 1915.
Enlisted in 49 (WR) DAC Dec 9th 1914.
Went to France April 16th 1915.
Entered Ypres District July 3rd 1915.
Went on leave to Ben Rhydding Dec 25th Xmas day.
“Great Push” – opposite THIEPVAL July 1st 1916.
Ben Rhydding – Boulogne.
Saturday 1st January 1916: Left Leeds 12.30 am & arrived London (St Pancras) 6.30 am. Had good breakfast & dinner in London & left Victoria 12.55 pm. Left Folkestone 4 pm & had a terrible & trying crossing. Tremendous gale. 1½ hrs crossing 2½ hrs to enter harbour. 1 drowned, 2 legs broken, 12 scalp injuries. Arrived Boulogne 8pm. Marched up to St. Martin’s Camp 9.30 pm.
Sunday 2nd January 1916: Rose at 7.30 am & spent day in St. Martin’s Camp Boulogne. Two good meals at E.F.C. Left Camp 5.30 pm & left Station at 7.30 pm. Awful journey. Terribly slow train and very uncomfortable carriages. Practically impossible to sleep.
Monday 3rd January 1916: Arrived Poperinghe Station 2.30 am. Had a cup of coffee at Y.M.C.A. & along with Barber lugged 50 Gramophone Records up to D.A.C. where we arrived at 4.30 am. Went to bed 5 am & slept till 3 pm. Interview with Capt. P.H. Walker about my stay at Ben R. On H.Q. Guard! The Limit.
Tuesday 4th January 1916: Left H.Q. guard at 6 am. Left camp for rations at 8 am & went up the West Veeteren Road to the old 49th Div dump. Attachd to 14th Div. A.S.C.. K’s army seem awfully jealous of us. Corpl. A. Clarkson mentioned in Sir John French’s Despatches for delivering amn on May 9th, 16th, & Dec 19th 1915. Whole camp “pleased as Punch”.
Wednesday 5th January 1916: Set off 8 am on a mule with party from H.Q. to go & find new billets in next position. Mule no good. Came back & got an Australian horse named “Lion”. Collided with a wagon & wrenched my ankle. Very painful. Saw Doctor. Ordered to bed. Sergt Casson goes with party.
Thursday 6th January 1916: Ankle rather painful. In bed all day. Busy packing up ready to move away. Saw Doctor. Massaged my foot. Spent day sleeping & reading.
Poperinghe – Esquelbecq.
Friday 7th January 1916: In bed all day with my ankle, but greatly improving. Reading & playing games all day. Packed up ready to leave our position.
Saturday 8th January 1916: Reveille 4 am. Left Poperinghe 7.30 am. – Pattinson comes to grief on his wagon, which upturned, but is only badly shaken. Long & cold journey through Watou, Wormhout, to Esquelbecq, where we arrived at 7 pm. Good night’s sleep in barn.
Sunday 9th January 1916: Resting my ankle all day. Settling down in new quarters. Lawson goes for rations. Decent people in farm & a ripping barn to sleep in. Gramophone at night.
Monday 10th January 1916: Went to Arneke at 7.30 am 7 Kilom away. Ripping place. Market Day – plenty of mademoiselles about. Delighted with dump. Fine place in the square near the Church. Grand scenery – Roads excellent. Out in village at night.
Tuesday 11th January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations at 7.30 am. Arrived there at 9 am & left 10.30. Plenty of estaminets on the way. Arrived back at camp at 12 noon. On Guard at night. Sergt Casson dead drunk – Capt. Walker has row with him & asks my opinion of him.
Wednesday 12th January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations at 7.30 am Exchanged my A.S.C. horses for two fine black mares of Brayshaw W. Back in camp at noon. Out in village with Harry Eagle in afternoon & at night.
Thursday 13th January 1916: Rose at 5.30 am & went to ARNEKE for rations at 7.30. Arrived there at 9 am & left 10.30. Back at Esquelbecq at 12.30. Went for letters with Eagle. Out in aft at Maximillian’s. Gramophone working
Friday 14th January 1916: Rose at 5.30 am to go for rations to Arneke. Fine weather. Back at noon & called for letters. In “A l’agriculture” at night with the gramophone.
Saturday 15th January 1916: Rose at 5.30 am to go for rations & left at 7.30. Afternoon holiday. Played H.Q. at football & beat them 3 – 2 after a good match. At “Maxi’s” at night.
Sunday 16th January 1916: Rose at 5.30 am & went for rations at 7.30 am. Back at noon. Letters. Afternoon holiday. Beat 10th Battery 3 – 1 at football. Arnold & Ralph came over to see me. Very pleasant at “Maxi’s” at night.
Monday 17th January 1916: Rose at 5.30 am & went to ARNEKE for rations. Back at noon. Went to Baths at Begus-Cappel in aft. Saw Peter & Clarence Borthame from Bolton Abbey. Pleasant chat. On Guard at night.
Tuesday 18th January 1916: Rose at 6 am & went to Arneke for rations. Returned at 12 noon. At ”Maxi’s” at night.
Wednesday 19th January 1916: Rose at 6 am & went to Arneke for rations. Called at “Pomme d’Or” & had rum & coffee. Returned at noon.
Thursday 20th January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations. Writing letters in aft.
Friday 21st January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations. Returned at 12 noon & called for letters. “Maxi’s” at night.
Saturday 22nd January 1916: Rose at 6 & went to ARNEKE. Had chips & steak at “Au Soleil”. Had a feed in village at night.
Sunday 23rd January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations at 7.30 & again in aft at 2.30. Arnold plays on the Church organ. Enjoyable aft spent. Nice organist. Returned on bike & had 2 spills owing to greasy roads.
Monday 24th January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations at 7.30. Returned at 12. Letters at H.Q. Went to H.Q. in afternoon.
Tuesday 25th January 1916: Rose at 6.30 am & went to Arneke for rations. Returned to Esquelbecq at 12.30 pm. Called for letters. Aft washing & cleaning up. At “Maximillian’s” at night with arcadians.
Wednesday 26th January 1916: Rose at 6.30 am & went to Arneke. Returned 12 noon & called for letters. Aft spent at estaminet “L’Agriculture”. Also at night there.
Thursday 27th January 1916: Rose at 6.30 am & left for Arneke at 7.30 am. Back at 12.30 pm. Spent the afternoon at “L’Agriculture” – a very enjoyable aft. On H.Q. guard at night with Cairns, Humphries & Turner. Terribly cold.
Friday 28th January 1916: Returned to camp at 6 am after a terrible & cold night. Had breakfast & went to Arneke at 7.30 am, arriving there at 9 am. Left Arneke 10.45 & back at 12.30 pm. All amm (old 5”) taken back & new 4.5” taken to 11th Battery. At “Maxi’s” at night.
Saturday 29th January 1916: Rose at 6.30 & went to ARNEKE for rations. Visited “A la Pomme d’Or”. Called for the mail. Afternoon holiday spent playing football. At “Maxi’s” at night
Sunday 30th January 1916: Went to ARNEKE for rations at 7.30. Beautiful fine morning. Had chips at “Au Soleil”. Returned at 12 noon & called for the mail.
Monday 31st January 1916: Went to Arneke for rations. Returned 12 noon. In village in aft.