WAR DIARY of 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET April 1916

WAR DIARY of 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET April 1916



1st April. Sat.  Weather same.  Left Half marched to Kubri to see position taken up by Right Half.  Returned by lorry from Kubri Ry Bridge.  In the afternoon Hill and I biked to Kilo. 145 and had a bathe.  Meade King went to hospital with jaundice.


2nd April. Sunday.  Weather same.  Took Church Parade as Camp and Btty Ord Off.  Rode over to Shallafa after lunch to put up board on site for gun.


3rd April. Monday.  Weather same. After breakfast biked to Shallufa to see R.E.s about fencing in our gun positions, arranged it and returned for lunch.  Had orders to proceed to France which pleased everybody very much.  Melville returned from Alexandria and the 4 47s arr’d at the station but owing to our orders to move we did not unload them.  Langford returned from Hospital.


4th April. Tuesday.  Weather same.  Loading up shell all the m’ning and finished doing so in the afternoon.  Right Half returned from Kubri.


5th April. Wed.  Weather same.  Preparing guns and lorries for travelling and telling off men to lorries, kit inspection.  Mail in.


6th April. Thursday.  Weather same.  Reveille at 5.0 a.m.  Took a party down to the station at 7.0 a.m. to carry on with the loading, returned to Camp at 11.0 for dinner and then back to the train which left at 1.30p.m.  Had a good journey and reached Alexandria (Gabbari) at 1.30 a.m. were left alone till 5.0 a.m.


7th April. Friday Weather same.  Began to turn out of the train about 5.0 a.m. but did not leave station for Gabbari A Camp till 10.30.  Quite comfortable in Camp and a good Mess.  Went up into the town in the afternoon to cash a cheque.  Dined in Camp and afterwards went with Hill to the docks to see if the Motorcycles had been unloaded.



8th April. Sat.  Weather same. Battery paraded at 9.0a.m. to embark on the Caledonian leaving 5 men with me also Hill and 10 A.S.C.  Went down to the docks with Hill and began loading up on the Edlington, a Hull Collier.  After putting all the guns in they took the Beds and Howitzers out again to put them between decks.  Got the Caterpillars on board and also 2 belonging to 42 Siege.


9th April. Sunday.  Weather same.  After seeing about Rations and Cooking arrangements for the men got down to the Docks about 10.30.  Loading lorries most of the day.  Spent afternoon in Camp and then went to St. Mark’s to Church.  Met Hill afterwards and dined at an Italian restaurant.


10th April. Monday.  Weather same.  Went down to the docks soon after 9.0 with Hill.  Continued getting lorries on board and then ammunition.  Went to Mustapha with Hill before lunch.  Gr Lyle turned up from hospital at Suez.  The Navy started mounting a 4.7 gun aft.  Had tea with Hill at Grotti’s and dined in Camp.  Went to Tawa’s and brought a scarf for Judith also a Baluchistan Rug for home.


11th April. Tuesday.  Weather same.  Moved from Camp and embarked on board ship.  Continued loading Lorries and Ammunition.


12th April. Wednesday.  Weather same.  Officially embarked, tea being first meal.  Meade King turned up from Hospital at Suez, took him up to the Main Guard and to Embarkation Office and then to the Magantic on which he embarked.  Continued loading Amm: and Pipes also the Beds and Howitzers in No 3 between decks and the Cars.


13th April. Thursday.  Weather unpleasant due to a Hamsheen, some rain and windy.  Strolled around the Native quarter with Hill in the afternoon and brought some bracelets and anklets, most amusing time.  After tea on board took the Capt to the Pictures at the Iris at 6.0  Heavy rain after returning on board.  1 R.G.A. and 1 A.S.C. turned up from Hosp at Suez.


14th April. Friday.  Still fairly windy but fine.  With assistance of two tugs left Quay No 10 and anchored in the outer harbour.  Rigged up accommodation for the men on the top of No. 3 Hold by a tarpaulin stretched over the derrick booms, several slept in lorries.


15th April. Sat.  Less wind but still a fresh breeze.  Pilot came on board and we got away at 9.0.  The Pilot did not come outside the harbour and we followed the Tug out.  Our escort a new mine layer followed us out.  Had done 21 miles by midday.  There was a fair swell and she rolled a little.  Hill and one or two others were a bit sea sick.  Sunny day.


16th April. Sunday.  Still a fresh breeze with a swell, Hill recovered after dinner several others still bad.  About 4.0 p.m. our escort turned round and left us without saying a word and we had expected him to accompany us all the way.  Saw a patrol about 6.0 p.m. who asked our name.  Passed between Casso Island and Cape Sidaro, the E. extremity of Candia at nightfall and altered course along the N coast of Candia (Crete).


17th April. Monday.  Still a fresh breeze from the W.  Saw several ships during the day and passed a patrol towards evening.  Passed C. Spado, the W. extremity of Candia and through the Cerigo channel at nightfall.  Several heavy squalls during the night with lightning and thunder.  Progress slow.


18th April. Tuesday.  Still a fresh breeze veered slightly to N.  Bright and sunny day.  Progress slow 115 miles for 24 hrs to midday.  Passed a trawler patrol about 9.0a.m. and 6.0 p.m.  Rolling and pitching a fair amount.  SS Baton passed in the morning, steaming alongside another tramp all day.  We drew ahead at dark.  Squalls again at night.


19th April. Wednesday.  Fresh breeze sunny fine day.  Wind went down and ran into calm sea about dusk.  Saw a warship on the horizon at sun set.  170 miles to noon, with calm sea.  Speed increased to 9-10 knots.  Lovely fine moonlight night.


20th Ap. Thursday.  Dropped anchor in St. Paulo Bay Malta at dawn and received orders to proceed at 7.30am.  French TB passed at 9.0 a.m. and a French Cruiser overhauled us at dusk.  Passed Pantelleria at 7.0 p.m.  Day’s run 209.  Calm, no wind cloudy.  Passed Cape Bon at 11.30. p.m.


21st Ap. Friday.  Fine day dull and cloudy, light breeze.  Passed C. Pietro S.W. of Sardinia at 7.0p.m.  245 miles.


22nd April. Sat.  Sunny m’ning with light breeze, cloudy over in the afternoon and the wind freshened causing her to roll a bit.  Saw the Titan light at 6.0 p.m. and the Iles d’Hyeres after midday.235 miles to noon.


23rd April. Easter Sunday.  Gale from N.W. from afternoon of 22nd.  Very slow progress.  Very rough night, ship turned right round once, rolling heavily.  Picked up Pilot outside Marseilles and came to anchor in outer harbour at 2.0 p.m.  Pilot stayed on board.  Fairly sunny day.


24th April. Monday.  Fine sunny day.  Fresh breeze.  The Capt., Pilot & Hill went ashore at 7.0 a.m.  Capt. returned at noon.  Pilot came off at 4.0 p.m. and took us in to a berth.  Heard that the rest of the Btty had gone on.  Cabled home and to Judith.


25th April. Tuesday.  Lovely sunny day.  Started unloading.  Various M.L.O.s etc. came on board and all seemed very nice. Sgt. Lew went to Hosp:  Went ashore with the Capt and Hill, dined at the Novelty and to a Cinema afterwards.


26th April. Wed.  Weather same. Continued unloading.  Went to the Paymaster obtained money for the men and paid them.  The Capt and I went ashore, Hill and Hay joined us and we dined at the Basso.


27th April. Thursday.  Weather same.  Continued unloading.  Went ashore with the Capt. in the evening, dined at The Novelty and to the Palais Crystal afterwards, quote a good show.


28th April. Friday.  Weather same.  Continued unloading.  Loaded up a train consisting of all the transports except Caterpillars.  Also loaded most of the guns and Caterpillars on to trucks.  Capt., Hill and I went ashore, dined at the Novelty and went to a Revue at the Cassino afterwards.  Left Hill at the Station at 12.0 mid’t.  His train was due to leave at 1.12 a.m.


29th April. Saturday.  Weather same but dull.  Finished unloading ship and made up train.  The ship left at 10.0p.m. for Cette [Sete] for coal.  We disembarked and slept in the hanger for the night.


30th April Sunday Weather same. Left by train at 10.0p.m. without our caterpillars and guns and the 25th Heavy Battery with 33 horses.  Nearly missed the train owing to barley and oats for the horses not having been drawn from store.  Very pretty country but it rained during the evening.  At Orange hot tea with rum was provided by the French.


H.E. WITTY Apr 1916

H.E. WITTY Apr 1916


  1. Section


1st April 1916.  Saturday.  Counter-battery work – fired 23 rounds with aeroplane observation.  Early shoot excellent – remainder indifferent.  Finished 1.30 pm.  At close one shell fell 200 yds beyond gun near railway line.  On reaching billets 62 shells fell in wood nearest 18 yds from gun.  One fell in R.F.A. horse lines 30 yds from boys playing footer.  4.2 battery again.  Letters from Renie and Scott.  Answered.


2nd April 1916.  Sunday.  Gun position shelled again.  Engine draws gun from position into safety.  NO MAIL.  Church parade in camp.  At Garden Street O.P. with Gill.  Left Camp at 8 A.M. walked to Reigersburg via Elverdinge & Brielen.  Repaired 4 Siege line near Chateau.  Found break near 43rd dug-out.  Crossed Yser Canal and mended two breaks in trenches.  Abnormally clear day.  German positions well seen.  Very quiet in front of YPRES.  Had narrow escape at E., a piece of shell passing between our heads – from a high ex shell in our rear.  Reached O.P. 12.30 and landed back 4 pm.


3rd April 1916.  Monday.  On duty – nothing doing – preparation for the great bombardment – (1) laying line to O.P.s (2) unloading shell (3) preparing dummy guns.  Fritz paid us no attention as we were not firing – lovely day temp 70o.  Parcel from Renie.  Ans.  On night duty.  Had a bath – read “Shanghaied”, “39 Steps” “A Moment’s Error” (Marchmont).


4th April 1916.  Tuesday.  OFF DUTY – finished 9 A.M.  Grand Bombardment fired 61 rds – broke up German trenches & demolished MOUSETRAP FARM.  On battery in the afternoon – little retaliation.  Very cold today.  No MAIL. Bottrill at O.P. narrow escape from an HZ11.  Signs complemented on the excellency of the line. Col praises F.O.P. work.


5th April 1916.  Wednesday.  On battery.  2nd day of bombardment – 89 Rds – splendid results.  German retaliation – no casualties – in action from 9 A.M. to 5 p.m. MAIL – Letters Hilda & Kathie.  ANS.  Lovely warm day – chilly at night.


6th April 1916.  Thursday.  Turned out at 4.30 A.M. with Cundrole to go to SPINNEY HOUSE O.P. with Mr Campbell – Travelled in car to Pioneer Corner – Huns very active – shelled battery in front of O.P. with Gas and Explosive shells which fell within 200 yds of O.P.  Finished 5.30 P.M.  Returned to Camp.  Passed through Elverdinge which was being shelled – NO MAIL – Battery shelled with 5.9s no damage.


7th April 1916. Friday.  Relaying Hd Qrs O.P. line to No 1 GUN in morning.  Road & rest camp shelled in afternoon (broke our wire which I repaired).   Shelled the gun with 5.9.  Inspected the line under shell fire.  Letters R. Mag (pc).  Papers (O.H.) Scott.  ANS.



8th April 1916.  Saturday.  Turned out early – walked along the line to REIGERSBERG with Shippen.  Tapped in at 43rd dug out and got the order C.I.  Reached camp just before dinner.  On the whole things very quiet.  Took in line from Garden St. to REIGERSBERG.  Gun drawn out of action.  Two dummies substituted in the wood to draw enemy fire.  Very successful.  Letters Gladys & Scott.  ANS.


9th April 1916. Passion Sunday.  On duty – fine day – in action with No 2 GUN air observation – Gun position shelled 50 shells.  Leggett wounded – Letters from Bee re Norman’s operation and R.  Ans – wrote Mother – sent R a pc **** her tomorrow – On night duty.  Read Shrewsbury.


10th April 1916. Monday.  Off duty – shelled by 5.9’s at 7 a.m. – broke all lines in neighbourhood of gun.  Repaired same under shell fire – seeking “souvenirs” in afternoon – Letters Frank, M and Gilbert.  ANS.  Wrote Renie.  Lovely sunny day.  Skelton sees me in morning.  Excellent shooting 12 O.K.s in 16 Rounds.


11th April 1916.  Tuesday.  Cold, wet, miserable.  Nothing doing – playing Bridge in morning.  Reading in afternoon.  On line after tea. Letters Miss Road, J.B. (O.H.) Ans.  No shelling.


12th April 1916.  Wednesday.  Turned out early to inspect line to 4 Siege – laid new line there with Bottrill – Incessant rain – returned Noon – got into bed – had to turn out again as line broken – tapped in at DIRTY BUCKET CORNER – found break in wood – returned tea – wet through – in bed.  Letters R., N.J., Scott.  ANS.


13th April 1916. Thursday.  On R.E. lines in morning.  Nothing doing in afternoon – very cold and windy – intermittent showers – Letters from home, Ma, Kathie (with photograph) and J. Robinson.  Mags from home also.  Very quiet – nothing doing – too windy for action.


14th April 1916. Friday.  Cleaning side car in morning.  Also connecting O.P. exchange with battery – nothing doing in afternoon – NO MAIL.


15th April 1916. Saturday.  Turned out at 4.15 am motored to PIONEER CORNER and then walked to SPINNEY HOUSE.  On duty there till 6 Sunday morning – very quiet on the whole – Letters sent up by car in evening when O-O was relieved.  Letters Peg, Alice, Mrs Proudfoot, Gilbert.  ANS.  With Hughes – very cold night.  Relieved by 4 Siege.  Came back in car.


16th April 1916.  Palm Sunday.  Humour of Fritz signalling from aeroplane “Hurrah” when strafing our dummy gun.  Returned in car from O.P. 7 a.m. – Huns sent over 200 (5.9 shells) near NO 1 GUN position – much damage in wood – cartridge recess fired but DUMMY and shells untouched.  Rendered position untenable – taking in line from this position – Line badly damaged.  NO MAIL.


17th April 1916.  Monday.  On duty – very quiet – battery played R.F.A. and beat them 6-1.  Visit of A/Corps Commander – Pcl from R.  (ANS).  GILL & Cardwell at O.P. (Canal Bank).  No strafing – no guns in action – cold with rain.

18th April 1916.  Tuesday.  OFF DUTY – very wet and stormy.  Read “In raiment white” (Quex).  Nothing doing.  Wrote John Bull on C.O.  Letter from R.  ANS. To be despatched tomorrow.


19th April 1916.  Wednesday.  Cold and showery.  Reeling wire in morning and burying cable – Same in afternoon.  Very quiet altogether – Letters N.T. ANS.  Sent off R’s & John Bull’s letters.  Night alarm – great activity round St. Eloi – guns called into action – laying lines to old No 1 position.  No firing.


20th April 1916. Thursday.  Burying line from 4 Siege – sunny but cold and windy.  Departure of 90th A.C. R.F.A.  Reeling wire in afternoon – Letters Gladys, home, S.C from Scott.  Nothing doing – no firing.  ANS correspondence.


21st April 1916.  Good Friday.  Turned out at 5 A.M. on battery – strafed Fritz – 86 Rds – little retaliation – NEAREST 100 yds – many ‘duds’.  Excellent shooting especially on HIGH COMMAND redoubt.  Bolt on O.P. (2 a.m.)  Letters R.S. & paper from home.  ANS.  16 5.9 shells near No 1 last night.


22nd April 1916.  Saturday.  On duty during the day – constant rain therefore nothing doing – on night duty also – Read “The Unnamed” (Quex).  Learnt from 14 Corps that Skelton left a week ago for “Somewhere”.  NOMAIL.


23rd April 1916.  Easter Sunday.  Fritz sends souvenirs over all day at intervals – no damage – aircraft very active – shell cases fall in camp – one through Sgts hut – Pages’ narrow escape – off duty – Letter from Frank (Ans – asked for necessaries).   Reading BUTOR CHAPERON (Williamson).


24th April 1916.  Monday.  At O.P. – Turned out at 3.45 a.m. & left camp for C.A. at 5 a.m. with Mallins – Huns heavy shelling of all batteries especially Dawson’s Corner with incendiary shells.  Camp shelled all the night unceasingly & No 2 put out of action in morning – 300 shells in one day – No 1 Magazine exploded – Interview with General Wardrop at O.P.  NO MAIL – Glorious day – very warm.


25th April 1916.  Tuesday.  Left O.P. at 6.30 and walked back to camp after waiting at PIONEER Corner for “the car that never came” for 1 hour.  Arrived about 9 a.m. – lovely weather continues – Read BUTOR CHAPERON, “The One Before” and “Lieutenant etc” (By Sapper).  Yesterday “Pop” bombed early this morning.  Off duty – Gun got away 4 A.M. to be done up.  No shelling today.  NO MAIL – Very fine.


26th April 1916.  Wednesday.  Awakened 6.20 a.m by shell dropping in front of Officer’s Mess which was demolished the same shot killing Mr. Dyke instantly.   Frost wounded – only casualties – Camp shelled for 3 hrs with 5.9 and 4.2 – many huts demolished, cookhouse destroyed etc.  Exodus in pyjamas, stocking feet, men minus coats, hats etc – great excitement.  Splendid bursts and good shooting – Glorious fine day – breakfasted in a farm house (coffee and a slice of bread and butter). Dined at H. Qrs off bread and bully – tea same place.  In action from emergency position in afternoon – aeroplane shoot enemy shelled old positions – Gill at O.P. Campbell (vice Dyke) at Canal Bank.  Letters R., Home, Gilbert.  ANS.  R. others with F.P.C.  After tea went to RENINGLOST in lorries (8 miles) to be present at Mr. Dyke’s interment.  Buried at dusk – very impressive and very sad.

27th April 1916.  Thursday.  Had a good night at HD QRS in hut – laid a line to Evergenay Pn and new HD. QRS – out all day – others busy removing remains of camp to new pn. – Excellent site in every way – Letters Kathie, Alice, Ma, N.T., Home (papers).  ANS.  Slept in open – very fine day.


28th April 1916.  Friday.  Had a splendid night – fresh air treatment fine.  Out in morning with BOTT connecting up Emergency Pn to CX and CG4 – Lines smashed to pieces – tedious work.  Weather excellent.  Mr. Mallins appointed O.O.  NO MAIL.


29th April 1916.  Saturday.  On duty with Arrowsmith – lovely day.  In action – fired 12 shots counter-battery work – On night duty – “went off” for five minutes – Capt walked in at 1 a.m. and found me in the land of nod – Explanations – let off owing to long hours.  Results in shortening of telephone hours – Bombardment near St. Eloi – very intensive.  John Bull from R.


30th April 1916.  Low Sunday.  Glorious day – off duty – Kit inspection at 11 a.m. – much missing attributed to “shell fire” – Letter from R.  ANS.

A.G. Richardson’s Diary April 1916

A.G. Richardson’s Diary April 1916


Saturday 1st April 1916:          Rose at 7 am.  Went for rations to Canaples.  On Clarkson’s bike & returned at 1 pm.  Lovely day – Had a “sunbathe”.

Sunday 2nd April 1916:           Went to Havernas for rations at 10.30 am.  Beautiful day.  Went into woods with Eagle.

Monday 3rd April 1916:          Went to Havernas for rations.  On Guard.  Nice night.

Tuesday 4th April 1916:          Went for rations to Havernas at 11.30 am & returned at 3 pm.

Wednesday 5th April 1916:     Went to AMIENS with Jock Hutson on bikes.  Arrived there at 10.30 am & spent a lovely day there.  Saw Cathedral etc.  Returned at 6 pm.  Brought 2 Gramophone Records.  Got lost on way back.  Arrived back at 9.15 pm.

Thursday 6th April 1916:         Rose at 8 am & went for rations at 10 am in Heavens. On guard at night.

Friday 7th April 1916:             Rose at 8 am & went for rations at Heavens.  Returned at 3 pm.

Saturday 8th April 1916:         Went for a lovely ride on horseback with Geof Stead right up to the source of River Nievre at Montrelet, to seek out places for fly-fishing for P.H.W.  Grand time – Saw a heron & Jay.  Returned at 3.30 pm.

Sunday 9th April 1916:            Lovely day.  Rose at 5 am & went fishing with Capt. Walker from Canaples, Halloy, to Pernois.  Nothing doing.  Went for rations at 11 am.

Monday 10th April 1916:        Went to Heavens for rations at 10 am & returned at 2 pm.  On Wagon Lines guard at 6 pm.

Tuesday 11th April 1916:        On guard all day at wagon park with Cecil Forsythe.  Spent a jolly good day.

Wednesday 12th April 1916:   Rose at 8 am.  Nose bled nearly all morning.  Had a day off.

Thursday 13th April 1916:       Rose at 8 am & had breakfast at 9.  Rations at Havernas 11.30 am.  Back at 2 pm.  Spent rest of day in the house.

Friday 14th April 1916:           Rose at 8 am & had ham & eggs.  Went to Havernas for rations.  On H.Q. guard 24 hours!

Saturday 15th April 1916:       On H.Q. guard.  Spent day listening to gramophone, reading & writing.  Went for doctor at 11 pm – him to attend sick lady near our billets.

Sunday 16th April 1916:          Rose at 8.30 am & had good breakfast of bacon & eggs. Went to St. Leger-les-Domart for Capt. Walker for vegetables, oranges etc on bike.  Went to Canaples.  Nice ramble in woods with Tommy Dean & Cecil.  Lovely day.

Monday 17th April 1916:        Rose at 8.30 am.  Went to Havernas for rations & returned at 2.30 pm.

Tuesday 18th April 1916:        Went to Havernas for rations.

Wednesday 19th April 1916:   Went to Havernas for rations.



Thursday 20th April 1916:       Went to Havernas for rations.

Friday 21st April 1916:            x On H.Q. Guard.  Woodrup caught napping at 6.30 am by Lieut Jackson – he was without his rifle on duty!  Both of us put under arrest.  I was held “responsible” – Woodrup had only been mounted half an hour.

Saturday 22nd April 1916:       Went to Havernas for rations.  Brought up before Capt Walker & remanded for the Colonel.  Lovely day.

Sunday 23rd April 1916:          Went to Holy Communion at 12 noon.  Lovely day.

Monday 24th April 1916:        Brought up before the Colonel on charge of “Neglect of duty whilst in charge of a guard”!  Mock trial.  1. No evidence.  2. No defence.  3. Capt Walker never spoke a word in my favour. Stripped – unjust verdict.

Tuesday 25th April 1916:        The Colonel goes on leave.  I made an appeal to H.Q. & made written evidence & facts.  Adjt sees me – he could not do anything until the Col comes back.

Wednesday 26th April 1916:   Signalling with Officers & S.M. Sherman in morning & 1st Sect Sigs in aft.  On guard as gunner.

Thursday 27th April 1916:       Interview with the Adjt (Lieut J.C. Scott).  He says he will do his best for me.  Advises me to have a G.C.M.

Friday 28th April 1916:           Signalling with the Officers in morning & 1st Sect sigs in afternoon.

Saturday 29th April 1916:       Signalling with the officers in morning & 1st Sect sigs in afternoon.

Sunday 30th April 1916:          Church parade 10 am.  Lovely Day.   Nice ramble in woods.

Another Alf Smith undated letter


Pte. A Smith

No 27521

C Co12th Batt

Essex Regt





Dear Father


Many thanks for your letter.  I am very pleased to receive some news from home.  I had a letter from Albert by the same post.

I am getting along very well.  We have had plenty of drilling, & marching it is more like being back at school again.  Today we were vaccinated.  I believe the next performance is inoculation.

I should be very pleased to see you Father; but I do not think it would be worth your while to come down.  For one reason I do not know how long we are here for, & it is useless to ask; you know nothing in the army until you are told to pack up your kit & depart & another thing one has to hold your own with soldiers.  I hope to get some leaf (leave) in about a month’s time.

You ought to see the way we feed; it is more like feeding a lot of wilde beasts you have to fight for it.

We have some very happy times in the Y.M.C.A. hut concerts & only soldiers are allowed.  I spend every evening round here it is too dark outside.

We had a church parade on Sunday to Harwich.

I have some very nice friends here.

It has been very windy & wet here today.

I shall have plenty to tell you when I come home it is quite an experience.

Well I think I must conclude. With much love to Jess, Ethel & yourself.

Remember me to all enquiring friends.


Your devoted



Alf Smith’s letter

Pte. A Smith

No 27521

“C” Co 12th Batt

Essex Regt




Dear Father


I thought you would be glad to have another letter from me to let you know how things are going.

Everything is going on alright have got quite used to the life now; & no doubt being out in the open so much does one a lot of good; but for all that I shall be jolly glad to get out of it.

It has been grand weather down here just like summer until yesterday it was rather dull.  Dovercourt is not much of a place to spend a holiday; there are only a few shops & only one picture palace.  We are not allowed to go anywhere only Harwich so you can guess one gets rather sick of the place.

What do you think of the recent Zepp raids?  That was a bit of luck bringing one down.  When they are about we are called up by the corporal & supposed to stay up until he lets us know everything is alright; but that doesn’t trouble me.  I went to bed as usual; one night I only took my boots off.  I do not know the idea but I believe it is to assist in case of fires or anything like that.

We were vaccinated last Tuesday week & on Monday we had to go to the hospital to see if they had taken. As the majority of mens arms were bad we have been excused duty for two days you can bet that was a great surprise it gave me quite a shock; so I am enjoying myself alright at present.  My arm is alright but drilling & rifle practice has not allowed the places to heal.

Perhaps you would like to know how we spend our time; we are up at 6 o/c have breakfast; coming back & get ready for parade at 8-45 drill until dinner time & the same until tea time finish about 5 o/c. We have to be in by 9 P.M. then go to bed.  It is jolly early for me but there is nothing else to do.  On Saturdays we are supposed to finish at 2 P.M. & Sundays after church parade; but you never know when they are going to call upon you for guard or other duties they have always got you here.

If you care to come down I should be very pleased to see you; but nothing is certain in this game. They tell you nothing of what you are going to do.  I do not think we shall remain here very long.

When you write please mention when you will be away as we get very little notice as regards leaf (leave) & I should then know how to arrange it. They are only granting 24 hours at present which is not very long; so I thought if I went to Southend & could let you know in time you could come down there.

One of my mates with me had several parcels of cakes &c sent him so we have been alright for home made pastries they are very nice too I can tell you.

I know you do not like letter writing but shall be glad to have a few lines when you get a chance.

I think I have told you all news now so must conclude.

Hoping you are all well

With much love

Your devoted

Son Alf

T.N.B. Cree R.N. 22 Apr 1916

Midshipman’s Journal

T.N.B. Cree R.N.


H.M.S. MINSTREL                                                               At MALTA



April 22nd        Expect crowd on board.  Am relieved to say they did not come.  Starkey however passes thro’ and blows on board.  Going home sick.  Crawl round in afternoon to endeavour to get ????.  Fetch up at Equal Callway too sharply.  Have tea with him and go ashore with him and ????.  Return on board up at Egment and play whiskey poker at which I loose nothing and win nothing.


T.N.B. Cree R.N. 21 Apr 1916

Midshipman’s Journal

T.N.B. Cree R.N.


H.M.S. MINSTREL                                                               At MALTA


April 21st         Turn out best of health.  Work thro’ solid forenoon.  Send Compass away to be repaired.  Dine with Fitzpatrick at Osborne.  Go to opera “Tales of Hoffman”.  Jolly good show.  “Doll” exceedingly pretty with good voice.  Some of chorus not bad but strong glasses spoil most of them.