Alfred George Richardson’s Diary July 1915

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary July 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.

 

Au Grand Bois d’ Estaires – Caestre – Watou.

BELGIUM.

Thursday 1st July 1915:           Went to H.Q. for forage & rations.  Packing up all day.  Moved off 8.15 pm. with A.S.C. wagons & cooks’.       Staff  4th Section set off at 9.  Passed through Neuve Berquin, Vieux Berquin, Strazeele & arrived Caestre 11.45 pm. & found billets & watering place.

Friday 2nd July 1915:               Got up 6.45 am.  Went for forage & rations at 8 am.  3 miles away.  Came back in motor.  Left Caestre at 8 pm. via, Steenvoorde & arrived 1 mile from Watou at 12 pm.  On Guard.

Saturday 3rd July 1915:           Awake all night.  Drew rations & forage at 8 am.  Went, for first time, into Belgium, 3 Kilos past Watou.  Asleep all aft.  Shifted position 1 Kilo away (nearer Winnezeele.  Slept in the open.  Saw Reg Rhodes in Belgium.

Watou – Poperinghe.

Sunday 4th July 1915:             Reveille 7.  Went for forage at 8 to 3 Kilos past Watou in Belgium.  Saw Arthur Bilbro’.  Church Parade at 12.  Visited Arnold.

Monday 5th July 1915:            Went to Watou for forage & rations at 8 am.  Back at 11.  Parcel from home.

Tuesday 6th July 1915:            Went to Watou for forage & rations at 8 am.  Back at 11 am.  2 spies attack Holmes on guard & steal his rifle.  Alarm in Camp.

Wednesday 7th July 1915:       Went to Watou for forage & rations at 8 am.  Back at 11.  On Guard at night.  12 extra on Guard.  Sharp look out kept.  Nothing doing.

Thursday 8th July 1915:           Went to Watou for forage at 7.  Back at 11.  Left Winnezeele at 6.30 pm. & went via Poperinghe to camp near Woesten.  Arrived there 11.30 pm.  4th Sect arrived 3.30 am.  Bed at 3.45 am.  A*** at 4.45 am.

Friday 9th July 1915:               Went to Watou for rations.  Set off at 5.30 am & arrived there 8.45 am.  Left 11.30 am & arrived Peselhoek [Pezelhoek] (A.S.C. H.Q.) at 2.30 pm.  Left 5.30 pm & arrived “home” 7 pm.  Had tea & went to bed, requiring a well earned rest.

Saturday 10th July 1915:         Reveille 6 am.  Went to Peselhoek for rations at 7.30 am.  3 shells drop near at 7.10 am.  44 shells burst ½ mile away in late afternoon.

Sunday 11th July 1915:           Went to Peselhoek for rations at 7.15 am.  Back at 11. Stables at 12.  H.Q. in afternoon.  Moved position to another field ½ mile away.

Monday 12th July 1915:          Went to Pezelhoek for rations at 7.15 am.  Back at 11.  Stables 12.  Afternoon holiday.

Tuesday 13th July 1915:          Went to Peselhoek [Pezelhoek] for rations & forage at 7.30.  Back at 11.  Went for letters in afternoon.  Terrific attack by Germans at Ypres.  (Took 400 shells).

Wednesday 14th July 1915:     Went to Peselhoek for rations.  Moved position to a place 1 mile from Poperinghe: (near Peselhoek).  Left 8.30 pm. & arrived 11.30 pm.  Raining hard.  Wet through.  Terrible.

Thursday 15th July 1915:         Rose at 5 am.  Wet through.  Went to Pezelhoek for forage & rations at 8 am.  Back at 11.  Filled nosebags.  Wrote letter home.

Friday 16th July 1915:             Went to Peselhoek [Pezelhoek] for forage & rations. Filled nosebags all day long.  Went to H.Q. for stores.

Saturday 17th July 1915:         Went to Peselhoek for forage & rations at 7 am.  Back at 9.30.  Afternoon holiday.

13th N.B.  There was a terrific bombardment of German heavy artillery on Tues night for 5 hrs.  Poperinghe was also bombarded almost each day with “Jack Johnsons”  Tues we took up 400 rds.

Sunday 18th July 1915:           Went to Peselhoek for forage & rations.  Tobacco & cigs issued.  Afternoon holiday, spent writing.

Monday 19th July 1915:          Went to Peselhoek for forage & rations.  Back at 9.30. Received large pcl from home & letter.  On Guard at night.  Turner fired a shot.  Guard turned out.

Tuesday 20th July 1915:          Went to Peselhoek for forage & rations.  Moved position once again; this time into a wood 2 miles from Poperinghe.  Rumours about leave.

Wednesday 21st July 1915:     Went for forage & rations to Peselhoek at 7.  Back at 9.30 am.  Filled nosebags.  Cpl Wilf Dawson came over tovisit me.  Champion aft spent.

Thursday 22nd July 1915:        Went for forage & rations at 7.  Filled nosebags.  Wet day.  Letter & blanket from home.

Friday 23rd July 1915:             Went for forage & rations at 7 am.  Put up 50 tents for Kitchener’s Army in wood & painted them.  No breakfast, no dinner, no tea.

Saturday 24th July 1915:         Went for forage & rations at 7 am.  Received blanket from home.  Cpl Clarkson goes on leave.

Sunday 25th July 1915:           Went for rations & forage at 7.  Raining.  Aft sleeping writing & reading.

Monday 26th July 1915:          Went to Peselhoek for rations.  Received pcl.  Free Press                                          & letters from home.  On Guard at H.Q.

Tuesday 27th July 1915:          Went for forage & rations at 7.  Received parcel from Miss Whitaker.  Out exercising at night on a mule.

Wednesday 28th July 1915:     Went for forage & rations at 7 am.  Raining.  Went to interpreter at farm house with Jack & Luke R.  Went for letters at 12 noon.  Afternoon holiday.  Wrote letters.

Thursday 29th July 1915:         Went for forage & rations at 7 to Peselhoek.             German aeroplane over us.  Shrapnel drops in our camp.  Out with wagons at night.

Friday 30th July 1915:             Went for forage & rations to Peselhoek at 7.  16 Jack Johnsons fired at Poperinghe.  Saw one burst.  3 ***.  Afternoon holiday.

Saturday 31st July 1915:         Went to Peselhoek for rations at 7.  Cpl Clarkson comes back from home leave.  Brings a letter for me.  Afternoon holiday.  Writing letters & reading.  2 Taubes over us.  Heavily shelled.

G G Hammond letter July 15

P/e G.G. Hammond no 3142

&c

Dear Father & Mother

I received your letter yesterday when I was in a very depressed condition.  I was put in charge of a prisoner to go on Church Parade. There was a corporal with me and the rotter gave us the slip.  Things don’t look exactly cheerful as it may mean a DCM, but as the prisoner turned up last night it may ease things a bit.  I have not the slightest idea now how the commission will go on, it may be alright but I am afraid I shall stay as a common Tommy, still it will save a lot of money and it will be a lesson to me.  Now don’t begin imaging all sorts of awful things will happen to me as the prisoner was a desperate criminal and I had received no definite orders to take charge of the man.

I received a letter from Uncle Tom yesterday I will just let you know what he says.  “Your Father tell me you are trying to get a commission.  I hope you do.  I shall be pleased to help you in cash.  I will do all I can for you.  It is very generous of him, but it may not be needed now, of course we learn by our mistakes but it is a frightful disappointment for me.

Gladys G. wrote me some time ago saying she was going to go to Mac and she said that in all probability she would come round to see you.

I am going to see Captain Nasmith sometime today and see if he will sign a note for me to go and be examined by the doctor.  You know I have not given up hope yet.  Tell Timmy I will write to him soon.  I have been very busy lately and tonight we- the Grenadiers- are having a night attack from 10- to 2am.

I have just been up to the BOR. The prisoner has been remanded for a DCM.  We have not been tried yet.  I have just asked the Captain to sign my paper for the doctor & he did it quite willingly.  With regard to the “Watch” I wanted one like the other I had once.  They were gold.  I don’t know whether you understand but I wished to pay for it if the Com. Does come off.  I shall have to have either a gold or silver one.

I will send Uncle Tom’s letter on to you after I have replied to him.  Will write more when I feel a bit better, I have a rotten headache.

Love George

 

Letter to Will from F Hammond 24 Jul 15

62210 RE

9th Sig Co

HQ 28th Bde

24 7 15

 

Dear Will

Just a line to let you know I am OK.  I recd your letter the other day alright.  We are in our rest billets now after our first experience in the trenches.  I am pleased to say there were no casualties in our Section altho one fellow had a lucky escape from a shrapnel bullet which struck his pliers and penetrated thro a quarter of an inch of leather finally finishing up in his pocket.  Two more of them had a shell on the top of their dugout but were successfully dug out.  There was plenty of shells and a village was laid to the ground by the Huns.  There were no bayonet charges but it took the Commanders all their time to keep the Scotties in the trenches at times.  There is an old German trench which the Canadians took some time ago full of German dead but it doesn’t half hum.  Sorry I can’t give you our position but we expect to have it pretty hot as we are further advanced than any other portion of the English Line & when the Huns have finished with Russia if they manage to we expect they will try to avenge our advance here.

The Germans have plenty of spies out and they are a clever lot in that respect.  They dress up as officers etc.  There is one round here & it is said the man who catches him will have a 100 fr & a fortnight in England.  I only wish your humble could only meet him.  I suppose Geo will get his Com OK.  I think the conditions the Col referred to is only in peace times altho I suppose they try to keep up to the same style.  Anyway I hope it comes off altho from what I have seen of Comns in the Infy it is no sinecure & a man deserves to be at least kept by the army for what he has to do.  Altho we are in rest billets we don’t get much freedom & as a matter of fact I would much prefer to be where we have left.  It is supposed Sgt O’Leary won the VC in the trenches where we were.  Well I think this is all at present OM.  Hoping to see you at Xmas 11 11  Fred.

F Hammond letter 19 Jul 15

62210 RE Sigs

HQ 28th I Brigade

9th Sco Div

19 7 15

 

(I tried darning a pair of socks yday made a nice bunch of it.)

 

Dear Mar & Pa

I got a letter from Gladys the other day in it she asked if I had received my cake.  I sent you a letter about a week ago saying I received the parcel etc.  I don’t know whether it landed to you.  We are at a big farmhouse and very comfortable.  There was a small encounter the other night it was just like being at Belle Vue.  They send lights up at night which light the country up for miles round.  I am at the Headqrs of the Brigade.  The only thing we get is the noise of the big guns occasionally.  I heard from Will today and he told me that Geo had an offer but that they required about £50 per annum.  Well if it is possible I am willing to let him have £1 per month if that would be any use.  I don’t suppose they require £50 in war time but it’s only to make it appear difficult to obtain.  I know plenty of men who have got commissions who never possessed that sum without working for it.  I think with Geo’s education, profession & experience in the army he is quite fit to take it on.  Of course there will be expense at first but I think that could be met.  Well you might let Geo know what I think.  Oh Bye the way when I left for overseas I sent a big kit bag home with several things in it did you ever get it.  Glad to hear of Gladys medal for tennis.  I expect to see Gold Cups etc in the house when I come up.  So Arthur B is a ***** for the time being I suppose he’s walking up and down the road like a retired Knut.  So Turk is a legal dog now.  I did my washing today and suppose it will be about dry now.  What is the matter with the Welsh Miners?  There’s always something the matter with some section.  I hope the Govt skated it over until apre la Guerre.  The flies are a nuisance out here.  I am still in the pink of course.  We are very quiet and live like country farmers.  Of course we have always got the section wits to console us.  Well I think it is all this time.  Hope Gladys passes her exam & Geo gets fixed up also that all are well.

Love to all  Gus.

Letter to Jack from F Hammond 16 Jul 15

Green envelope FPO 28 to No 3142 Pte GG Hammond 2/7 Bat Mchr Regt “D” Coy 15 Platoon Crowborough Sussex.

62210 RE Sigs

HQ 28th Inf Bde

9th Scott Divn

16 July 1915

Good morning Prince you seem sad do you ever hear from old Kemp

 

Dear Jack

Glad to receive your letter the other day.  You seem to have been at all sorts of jobs.  I suppose they put you on G.M.P. because you are teetotal eh!  I wish I could have got one of those jobs.  I also hear you made good use of the position as I had a letter from Hilda the other day and she said you seemed to watch a particular hotel there.  Well I hope you did make the most of it Jack.  Yes their seems to have been some hot work in the Dardenelles.  One of the lads from our office has been killed out there and another wounded.  I am pleased to hear of the good work done there lately and hope that before long the allies will have more favourable positions as I can tell you it must be awful to face the present day artillery without good cover.  I see the Germans have finished their game in S. Africa & that the Konisberg has been accounted for.  What do you think of your Leyton cousins rather lively lot when Par is away eh.  I had a parcel from them the other day also a parcel from Mar with a big cake in it.  However its life was very short and sweet.  While I am writing this I am wondering where you really are and what you are.  Anyway drop me a line to let me know what your destination is.  I shall feel rather funny if I have to start saluting you and saying Sir but wait until its all over and I put my cold feet on you again.  I am at the Bde HQ as you see and our Boys are in the trenches.  We have not lost any of our (the telegraph) men up to now but some of them have had some near squeaks.  Two had to be dug out of their dugouts yday.  The only thing we get up here is shrapnel.  You can hear the bounders whistling thro the air and so give you time to expect them.  Further down the trenches they get W.B. Whiz Bangs.  They don’t let you know until you are amongst them.  We are not doing bad for grub.  It’s usually stew and potatoes, jam & bread altho a change goes well.  I had some pineapple & cream given me for tea & felt like a Staff Captain.  There are plenty of shells etc to be picked up but nobody bothers with them after the 1st day, only too glad they’ve missed you.  It is rather a fine sight to see them firing at aeroplanes.  I sleep in a loft on a stone floor.  Had a rat in my emergency ration bag last night.  He’d eaten one of my biscuits so he must have been hungry.  Well remember me to Hilda and tell her I’ll drop her a line soon.  Also drop me a card to say where you are.

Yours Burgy

Letter to Wil from F Hammond 9 Jul 15

Green envelope FPO 28 9Jy 15  to E. Hammond 9 Countess St Stockport.

62210 RE Sigs

28th Bde

9th Scot Div

  1. 7. 15

 

Dear Will

I received your letter and parcel OK yday.  I am fixed up now for a few days as they sent me some tobacco from home the same time.  I also had a parcel & letter from 212 Vic Rd.  so if we have a quick move or get shelled out of here I shall want Peter Wright of prude ass fame.  Our Divn is now in working order.  We form part of the 1st Army Corps.  I am at Brigade HQ at present abt 2 or 3 miles from first line of trenches.  There is plenty of noise at times.  We have had a few shells near in fact a fellow standing near me picked a piece of hot shell up.  Some of the lads are in the trenches & have to keep their heads well down.  So you see I am pretty near to it now of course mums the word at home.  Mar sent me one of her cakes I never liked cake much at home but one appreciates it here.  Some of the boys brought in some broad beans today so had what one might call a bean feast.  I had a letter from Geo a day or to ago.  I hope he gets his Com.  There is nothing much to report as we are strictly forbidden to saying much.  It is rather a change to be lulled to sleep by the noise of the guns and hear them whistling through the

air.  I heard of Gladys success at tennis also her offer for Crewe but I think anr yr at school would be best at present seeing that the house is so quiet now a days.  What say you?  I am not having a bad time at all here and I hope to see a bit of excitement before long.  Well old sport remember me to all enquiring friends.  Will drop you a line soon.  Your old Golf Teacher.  you don’t need to shout 4

Burgy here 11 11

 

 

Note on Signals form:

 

This is a note from the fellow I mentioned in my letter Eh

 

On reverse:

 

Dear Mrs Hammond

I have just had a taste of your cake from Fred.  I must say your cake making does you great credit.  It was OK

Yours etc S Reading

 

P.S. I am getting more like Fred every day.  Will send you 5 Francs but not this week of our Lord.

By one whos’ had some.

Your cake plenty nice.

F Hammond letter 8 Jul 15

62210 RE Sigs

9th Divn

HQ 28th Bde

8.7.15

 

Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am still OK.  I recd your letter yday and today recd your lovely parcel all complete.  I had a quarter of it for tea today and gave a pal of mine some & he said he wished Mar a long life to make such cakes.  It’s quite a change from what we usually get.  Sometimes we have a little bread & butter other times jam and if the bread is scarce we resort to biscuits which require plenty of digesting.  We have moved again and are pretty busy this time.  We have just had an aeroplane over.  Glad to hear Gladys helped to uphold the honour of the S H S also glad to hear of her fortunate offers.  Hope she does the right thing.  I think she would be as well at home at present.  Pa was talking about War Loan.  I quite agree to the suggestion if it can be done unless Geo wants some of it.  Has he heard anything definite yet?  I had a letter from Will at the same time as you also some gaspers.  I am well fixed up now for a few days.  Glad to hear Turk is learning to write in this country you see a couple of dogs in a shaft with a couple of men riding behind.  They also have them on a tread mill.  The dog is as diagram.  The poor beggar keeps walking but he is always in the same place as the wheel goes round.  I saw one dog do about 16 hours at it the other day.  Well I think this is all at present.

Love to all  Fred