Transcript:Herbert H White World War I Diary

Source White, Herbert H. Soldier's WWI Diary
Surnames White
Places France
Year range 1916 - 1919


A Soldier’s Diary - H.H. White


As a child I remember visiting my grandmother, Myrtle Moffat, and seeing H.H. "Bert" White’s war diary. She was his sister. Several years ago while visiting Aunt Janet Hume in Carlyle, Saskatchewan I mentioned that I would like to know what became of the original diary. Aunt Janet had it and graciously gave it to me. I have intended to transcribe the diary and to trace "Bert’s" movements in France ever since. Finally (Jan. 1992,) I have gotten around to it.

In this transcription, where possible, I have created and linked places referred to in this diary so that Bert's movements can be mapped.

Bert mentions a few companions by name and of these one was killed and another was wounded and returned to England. He was not in a safe area working on the narrow gauge railways. They were close to the front lines, and at one point they were allotted a section of trenches in the Ypres Salient to defend.

I have two copies of the diary, The first is a small, apparently "official" diary available to service men at this time. The second is a hard cover note book that Bert was apparently transcribing and editing at some time later. He did not complete this task, as it ends at the May 6, 1917 entry. In the complete diary, Bert mentions in his July 8, 1917 entry that he lost his original diary, but still had a record of important dates.

In this reproduction of Herbert Hill White’s war diary I have tried to stay closely to his spelling and punctuation. Where he has crossed words out I have included them within braces { }. Where he has misspelled a word I have added "(sic)" to show it is not a typographical error. Where I am unsure of a word or phrase or if letters have been omitted I have included them with square brackets [ ]. In the case of place names which may have been recorded with various spellings I have used spellings from maps and other sources. I have added some explanatory notes within brackets ( ). Bold highlighting is used for linked places and text.

In this WeRelate transcription section headings have been added to assist in navigation.

Rick Moffat Dec 2014


Oct 1916 - Enlistment and Drill

Oct. 7 - Left Cincinnati, Ohio, for Detroit, Michigan, and for the next three days took in the sights of that city.

Oct. 11th - Crossed over to Windsor, Canada, and enlisted with the 213th Overseas Battalion (Infantry).

Oct 12th - Left at 2 a.m. with three other recruits for Toronto. Arrived there at 8 a.m. and stayed until 7 p.m., entraining then for Camp Borden, near Barrie, Ontario. Arrived in camp at 10 p.m. Had lunch at one of the cook houses and then to bed in a tent.

Oct. 13th - Sworn into the Canadian Army, and had physical examination. Fitted out with uniform.

Oct 14th - Drilled in forenoon. Battalion pay parade at 12 noon and draft of 100 men called out for 173rd Highland Battalion to go overseas at once. Off duty afternoon.

Oct 15th to 22nd - Drilled more or less every day.

Oct 23rd - Battalion entrained for winter quarters at St. Catherines, Ont. Arrived there at 6 p.m. We were quartered in a factory building that had been fixed up for us, and we soon found ourselves quite comfortable.

Oct 24th to 29th - Waiting on dining room tables and washing dishes. Up town every night with some of the boys.

Oct 30th - Started to drill again with one and a half hours physical exercises each morning at the armory and some time on squad drill on a field near the barrack. Two and one half hours rifle and company drill in the afternoon.

Nov & Dec 1916 - Transport to England on Titanic's sister ship, RMS Olympic

Nov. 6 to 13 - With a party of four helping the Red Cross ladies up town with their waste paper conservation program.

Nov 14 to Dec 11 - Drilled every day with a route march about twice a week.

Dec. 12 - Called on a draft of 100 men of the Battalion to prepare for overseas at once. Left barrack at 5 p.m., after a picture had been taken of the whole battalion and also the draft, and a farewell address by our Col. The battalion and band escorted us to the station where most of the citizens had gathered. We entrained at 6:30 p.m. after another farewell address by the Mayor. It was all very amusing.

Dec. 12 to 15 - On train bound for Halifax, N.S. The trip was uneventful. Had a few route marches at different points along the line when we had to stop for an hour or so. One soldier deserted but was captured later and returned to battalion at St. Catherines. On arrival at Halifax we immediately went aboard the large (47,000 ton) S.S. (actually RMS) "Olympic" of the White Star Line. At 7 p.m. Dec 15th we were safely stored on the great ship in the aft part five decks down.

Dec 16 - The "Olympic" pulled out from the dock and anchored in the Bay. All day long at intervals more troops and provisions were broad (sic) aboard by tender.

Dec 17 to 19 - Still at anchor with nothing to do but eat and sleep. We slept in hammocks and our meals were served in what was the Sun Parlor of the ship before the war. It was on the top deck but it was closed in now so that neither light could get in or out. Saw for the first time a war ship and a submarine in Halifax Bay.

Dec. 20 - At 4:30 p.m. just as night was falling the great ship cast anchor and escorted by one of Britain's Men of War set sail for Old England. Discipline was very strict on board ship. Life jackets had to be worn all the time and sleep with them under the head at night. No smoking allow on any of the outside decks and all upper decks cleared at nine p.m.

Dec. 21 - Slightly seasick in the morning and ate no breakfast. O.K. again by noon. The war ship left us today and returned to Halifax.

Dec. 22 - Nice mild day and calm sea. Spent most of the day on upper deck. Saw no other boats. Had no duties to perform.

Dec. 23 - Still calm. Sighted tramp steamer. Our boat saluted but got no reply so immediately the "Olympic" turned and full steam ahead started in the direction of the other boat and when she got within a few hundred yards turned again back to her course. I suppose satisfied that the strange boat was not an enemy.

Dec. 24 - Warm and calm again today. Saw no other boats. A very pleasant day on deck. Feeling fine.

Dec. 25 - Sighted the Irish Coast about 5 p.m. Shortly after this a British destroyer came and met us. Circled three times around the big ship then slowed down and acted as guide and protector. As this was the danger zone our ship was on a zig-zag course. All outside decks cleared this night at dark.

Dec. 26 - Woke up in St. George's Channel. The destroyer still in our lead. Many ships now in sight. Anchored in the Mersey River about one p.m. Boats that came within hailing distance saluted and gave us a warm welcome. Shouting at us "Are we downhearted? NO!" Our ship was quarantined shortly after we anchored. This was Boxing Day in England.

Dec. 27 - Still at anchor. Heavy fog over water. Could not see the Liverpool docks. Never saw so many sea gulls at one time before as in this harbor.

Dec. 28 - Landed at London and Great Western dock at 6 a.m. The band boys were just off and they played the "Maple Leaf" and "0 Canada" while the balance of the troops disembarked. Our draft of 100 men entrained at 8 a.m. along with the 211th Battalion for Witley Camp, Surrey County, England. We went the way of Birmingham, stopping at the depot for half an hour while the ladies supplied us with tea and sandwiches. Most everybody was happy to realize that we were at last in Old England. As we traveled through the rural sections the hedges and tidy, well kept farms were very noticeable. We detrained at Milford station about 6 p.m. and marched with full packs through the dark and a steady rain to Camp Witley, a distance of four miles. There we were soon placed in huts and fast asleep, travel weary.

Dec. 29 - All of the 211th, including our draft; put in quarantine. We had our meals brought to the huts and for three weeks did nothing but read, eat and sleep. One of our great troubles was that we had neither money or tobacco most of the time.


Jan through Mar 1917 - Training

Jan 15 - Got out of quarantine and commenced to drill but that was for only five days.

Jan 20 - Back in quarantine, but in the few days out, we had a chance to get around the camp. It contained about 10,000 Canadians of all branches of the service. Went for trip one afternoon to Godalming, a pretty English town, 12 miles southeast of the Camp. From this date to February 21st, the Battalion remained in quarantine, but we had about four hours drill a day.

February 22 - Out of quarantine and started drill for eight or nine hours a day under Imperial instructors, taking all branches of the infantry work.

March 15 - Drilled every day until this date, excepting one week when the battalion had divisional duties. I was post office orderly for this week.

March 16 - Battalion ordered from Witley Camp to Purfleet camp, Essex Co., eighteen miles east of London on the Thames River. Entrained at Milford Station at noon and detrained at Purfleet at 4:30 p.m. We passed through London. Purfleet was an Imperial camp in peace times but was taken over by the Canadian Army in 1916. We billeted in huts again.

March 17 - Day of rest in the new camp.

March 18 - Church parade in morning and for long walk through the Village of Purfleet, which is close to the camp, and along the Thames River, in the afternoon.

March 19 - 211th and 218th battalions re-organized as the 8th Canadian Railway Troops.

March 20 - Warned to be ready for pass to London. Spent day preparing to go.

March 21 - Left for London at 3 p.m. Arrived about 4 o'clock at Fenchurch St. Station. Took bus to Berkeley Square and put up at the Maple Leaf Club (for an extended article including many pictures of the club, click here). For walk down Piccadilly and had a good square meal. Spent evening around Leichester Square, Trafalgar and the Strand.

March 22 - Got up about noon. Went to the Tower of London after dinner and spent over two hours in that historic old place. Again spent the evening around Piccadilly and the Strand.

March 23 - Met an old man at Trafalgar Square and he took me for long, interesting walk down the Mall to Buckingham Palace (the King's residence in London), from there to the War Offices, Horse Guards, Whitehall Parliament Bldgs., Westminster Abbey and showed me many other places of interest. We had supper together at a restaurant and then [I] went to the club and to bed.

March 24 - Met two of the battalion boys in the morning and we all went for walk through Hyde Park and then took the underground to Old London and the East End. Visited a famous old pub, known as "Dirty Dicks" also saw the Bank of England Bldg. and went through St. Paul's Cathedral. We then came back to the Parliament Bldgs and through them also. The balance of the evening we spent in the Strand.

March 25 - Pass up. Returned to camp about 10 a.m.

March 26 - Drilled for funeral ceremony; [ four ] afternoon.

March 27 - Took part at military funeral for one of our boys that died in hospital. Burried (sic) ten miles down the Thames River in county church yard. A very interesting trip through rural England.

March 28 - On kitchen police.

March 29 - At same job and volunteered on draft of 100 from the 8th C. R. T. to the 6th C. R. T. leaving for France on April 1st.

March 30 - Accepted on draft and prepared to leave for the 6th Bart.

March 31 - Draft moved to 6th CRT lines and spent the day being equipped for overseas.

Apr 1917 - Arrival in France

April 1 - Entrained about 9 o'clock at night at Purfleet station for Southampton, No 4 Coy being left behind in quarantine - mumps.

April 2 - Arrived a Southampton at 5 a.m. and spent a busy morning loading our supplies on the boat. Got some sleep on floor of freight shed after dinner. Embarked at 6 p.m. for Le Havre, France.

April 3 - Arrived at Le Havre at 3 a.m. after a very rough voyage across the channel. Was not sick So the trip was all of interest to me. The great search lights flashing in every direction made an interesting sight. Disembarked about 7 a.m. and marched to rest camp about five miles south-east of the city, back in the highland where we went into tents.

April 4 - Inspected by military officials in the forenoon and issued with steel helmets. Rested afternoon as we were not allowed to leave the camp.

April 5 - At 6 a.m. left camp for city and the Nord railway station where we entrained in box cars shortly after 12 o'clock for Doullens, a city of about 12,000 in the Somme Dept.

April 6 - Arrived early in the morning and unloaded our supplies. After that we went into rest camp, on the outskirts of the city. It rained hard most of the afternoon. A guard was detailed to prevent the boys going into the city, but I got through it and spent about two hours up town. The rain made the city very dirty. Many English billeted here. It rained again before I got back to camp and I got soaked.

April 7 - Left the rest camp at 9 a.m. on heavy order march of 10 miles to Saulty, a village about 30 kilos south west of Arras. Arrived there about 4 p.m. and made our own camp for the first time in France.

April 8 - On water picket until 5 p.m. After retreat went into village or what was left of it, and visited a British Y.M.C.A. Saw our first air battle today, but no machines brought down.

April 9 - Our Coy (No 1) struck camp at 7 a.m. and started on march to Monticourt (sic) Pas. Arrived about 12 noon and pitched camp in the [rain], close to the Arras-Doullens road.

April 10 - Spent all day fixing up the camp.

April 11 - Started work repairing Arras-Doullens railway line with a Devon (British) labor battalion attached to our Coy. From today we worked every day on the line until May 1st. We had some snow and much rain during this time and so our camp ground was in a very muddy condition most of the time. The second day in camp the boys of our tent russled (sic) a small cook stove, which we had in our tent, so we did not suffer from the cold as some of the others did. We swiped coal from the French, also a few pounds of beef once and so had a real stew one night.

May 1917 - Work details in Arras area, within hearing of the battle

May 2 - Ordered off this work and to stand ready for a move.

May 3 - Rained, so spent day in tent.

May 4 - Bath parade to British shower baths in Village. First experience of this kind in France. It was a treat. Also issued with new gas respirators and drilled for some time with them. Still retained the old gas masks.

May 5 - Had a day of sports in the Coy. lines.

May 6 - Received orders to be ready to move at 6 p.m. next day. While located here we saw many troops that went forward to the battle of Arras, and the wounded that came back. It was here we heard our first artillery fire and anti-aircraft guns.

May 7 - Struck camp at 5 a.m. and started on march to Pas at 6 a.m., there we joined the other two companies and continued the march that day to Senlis. I was in the advance party [at .... and got best area]. Some of us sleep out on an hill side but most of the others sleep in an old camp (huts).

May 8 - At 7 we were on the march again for Dernancourt. On this hike we passed through the Village of Albert*. We arrived at Dernancourt at noon. Mostly all in after our two days march of 26 miles with heavy packs. Here we had a rest of an hour or two and then entrained for Ytres, our destination. We arrived that night about 7 o'clock and pitched camp about a mile from the Village. Before we had our tents up it started to rain. That night we had our first issue of rum. On the train journey we passed through many of the famous battle fields of the Somme battles of 1916. Some of which are known as Delville Woods, Trones Woods, Sailly Saillisel, Combles, etc. This sector through here being nothing but ruins and many crosses marking the dead.

(* - Note - Albert would be more correctly identified as a small town rather than a village. The population before WWI was about 7,000 and today (2015) is about 10,000)

May 9 - All hands had rest in forenoon and after dinner for a shower bath and change of clothes to a Village three miles to our right called Equancourt.

May 10 - Was detailed with party to go and help salvage lumber from some old German dug-outs about a mile from camp for a cook house, etc. We got three wagon loads out in about an hour and spent the rest of the day exploring and looking for souvenirs. It was a very interesting day to us all as it was our first experience close to the line and where things had just happened.

May 11 - Helped on a fatigue party at Lechelle to fix up grounds for our headquarters company.

May 12 - No 4 Co'y arrived from England.

May 13 - Started work on light guage (sic) railway line from Ytres through Havrincourt Woods (south of Havrincourt) to Trescoult (sic), half a mile from the front line trenches.

May 14 - Saw effect of enemy artillery for first time when Germans shelled the Village of Equancourt in the morning.

May 15 - Worked on line as usual and took a walk about a mile west of Ytres to see a German supply train that had been blown up. It was a complete wreck.

May 16 to 23 - Worked every day on new line getting to the Village of Neuville. This was a very quiet front as far as fighting was concerned.

May 24 - Was on advance party that went to Metz en Couture for the purpose of locating a new camp for our Coy. We took the light train as far as the steel was layed (sic) and marches the rest of the way to that Village. We soon located a good place in an orchard. Cleaned it up some and then marched back home again. Before the war Metz had been a pretty town of perhaps 5,000* people but on the retreat of the Germans in the early winter had been mostly all blown to pieces leaving no buildings intact.

(* - Note - Before WWI the population of Metz was closer to 1,500, not 5,000)

May 25 - Coy marched to Metz en Couture with full pack when coming within a mile of the town the Coy broke into small parties and continued for the balance of the journey in that order, each party being about 100 yards apart. This was done in case Fritz observed us and opened fire. We all arrived safely about noon and after dinner all got busy. And we soon had a good camp. The first night we got rather a surprise to be awakened about midnight by an artillery duel between the German light guns and our own. This was the first we knew that our light artillery was located in the town ruins. We had not realized that we had advance[d] so close to the front. The second in command wanted to pull the Coy back that night but the O.C. did not see it that way. Anyway we soon got used to all the noise at night and slept through most of it.

May 26 - Back to work on the line through Havrincourt Woods (south of Havrincourt).

May 27 - Had our first gas alarm about midnight. Officers got very excited. All hands had to fall in with gas masks on. Kept on parade for about an hour then dismissed with the order for one man to stay on guard at each tent and call balance of men in case of another alarm. Two other fellows and I had our beds out in an orchard close by the camp proper and so went back there and were soon sound asleep. Nothing more of note happened until

Jun through Aug 1917 - First shelling

June 16 - When the artillery service officers had us move out of town as they thought we helped to give their position away by the smoke from the Kitchens and going and coming into the Village in daylight. We then moved back about two miles to near Newville (sic) and pitched our camp in the open country [away from them all]. It was quiet and peaceful here.

June 24 - On pass for day with Corpl Loxton to the ruins of Combles and Bouleaux Woods. We had a very interesting day of it. Walked across country both going and coming back. Combles is in complete ruins.

July 1 - Held a sports day which was a grand success. Four English nurses came up the line with some of our Headquarters officers and spent a few hours in the afternoon. The first women we had looked upon since leaving Monticourt (sic) Pas.

July 2 - Started on the line into Havrincourt Woods (south of Havrincourt).

July 3 - Just as we were ready to board the light train for work at 7 o'clock a.m. Fritz sent a (long range) shell over our heads and to the back of the camp. It was our first experience under shell fire. We all thought sure we were crushed when we heard the screetch (sic) of it over us. Two or three more came in close order but they did not have such a bad effect on the nerves as the first.

July 7 - Again on pass with Loxton for day to Delville Woods (east of Longueval, see below,) Sailly-Sallisel (sic), Longueval, Ginchy and Morval. Sailly-Sallisel (sic) a town before the war is now completely blotted out. We could not even find a wall a few feet high standing . Delville Woods which saw such severe fighting in the early spring and changed hands nineteen times in a very short time was [surely] blown to pieces. We found many dead bodies here and pieces of bodies. Hundreds of rifles, equipment, etc. At the time we visited these sectors every body had deserted. The only human life we saw on the visit was at different water points were [trio] Imperials would [hose] charge.

July 8 - Started night work in Havrincourt Woods (south of Havrincourt) to complete the line Trescault. More or less shell fire for the week but we all came out without a scratch. On pass yesterday I lost the diary I had kept since joining up. Layed (sic) it down along side a tank we had been inspecting and came away without it, but I still had most of the dates of special events to the present.

From the 9 of July to Aug 4 - We worked maintaining the track we had layed (sic).

Aug 5 - On pass again with Loxton and Jacobs to Trones Woods. An amusing thing happened on this trip with the joke on Jacobs, the Indian. He had found a nice new pair of Fritzies long leather boots and was going to take them home with him when he discovered that part of the legs and the feet of the German still remained in the boots so he left them there.

Aug 6 - Called in off work about 2 p.m. Ordered to strike camp. Everything was loaded on to the narrow guage (sic) including the men and we left the [Cambrai point] for the Bullecourt point at 8 in the evening. It took us all night to reach our destination near Mory, a small Village, about five miles north of Bapaume, on account of the many long waits on the line. No 4 Platoon of the Coy got off at Lagnicourt and went into camp there.

Aug 7 - Spent day fixing up camp. Most of the boys fixed themselves in old dugouts alongside a sunken road. Three others and myself took a tent. The camp was situated at the foot of a hill.

Aug 8 -- Started work on a line in what was called Death Valley. It ran from Vaulx (several miles north east of Bapaume) to Moreuil. Within a mile of the front line.

Aug 9 - Shelled on way to work. Shell burst about thirty feet on one side of train that the boys in [One] received a scalp wound with shrapnel. Heavy shelling of the Valley was kept up until about 10 a.m. during this time we took shelter in the ruins of the Village of Vaulx. The rest of the day was quiet.

Aug 12 - Called out at night to fix a blow out on the track near Ecoust, another line to the point that we had to keep up. This blow out was caused by a German shell exploding in a large pile of our bombs. The hole it make (sic) in the center of the track was about 15 feet deep and about 25 feet across the top. Four Imperial soldiers were killed at the time. A gang of about 50 of us started about 8 p.m. and did not get the road open again until about 3 a.m. Fritz shelled all around us all the time we worked there, but we all came out OK. Tickled to death when the job was done.

Aug 13 to Sept 1 Worked all the time on the Death Valley Line.

Sep through Dec 1917 - Move to Ypres Salient

Sept 2 - Started to build a new line from Mory to Bapaume.

Sept 3 to 22 - Worked steady on the Bapaume line in charge of party (most of the time). We found our camp here very pleasant. One thing noticable (sic) was the many different kinds of insects, from June bugs down to very tiny ones, but they were a harmless lot.

Sept. 23 - Corpl Loxton and I on pass to the Courcelette battle field where the Canadians fought so well at the Somme battle of 1916. It is on the Bapaume-Albert road. We started early, walked to Bapaume and got a lorry from there to Courcelette. Only a few walls are standing of the town and there are many graves of our boys on the outskirts, and numbers of crosses with only "Unknown Canadian Soldier" on them. Just before we started to leave the place we noticed a French soldier standing in what was once the room of a house so we went over to see him. He could talk a little English. It seems he had just got a pass for a few days from Belgium to try and see if he could locate his wife and family, whom he had not saw (sic) since 1914 and had hear (sic) nothing of them. The ruins of the home he stood in once had been his home. He was very down hearted as he felt certain that he would never see his wife and family again. From there we walked to High Woods battle field. It is on the other side of the road and nearer Bapaume. Here the English soldier lost very, very heavy in the taking of it. From here we got a lorry for Bapaume. We visited the ruins of the Cathedral there and I brought home a German skull from a great pile which had been in the Vault of the church for many years. We had to walk the rest of the way home.

Sept 24 to Oct 2 - Busy most every day on the Bapaume line.

Oct. 3 - Had rifle lecture in afternoon.

Oct. 5 - Called out at night to help repair blowouts in Death valley, but could not finish job as Fritz started [playing] on it again. For the past month our handy men had been busy building a winter camp for the Coy (all built) of Nissing (sic) huts, bath house, hot and cold water, cook house with good big [..] and the officers' huts had fire places built in. They expected to live in real comfort and on Oct. 11 - We moved to our new winter quarters, but it was to be a short lived comfort. Oct 12 - Got the order at 3 p.m. to prepare to move north within 24 hours, so we packed up again. Oct 13 - Spent most of the day tearing down parts of the new camp and loading the material on the narrow guage (sic) trucks. At 7 p.m. we had finished the job and so the Coy boarded the train and we left over our new line for Bapaume. On arrival there we had the material to handle again and load on to standard guage (sic) cars for our journey north. This we had completed by about 1 a.m. and after receiving a good ration of run. We went to sleep in the box cars.

Oct 14 - Our train pulled out of Bapaume about 6 a.m. The trip was uneventful. We passed through the nice city of Arras, but most of our journey was through a sector of country that had not been invaded. We arrived at Vlamertynghe about 7 p.m. and immediately started to unload. Here we had out first experience of what it felt like to be bombed from the air. Fritz came over in full force, just shortly after we had landed and dropped many bombs in the railway yard but our good luck was with us again and we had no one hurt. But one poor fellow that had been shell shocked in Havrincourt Woods, and had just got back from the hospital was overcome again and had to be returned to England. After the unloading we started to march to our camp location, but by some misunderstanding the officer in charge could not locate it so after a march of two or three miles in the mud we had to come back again to the yard and about all the Coy had to make the best of it in one hut. Most of us had to sleep that night standing or sitting up.

Oct. 15 - Located our camp ground and marched there. It was alongside the Plank Road, about half way between Vlamertynghe and Ypres. Here we pitched tents and put a wall about two feet high made of sand bags around them for protection from shrapnel. Bombed again at night . There were no lights allowed in the camp after dark and as it was dark at [five] it made it very disagreeable.

Oct. 16 - Spent most of the day filling sand bags and placing them around the tents and officers huts. Received parcel from Bob and letters from Annie and Myrt. Bombed again.

Oct. 17 - All hands up bright and early, a light train was loaded with tools and then we boarded it and started for the Ypres Salient, the sector we had heard so much about. We went up about five miles to a junction "Gray Ruin". From there we branched on to the "Wildwood" line, the line we had to extend. We got to our working point about 11 p.m. The first trip out there is one that will never be forgotten. There was an artillery duel on all morning and Fritz too was busy in the air dropping bombs. Every few minutes a shell or bomb seemed to catch some lorries or guns or parties of men and send them in all directions. Something was going up in the air all the time. But everybody that could carried on as if nothing out of the ordinary was taking place. We too soon realized the situation and got accustomed to it. The mud was one of the most disagreeable things we had to contend with but saved many lives. We left for camp again about 2 p.m. and got in by four. We had no casualties.

Oct. 18 - We had reveille at 3:30 a.m., breakfast at 4 and started for up the line at 4:30 arriving at our work about daylight at 7 o'clock. We started in to grade in dead earnest this morning and all was quiet until 10 o'clock when a bombing squad of Germans came over and dropped a bomb a long side a party of our men causing four casualties, one killed. At noon the Germans opened up with artillery on our sector, and as the morning experience had slightly put the "wind up" the boys. We left the work and came to camp at 1 o'clock. Bombed in our camp at night, but no one hurt.

Oct. 19 - Our Platoon (No 2) off for days rest. Corpl Loxton and I on pass to Poperinghe, a town of then or twelve thousand in peace time about eight miles west of Ypres. it was the first time to be in a town of any size that had the civilian population since being at Doullens, France. We got a lorry ride there and walked back.

Oct. 20-21-22-23 - Worked every day under shell fire and bombed at nights in camp.

Oct. 24 - Off duty for day and spent quiet time in camp. Wrote letters.

Oct. 25 - Worked on short line near Gray Ruin. Heavy enemy artillery fire. Saw two aeroplanes broght (sic) down in an air fight. One of ours and one German.

Oct. 26 - Worked in rain all day.

Oct. 27 - In camp with cold, washed clothes forenoon. Rested balance of day. Fine fall day.

Oct. 28 - Platoon's day in camp. Loxton, Jacobs and I on pass to Poperinghe, afternoon and evening.

Oct. 29 - Worked on the Wildwood line. One of the boys of No 4 Coy killed by direct hit by shell, blown all to pieces.

Oct. 30 - One of No 4 Platoon boys killed by shrapnel in the back.

Oct. 31 - Off duty for rest with balance of Platoon. Filled sand bags to put around officers huts in forenoon and for visit to Vlamertynghe afternoon.

Oct. 31 - Worked on Wildwood line and shelled out about noon. Spent a couple of hours in pill box waiting for the fire to cease, then came home.

Nov. 1 - Same work and heavy shell fire but we stuck all day.

Nov. 2 - Platoon had day of rest. Filled sand bags in forenoon rested afternoon.

Nov. 3 - On Wildwood line again and shelled out three different times during the day. Had two shrapnel shells burst over our heads but for a wonder no one was hit.

Nov. 4 - Platoon in camp. Issued our fourth blanket. Wrote letters.

Nov. 5 - Worked all day. First day since being in Belgium that we had not been shelled from work.

Nov. 6 - Platoon in camp. Helped clean up around camp. Rained most of day.

Nov. 7 - Worked all day. Quiet most of the time. In the bombing raid at night over the camp sector one of the German planes brought down in flames by anti-aircraft gun.

Nov. 8 - In camp forenoon and Loxton and I had pass for St. Julien after dinner. We started to walk there at the railway ending at Ypres. We saw about one hundred of our boys who had been wounded at the taking of Passchendaele Ridge the day before. They were bound for the base hospital and many for England. They were all very muddy and dirty looking but still happy. We got within a short distance of St. Julien, when the Germans opened fire on what was left of the town so we did not finish the journey to the place where the Germans caught our Canadian boys with the first gas in 1915. We passed through St. Jean and on the return spent a couple of hours in Ypres. This place had been under fire more of less since we came to this sector but today it was quiet. We walked along what had been the main streets of the city, to the city square and then to what was left of the nice grand Cathedral and Cloth Hall. Got souvenirs of the pillars of the Cloth Hall.

Nov. 9 - Worked on new line from Gray Ruin Junction to Zonnebeke. Platoon had narrow escape when one of the German airmen dived through the clouds and dropped a bomb close to the grade we were working on but some how we all escaped. A lad of No. 4 Coy was killed on the job today and one of No. 4 Platoon (our Coy) killed near the "Bottle Corner".

(Note: I could not find any Canadian Railway Troop casualties on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site for this date, but two were killed on the 8th. They were: Sapper Henry Siegel (died of a shell wound to the head) and Corporal Walter James Hyett (killed by shell fire.)

Nov. 10 - In camp all day. Shell dropped near our camp in early morning and sent a great spray of dirt over the tents and shrapnel came into three tents but in some way never got anyone. Rainy and cold.

Nov. 11 - As our platoon was unloading at Gray Ruin Junction Fritz dropped a shell in the ditch alongside the cars. On account of the mud it went very deep before exploding and so all we got was a mud bath. He did the same trick again as the Platoon walked up the grade to the work with the same "dirty" result. But we though[t] sure he had our number this day as we had a number of similar experiences during the day.

Nov. 12 - From this date we had breakfast at 6 o'clock instead of 4:30. We had our work well in hand and besides the fighting on the offensive had come to an end for the season. The weather was very dirty and the mud very deep so it was arranged that a platoon would be in camp every other day from this one.

Nov. 15 - While No. 4 platoon was waiting in the cars to start for camp Fritz sent a shell over and killed two of the boys and wounded a number of others. Corpl Loxton being one of them. He went to England.

(Note: I could not find any Canadian Railway Troop casualties on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site for this date, but two were killed on the 16th. They were: Sapper Albert Pardon (but he died of a gunshot wound) and Sapper Alfred Lemelin (but he died when he fell from a bridge.)

Nov. 17 - Most of No 1 Coy boys moved out of the tents and into dugouts left [Vaction, probably vacant] by the return to France of No. 4 Coy. I got into a comfortable dugout with three others. From this date to Dec 24th we worked every other day. The artillery fire was not so heavy during this time and we had no more killed but had some wounded. The weather was disagreeable most of the time and so on our day off we spent most of the time alongside the fire in the dugout.

Dec 25 - Had small party out the lines to see their (sic) had been no blow outs during the night. There was (sic) none, but our tractor broke down on us and it was about two o'clock before we got back to dinner. We had a regular Christmas dinner bought with the canteen fund, consisting of turkey, chicken, mashed potatoes, cabbage, plum pudding, nuts and oranges besides a ten franc notes for a Christmas present and a bottle of ale. Our party did not miss anything by being late for dinner.

Dec 26 - Quiet day in camp.

Dec 27 - On the works. Parcel received at night from R.H.White.

Dec 30 - Off work. Had first church parade since coming to Belgium.


Jan through Apr including German Breakthrough

January 3 - [S]truck camp in morning and loaded all our belongings into box cars on the standard guage at Vlamertynghe yard and left at noon for Ytres, France. January 4 - Stopped for a couple of hours or more in the yards at Calais.

Jan 5 - Arrived at Ytres yard about 6 a.m. unloaded there, then marched to Lechelle and into nissing (sic) huts alongside a French cemetery and near one of our aerodromes.

Jan 6 - Called out near night to repair blow outs on the Havrincourt Woods line.

Jan 7 to 14 - Layed up with side and stayed in the hut until

Jan 15 - Left at 9 a.m. for pass to Paris and walked to Rocquigny. Took leave train at noon to Aveluy. From there we walked to Buire sur l'Ancre and at 6 p.m. got passenger train to Amiens and changed and bought tickets from there to Paris. Left about 7:30 and arrived at the Nord Depot in Paris at 11:30 p.m. From there all leave men are taken to a barrack given a lecture and advice re their stay in "Gay Parie". A bombing raid was on the night we arrived and as all lights were out we were detained at the barrack until 2 a.m. After "All Clear" was sounded all those that wanted to were taken to different hotels by lorry comideered (sic) by British.

Jan 16 - Jacobs and I had put up at the American hotel, near 1 'Opera. We spent a quiet day walking around that part of the city and we certainly did enjoy it as it was our first real freedom since joining the army and besides to feel that we were really in Beautiful Paris made us happy. In fact so happy that we did the one foolish thing of our stay there and celebrated too much that evening.

Jan 17 - Left the hotel and moved to the Army and navy Leave Club in the Moderne Hotel at Place de la Republique. We spent another quiet day walking around that section and for stroll along the beautiful Boulevard des Italiens and to the pay office for money. As I did not keep a diary of the visit I here commit to memory some of the many places we visited during the balance of our leave - Alexandre 3rd Bridge and Invalides Esplanade, Trumphal Arch of the Etoile where "A corner in Blighty" was, Palais de justice (the Law Courts), Norte Dame Cathedral, both on the Island in the Seine River, the new Louvre, Eiffle Tower and Ferris Wheel built at the time of the Paris World's Fair. Eiffle Tower was used as a wireless station during the war and so closed to the public; Place de la Concorde; Magdalen Church, but not in it. Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) about two hours going through it with French guides very beautifully decorated inside, Hotel des Invalides (The Chelsea Hospital of France) In it is Napolians (sic) Tomb spent afternoon there; Place de l'Opera and Palaise du Trocadero. Besides we went for a number of street car rides about the city.

Jan 28 - Pass was up and we took the train from the Nord Depot at 7 p.m. for Amiens. Arrived at midnight and slept the bets we could on the floor of the YMCA at the station until morning.

Jan 29 - Boarded train that was going part way to our destination about 7 a.m. went to sleep and slept by the place that we should have got off at to catch another train we were than a long ways out of our way and had to wait for another train back, which we got about four o'clock p.m. and back to Rocquigny at midnight; having had to ride on top of the troop train. Fritz was over bombing and it seemed to us he was after our train. We got to camp about one a.m.

Jan 30 - Rested all day.

Jan 31 to March 17 - Worked about every day but Sundays on new track in the Le Transloy section and on another new line from Rocquigny to Bapaume. Had charge of a party of Imperials most of this time. Early in the winter our headquarters put up a theatre called the "Maple Leaf" so we had a moving picture show every night during this time, which helped to kill the time. About the 1st of March the Battalion was organized as an infantry unit and a thousand yds of trench allotted to us in Havrincourt Woods (south of Havrincourt) in case of need. We also had some infantry drill and spent a number of days on the ranges. Moonlight the Huns bombed at the Aerodrome near us but they never made a hit. One night our airmen captured intact one of the Huns four seated bombing machines.

March 18 - Started a course in Civil Engineering at our Headquarters. An hour in the morning and an hour afternoons.

German Breakthrough

March 21 - Germans started great push at day break. We had our class as usual in the morning but in going back after dinner we found our Major teacher had retreated. The Huns were then landing shells all around our camp as far over as the aerodrome. Headquarters started to move that afternoon early and we got orders to pack all the canteen goods and rations and load them on the light gauge at Ytres yard. About six o'clock we got word that the Huns had failed to break through and heard nothing more until the word came about 8:30 p.m. to fall in with full packs. We had one fellow wounded be shrapnel before we left the camp. We marched Over country to Rocquigny and on arriving there found a bombing raid on. Our Coy. had a very narrow escape from one of the bombs. The O.C. lost his horse during the raid. After the raid was over we boarded a light gauge train and started for Combles. By this time everything was on the move back. The Germans had broken the line.

March 22 - We landed at Combles about three a.m. and camped along side the main road for the balance of the night. The traffic was so heavy all day that our company was unable to get in the line on the retreat so that night about 8 o'clock we loaded again onto the narrow guage and by three next morning had got as far as Hardecourt. On this trip we had American Engineers with a train ahead and another brought up our rear. As the grade was heavy most of the way and our load was heavy we had to walk most of the way and push the cars.

March 23 - Got to Hardecourt about 2 a.m. and started on a march to Pozieres where our No 4 Coy was camped. We arrived there about 8 a.m. about all in after our long, hard march and no sleep or anything to eat since the night before. No 4 Company still had the camp going so we got a good breakfast there then all hands had an hour or two of sleep. By this time No 4 had received the order to retreat, so our Co'y was moved by 1orrie to Bouzincourt back through Albert; the way we had marched in. By two o'clock this afternoon the whole Battalion had arrived at Bouzincourt and we went into camp there, pitching our tents in an orchard in the Village. We had no more than got settled and about ready for bed, when the order came for a further retreat in light marching order, leaving the balance of our equipment in a large Marquis with the understanding that a guard would be left there, but just as the Battalion pulled away the guard was also taken along,{and so on returning next morning with lorries and goods had all disappeared. We never saw these again and do not know what became of them.}

March 24 - Arrived at Louvencourt about 1 a.m. and halted there for the balance of the night. As we had all carried a blanket and ground sheet; we managed to get some sleep, but it was rather cold. After breakfast lorries started to take the Battalion to Doullens and by noon we had all arrived there and haulted (sic) on the grounds where the rest camp had been when we came into France the spring before. Again the lorries were brought into play and the boys again moved to Raincheval and into billets in that Village. Our first experience to billet in a town with the civilians living there. The party I was with were assigned to an old barn, which was built right alongside the house. We soon made ourselves quite comfortable and we all sleep sound that night.

March 25 - Called at 5 a.m. on a guard of 100 to escort 2,500 German prisoners from Doullens to Candas. We went in lorries to Doullens and then had to march with the prisoners to Candas, the lorries followed us up and we rode back home. We took rations with us, and got back about six o’clock.

March 27 - Our Coy started bright and early to dig trenches along a line near Rainchevall (sic). At the same work on the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st.

April 1 - Moved into tents in orchard in rear of Catholic church.

April 2 to 15 - Supervised Chineses (sic) labor Coy digging trenches and putting up wire entanglement.

April 16 - Struck tents at 7:30 a.m. and the Coy left in march to Feinvillers (sic) arriving about noon where we pitched tents in rear of large aerodrome. Was around the town at night, but there was nothing much to see only soldiers.

April 17 - Took to the road again, this time for Prouville our destination for a time. Here again we went into tents in an orchard close to the town.

April 18 - Had a day of rest, the first for a long time.

April 19 - Started grade for standard guage from Conteville to Candas.

April 20 - May 2 - Worked every day and on May 2nd moved at night to Domleger and from there we carried on the same work. We had a nice camp grounds here alongside the town and well shaded with trees, but like the other small towns in France there was nothing but wine and beer for sale with sometimes eggs and chips. For the first time since coming to France we were now at back area work. Here we had a chance to see how the French farmer works and lives. They are very far behind the Western world. The houses and barns are {mostly} small and cheaply put up. The homes on the Somme being built mostly of a combination of mud and plaster with tile

Aug through Dec 1918 - Armistice

Aug 1 - Sent as second in command of party of 25 or our own Coy to Bernaville where we took charge of the up keep of about 10 miles of the new line. We made our camp near the above town and had a nice location.

Aug 2 - Stayed in camp to get things in working order. Built a cook house and generally fixed things up in the forenoon. After dinner it rained so it was spent by a good sleep in the tent.

Aug 3 to 9 - Out with party each day on the track and up town about every night. Bernaville being a larger town than Domleger, there was a little more doing there.

Aug 10 - Order came to strike camp and proceed back to our Coy at Domleger. Arrived there in the evening and found out of general order to move to the front again. Half of our Coy left this night by 1orrie for Weincourt.

Aug 11 - Balance of Coy left by 1orrie to join the rest of the boys. Got there about 1 p.m. and pitched camp in orchard right in the ruins of that town. In evening went with Ser'g Bob White to see the large armoured gun and train captured two days before by 31 Bn. Australians. They got crew along with it. Once again we were under shell fire and many burst close to our camp during the afternoon and night and after the moon came up Fritz rained bombs around us for two or three hours. Not much sleep this night.

Aug 12 - A party was left in camp to dig down two feet in to the ground underneath the tents for protection from bombs. The rest of us started to repair blow outs on light guage (sic) French line. Shortly after we got up the line the Huns opened up their artillery and a shell caught (Sergeant) Bob White and killed him instantly. Eight others of our boys received wounds from the same shell. This put a gloom over our camp as Bob was very popular with all the boys of the Co'y.

Aug 13 - In camp in charge of fatigue party.

Aug 14 - The Coy commenced work on new narrow guage line from Marcelcave to connect the French line at Weincourt. Bob White was buried near the town of Bayonvillers (he is now interred in the Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres.)

Aug 15 - Working on new line. Had charge of party [strapping]. Layed about five miles of track in two days with one platoon and party of an Imperial Labor CO.

Aug 16 - For walk through Weincourt and to bush close to the Village that the 2nd Canadian Division took a few days before, including many heavy guns.

Aug 17 - Last night was the first night not to be bombed since coming up the line.

Aug 18 & 19 - Worked as usual on the line.

Aug 20 - Worked and for long walk through the ruins of Weincourt at night and up the tower of R.C. church used at one time by Germans as observation post.

Aug 21 - Put in siding in forenoon and off duty afternoon. First rest for over two weeks. Boiled up and then Heighway and I went for walk to Bob White's grave at Bayonvillers.

Aug 22 - Had party on m[aintainm]ent of ways up the old French line.

Aug 23 - With party of Imperials dressing up new line.

Aug 24-25-26-27 - Off duty on hard earned rest. Outside of short walks, spent the rest of the time in camp.

Aug 28-29-30-31 - In charge of party of Imperials on up keep on the forward line.

Sept. 1 - Coy up line to Mericourt (either Méricourt-l'Abbé or Méricourt-sur-Somme). Ten of us N.C.O's had to stay behind to take charge of 250 attached labor and work on up keep of road to Bray. As the Coy took all the tents we moved into an old chateau to sleep at nights. The front was now becoming very quiet and we did not appreciate the staying behind.

Sep 2 to 12 - Worked every day on up keep.

Sept 13 - Our party moved to Mount St. Quentin and when (sic) into camp between that town and Peronne with rest of Coy where they had moved a few days before. Slept in tent that night. German air raid at night. Two of German bombers brought down in flames.

Sept 14 - Two others and myself built dugout.

Sept 15 - Had 15 attached on up keep of Clery line Sector.

Sept 16 - Same work. Heavy rain at night. Dug out leaked. {All but at my corner of it. The reason for this was lack of material and I fixed the roof. }

Sept 17 - 20 men on up keep. Fair and warm.

Sept 18 to 28 - On same line of duty.

Sept 29 - Coy went up line to near Hargicourt to erect bridge in large fill blown up by Huns. S.U. (sic U.S.?) soldiers on this [front] and got badly cut up in battle on this day. Completed job in three days, all of the work being done under heavy fire from the enemy.

Oct 3 - Came back at night to old camp after working this day in the yards at Roisel. From October 4 to 12 had easy time of it on up keep.

Oct 13 - Company struck tents and moved to Montbrehain. We had to dig ourselves in here as the bombing and artillery fire was very severe on this front. Many German dead on the battle fields {here}. In order to make camp we had to bury a number.

Oct 14 - Started to change meter guage railway to narrow guage from Montbrehain to Brehain. Had battalion of Americans attached to our company for labor.

Oct 15 -16 - At same work.

Oct 17-18-19 - Same line of work, but with German prisoners attached . The Americans having pulled off this front.

Oct 20 - In camp for rest and in afternoon visited the Village of Braucourt.

Oct. 21 - In camp again. Wrote Helen and mailed letters to Anna and Myrt.

Oct. 22 - Put in "Y" at Joncourt and in the evening had to take Hun Sergreant (sic) prisoner that had excaped (sic) from us during the day - to the prison camp at Bohain.

Oct 23 - Had charge of 25 Huns on lift of light rail.

Oct 24 - Company moved to Bellicourt. I stayed at Bohain on detachment duty. Had 56 Huns on job with but one guard.

Oct 25-31 - Same duty as above.

Nov. 1 - Moved to company at Bellicourt in forenoon and made a dugout afternoon. Asked for transfer to No 4 Platoon and got it.

Nov 2 - Day of (sic) duty. Took walk through great underground tunnel used by Germans at this point, but built by the French many years before the war.

Nov 3 - 15 - Had party of Imperials on work in yard and off duty third day. Nov 11th, the day the Armistice was signed brought little change as did the following ones. The only noticeable change was in the noise by the ceasing of fire by the artillery and the bombing at nights and the second day all our lorries coming up from the rear were decorated with French flags.

Nov 16 - Moved to [Bertaincourt] in lorries and went into billets in an old hotel or boarding house. The place had been used by the Germans for the same purpose and they were kind hearted this time and left the straw mattresses they had used. Here five of us got together in a comfortable room on the second floor. We soon russeled (sic) a table, two stoves and chairs and soon had the best quarters since leaving Canada. Close to the boarding house a large steel factory and close at hand was immense piles of coal, set on fire by the Germans before they retreated. It was burning still when we left in January. When we first went there a party of men got busy and racked away many tons, so we were well supplied with fuel.

Nov. 17 - Spent most of the day putting finishing touches on our room.

Nov 18 to Dec 1 at Aulnoye. Worked most of the time repairing yard

Dec 2 - Started drill in N.C.O's class. Dec 3 - Ditto

Dec 4-6 - Of (sic) duty and for long walk.

Dec 7 - Took 1orrie with party of 25 N.C.O's at 8 a.m. and started for Brussels, Belgium. It was an ideal day and we landed in Brussels at 1 p.m. On the way there we stopped for a time at Maubeuge, one of the cities of France with a walk around it and also at Mons for an hour. At Brussels another Corpl and I struck out together and first thing we did was locate the YMCA and secure a room. After that we took in the sights of the city. About midnight we were forced into a Victory parade and marched through the streets.

Dec 8 - Walked city streets and took in couple of shows. Had long talk with English woman and her husband who were residents of Brussels during the German occupation. They seems (sic) anxious for us to [s]hare supper with them, but we declined.

Dec 9 - Went broke so wandered to the city square to where our lorry was parked and found there in a can of billybeef (sic) that put new life into us. We then took a long walk and visited the Court House and the King's Palace. The latter was used as a Red Cross hospital by the Germans during the war. The King had not yet returned to Brussels, but came a few days later. About 1 p.m. we left again for our camp at [Bertaincourt], stopping again at Mons for about an hour. Arriving in camp at 6:30 p.m.

Dec 10 - Drilled in class of N.C.O's Dec 11 - Ditto Dec 12 - Ditto

Dec 13 - Drilled forenoon. Out with party of men doing some work in railway yard.

Dec 14 - On the same job.

Dec 15 - Church parade in forenoon. Card party in afternoon.

Dec 16 - Had party on work. Notified in evening that pass was awaiting me for England.

Dec 17 - Mustard parade in forenoon. About 18 of No 1 Co. notified that they would be returned to Canada at once. In afternoon got ready to go to England. Received xmas parcel from Myrt.

Dec 18 - Left at 10 a.m. for Headquarters camp about a mile away. There we were fixed up for pass and left there in lorry for Busigny and from there took train at 8 p.m. for Cambrai. Billeted in Cambrai for night.

Dec 19 - Left for Boulogne[-sur-Mer] at 7 a.m. arrived a[t] 9:30 p.m. and to rest camp for night.

Dec 20 - Left on boat for Folkestone at 10:30 a.m. Arrived about 1 p.m. Entrained an hour later for London, arriving at Victoria Station at 4 p.m. Put up at a Maple Leaf Club a few blocks from the station. After supper strolled out to the Strand and home early and to bed.

Dec 21 - Visited Westminster Abbey, Parliament Bldgs. and King's stables at Buckingham Palace. On Stand and Piccadilly at night.

Dec 22 - Went for walk through Hyde Park in forenoon. Rained afternoon.

Dec 23 - Layed low most of day all but for short walks, but had large night.

Dec 24 - Very sick forenoon. With Jacobs for trip through London Tower afternoon. Spent social evening.

Dec 25 - Had Xmas dinner at YMCA opposite Victoria Station and another dinner at Maple Leaf Club at night (Elizabeth St) Read most of day.

Dec 26 - Out on Piccadilly to see the Wilson parade. Got good view of it from in front of Ritz Hotel. King George, Duke of Connought and Pres. Wilson took the lead. Queen Mary, Princess Mary and Mrs. Wilson in the second carriage. Lloyd George in the third. There was a great jam of people. A guard of honor lined both sides of the street from the station to the Palace. To Waterloo Station and Union Jack Club at night.

Dec 27 - For drive around city with [Cook and Sons]. Visited the Town again, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park and saw many of the notable buildings of the city including the War office building, Somerset House, where all deeds and records are filed, Queen Alexander residence, Buckingham Palace, etc. and the Allied Memorial in Hyde Park.

Dec 28 - Quiet day spent mostly at Y.M.C.A.

Dec 29 - At two services at Y.M.C.A. and one at Westminster Abbey. "Bus" ride to Union Jack Club on Waterloo Road.

Dec 30 - Went to pay office and had to wait in line for nearly two hours to draw 8 pounds. Had enjoyable evening on the Strand.

Dec 31 - Got up about noon. Had breakfast and then went shopping. Sent some presents to Canada. Read in the Y.M.C.A. balance of afternoon. To concert at night.


Jan through Feb 1919

Jan 1 - Got up about 9:30 and read and talked until noon. Raining and cold, raw wind so just 1oafed around rest of day. Concert at night.

Jan 2 - Got up about 10. Had breakfast and then took bus to Union Jack Club, and in afternoon walked back from there to pay office and drew 2 pounds.

Jan 3 - Due to go back to France, but stayed over. Rained most of day. To bed early.

Jan 4 - Entrained at Victoria Station at 6:30 a.m. for Dover. Arrived there about 10 a.m. Boat for Boulogne about 1:30 arrived 4 p.m. Fell out of the parade as we got up town and rented a room. Had roam around town in evening.

Jan 5 - Spent day in Boulogne. Rained most of the day.

Jan 6 - Rain again. Walked around streets some and went to pay office and drew 25 francs. Left for Etaples at 4 p.m. arrived at 9 p.m. To rest camp.

Jan 7 - Got up about 10. Went into Village for shave. To CRT base in afternoon to see if I could get out of reporting back to Co. at Berlaimont, but could not so arrange. To concert at night at YMCA Hut.

Jan 8 - Left for Cambrai about 1:30 p.m. arrived at midnight. Billeted for night.

Jan 9 - Entrained at 9 a.m. for Le Quesnoy. Arrived at 10:30 p.m., had a lunch there and started to walk to Berlaimont but before going far a French [lolly] came along and picked me up and I got a ride right to camp.

Jan 10 - Rested in forenoon and for long walk through Mormal Forest with Loxton in afternoon. To show at night.

Jan 11 - For long walk through Aubroge

Jan 12 - On fatigue with party of 50 Imperials cleaning 4 lorries.

Jan 13 - Same work

Jan 13 (sic) - Same work - They worked very slow.

Jan 14 - No duty . Read and went for walk. All hands getting fed up and anxious for a move.

Jan 15 - For long walk in afternoon

Jan 16 - The good news came. Order to be ready to move down the line the following Wed.

Jan 17 - Quiet day. Read and went for walk.

Jan 18 - For long walk with Loxton in forenoon and took it easy rest of day.

Jan 19 - For long walk afternoon.

Jan 20 - Had charge of working party of 10 in yard.

Jan 21 - Stayed in billets and prepared to move.

Jan 22 - Co. fell in at 7 a.m. and marched to Aubroge station. Entrained about 3 p.m.

Jan 23 - Arrived at Etaples about 1 p.m. Full battalion marched into camp with brass band in lead. Went into tents. To concert at "Y" at night. Turned in gas masks.

Jan 24 - Roll call at 7 a.m. Clothing parade at 8:30 and new clothes issued to the ones badly in need.

Jan 25 - Dull, disagreeable day. Fell in at 4:30 and got orders to pack for entraining, but the train did not come until next morning. We spent a very disagreeable night in a Y.M.C.A. without blankets try to sleep on a cold floor.

Jan 26 - Entrained for Le Havre at 10:30 a.m.. Le Clair on[e] of our boys was knocked off the train en route and killed.

Jan 27 - Arrived at Le Havre at 8:30 a.m. and went into rest camp in tents right on outskirts of city.

Jan 28 - Cold and damp. [Up] city afternoon and evening Supper up town.

Jan 29 - Cpl of Picket. Up town at night and took in sights. Two Mustard parades during day.

Jan 30 - Mustard parade. Order to stand to ready for enbarkation to England. Embarked at 10 p.m. on "Dieppe" on C62 for Waymouth, South England

Jan 31 - Find (sic) trip across the channel. Arrived at Weymouth about noon. A free lunch of tea and cake was served us on landing by the ladies of that city. We shortly afterwards entrained for Liverpool and arrived there at 11 p.m. at Knotty Ask Camp

Feb 1 - Billeted in huts. Slept most of day. Weather damp and cold.

Feb 2 - Quiet day - Down city.

Feb 3 - Had charge of ration fatigue. Dull and damp again.

Feb 4 - Partly fair. Turned in rifles and baynots (sic). Pay books collected.

Feb 5 - Dull day. Three parades. To bed early.

Feb 6 - Dull day. Still waiting for pay. Sold German sword and gas mask to N.S. officer for one pound.

Feb 7 - Pay day for men going on leave. Wrote to Annie and down town at night with Jacobs

Fby 8 - Fair and cold. Medical Board for Canada men. Payed (sic) 4 pounds and went down town at night.

Feby 9 - Orderly Cpl for day.

Feby 10 - Dential (sic) Board at 1:30. 2 teeth to be filled. Fair and cold.

Feby 11 - Turned in harness and drew two kit bags, new water bottle and a real Canadian blanket. Up town and through museum.

Feby 12 - Orderly Corporal for day. Heavy fog and cold.

Feby 13 - Fair and warmer. Parade to sign Pay balance sheet. Read at "Y" at night.

Feby 14 - Fair and warmer. parade for balance of Coy to sign Pay sheets. U.S. YMCA at night.

Feby 15 - Corp of Sanitary fatigue in morning. Mustard parade and the Canada draft was grouped for discharge purposes. Draft C.B. until we leave at 2:30 Sunday.