The Diary of Lloyd Duncan Edwards from the Trenches of World War 1
THE DIARY OF
This is the diary of my grandfather Lloyd Duncan Edwards, Private 22995, 5th Bedfords, during the first 7 months of 1918 whilst he was in the trenches in France. He was a cook and, although not exciting, this extract gives an idea of what life was like. I have left in the pre-printed information for each day as it was in the diary to highlight the irony of the situation.
There are days where, due to activity or omission, there are no entries.
I have translated the handwritten text, sometimes smudged, to the best of my ability. If you consider that any of the place names are incorrectly spelt or that there is more information to go with this extract then please let me know.
January 1st Tuesday Circumcision. Stock Exchange closed.
Saw the new year in while carrying rations up the line to the boys. Got back to Fins about 4-30 a.m.
January 2nd Wednesday
Nice day. Slept till 12 o'clock. Easy afternoon.
January 3rd Thursday
Nice day. Boys relieved from the line. Went to the old camp in the wood to meet them.
January 4th Friday
Nice day. Boys came in camp at 3 o'clock in the morning. Slept till 9-45.
January 5th Saturday Dividends due. Last Quarter, 11.50 a.m.
Very nice day. Nothing special doing. Usual routine.
January 6th Sunday Epiphany.
Nice day. Kept up Christmas day. Had Plumb pudding for dinner. 7th R.J. Band played selections.
January 7th Monday Plough Monday.
Wet day. Had a bath at Metz. Cold dinner.
January 8th Tuesday
Cold day. Snowed, and very slippery under foot. Made beef pudding for dinner. Wrote to Alf.
January 9th Wednesday Christmas Fire Insurance ceases.
Dull day. Boys gone up line again. Cecil and I have come back again to transport lines, very muddy.
January 10th Thursday
Rotten, Dull day. Had to get some thick boards and put round cookers. Always doing odd jobs.
January 11th Friday Hilary Law Sittings begin.
Wet day. Did some brick laying round cooker. Kept busy.
January 12th Saturday New moon, 10.36 p.m.
Nice day. Doing odd jobs, plenty to do.
January 13th Sunday 1st after Epiphany
Nice day, cleaned cooker and had to take it up to the support tonight right to where C & J?. Anchored on wrong trace and had to chat. Sat round cooker fire all night.
January 14th Monday
Nice day. Plenty to do. Tea at 5-30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Dinner 1 p.m. Tea 4-30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Did 1 1/2 hours guard over cookers in ?.
January 15th Tuesday
Very wet and windy. Still cooking along side the road. Fritz shelling but going behind us. Had worried for lads?.
January 16th Wednesday
Wet day again. Boys gone up front line again. Jo and MJ relieved me. Helped to pack up limbers with boys' loads. Went back to transport lines at Fins.
January 17th Thursday
Wet day. Had a wash and shave, feel something like normal. Had a steak and some chips for my supper with our lads?
January 18th Friday & January 19th Saturday
Decent day. Messed about cleaning cooker and doing odd jobs. Had to pack up and got to Metz with cooker. Boys came out of line and got here this morning. Made them tea and fried bacon. Had a few hours sleep and then got up and got dinner on.
January 20th Sunday 2nd after Epiphany
Nice day. Majority of boys can hardly walk. What a game. I had to go to Fins (full pack) and cooked our captain some steak and chips, and then back again to Metz. Found boys ready to go up the line on fatigues. Rotten shame.
January 21st Monday
Nice day. Usual routine.
January 22th Tuesday
Rather warm. Boys went by train we marched with transport to Beaulencourt. In lovely hut and a splendid cookhouse.
January 23rd Wednesday
Dull day. Frank (Fritz) gone on leave, George and I left on our own, terribly busy bags of work.
January 24th Thursday
Nice day. Swamped out with work, still on our own, no help. Built oven.
January 25th Friday Conversion of S. Paul.
Lovely day. Still on our own. Too busy to write. Fritz coming close to.
January 26th Saturday
Nice day. Been extra busy owing to General's inspection.
February 12th Tuesday Shrove Tuesday
Went up line into the old Hindenburg line, now ridge trench.
February 16th Saturday
Nice day. Went forward into support lines at night. Slept with Staff for the night.
February 17th Sunday 1st in Lent. Ember Week.
Very nice day indeed. Walked back to reserve lines to get our knives etc. Had breakfast with the Artiste rifles. Cooking in a dug-out with a soyer-stove.
February 18th Monday First Quarter, 0.57 a.m.
Very nice day. Had a good sleep, feel alright now. Boys out working again.
Nice day. Same old game in the dug-out. Had a good look round over the top. Boys out on working party. Had a wash and shave.
February 20th Wednesday Ember Day
Rained a bit. Left trenches and went to camp in Harolincourt wood.
February 21st Thursday
Nice day. Built an oven. Can't even get time to write.
February 22th Friday Ember Day
Wet day. Up to our neck in work. Got strafed over some pork, George returned to duty.
February 23rd Saturday Ember Day
Decent day. Boys gone to Villers Pluich, they came back about five o'clock. We missed young G.
February 24th Sunday 2nd in Lent. S. Matthias.
Nice day. Left the camp in the wood for transport lines at Neuville. Boys gone up the line again.
February 25th Monday Full Moon, 9.35 p.m.
Rained during the morning. Helped to build an oven. Cooked the bacon and meat and made soup to go up the line to boys.
March 24th Sunday Palm Sunday
Am looking over the top for Fritz. Had to retire about 300 yards. On outpost duty, made a funk hole.
March 25th Monday Annunciation B.V.M. Lady Day
& March 26th Tuesday
& March 27th Wednesday Hilary Law Sittings end Full Moon, 3.33 p.m.
Discovered that we have left behind on our own, so made our way back to Albert. Were picked up by the 7th Suffolk Regt. Had a lively time during the evening when Fritz arrived. Dug in at night. Had to retire in the morning, got mixed up with the 6th Essex, came out and made my way back to Varrence to find the transport but found them at Lealvillers.
March 28th Thursday Maundy Thursday
Met E.B. again at Lealvillers.
March 29th FridayGood Friday
Spent Good Friday in a field in Lealvillers.
March 30th Saturday Easter Eve
Moved just out of the village and camped on the road side it poured with rain all night.
March 31st Sunday Easter Day
Went back into the village.
April 1st Monday Easter Monday. Bank Holiday
Still in Lealvillers.
April 2nd Tuesday Easter Tuesday
April 3rd Wednesday
And yet still here.
April 4th Thursday Last Quarter, 1.33 p.m.
Went up to Forceville to join Frank. Nice day.
April 5th Friday Dividends due
Nice day. Had a new draft up.
April 6th Saturday
April 7th Sunday Low Sunday
Boys going up the line tonight. Cookers and cooks back to Acheugcy. I went up with boys to give them tea before going into line.
April 8th Monday Rainy day. Frank went up to give the boys stew at night.
April 9th Tuesday Lady Day Fire Insurance ceases. Easter Law Sittings begin.
More rain. Billy up line tonight.
April 10th Wednesday
Nice day wet night. Got wet through going up line with the soup.
April 11th Thursday New Moon, 4.34 a.m.
Nice day. Went to Forceville to meet the boys out of the line.
April 12th Friday
Nice day. Plenty to do.
April 13th Saturday
Same as yesterday.
April 14th Sunday 2nd after Easter
Nice day. Still busy.
April 15th Monday Interest payable on £4 % War Loan 1929-1942
Nice day again went up to cook for the boys.
April 16th Tuesday
Splendid day. Made a cook house. Fritz shelled my diaries.
April 17th Wednesday
Cold day. D Company went into front line.
April 18th Thursday First quarter 4.8 a.m.
Were relieved from line, came back toAcheux in billets. Went sick with my hand.
April 19th Friday Primrose Day (1881)
Nice day. Doctor lanced my hand. Dressing three times a day.
April 20th Saturday
Hand looked bad. Dr. sent me in dock. Got to Gezincourt, 29th C.C.S. Am 26 today.
April 21st Sunday 3rd after Easter
Rather cold. Got in Red Cross train.
April 22th Monday
and arrived at 11th Stationery Hospital Rouen (No. 1 hut)!
April 23rd Tuesday S. George
Nice day. Time hangs already.
April 24th Wednesday
Nice day. Wrote three letters.
April 25th Thursday S. Mark
April 26th Friday Full moon, 8.5 a.m.
Nice day. Nothing doing.
April 27th Saturday
Lovely day. Went for a little stroll in the evening.
April 28th Sunday 4th after Easter
Showery day. Nothing but reading am getting fed up!
April 29th Monday
Wet day. Had a little stroll in the evening.
April 30th Tuesday
Very dull, little rain. Too happy to do anything, its most cheerful in hospital (I don't think)
May 1st Wednesday SS. Philip & James
Rather dull day. Read two books entitled "The Silent Rancher" and "Much to do about Peter"
May 2nd Thursday
Grand day. Saw Lt. Smith in the hospital grounds, also Sgt. Course and Tubby Childs.
May 3rd Friday Last Quarter 10.25 p.m.
Nice day. Left hospital for convalescent camp in the evening.
May 4th Saturday
Lovely day. Went in front of doctor, passed fit. Marched to see Rugby match England v S. Africa. Good game England 2 goals 1 try Sf nil.
May 5th Sunday Rogation Sunday
Wet day. Went to Church parade. Left Con. Camp for Base details.
May 6th Monday Rogation Day. Accession, 1910
Very nice day. Took a walk into Rouen. Went to pictures at night.
May 7th Tuesday Rogation Day
Dull day. Left Base Details for train, left Rouen at 3 o'clock, and after an all night ride
May 8th Wednesday Rogation Day
arrived at Calais about midday.
May 9th Thursday Ascension Day. Half Quarter Day
Nice day. Went before Doctor again and drew my kit, took a stroll as far as the canal in the evening.
May 10th Friday New Moon, 1.1 p.m.
Cool wind, lovely evening. Had the day in the area, went through gas chamber.
May 11th Saturday
Grand day. Standing by. Went down into Calais, had tea at the S.A.
May 12th Sunday Sunday after Ascension
Wet day. Went to Church in the morning and to Chappel service in the evening
May 13th Monday
Another wet day. Warned for a draft to return to Batt.
May 14th Tuesday
Lovely day. Got on a train at Fontfornettes Station, Calais and got as far as Etaples, stayed there two hours, entrained again at 5-45, and after nice journey
May 15th Wednesday Scotch Quarter Day
arrived at Cramont at one a.m. Here I met several of my old pals, Bill Read, Birdie, and others. Grand day, laid in an orchard.
May 16th Thursday
Very warm day. Rose at 4 a.m. Breakfast at 5 a.m. left Cramont at 5.30, marched to Candas (16 Kilos). Got on open train for Rancheville, had tea and marched to Varennces (8 kilos).
May 17th Friday Easter Law Sitting end. First Quarter, 8.14 p.m.
Lovely day. Very busy cooking for details and meat to go up the line. Had a bath. Washed shirt, pants, socks, handkerchief, towel and 3 pair of overalls.
May 18th Saturday
Grand day, bit of a storm in evening. Working until 8 p.m.
May 19th Sunday Whitsun Day. Ember Week
Very nice day. Still very busy. Georgie gone down gassed.
May 20th Monday Whit Monday. Bank Holiday
Very warm. Extra busy, finished late.
May 21st Tuesday Whit Tuesday.
Swelting hot. Plenty of work. Had another bath. Washed 2 shirts, pants, socks, overalls.
May 22th Wednesday Ember Day
Rained on the afternoon. Still slipping into work.
May 23rd Thursday
Lovely day. Still busy. Went up line with Frank to relieve Billy and Squibs.
May 24th Friday Empire Day.Full Moon 10.32 p.m.
Wet day. A bit of shelling going on. Boys went over.
May 25th Saturday
Very nice day. Having quite a holiday. Shelling going on.
May 26th Sunday Trinity Sunday. Queen born, 1867
Nice day. Not so warm. We were relieved and went into reserve. Shelling very heavy on both sides.
May 27th Monday
Lovely day. Shelling most terrific. Fritz attacked but was sent back with a hiding. Went back to camp just outside Forceville.
May 28th Tuesday Trinity Law Sittings
Splendid day. Plenty to do.
May 29th Wednesday
Very nice day. Went back to Varrence. Boys went into line again.
May 30th Thursday Corpus Christi
Nice Day. Very busy indeed.
May 31st Friday
Lovely day. Jerry over head all night.
June 1st Saturday Interest payable on £5 % War Loan 1929-1947
Very warm indeed. Went to concert.
June 2nd Sunday 1st after Trinity. last Quarter, 4.20 a.m.
Very nice day. Busy as ever.
June 3rd Monday King born, 1865.
Splendid day. Still very busy.
June 4th Tuesday
Very nice day. Bags of work.
June 5th Wednesday
Lovely day. Left Varrence to meet the boys out of the line in Acheux Wood. No sleep.
June 6th Thursday
Very warm indeed. Left Acheux Wood for Foutencourt, anchored in the wood. Very nice.
June 7th Friday
Nice day. Plenty to do. Went to concert in the wood.
June 18th Tuesday
June 19th Wednesday
Wet day. Very busy.
June 20th Thursday
Nice day. Batt. sports held.
June 21st Friday
Nice day. Went on Army Corps Commanders inspection. Wet night.
June 22th Saturday Longest Day
Nice day, cold wind. Left the wood at Foultencourt for Acheux Wood, came up here in trenches in front of Mailly Mallet.
June 23rd Sunday 4th after Trinity Prince of Wales born, 1894.
Nice day, cool winds. Took a walk round a cemetery to see if I could find Hubert's grave, no luck, saw several "Unknown British Soldier" graves.
June 24th Monday S. John Baptist. Midsummer Day. Full Moon 10.38 a.m.
Nice day, rather cold wind. Very quiet.
June 25th Tuesday
Nice day. Went up into support.
June 26th Wednesday
Nice day. Plenty to do.
June 27th Thursday
Very nice day. Built a cook house.
June 28th Friday
Nice day. Went up to intermediate support.
June 29th Saturday
Very nice day. Started on another cookhouse.
June 30th Sunday 5th after Trinity
Very nice day, rather warm.
July 1st Monday Last Quarter, 8.43 a.m.
Hot day. Busy.
July 2nd Tuesday
Very hot day. Still busy.
July 3rd Wednesday
Very nice day. Were relieved from Intermediate support and went to Reserves again.