|Diary written by Fred G. Ainge (Laura Rossi’s great uncle who was a stretcher bearer attached to the 29th Division on 1st July 1916).|
|The Diary. September 20th 1914 to October 24th 1917||Text|
|2037 F.G.Ainge1.S.M.F. AMBULANCEB.E.F.
|1914Oct 20Enlisted in 2/1st S.M.7. Amb. At Gt. Brook St. B’ham
B’ham to Northhampton. Very good time.
Transferred to 1st S.M.7. Amb. at Witham. Essex. Rather Dull.
Witham. 2.10 a.m. Arrived Southampton 8.30 a.m. Embarked 9.15 p.m.
Arrived Nauve. France. 5.15 a.m. Left mid-night. all excitement.
Left Nauve. 5 a.m. 28 hrs in Cattle Trucks. Not bad riding, altho’ very slow.
Arrived Cassell. 3.15 a.m. Marched to Oudijeel. Very Tired.
Easter Monday. Oudejel to Bailleiul. 20 miles full kit. Pouring rain, all dead beaten & soaked. Rotten experience.
|April 10Bailleul to Armentiers. Nice place but much damaged. Slept in lace factory.April 17
Armentiers to Romarin (Belgium). Saw 2nd Battle of Ypres & Hill 60. First effects of poison gas felt.
Romarin to Bailleul. Opened big hospital & was very busy.
Bailleul back to Romarin. Hospital handed over. Many Canadians in.
Romarin to Pait – de – Nieppe. School as hospial. Very nice.
Making Dug-outs at Ploegsteuch. Much sniping.
Still on Dug-outs. Heavy German shelling. Very exciting Bomb explosion in Nieppe 20 casualties.
|June 5Billy at Amiens at C.C.S. Still on Dug-outs. Very warm.June 11
On G.D. at hospial.
Oultersteen – Vieux – Berquin. Wet through.
Nieppe – Oultersteen. Lovely barn.
V.B. – Gonnhem. Slept in old theatre. March 7pm – 4am
Gonnehem to Allouague theatre billet.
Under Canvas. Very nice.
Allouague. Ames Went round Indian Encampment. Very interesting.
Ames – Lillers. Entrained 7 p.m. for – ?.
|July 21Arrived Maudicourt – Pas (Nr. Doulleus) 3.30am March to BartonJuly 22.
Slept out. – Rain – wet through. On guard all night.
Very busy at Hospital. on Nights.
Les Freeman came up form Havre.
Barton. Arqueves in barns. Not bad.
Officer’s Mess. Busy.
Day orderly in hospital, – Scabies ward. Many patients.
Twelve sent to Baths at Couin. Nice place.
Expect to move any time. Heavy bombardment. Big attack. Eng. & French advancing. Various points.
|Oct 20.Built hut. (Trees. Mud. Etc) at Couin. Very comfortable.Nov. 11.
Back at Arqueves. G.D. at Hospital. A. Sec.
Back at Couin on Water Duty.
Christmas Eve. Pouring with rain. Very miserable.
Merry Xmas. Finished work 12.30. Had a good Time.
Felt Rotten. “Nuff Sed”
New Year’s Day. Very nice time.
Still on Water Duty. Couin + Coigneux. Decent.
|Friday. April. 28.Leave. Left Couin 4 p.m.Embarked 11.30 p.m. Sat. 29.
Arrived “Blighty” 7 a.m. Home sweet Home 1.50. Sunday.
Had time of my life at home. Very rotten to come away. Left 11 a.m. arr Havre 2.30 A.M. Monday.
Back at Beauval. Unit on rest. Decent. Felt “fed up.”
On Nights at Hospital.
Left Beauval for Coulonvillers.
On Manoeuvres. Very Tiring.
Whit Monday. Coulonvillers to Yvrencheux in Barns.
Yvrencheux to Hem.
|June. 16.Hem to Arqueves.June 18.
Preparing for big attack.
Left for Trenches 9 p.m.
Arr. Englebelmer 12 p.m. Heavy Shelling. Att. 29th Div.
Dawn. Big Attack all along the line. Food scarce.
Many deadand & wounded. Awful bombardment still on. Working day & night.
Colonel & Capt. Thomason wounded. Casualties in Amb. about 15. No luck on our Section. Newfoundland’s got an auful cutting up. German M. guns waiting for them. Terrible sights. Dead & wounded galore.
Thunderstorm. Dug-outs flooded. Wet Through. Left Trenches 11 p.m. for
|July 4. (cont)Arqueves. First good sleep since June 30. Seems so quiet after bombardment.July 6.
Clearing up. Compliments by Corps Commander. Back with 48th Div.
Arqueves for Thievres. Still bombarding.
Sent to baths at Courcelles. Very decent. Much shelling.
Went round Hebuterne with working party.
Courcelles. – Thievres. Short notice.
Left Thievres for Senlis. (Nr Albert.
Left for Trenches 9 a.m. Arr “Crucifix Corner” & sent on to “Blightly Wood” Heavy shelling.
|July. 16.Moved to Ovillers Trenches. Very fierce fighting. Gas shells galore. Many German prisoners taken.July 17.
9 p.m. – 4 a.m. In German Trenches in front of Ovillers (which has just been captured by us). Awful mess.
In German lines. Dead & wounded galore. Very busy. German Dug-outs very deep & comfortable. Awful smell of dead.
Twenty – four hours in German lines. on end.
In Bombing attack with Glosters. Terrible night. Many wounded.
Left Trenches. March to Bouzaincourt.
Sent back to Ovillers at short notice. Arr. 11.30 p.m. working all
|July 22. (cont)night in No Man’s Land. Gas shells, Tear shells, Maxim’s shrapnel Etc. all named. Eyes very sore.July 23
Still working in German lines. Several gassed & wounded. Still attacking Trench we have fought for for several days taken, several prisoners & many wounded.
Left Trenches. Back to Arqueves.
Arqueves – Beauval. Very hot.
Beauval – Danquer. still very hot.
Danquer – Beauval.
|Aug. 10.Beauval – Varennes.Aug 13
Left for Ovillers Trenches. Stayed at Crucifix Corner. Night Clerk. Saved fellow from drowning in Ancre River near by. Very Exciting.
Big battle going on. Good advances. 700 prisoners just arrived. 10.30 p.m. felt very sick, believe it to be effects of gas shells. Sent down to Bouzaincourt. Our own hospital.
Left Bouzaincourt. Boys returned from Trenches. March to Bus. Opened O.R.S. G.D.
Bus to Sartan.
|Sept. 11.Sartan to Gezaincourt. On Rest.Sept. 17.
Gezaincourt to St. Hilaire. Soaked Through.
St. Hilaire to Ribeaucourt. Nr Domart.
Ribeaucourt to Candas.
Candas to :- (a farm on its own, – “Nowhere”). Nr Saulty.
? Farm to St. Amand in Barns. (Nr Souastre).
St. Amand. to Grand Rullecourt. In huts.
Gd. Rullecourt. To Franvillers.
|Oct. 26.Franville to Millencourt Nr Albert.Nov 2.
Millencourt to Contalmaison & trenches. Living in O.G. dugout 40ft deep under what was a Chateau. Terrible bombarding by both sides, & mud very deep. Several horses etc drowned in shell holes. Many burials is ground just by. 75 Germans killed in our dug-out when British first took over. Many traces of Germans found. Many experiences too numerous to mention. Very busy.
Left Contalmaison after six weeks for Albert.
Xmas Day in Albert. Reg at H.2. Hospital Sick Les also in hospital, two days ago. In charge of B. Sec. Water Cover. Loxley in BLIGHTY.
|Dec. 28.Moved from Albert to Becourt. 110s 1 & 2 M.D.’s taken over. Ckerk in Evac. Ward.1917.
Becourt to Morcourt. South of Somme River. Took over form French. Good sliding on Somme overflow.
Morcourt to Cappy. (On R. Somme) Relieve French soldiers.
Cappy to Fleucourt and trenches. Rather busy. Much enemy Shelling.
Up the line with Capt. Kennora saw Peronne. some shelling.
Mch. 6. (At Stiffin Nr. Peronne)
Went up trenches thigh deep in mud for wounded fellow in T.M.B. Imposs to get him along trench
|so waited for dark. Started back over the top with T.M.B. Officer & six men. Fritz spotted us & shelled heavily. Left on top with stretcher by myself everyone else under cover. Fritz dropped about 40 shells within a radius of 100 yds took fellow back to dug-out & reported A.D.S. T.M.B. Officer reccommeded me, which has gone through our C.O.Mch. 8.In H.Q dug-out of 6th Warwicks. Over on Bombing Stunt. 2 M.G’s 3 prisoners. heard all instructions & signals during operation. Three killed by shell on our dug-out. Just missed it by inches.
Sent down to Flanecourt for water. Shell fell on us and blew me full length. Wounded Groves and other chap shell shock. Me very badly shaken. A week of experiences.
Resing at Flaucourt Nr Perronne.
|March 20.Entered Peronne German’s in full retreat. 1st anil in Peronne. Streets all wrecked & trees thrown all about. Very busy.March 26
Peronne to Buere for 24 hrs.
Ret: to P Cor Orderly working the line round St Envily. Rounsoy etc.
Perrone to Conchles Bombles – Bapaume – Bapaume to Beuiny & up line. Terrible bombards. Arras push.
Returned to H.Q.
Up line again.
Relieved by 3rd Div.
Moved from Beugny to Achiet – Le – Grand.
|July 3.Left Achiet – Le – GrandArrived Gaudiempré (Nr St. Amand. Long March. Very hot.
Left Gaudiempre & marched to Mandicourt – Pas. Entrained for Belgium.
Arrived Godewaersvelde. March to Goperinght.
July 31. to Aug 3rd
Up line for Big Push. much work. Soaked through. Working 36 hrs in wet things. No dry place to sit anywhere. no shelter. Heavy/Fritz shelling. Ten Casualties in Amb to-date. Awful conditions. Never felt more fed up. Mud knee deep. Working round Kitchener’s Wood. St. Julien. Etc Nr Ypres.
|Aug. 8th.Up line again. In forward push at K’s Wood. Very hot, shelling day & night. In German concrete dug out, 2 ft thick. Gas masks on for four hours.Aug 15th
Wounded by Fritz shell Nr K. wood. Rt. leg, thigh, arm, hand & chin. Small pieces
in 47 C.C.S.
Evacuated to Base in 26th Gen: Hos: Etaples.
Wounds better. Transferred to Convalescent Camp. Etaples.
Entrained to No 13 con. Camp at Trouville Nr Haure 15hrs ride. Still very sore.
Arr Trouville in huts. Plenty sea bathing etc.
Discharged from con. Camp and marked active.
|Oct 10thSent to base depot RouenOct 16th Leave (the goods)
Diary closed 24/10/17
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