1st Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Over the top @ 5.30 am.
I make application for leave to Canada for 3 months. Gave application to Capt. Rix, OC, C. Coy, Canadian Forestry Corps.
Bosche is now at Albert. Damn it!
Sir Doug. Haig “fires” a couple of generals – about time too!!
*In 1918 Haig oversaw the successful British advances on the Western Front which led to victory for the Allies in November. Haig has been criticised by many over the years for his tactics, which it is argued were deeply flawed. The wartime Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was one such critic. He wrote that he sometimes wondered whether he should have resigned on more than one occasion rather than permit Haig to continue with his strategy. On the other hand, it is suggested that Haig’s hand was largely forced by the pressure placed by the French for constant relief on the Western Front, on the Somme in 1916 and at Passchendaele in 1917. ( http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/haig.htm)
Up @ am & make a tour of East end of London. Also around St. Paul’s. I find Ch. of St. Magnus. Called earlier days St. Magnes. Ch. Of All Hallows is pulled down. Saw a tank on the move. Have dinner at Canadian Y.M.C.A. In afternoon I tour the West End. Have tea @ Eagle “American” Y.M.C.A. Then to Baron’s Court to see Aunt Rhia. She gives me photos of Dad (Harry & I when young).
Contract a cold thru working in garden. I tied up the raspberry canes etc. for Kitsie. Tour the village of Mapperley with Kitsie during day to register people re margarine, sugar & tea cards. Play cards (Rummy) at night. My cold is cured by brandy & hot water, sugar etc.
*The impact of the German U-boat campaign made food shortages a serious problem by 1918. Malnutrition was seen in poor communities and as a result the government introduced rationing in 1918. Food products were added to the list as the year progressed. In January 1918, sugar was rationed and by the end of April meat, butter, cheese and margarine were added to the list of rationed food. Ration cards were issued and everyone had to register with a butcher and grocer.
Up @ 7.30. To Probate Registry Office Leicester & search wills. Have a special room & attendance – from 10 am to 4.30 pm. Go to Food Controller & get my weeks ration of tea, sugar & butter.
Have a little difficulty in getting my leave. Catch the 11.25 from Egham to London. To Manuscript Room British Museum. Later to Aunt Rhia’s. Leave @ 8 pm for Central London. In bed at my hotel when Air Raid alarm is sounded. I go upstairs & witness it.
Rec’d permission to go to Cathedral (Newcastle Tyne) to see His Majesty King George & Queen M. Cath. packed. 100 of us (wounded from Hosp.) are present in the North Transept & have a good view.
At 3 pm I go to Alderman Archibald’s to tea. Mrs. Arnott is there. I leave @ 8:30 with Mrs. Stewart of Ryton. Their Majesties go away in evening.
Monday evening 17th. To Hunters family & well entertained.
Roused at 6 am to be ready at 7:30 to go in bus to boat. Embarked on P. de Coninck for Dover. Journey takes about 2 hours. Very cold. Most of troops are on deck. Enter train for Newcastle. Given soup & meat on train. S. Major Russell of 4th C.M.R. is with me. Arrive Newcastle at 11 pm & go to Armstrong College (of Armstrong Whitworth factory works) which is filled up with hospital arrangements.
*When war broke out in August 1914, the First Northern General Hospital was mobilised with the rest of the Territorial General Hospitals. The original provision was for 540 beds, but by 1917 this had risen to 2166 and the unit took over Armstrong College, Durham University, the Newcastle Workhouse Infirmary (now Newcastle General Hospital) and a private house to serve as hospital accommodation.
Arrived last night at Casualty Clearing Station at 9:30 pm. Given clean change & put to bed on a stretcher. Awake all night, very cold. Up at 6 am. Wash in bed & breakfast of porridge. At 9:30 am we are put into a car for the station & board train for Boulogne, arriving after numerous painful stops @ 6 pm. Detrained @ 7 pm. Put into bus for #2 Australian General Hospl. in marquees.
*2 AGH Boulogne, France This was a large tented hospital, and most of the patients were battle casualties. It came to specialise in the treatment of fractures. This hospital experienced many air raids. Towards the end of the war there were outbreaks of influenza. When the armistice was signed, the staff barely found time to celebrate. They were too busy treating the influenza victims who continued to arrive throughout November.