Saturday, 17 December 2011

Thank You

These diaries have now gone into storage, to keep them safe and are very much still with the family!

Thank you for all your feedback and kind words, it was such an honour to have these to read, investigate and relive.

Never forget what they sacrificed for us from the beginning and if you'd like to continue to help, please visit the Royal British Legion and give, give, give:


Monday, 12 April 2010

January 1st - 9th 1915

January 1st 1915. Friday.

Nothing to do now. Appealed to Major Parr, but he said, the list had been send in to headquarters and could not be altered. Swore that Sergt Risley had dropped me for this, had an awful row with him and wished him to the devil and nearly got put in the guardroom over it. Down in the dumps.

January 2nd. Saturday.

Life with a new battalion. Relived at 4. My last dealings with 4th. Fell in with them but then got slung out and said goodbye to all, many cheers. They marched off at 6:30, destination unknown. Felt heartbreak. Were told we would be eventually following them, then home in a fortnights time, am doubtful. Marched to St. Georges at 5 and reports to 2/4th. Met one of two old 4th fellows that I know. Found out that 2nd, 3rd and 4th batts had left. Had to sleep on a stone floor, with no bed.

January 3rd. (Saturday, Crossed Out) Sunday.

Hanging around the barracks all day. Were treated rotten and got hardly any food. Slept on floor again, but with two blankets this time.

January 4th. Monday.

Medical exam. Passed fit for service. Had argument with Major Parr. Appointed to our companies, I go to 'B' under Capt. Parkhouse, an 1/4th Officer who was left at home.

January 5th. Tuesday

Served with new equipment and arms, also a bed. Col. Dunfee spoke to us and said we were to behave as gentlemen, thus practically insinuating we were rogues. Put in room B4 and soon settled down.

January 6th. Wednesday

On barracks once more. Very easy time for us fellows, as the new lot are not so far advanced as we are. Easy time, nothing new. Having much better food though!

January 7th. Thursday

Room cleaning, off all parades. Inspection at two then finished. So passed time away, writing letters home.

January 8th. Friday.

We have a new instructor. Buch (?) Cox R.G.A. Under him all day for bayonet fighting and physical exercise. Rather strenuous work.

January 9th. Saturday.

Early morning exercise under Cox, rest of morning under Capt. (?) and Lieut Edwards, who were left behind with us. Paid 8/6. Then took all the fellows to Valetta.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

December 26th - 31st 1914

December 26th - Saturday

We all have thick heads, did not get to bed till after 1am. Mounted guard at 6 again till 9. Did not feel up to it. Head is spinning, I am half asleep.

December 27th - Sunday

A strong rumour about leaving Malta for England. Off guard at 09:30. Went to the Dublin Bar with our Irish friends. Lieutenant Long treats us to 1/- each. Had a real good feed followed by a sing song. Got back to barracks at 10:30pm.

December 28th - Monday

Told to pack our kits before mounting guard, on the usual post at night. Relived by 1st Batt. at 12:30. Had dinner and then marched off to Ghajn Tuffieha Bay at 2:30. Had own tea on arrival, were examined by Major Parr and passed alright. Happy as sandboys.

December 29th - Tuesday

Handed in our drills and helmets. Everybody is completely rigged out in (can't read due to smudge) and small kit. Big Xmas mail in, was fairly lucky about 10 letters and parcels.

December 30th - Wednesday

Marched to St. Georges and handed in old equipment and arms. Done over 20 miles. Taken before Major Parr when I got back with the other fellows and we were told we could not go. No exam.

Would not accept it, made a complaint and had awful row that night with Gen. Sgt.

December 31st - Thursday

Checking stores all day, tables, forms, lamps, tents, blankets & accoutrements. Others handed their kits in, I were out away, mine refused. Felt miserable & wild & vicious in turn. Went and appealed to Capt Saunders but he could not help me.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Christmas Day 1914

December 25th Friday 1914

Christmas Day.

My first away from home.

At break of day all churches ring their bells and at the same time had a very severe rainstorm and got drenched, not very cheerful, but still it soon cleared and our spirits restored.

Off guard at 9.00am. Paid 7/-. Spratts biscuits, jam and tea for dinner.

We all clubbed round 1/- each to have a good time. Sgt Cornwall and Deakins work hard all day to give us a good feed.

Dinner at 5.30pm. Menu Roast Turkey with stuffing, Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Greens boiled and baked potatoes, followed by the customary pudding with brandy sauce. Tables then cleared by defaulters.

Alfresco smoking concert afterwards. Plenty of cigars, cigarettes, beer, minerals and fruit to be had.

Each man was presented with a Regimental Pipe and Pouch with crest and 1/6 lb Navy tobacco.

Concert finished at 11.00pm and then we went out to Gospicun and finished the evening there.

Monday, 10 August 2009

December 19th to Christmas Eve 1914

December 19th Saturday

Off guard at 9.30am. Paid 7/- and waited for dinner. Directly afterwards all of us crossed the harbour by ferry, all happy as sand boys up to any devilry. Went round the bay and bought various little odds and ends. Finished the evening in the wine shops.

December 20th Sunday

On guard as usual, know my beat like a book, also regular passers by. Prisoners have a singsong, supposed to be Kaiser’s b’day and did not pack up till 2.00am.

December 21st Monday

Off duty at 9.30am, as there was nothing to do all day, Gael and I went down to the docks and looked over some of the warships being repaired there.

December 22nd Tuesday

Usual guard again, Maltese are building us stone guard rooms, to replaced the damaged tents. Raining cats and dogs, but we managed to keep a bit dry.

December 23rd Wednesday

Off at 9.30am. Small mail in, I got a parcel from home and a few letters, also another parcel from Mrs Causton.

December 24th Thursday

Christmas Eve. On No 5 Guard this time. In the middle of English quarter a Scots woman gives us some jugs of cocoa to warm us up. Germans have another night of revelling. Their hard lot does not seem to trouble them. The natives stay up all night and march all round the town, singing accompanied by banjos and violins.

Monday, 3 August 2009

December 15th - 18th 1914

December 15th Tuesday

Off guard at 9.00am. Had a rifle inspection 1 hour later. Could do as we pleased for the rest of the day. So made a tour of the town and shops.

December 16th Wednesday

Same guard as before. Nearly all 3rd Batt men are Prisoners baggage guard. 200 cartloads came in. Sure sign that the Navy is still knocking about. Rained hard during the night and got drenched to the skin. We are worse off than the prisoners who have better food and beds.

December 17th Thursday

85 Prisoners, Germans, Turks and Austrians brought in, but majority are Germans off a liner. Have got the Commander and some of the crew of the ‘Exden(tbc)’ here. Unlucky again, not relieved till 6.00pm.

December 18th Friday

On at the usual guard at 9.00am. Am quite used to my post on gate now. The English people here lend us newspapers. A characteristic Eastern evening, myriads of stars, lovely and cool.

Monday, 27 July 2009

December 10th - 14th 1914

December 10th Thursday

All of us were attached to ‘C’ Coy. Marched to Vendala, under Capt Ving Bariles in 4 hours. Just missed a guard that night. C Coy Colour Seraf breaks his leg. We relieved ‘H’ Company and will do guard on alternate days with the 3rd Batt. Established myself in No 1 Room St Pauls Bastion with Buglers Jul and Reullier. First time we have ever been in barracks.

December 11th Friday

20 of us under Lieut Lang escorted 26 German and Austrian Prisoners from compound to a French warship and handed them over to the Froggies. Maltese hiss and spit at prisoners.

Changed our quarters to St Johns Bastion. Settled down with L/Cpl Bruce and Pte Galé. Proper beds to sleep in. Mattress, pillow, 2 sheets and 3 blankets. Have got 2 rooms to ourselves.

Racks, lockers, table forms, lamps and fireplaces in fact everything necessary.

December 12th Saturday

Mounted guard at 9.00am and relieved 3rd Batt men from No 4 Exterior Sentry group. Life sentry. Don’t think there is any chance of escape for Prisoners. Orders are ‘shoot on sight’.

December 13th Sunday

More Prisoners came in, so were unfortunate and did not get relieved till 2.00pm. Washed and changed and then went out to enjoy ourselves in Gospicun. Plenty of English people.

December 14th Monday

On No 6 guard this time, which is on the other side of Compound and much better. All of enclosure borders the town so we slip off to shops when nobody is about. Made friends with English folk. Prefer this place at any time.