Alfred Mills 

10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers
(City of London Regiment) the 'Stockbrokers'
 and The Royal Engineers

Great War Diary 1914-1918


Sunday 1 October Calonne

On mining fatigue today from midnight to 8:00am.

Wrote to Winnie.

Monday 2 October Calonne

Back in trenches. Relieved 13th King's Royal Rifle Corps this morning.

Letter from Ma.

Thursday 5 October Calonne

Made a raid on enemy trenches opposite us. No one there. No wonder it was quiet.

Monday 9 October Calonne

Relieved by Warwicks today and return to Bully-Grenas

Tuesday 10 October Bully-Grenay

I am 22 today. Out working all night at rail-head unloading railway rails. Made a lot of noise.

Letters from Ma, Winnie and Arthur.

Wednesday 11 October Bully-Grenay

Paraded this morning

Thursday 12 October Bully-Grenay

Watched rugger match this afternoon.

Friday 13 October Bully-Grenay

We played A company today and lost 4-3.

Wrote to Emily.

Saturday 14 October Bully-Grenay

Mounted guard at Grenay Bridge from 9:30pm to 11:30pm.

Tuesday 17 October Bully-Grenay

Been on guard duty for past 2 days. Left here at 13:30pm and march to Maisnil-les-Ruitz, about 7 miles.

Wednesday 18 October Maisnil-les-Ruitz

Left here at 8:30am and marched about 12 miles to Ostreville, a small village outside St Pol. Went out in evening to have a look around. Awful place!

Thursday 19 October Ostreville

Pouring with rain. Wrote to Nellie and Effie. Letter from Emily.

Friday 20 October Ostreville

Left here this morning and marched to Rebreuviette.

Saturday 21 October Rebreuviette

Left here and marched to Beauval, passing through Doullens on the way. Stay overnight

Sunday 22 October Beauval

Left here this morning and march to Puchevillers.

Monday 23 October Puchevillers

Had kit inspection this morning.

Wrote to Ma and Anglo-Saxon Comforts Fund.

Sunday 29 October Puchevillers

Been here a week and am now sick, but nothing serious. Looks like we?re being prepared for something.

Monday 30 October Puchevillers

Left here at 12:30pm and marched to Hem. Poured with rain all day.

Tuesday 31 October Hem

Went into Doullens this afternoon. Had a good time.

Wednesday 1 November Hem

Did four parades this morning.

Wrote to Emily

Thursday 2 November Hem

Ranging this morning. Went into Doullens in evening.

Friday 3 November Hem

Paraded in morning. Played North Lancs at rugby. We won 8-3.

Wrote to Comforts Fund.

Saturday 11 November Puchevillers

Leave Hem this morning. Glad to move on. March to here. Very rotten march and we're nearly done it at end.

Sunday 12 November Varennes

Left Puchevillers this morning and march here. Roads in very bad state.

Monday 13 November Hamel

Left Varennes and had awful march to get here. Roads in terrible mess.

Tuesday 14 November Hamel

In trenches in Reserve line.

Wednesday 15 November Hamel

Move up to Front line from Reserve line.
Battle of the Ancre. The 13th remained on the first line captured. But the 10th Battalion, who like the 13th, belonged to the 111th Brigade, had the pleasant experience of co-operating with a tank in the reduction of the German redoubt which had held up the centre of the 63rd Division. The mere appearance of the tank seems to have been sufficient, and without firing a shot, the 10th Battalion took 270 German prisoners and three machine guns. They also liberated 60 British prisoners who had been well treated, but were naturally glad to get back to their own army.

Thursday 16 November Hamel

Front line trenches are awfully rotten and just like a huge sunken road. Hell of a lot of shelling going on.

Friday 17 November Hamel

Awfully cold

Saturday 18 November Hamel

Went over the top this morning just as it started raining. Everything in an awful state. Went on ration fatigue at 4:00pm; wicked job. Straight on to sentry duty afterwards, all night.

Sunday 19 November Hamel

Came off sentry duty at 7:00am and had a rest. Went over the top this afternoon and relieved this evening and moved down to the Ravine.

Monday 20 November The Ravine

Go on a stretcher party to collect the wounded from Front line. All day job. We moved off about 5:00pm and marched to Englebelmer. Managed to get a hot meal on way there.

Tuesday 21 November Englebelmer

Resting all day. Have a bath in evening.

Wednesday 22 November Englebelmer

Still cleaning up. Weather not bad.

Thursday 23 November Englebelmer

Had inspection by Colonel this morning.

Wrote to Ma.

Friday 24 November Englebelmer

Left here this morning and march to Louvencourt.

Saturday 25 November Louvencourt

Raining nearly all day.

Sunday 26 November Louvencourt

Left here this morning and march to Puchevillers. Raining all day.

Thursday 14 December Puchevillers

Been here a while doing nothing except parades and fatigues, so good to be on the move. Left here and marched to Doullens arriving about 1:00pm, where we stay overnight.

Friday 15 December  Doullens

Left here at 8:30am and arrived at Rougefay about 3:00pm and had a rest before marching on to Oeuf-en-Ternois where we overnighted.

Saturday 16 December Oeuf-en-Ternois

Left here at 8:30am and marched to Sachin at about 7:00pm

Sunday 17 December Sachin

Left here at 8:30am and marched to Ecquedecques, adjoining Lillers, arriving at about midday.

Monday 18 December Ecquedecques

Left here and marched to Calonne-sur-la-Lys, leaving at 9:30and arriving at about 3:00pm.

Tuesday 19 December Calonne-sur-la-Lys

Having a rest today. Wrote to Nell.

Wednesday 20 December Vieille-Chapelle

Left Calonne-sur-la-Lys this morning and marched here.

Parcel from Ma.

Thursday 21 December  Vieille-Chapelle

Moved up to trenches at Richbourg where we relieved the Devons. On Bombing post.

Friday 22 December Richbourg

On Bombing post all day and night.

Letter from Ma.

Saturday 23 December Richbourg

On working party during day

Sunday 24 December Richbourg

Xmas Eve. Warned for Brigade job. I left trenches at 3:00pm and reported to Brigade HQ at Les Huits Maisens near Lestrem.

What a wonderful Xmas card to get. Coming out of those dreadful trenches. I wonder what the lads feel?  Our lives as troops in a front line infantry battalion is just sheer hell. Water and mud up to you knees and incessant shelling plus the offensives in which we take part and often we all said we would do any job to get out of the line, however distasteful. But, now an opportunity has occurred, I'm feeling remorse. Ought I to go? Not one of us like the trenches but we never flinch from our task of facing the enemy.

Monday 25 December Les Huits Maisens

Had Xmas Dinner. Walked into Vieille-Chapelle. I went into the estaminet there and met a chap from the RAMC, and suffering from a toothache, asked him if he could help. He took me over to his depot and pulled the tooth out.

Tuesday 26 December Les Huits Maisens

Working on maps.

Sunday 31 December Les Huits Maisens

New Year's Eve. Settled in here now. Drawing trench maps and general maps. Visited the lads a few days ago, but didn't stay long.