Alfred Mills 

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

Great War Diary 1914-1918


Tuesday 3 April No.12 Stationary Hospital

Went up to MO and discharged for Duty. I leave tomorrow.

Parcel from Ma.

Wednesday 4 April St.Pol-sur-Ternoise

Left hospital today and went to station, but nothing doing. I go to the Rest Camp for the night.

Letters from Nelson, Ma, Emily and Winnie.

Thursday 5 April Frevent

Got a train to here and went to Rest Hut at the station.

Friday 6 April Frevent

Good Friday. Still in Rest Hut

Saturday 7 April Frevent

Left the Rest Hut this morning and went to Divisional Depot.

Sunday 8 April Frevent

Easter Sunday. Paraded for Brigading.
Battle of Arras. On the battle front there were a number of Fusilier battalions waiting to take their part in the struggle. Farthest north were the 8th and 9th Battalions (12th Division), just above the Arras-Cambrai road. Behind this division was the 37th with the 10th and 13th Battalions.

Monday 9 April Frevent

Easter Monday. Drilled during day and stayed in this evening as warned for guard tomorrow.

Tuesday 10 April Frevent

Went on guard at 9:30am this morning.
Battle of Arras. About noon, the Royal Fusiliers moved forward once more. The 13th Battalion crossed the northen end of Orange Hill and then swung half-left towards the outlying woods west of Monchy. The 10th Battalion on the right were in touch, and both units continued to advance under a heavy barrage until the 10th were only 600 yards west of Monchy. The losses of both battalions had been very heavy.

Wednesday 11 April Frevent

Came off guard at 9:30am this morning. Got paid.
Battle of Arras. A provisional line of trenches had to be dug west of the village (Monchy), after consultation with the Royal Engineers. This line was completed by about 4:00am. About an hour and a half later the 10th and 13th Battalions made a last spurt forward and the 13th established themselves north of the village, about 100 yards west of Hamers Lane; and this position they held throughout the day. The 10th Battalion, now commanded by Major A. Smith, stormed the village itself and occupied it under a heavy barrage. The west side was entrenched  and a small advanced post was established on the east side of the village. the cavalry entered the village about 11:00am and were heavily shelled. The Royal Fusiliers held these positions until relieved at 11:00pm.It was a memorable day. At one time there was a blinding snowstorm; but the troops ignored such small inconveniences.
When Lieut-General Sir R.C.B.Haking, inspected the 10th Battalion on January 5th 1918, he said it was the best-turned-out unit he had seen for twelve months. Their (10th) achievement at Monchy le Preux must place them in the front rank for courage, tenacity and skill. Their losses were twelve officers (including Lieut-Colonel Rice, wounded) and 240 other ranks.

Thursday 12 April Frevent

Drilled during the day

Friday 13 April Frevent

Drilled during the day

Saturday 14 April Frevent

Warned for Lewis Gun Instructors course. Had lecture on gun this morning. Go into Frevent for a feed.

Sunday 15 April Frevent

I'm leaving Frevent today for Noyelle-Vion to attend Lewis Gun Instructors course. Pouring with rain.

Monday 16 April Noyelle-Vion

Commenced Lewis Gun Instructors course. Estaminet in evening.

Tuesday 17 April Noyelle-Vion

Lewis Gun Instructors course. Estaminet in evening.

Wednesday 18 April Noyelle-Vion

Lewis Gun Instructors course.  Bath in evening.

Thursday 19 April Noyelle-Vion

Lewis Gun Instructors course. Pictures in evening.

Friday 20 April Noyelle-Vion

Lewis Gun firing on range in morning. Cleaning and mechanism in afternoon. Went to Pictures in Avesnes-le-Comte in evening.

Saturday 21 April Noyelle-Vion

Lewis Gun Instructors course this morning. I leave for Frevent by railway.

Sunday 22 April Frevent

Went into town with Cummings.

Sent field service post card to Ma.
Monday 23 April Gavrelle
Second Battle of the Scarpe. The 10th Battalion attacked at 4:45am and took the German second line without much difficulty, but further advance was held up by machine gun fire and snipers until the 13th Battalion came up on the left flank. the advance was resumed; but the 10th Battalion lost touch with the right and left units later on. At 9:30am, the 10th, now consisting of 3 officers and 50 other ranks, had occuoied Cuba Trench, and the 13th battalion came up again about half and hour later. But the 63rd Brigade on the right were not found again until 9:55pm. The 10th Battalion had advanced up to the road running due south of Gavrelle and established a line not far from the north-western slopes of Greenland Hill.

Wednesday 25 April Frevent

We leave here today in Lorries bound for St Nicholas, Arras.

Thursday 26 April St Nicholas

Arrived here this morning. Left for trenches

Friday 27 April St Nicholas

In Reserve line.

Saturday 28 April St Nicholas

Left Reserve line and moved to Support line.

Sunday 29 April St Nicholas

Leave Support trenches and move back to St Nicholas itself.

Monday 30 April Izel-les-Hameaux

Arrive here by Lorries from St Nicholas.

Tuesday 1 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Paraded in morning. Cleaning up during day

Wednesday 2 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Paraded in morning

Thursday 3 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Wrote to Ma.

Friday 4 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Wrote to Dot and Nell. Went to Barn Owls Concert in evening.

Saturday 5 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Had bath and parade this morning. Lewis Gun practice in afternoon.

Wrote to Jean, Nelson and Miss Daisy Burrell.

Sunday 6 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Wrote Anglo-Saxon Comforts Fund and to Dad. Parcel, Tatler and letter from Ma.

Monday 7 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Wrote to Mrs Cain and George. Letter from Ma. Tatler from Emily.

Tuesday 8 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Parcel from Ma and 2 newspapers

Wednesday 9 May Izel-les-Hameaux

On parade in morning and arm drill under battalion Sgt Major in evening.

Thursday 10 May Izel-les-Hameaux

On parade in morning. Boxing contest in afternoon.

Friday 11 May Izel-les-Hameaux

On parade in morning

Saturday 12 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Night stunt tonight. Arrive back about midnight.

Sunday 13 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Went to Service this morning.

Monday 14 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Reveille at 3:30am for stunt. Washed out due to rain.

Tuesday 15 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Reveille at 3:30am for all day stunt. Arrived back about 5:00pm

Wednesday 16 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Parade during day

Thursday 17 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Parade this morning.

Friday 18 May Izel-les-Hameaux

Leave here for Berneville

Saturday 19 May Berneville

Leave here for Arras

Sunday 20 May Arras

Leave here for Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

Monday 21 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Reserve trenches. Beautiful weather.

Tuesday 22 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Reserve trenches. Raining all day.

Wednesday 23 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Reserve trenches. On parade during day.

Thursday 24 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

Left Reserve trenches for Support line. On rations at night.

Friday 25 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Support trenches. Nothing doing during day. On digging in no-man's-land at night. Hell of a strafe on. It's been a beautiful day (weatherwise).

Saturday 26 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Support trenches. Digging in no-man's-land at night. Beautiful weather today.

Sunday 27 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Support trenches. Digging in no-man's-land at night

Monday 28 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

In Support trenches. Not on fatigue tonight.

Tuesday 29 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

Tunnelling behind Support line in morning and afternoon. Digging a Support trench at night. Our stunt on at night.

Wednesday 30 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

On Ration fatigue at night

Thursday 31 May Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

On tunnelling until 9:00pm

Saturday 2 June Arras

Relieved at 11:00pm last night. Arrived here at about 3:00am. Left Arras at 4:00pm in Motor Buses for Ambrines.

Sunday 3 June Ambrines

Kit inspection this morning. General cleaning up.

Monday 4 June Ambrines

Drill this morning. Firing on range this afternoon.

Tuesday 5 June Ambrines

Drill this morning. Firing on range this afternoon.

Wednesday 6 June Ambrines

Leave here in Motor Buses for Boyaval, from where we march to Fiefs

Thursday 7 June Fiefs

Leave here at 10:00am and march to Beaumetz-les-Aire, bivouacking in paddock.

Friday 8 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

On special Lewis Gun parade in morning. Map drawing in afternoon and evening.

Saturday 9 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

Map drawing in morning.

Sunday 10 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

Map drawing during day.

Monday 11 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

Appointed Town Major's clerk.

Tuesday 12 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

Working with Town Major

Friday 22 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

Going round with sargeant from Royal Irish Rifles handing over village stores. Incessant rain. Give up Town Major's Clerk job and return to unit.

Saturday 23 June Beaumetz-les-Aire

Left here and marched to Isbergues

Sunday 24 June Isbergues

Left here at 4:00am and marched to the north east of Hazebrouck. Enemy planes flying around about midnight.

Monday 25 June north east of Hazebrouck

Left here at 6:00am and marched to Dranoutre via Bailleul. Marched past General Plumer on route. Went on guard on arrival. My feet are rather sore. Rained all night.

Tuesday 26 June Dranoutre

Came off guard at 9:15am. Potts and I strolled around for a while. Got paid this evening. Afterwards met Brooks and some drinks with him.

Wednesday 27 June Dranoutre

Paraded at 9:30am for rifle inspection. Had a stroll down into the village.

In evening, left Dranoutre and moved up into Support line in front of Messines. Some craters knocking about.

Thursday 28 June Messines

In MG emplacement in Support line in front of Messines. Left here at 10:00pm for Front line. Our Lewis Gun team took over an Advanced Outpost. Not a bad show as long as the enemy doesn't spot us. No rations.

Friday 29 June Messines

Can't move in daylight. No rations. Living on practically air today. Luckily I have Ma's cake which is worth a guinea a piece. Raining best part of the day.

Saturday 30 June Messines

Left our Advanced Outpost at about 12:30 am this morning and advanced about 100 yards. Had to dig ourselves in as were fired upon by my old comrades in B company. Rather a warm time for about 10 minutes.