[transcription provided by collection donor]
July 1, 1918
Put up at Villa St. Jacques with Capt. Pratt & Mr. Wood, Pioneers of the West Yorkshire. Met Cadet Love who is a resident here.
Biarritz is full of beautiful girls. There are many of the Spanish type & the best of French Society here. We go in bathing at 11am. On the Prom in the afternoon. Tea & supper on the Prom again. It’s a great place to recuperate & I was feeling like a fighting cock in no time.
While here I visited Bayonne & St. Jean de Luz. At the latter place I met an American from South America, in fact she & her daughter picked me up & took me in for tea. The country is full of American soldiers south of Paris. I never saw such lovely children as they have at Biarritz & I spent several hours lying on the sands watching them play.
July 5, 1918
Visited Lourdes. On the train & in the same compartment with me were two of the most beautiful girls I have ever had the pleasure to see. The feeling that came over me as I approached the LaBasilique was very strange. I first entered the Rosaire. The interior is all of marble with numerous side altars. The walls are inlaid with marble tablets commemorating the miracles that have occurred at Lourdes. After spending some time here I went around to the Grotto – drank a cup of the water & then looked in at Les Piscines et la Grotte. This is where cases are immersed. Now I went up to the church which is built over the Grotto. All was wonderful & beyond my descriptive power. When I was coming away I suddenly felt like singing.
R.T.O. = Railroad Transport Officer
July 6, 1918
Arrived at Rouen, reported to the R.T.O. who sent me to the leave officer & who in turn sent me to the Cyclist Commandant & this fellow sent me to the Reinforcement depot much against my will. All I wanted to know was when I could get a train to take me to my railhead, ie: Aubigny. I kicked, growled & cussed to no avail. Here I have to stay till some of these old fools wake up & let me know when I can get a train. In the meantime I am surrounded & hemmed in by rules & regulations galore & my leave is up. I should be back with the battalion.
The R.T.O.’s are a bunch of silly asses, very unobliging, full of conceit of their own importance & lacking the knowledge that an ordinary jackass possesses & just as stubborn as that beast.
July 9, 1918
I am off for the front. Arrived at the battalion rear the night of July 10th & went into the line on the 11th – frontage on Neuville-Vitasse.
July 15, 1918
Moved back into support on Telegraph Switch. Accommodation here is very poor: my dugout was moldy, old & very damp. There were six of us in a mighty small place. We were surrounded by our artillery & were subject to a lot of harassing fire with a few gas shells.
We were released on the night of the 23/24th. I left the trenches with Col. Pearkes & Capt. Hind at 1:45 am. We rode out through Agny, Achicourt to Dainville & I crawled into my sleeping bag at 4:00am.
July 24, 1918
Rested all day. The band played for us while we had supper. The men were payed.
July 25, 1918
As we were falling in to leave Dainville, Fritz shelled us. We passed through Wagonlieu to Y Camp area west of Etrun & north of Duisans. Just as we reached camp it began to rain very hard. During the night we were shelled & bombed.
July 26, 1918
Went over to Marsueil with Capt. Cote, had a bath & some Barsac wine which caused us to go zig-zag. In the afternoon met Major George Hall at 12th Field Amb.
July 28, 1918
Visited 9th Field Amb. at Ecoivres & there met Capt. Fraser (Ottawa) & Thomas of Victoria. They haven’t been busy lately & were all fed up.
July 30, 1918
Moved from Y Camp area passing through Duisans, Agnaz-les-Duisans, Gouves, Montenescourt & Wanquetin which is our starting point; on through Fosseux, Barly & Sombrin to Warluzel. It was a 30 kilo march: men carried full equipment & packs for the first time. Thirty-nine men fell out on this march. We are entirely in the dark as to our final destination. We would like to go south but the general feeling is that we are going north. The 8th & 10th Field Amb. are at Warluzel with us. I saw John Briggs – he is next to go on leave.
July 31, 1918
Half our transport has been sent to Doullens to entrain. The rest of us are under orders to enbuss tonight at 8: destination as yet unknown. Men have 48 hours’ rations.
Visited Doullens with Capt. Cote. Bought a shirt, two collars, & undershirt. In the evening we marched to Sus-St.-Leger & there enbussed. Travelled all night reaching Belloy-St.-Leonard about 5 am where we debussed & marched to Aumont. Here we rested all day & night. Have to go 3½ miles to get water. There is a famine of cigarettes & matches in the battalion.