25 December 1916

Extract from the diary of Pte James Arthur Railton, 8th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

[Pte Railton was from Wallasey and was called up in October 1916 and sent to Mesopotamia]

Christmas day (alongside quay). Service around 10am. Awful dinner. 3 rotten potatoes and a price of fat underdone meat and an orange. No sign of any Xmas pudding. Felt most miserable all day. Wrote home (16 men allowed ashore out of our crowd). Went for dinner.

 Extract from the official war diary of the 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Support trenches

250 men employed in carrying T.M. ammunition.  2nd Lieut JAQUES proceeded on leave and 9 O.R’s.   It was decided to hold no Xmas dinner but to wait until January 2nd

Extract from the official war diary of the 2nd Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Christmas Day was very quiet, enemy acted quite decent, did not fire their guns for the whole of the day.

14 December 1916

Extract from the diary of Pte James Arthur Railton, 8th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

[Pte Railton was from Wallasey and was called up in October 1916 and sent to Mesopotamia]

[In Plymouth]

Usual morning’s work. Wrote home in the afternoon. Refused our dinner, not fit to eat so had some more given to us. Rather better. Football match, lost 4-1. I scored only goal, a beauty.

 

24 July 1916

Extract from the official war dairy of the 1st Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Support trench

During the day a new trench was begun S.W. of LONGUEVAL, parties were working on it all day being shelled periodically.  LT. G. R. SIMPSON was wounded in the face during the afternoon.  Transport moved from F BECORDEL to a field S. of ALBERT on the ALBERT – MEAULTE road.

Extract from the diary of Harrison Johnston, the 15th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, 105th Infantry Brigade, 35th Division

Writing on my knee, sitting on a biscuit box in an OLD German dug-out, 10 am.

We had had no grub since last night, and only one hour’s sleep. What a life, what a life, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Relief complete 11.30 pm and we marched back a mile or so. Formed up amongst a large bed of thistles on a hill and were soon fast asleep. It was late morning when we had breakfast after a shave and a wash. My knee felt better, but gone green and blue for a distance round the place I got the whack.

I recommended two NCOs for good work in the trenches ; they both got MM.

Our friends the Sherwoods had a rather bad time – in fact, very bad – casualties not mentioned. They mad an attack which did not come off. I think they tried too big a thing. The 16th had a bad time and did very well under a severe test. They repelled the Hun attack and young Ryalls distinguished himself – in fact, covered himself with glory – so much so that Colonel Brown Clayton called him out in front of the Battalion and thanked and congratulated him. (He was awarded the DSO, as also was Colonel Brown Clayton). Hodson got the MC.

Hodson was sent up as reserve to the 16th and he says they all did splendidly. He particularly admired the CO.

We lay about the hillside all day. The men resting after a rifle inspection and cleaning up of equipment.

My gramophone which was ordered two months ago, was delivered here! Heaven knows what we’ll do with it now. However, we got it going and it cheered us all up splendidly. It was a nice bright day and we enjoyed ourselves.

Orders were issued that we were attached to another Brigade, and one Company was to go up and dig a strong point, whilst the other three carried bombs and ammunition during the attack to come off that night. This was cancelled later and we had to put our men in some old trenches to save them from the shells – SOME rest for our shaken nerves.

Our artillery bombarded the Huns from 8 till 12 am and from 3 to 5 am. Some attacks were made, perhaps you know how they went, we have nothing definite. Our artillery gave him gyp and the sight was comforting.

31 March 1916

Extract from the diary of Harrison Johnston, the 15th (Service) Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, 105th Infantry Brigade, 35th Division

4-30 p.m.  We “stood to” at 4.20 a.m. in a horrible snowstorm, and by jove it was cold.  I let them “stand down” as early as I dared.

I had to write a song of hate to the Orderly Room about rations.  Our supply was very short, both grub and fuel, and as I pointed out when I “protested strongly,” the men cannot fight and work day and night, in such bitter weather, unless they have plenty of food and fuel.  Quarter of loaf per day is no use, and bread is the chief difficulty it seems.  What is the use of giving men rice or flour in lieu of bread – might as well give them hay.  However, things were better next day.

The Trench Mortar Officer came up about 9-30 and did a bit of firing. He damaged the Boches wire and burst his parapet in one place, then asked our machine gunners to keep fire bearing on this spot all night so that it cannot be repaired.

We had a bit of revolver shooting at big rats in the evening, but we’re not very good shots I find.

A funny thing happened owing to the frost, which I must tell you.  We have to send in a situation report at 4 a.m. daily giving the direction of the wind.  Daddy reported “gentle breeze due east” – this favourable for gas.  It seems all the people behind the lines got excited and many donned gas helmets.  However, our reports were all S.W. and our people evidently presumed Daddy’s weathercock was wrong.  It had frozen pointing East!

Aeroplanes and artillery working in conjunction had a busy day, but did not strafe us.  Both ours and the Huns’ at it all morning.  Houses behind our lines and Huns’ were set on fire. It was a nice clear day.  Fritz had three sausages (observation balloons) up opposite us – we had some up also.

25 December 1915

Extract from the war diary of Joseph Norton, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

Xmas. I had a very good time of it and got a very good dinner ready for the officers.

Extract from the official war diary of 10th Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

PLOEGSTEERT

A fairly fine day. Work as usual. No attempt at fraternising was made by Enemy who on the contrary were rather more vicious than usual. More heavy firing during night.

Extract from the official war diary of 2nd Bn, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

8.30am Battalion working on Trenches till 11 am.

11am Divine Service.

1pm Commanding Officer visited men at dinners.  Geese, Turkey, Plum Pudding, Oranges and Nuts were provided Regimentally.