© Peter Hodgkinson 2016
Part One -
31 December 1914
Had a good night in camp. Sang Old Lang Syne for the officers at Redmires.*
*D’ Company included a large contingent of reporters from the Sheffield Telegraph. Redmires Camp was built on the moors to the west of Sheffield.
3 January 1915
Raid on farm near Redmires Camp, also on inline picquet.*
Battalion route march round town.* Recruitment march for ‘E’ Company.
*“Route march 9-
Weekend off for home.
Officers mess. Went to town between 5 & 9 PM.
Late pass for home. 11 PM.
2 days CB for Church Parade. First offence.
Inline picquet. 2 days CB.*
* Confined to barracks.
First Thurs afternoon off. Football match.* Night march.
*A & B versus C & D – Diary of A. Casey http://www.pals.org.uk/sheffield/casey_diary02.htm
Weekend at home.
Football match between E & D. Won 1-
First day with full kit. Walked round Lings(?) & Whyming Brook & camp.
Charles Marsland married. Proposed marriage to Mabel,* bless her.
* Mabel Witheford.
On gate picquet. Got off at 3 PM.
First long march with full kit to Chapeltown. About 12 miles.
Returned from Chapeltown. About 18 miles.
Left for 4 days off for Easter. Saw Mr Stembridge re. Mabel. Went to Hippo at night.*
*Sheffield Hippodrome theatre.
Wet dat. Saw Mabel at 2.20. Went to cinema. At night had a walk round Woodseats & round to Ecclesall & home.
Wet day. Had a walk with father round Woodseats & Handsworth. Went up to Mabel’s in afternoon.
Grand day. Saw Mabel at 2.30 Coles.* Had a walk home round Norton & nab home.
*Cole Brothers department store.
Grand day. Had a fine walk with Mabel round Greenhill, Ridgeway, nab & home. In camp 9.20 pm.
Saw the Colonel. Got permission for marriage.
Mrs Witheford came up home for first time with Mabel.
My Wedding Day. Went to Southport for our honeymoon. Went by 2.15 Midland Railway.
To Liverpool & Seaforth. Grand day.
To Blackpool. Grand day.
Came home from Southport arrived Sheffield 6.15 Great Central Railway.
Left Sheffield at 11.20. Joined my battalion at Penkridge Bank Camp, Staffordshire. Ma came and saw me off.
To Stafford with Sergeant (W.J.) Atkins. Lost our way home on moors, arrived in camp about 2.30 AM.
On Guard, Penkridge Bank.
To Stafford with Adam Rigg & Robinson.* Weather fine.
*Private Adam Kerr Rigg (killed in action at Serre, 1/7/16) & Private Francis Clough Robinson, (left out of the 1st July 1916 attack).
On inline picquet. Moor behind camp on fire.
Spent the day in Stafford with Adam, Chambers,* Robinson & Wright.
*Later referred to as Sgt Chambers, and likely Francis E.N. Chambers who rose to be Warrant Officer Class 1.
On weekend from Rugeley 2.35. Return Monday 9-
Spent the day at home. Stayed at Tom’s overnight.
Returned to Penkridge Bank Camp by 9.5 AM. Mr Babington came over.
Had a short run to Sheffield by 2.19.
Returned to Penkridge by 5.32 Midland Railway.
First ½ day holiday. Went to Rugeley with Sam.
In camp all day.
In camp all day.
4 hours on new range, 4 days leave left. Penkridge Camp 5.45 per 6.44 train.
To Blackpool with my Mabel by 11.5, Stayed with Father & Mother, 31a Victoria St, Blackpool.
Blackpool. Went to see Grumpy in the Winter Gardens at night.
Blackpool. In afternoon sat on North Shore. Went to Palace at night.
Blackpool. Wet day. Had a walk in afternoon to South Pier. To theatre at night.
Blackpool. Left Blackpool at 8.23 AM, arrived Sheffield 12.20. Left Sheffield at 4.42 arrived camp 8.40 after 5 days of bliss with my Mabel, bless her.
Wet day. In the hut all day.
Left Cannock Chase 8.30 PM arrived Ripon 4 AM 31st.
Special leave to Sheffield. 1.25 arrived Sheffield 5.5 PM. Stayed at May’s.*
*Possibly Roddy’s sister, Mary.
Sunday at Home. To Crookes at night.
Returned to camp by 6.33. Mabel & Edith* came to station.
* Likely Roddy’s sister Edith.
Left Ripon by 1.57 arrived Sheffield 4.20. Had tea at Davy’s & met Mabel at 6 o’clock.
At May’s. Tom & May away until Saturday. Met Mabel at 6, went to Hippo & home.
Spent the day with Babs. Up to Crookes at night & then back to May’s.
Florrie’s wedding. All went well. Ma did well & hope she improves.
Stayed at May’s home for dinner, Visit to Tom & Mrs Ward. Crookes in the evening. Day in civs.
Returned to Ripon by 10.8 Midland Railway. In camp for 1.30 after 4 days of bliss with my wife.
Left Ripon by 3.10 AM train. Arrived Wilton, Salisbury at 2.30PM. Arrived in camp* about 4.30. Turned out. Wet at night.
*Hurdcott Camp, Salisbury Plain, below the ‘Fovant Badges’.
Fine day. Had a walk on the hills round the camp to Barford Church at night.
Wet day. Mess orderly. To Wilton Church at night.
Robbie & I walked to Wylye about 8 miles from camp (north). Came back by Dinton Station & Tarrant Camp. Very dark night.
A nice walk with Robbie & Sgt Chambers to Broad Chalke. Had tea then went to church. Walked back over moors. Very dark night. (South of camp).
Weekend to Sheffield by 1.5 Dinton to London & Sheffield. Wired for extension & got a day extra. Dear Ma very, very ill. Hope she recovers to see me & Jim* home again, but I am afraid the end is near. A serious thing for us all, bless her. What a shame she should come to this, one of the most beloved of mothers.
*Roddy had a brother, John William, Private 28225 ‘B’ Company 15th York & Lancaster Regiment.
Spent the day at home. Had a trip to Crookes at night. Ma still seriously ill.
Returned to camp by 12.20. Everyone very much upset. A very hard parting from my darling Mabel, bless her.
Jim arr(ived) home from France too late for Dear Ma to know him, I feel very sorry for poor Jim.
Death of my dear Ma after a week of terrible suffering. A relief to dear Ma but a terrible loss to us. I had been hoping she would live a few more years. Tried to get away from camp but were not allowed until Monday evening.
Felt miserable all day about the trouble at home & not able to help them in any way
Managed at last to get away by 6.5 PM train from Wilton, arrived Sheffield 2.10 Tuesday morning.
Funeral of my dear Ma at Crookes cemetery. My darling Mabel took it very hard, I knew she would, bless her, so therefore kept my feelings under control.
Stayed at May(’s) for Tuesday night. Returned to camp Wednesday by 12.20. Mabel came to the station with me, bless her.
Robbie & I had a walk to Salisbury, looked round the cathedral.
On the butts at Fovant.
Rob & I had a walk to Great Wishford & back to camp. Mabel.
Very ill in hut all day with face ache and a very bad cold.
Felt much better after a good night's rest.
Battalion left Hurdecott for Larkhill to fire part 3 & 4 course.* Larkhill the most miserable camp we have struck so far.
*Parts 3 & 4 of the Musketry course. Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifles were issued.
Larkhill. Frost hard.
Larkhill. Hard frost.
On camp fatigue. Went to Amesbury to meet Rob & had tea together.
Poor old Rob had to go to the range for his SB. Gerald Crowther* & I went to Amesbury for tea then to Larkhill Picture Palace.
*There was only one Crowther in the unit, Corporal Cecil Crowther.
Up at 5.30. Left camp at 7.15 for the range. Firing all day.
Up at 5.30. On range until 11 o’clock.
Range finder’s class started again.
Finished firing Part 4. Fired in sections.
Me, Rob & Dick Sparling* had a walk to Great Darnford near Amesbury, Salisbury.
*Sergeant Richard A. Sparling. Worked as a Sheffield Daily Telegraph reporter, and later wrote the history of the unit.
Range class all day.
Range class. Cleaned the huts out. First half of battalion went for 48 hours leave in full pack.
Left Larkhill camp & returned to Hurdcott. I and medley came by train. Second half battalion leave stopped. New orders to say we had to go to Egypt.
Did nothing all day.
Easy time waiting for new equipment for Egypt. Don’t see why we could not have had our leave 48 hours.
New issues of underclothing. No church parade.
Slack day. Mabel.
Short route march round Barford & Fovant & back to camp.
I, Rob, Dick & Sgt Chambers had a walk to Great Wishford. Tea at the Crown Inn. Very frosty.
To Wilton with Rob. Had tea there. Went to the station to meet 5.25 train to see if Mabel came, but was very disappointed.
In camp all day.
Cleaning huts out.
Brigade orderly -
Walked round Compton Chamberlain to Barford with Rob. Had tea with Mr & Mrs Trim. Returned to camp for 6 PM to prepare for leaving.
Left Hurdcott camp at 2.30 AM. Marched to Salisbury & entrained for Devonport. Left Salisbury 6.25 arrived Devonport dock 1.45 & went straight on to the boat, ‘Nester’ No. A71.*
*SS Nestor was a 15,500 ton passenger/cargo Blue Funnel ship. This trip was her first as a troop ship.