© Peter Hodgkinson 2016

Dr Peter E Hodgkinson Chartered Clinical Psychologist - Military Historian

The Diary of Lance-Corporal ‘Roddy’ Rodinson

Part One - Redmires and Salisbury Plain

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.*

*Guard duty

23 January

Battalion route march round town.* Recruitment march for ‘E’ Company.

*“Route march 9-2.30pm over Roper’s Hill, Ringinglow, over moors, down to town past Drill Hall to Norfolk Park, back to ?, Midland Station, ?, to Grand Hotel and back to Redmires. Diary of A. Casey, http://www.pals.org.uk/sheffield/casey_diary01.htm

24 January

Weekend off for home.

25 January

Officers mess. Went to town between 5 & 9 PM.

31 January

Late pass for home. 11 PM.

2 February

2 days CB for Church Parade. First offence.

3 February

Inline picquet. 2 days CB.*

* Confined to barracks.

4-6 February


11 February

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

14 February

Weekend at home.

18 February

Football match between E & D.  Won 1-0. Afternoon off. Mother & father visit camp.

20 February

First day with full kit. Walked round Lings(?) & Whyming Brook & camp.

25 March

Charles Marsland married. Proposed marriage to Mabel,* bless her.

* Mabel Witheford.

28 March

On gate picquet. Got off at 3 PM.

30 March

First long march with full kit to Chapeltown. About 12 miles.

31 March

Returned from Chapeltown. About 18 miles.

1 April

Left for 4 days off for Easter. Saw Mr Stembridge re. Mabel. Went to Hippo at night.*

*Sheffield Hippodrome theatre.

2 April

Wet dat. Saw Mabel at 2.20. Went to cinema. At night had a walk round Woodseats & round to Ecclesall & home.

3 April

Wet day. Had a walk with father round Woodseats & Handsworth. Went up to Mabel’s in afternoon.

4 April

Grand day. Saw Mabel at 2.30 Coles.* Had a walk home round Norton & nab home.

*Cole Brothers department store.

5 April

Grand day. Had a fine walk with Mabel round Greenhill, Ridgeway, nab & home. In camp 9.20 pm.

28 April

Saw the Colonel. Got permission for marriage.

9 May

Mrs Witheford came up home for first time with Mabel.

13 May

My Wedding Day. Went to Southport for our honeymoon. Went by 2.15 Midland Railway.

14 May

To Liverpool & Seaforth. Grand day.

15 May

To Blackpool. Grand day.

16 May

Came home from Southport arrived Sheffield 6.15 Great Central Railway.

17 May

Left Sheffield at 11.20. Joined my battalion at Penkridge Bank Camp, Staffordshire. Ma came and saw me off.

19 May

To Stafford with Sergeant (W.J.) Atkins. Lost our way home on moors, arrived in camp about 2.30 AM.

20 May

On Guard, Penkridge Bank.

22 May

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).

23 May

On inline picquet. Moor behind camp on fire.

24 May

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.

29 May

On weekend from Rugeley 2.35. Return Monday 9-5.

30 May

Spent the day at home. Stayed at Tom’s overnight.

31 May

Returned to Penkridge Bank Camp by 9.5 AM. Mr Babington came over.

5 June

Had a short run to Sheffield by 2.19.

6 June

Returned to Penkridge by 5.32 Midland Railway.

24 June

First ½ day holiday. Went to Rugeley with Sam.

26 June

In camp all day.

27 June

In camp all day.

28 June

4 hours on new range, 4 days leave left. Penkridge Camp 5.45 per 6.44 train.

29 June

To Blackpool with my Mabel by 11.5, Stayed with Father & Mother, 31a Victoria St, Blackpool.

30 June

Blackpool. Went to see Grumpy in the Winter Gardens at night.

1 July

Blackpool. In afternoon sat on North Shore. Went to Palace at night.

2 July

Blackpool. Wet day. Had a walk in afternoon to South Pier. To theatre at night.

3 July

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.

4 July

Wet day. In the hut all day.

30 July

Left Cannock Chase 8.30 PM arrived Ripon 4 AM 31st.

18 August


21 August

Special leave to Sheffield. 1.25 arrived Sheffield 5.5 PM. Stayed at May’s.*

*Possibly Roddy’s sister, Mary.

22 August

Sunday at Home. To Crookes at night.

23 August

Returned to camp by 6.33. Mabel & Edith* came to station.

* Likely Roddy’s sister Edith.

15 September

Left Ripon by 1.57 arrived Sheffield 4.20. Had tea at Davy’s & met Mabel at 6 o’clock.

16 September

At May’s. Tom & May away until Saturday. Met Mabel at 6, went to Hippo & home.

17 September

Spent the day with Babs. Up to Crookes at night & then back to May’s.

18 September

Florrie’s wedding. All went well. Ma did well & hope she improves.

19 September

Stayed at May’s home for dinner, Visit to Tom & Mrs Ward. Crookes in the evening. Day in civs.

20 September

Returned to Ripon by 10.8 Midland Railway. In camp for 1.30 after 4 days of bliss with my wife.

25 September

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’.

26 September

Fine day. Had a walk on the hills round the camp to Barford Church at night.

3 October

Wet day. Mess orderly. To Wilton Church at night.

9 October

Robbie & I walked to Wylye about 8 miles from camp (north). Came back by Dinton Station & Tarrant Camp. Very dark night.

10 October

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).

16 October

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.

17 October

Spent the day at home. Had a trip to Crookes at night. Ma still seriously ill.

18 October

Returned to camp by 12.20. Everyone very much upset. A very hard parting from my darling Mabel, bless her.

22 October

Jim arr(ived) home from France too late for Dear Ma to know him, I feel very sorry for poor Jim.

23 October

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.

24 October

Felt miserable all day about the trouble at home & not able to help them in any way

25 October

Managed at last to get away by 6.5 PM train from Wilton, arrived Sheffield 2.10 Tuesday morning.

26 October

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.

27 October

Stayed at May(’s) for Tuesday night. Returned to camp Wednesday by 12.20. Mabel came to the station with me, bless her.

30 October

Robbie & I had a walk to Salisbury, looked round the cathedral.

6 November

On the butts at Fovant.

7 November

Rob & I had a walk to Great Wishford & back to camp. Mabel.

14 November

Very ill in hut all day with face ache and a very bad cold.

15 November

Felt much better after a good night's rest.

16 November

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.

17 November

Larkhill. Frost hard.

18 November

Larkhill. Hard frost.

19 November

Hard frost.

20 November

On camp fatigue. Went to Amesbury to meet Rob & had tea together.

21 November

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.

22 November

Up at 5.30. Left camp at 7.15 for the range. Firing all day.

23 November

Up at 5.30. On range until 11 o’clock.

24 November

Range finder’s class started again.

25 November

Range class

26 November

Range class.

27 November

Finished firing Part 4. Fired in sections.

28 November

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.

29 November

Range class all day.

30 November

Range class.

1 December

Range class. Cleaned the huts out. First half of battalion went for 48 hours leave in full pack.

2 December

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.

3 December

Did nothing all day.

4 December

Easy time waiting for new equipment for Egypt. Don’t see why we could not have had our leave 48 hours.

5 December

New issues of underclothing. No church parade.

6 December

Slack day.

7 December

Mess orderly.

8 December

Slack day. Mabel.

9 December

Short route march round Barford & Fovant & back to camp.

12 December

I, Rob, Dick & Sgt Chambers had a walk to Great Wishford. Tea at the Crown Inn. Very frosty.

15 December

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.

16 December

In camp all day.

17 December

Cleaning huts out.

18 December

Brigade orderly - finished at 4 pm. Had a bad cold & very bad head. Went to bed. Hurdcott.

19 December

Walked round Compton Chamberlain to Barford with Rob.  Had tea with Mr & Mrs Trim. Returned to camp for 6 PM to prepare for leaving.

20 December

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.

The Diary of 'Roddy' Rodinson