This is a written and painted account
of AGG's experience in World War One.
He was 22 years old at the time.

 

 

6.11.17

After arriving with the Battalion, was posted to No. 3 Company. Captain T. Gibbons was in command. At this time the Battalion was in reserve near RIDGE WOOD

29.11.17 During this period the Battalion was in the line opposite GHELUVELT in the YPRES SALIENT
6.12.17 Made Transport Officer. Shortly after this period went into rest some way behind the line at a place called ESCOUILLERS, where we spent Xmas and had a good time.
29.12.17 Moved.
2.1.18 Arrived at camp(SEIGE FARM)near VLAMERTINGE
7.1.18 Battalion in line near ST.JULIEN
16.1.18 Battalion rellieved. Had a very bad night and it is said that some of the men had to practically swim through the front line to get away from the forward posts.
22.1.18 Left for entraining station, ST. JEAN, in order to go South through POPPERINGE to ST. OMER
27.1.18 After 48 hours arrived at end of train journey.
1.2.18 In reserve camp near FINS (NNE of PERONNE).
6.2.18 Battalion went into line near GAUZEAUCOURT.
8.2.18 Removed to another Brigade as a result of regrouping of divisions, from 13 to 10 battalions.
12.3.18 Moved from this part of the line into G.H.Q. Reserve
13.3.18 Arrived at TEMPLEAUX LA FOSSE.
  March Offensive
21.3.18 4.30am battle started with bombardment of great intensity. The Battalion stood by all day and at about 4 o'clock in the evening set out to take part in the Great Offensive.
22.3.18 In line at HARGICOURT. Battalion had a very bad time and Major Gough, Captains Gibbons and Carlile, and Lieuts, King Allen, and Perry were killed, Captain L. Gold and Lieuts, Eve and Underhill were wounded, and Captain Gudgeon and Lieuts, Borrodale and Freedman missing. The end of this day's battle saw the Battalion in line somewhere near VILLIERS FAUCON
23.3.18 Major Clerke, Captain Christie, and Lieut. Stonnill joined the Battalion who were digging in most of the morning. Lieut. Broad was killed and Lieut. Norris wounded.
24.3.18 Colonel Phillips was taken prisoner on this day and Lieut. Stonnill was killed, also R.S.M. Clarke. I cannot recall the exact line of retirement of the Battalion, but we passed through CLERY on this day with the transport.
25.3.18 Major Clerke took over command of the Battalion. This day was less strenuous than the previous three days, but the Battalion was still taking part in the rear-guard action,
26.3.18 The Battalion under Captain Christie with Major Clerke commanding the Brigade held back the German attack at this part of the line for a considerable time. Lieut. Knee was wounded.
27.3.18

Major Clerke was still with the Battalion which was holding the portion of the line roughly between CERISY and LAMOTTE. At this time most of our Division was absorbed in a force known at the time as "Carey's Force" - made up of all details, stragglers, schools personnel, engineers, etc. (in fact anyone with a rifle) under the command of General Carey. On this day the Transport spent about 16 hours looking for the Battalion and eventually were forced to give it up. Only those who were in the forefront of the battle during those days can realise the chaos at this time, and it is wonderful to think we survived it.

28.3.18 Major Clerke was wounded and Captain Christie took over what was left of the Battalion. Transport was successful in finding the Battalion on this occasion and the men benefited from the food and rest after a most strenuous week of fighting.
29.3.18 Still fighting, Christie, Church, Blancheflower, Sworder and Hensman were the only officers I can recall left with the Battalion.
30.3.18 Still in the line. Christie was wounded on this day and Church was left in command. It is a fitting time here in recording the last day of Church's life to speak of the wonderful work that he did. I did all that I could at the time to get this work recognised by recommending him for a V.C., but he did not get it, but this does not matter as he died a hero - his courage and calm during this time were superhuman. I had myself been with Church almost all the time he was with the Regiment, for we were in England together for a long time, and I had learned how great a gentleman he was, but it was the saddest thing that an officer who had so gallantly gone througn all that he had in the previous 10 days shoud be cut off on the very day that the Battalion was to be relieved.
31.3.18 What was left of the Battalion on this day was relieved and went through VILLIERS BRETTONEUX on their way to rest and to be refitted.
1.4.18 Marched to AMIENS and moved by train.
2.4.18 Still on journey. Being the only Captain I am left in command of the Battalion.

3rd or
4.4.18

Arrived at rest place, but cannot remember where. Perhaps Major Barber can.
5.4.18 Battalion at present practically without officers was at a strength of over 400men. There is much work to do re-fitting and office work, recording the wounded, etc.
6.4 18 Battalion was inspected by a Temporary Brigadier and was in billets resting until the 10th.
  Ypres Offensive
10.4.18 Battalion was moved by train to the North as the Second Offensive had begun on the 9th April. Battalion is in camp behind the line near RENINHELST where a composite battalion was formed of our Brigade. The 1st Hertfordhire Regiment forming two Companies, one of which I was in command of.
20.4.18 So far still in reserve. About this time Captain Whitfield rejoined us as I had appled for him. During the whole of the March Offensive he had been on the staff of another Brigade.
22.4.18 Colonel Wilkinson (I think of the Gloucesters) was announced as coming to take command.
about
24.4.18
In line between VOORMEZELLE and MOUNT KEMMEL. The Battalion formed part of the line which held the Germans back at this point. There were very few officers serving with the Battalion, but Lieuts. Blanchflower, Sworder and Hensman who had gone through the March Offensive were still with us. I remember that one Officer did excellent work in keeping backthe attacking Germans remaining until the last moment, so long in fact that he was caught in a dug-out and I believe killed. I cannot recall his name, but he had not been in the Battalion very long. This was near ST. ELOI before the Battalion retired to the final line when the Boche was held up.
30.4.18 Relieved by Middlesex troups after being in the line for about 5 or 6 days. During this Offensive in our part of the line there was very little retreating, and the most forward poition that the Battlaion took up was near ST. ELOI and we only retired to an old reserve line, which was in very poor and wet condition, but which was made sufficiently strong to withstand the attack of the Germans which at that time had rather lost its intensity.
2.5.18 Battalion was again amalgamated.
5.5.18 Colonel Wilkinson had not yet taken over, but when we returned from being relieved we found him with the Transport and he took over from this time.
6.5.18 Dogson and Norman Gold came back to the Battalion and both commanded Companies
10.5.18 The Battalion was transferred to the 37th Division and moved to the new part of the line behind DOULLENS. At this time I took over duties as Adjutant.
18.5.18 The Battalion was sent into the reserve line in front of the village FONT-VILLIERS. The village was being gas-shelled at the time and in spite of a warning to the Divisional Staff as to the difficulties of reaching the portion of the line intended for us to take over, while the gas-shelling continued they insisted that we should take up our poition. Finding an unreconnoitred line of trench inthe pitch dark in a gas helmet with gas shells bursting all the time was a pretty difficult thing to do, and the result was, although most of the men were got into some sort of position in the appointed reserve lines, mainly due to the wonderful work done by all the officers, nearly every man was gassed and every officer form the Colonel downwards. I myself got a more severe dose than most people as being Adjutant I had to go round and see that everyone had taken up their position properly, so that on the morning of the 19th we were sent back to a dressing station and then on to Rouen and England.