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Old 11-02-13, 13:32
AndyHoldcroft AndyHoldcroft is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 32
Default Family transcript 11: "Great War Diary" pt 3

Third set of excerpts from the Great War Diary 1915-1916 of my maternal Grandfather, Ernest Walter Cooke (1895-1949), commencing November 1915


Saw Anglia34 convey the King home with four Destroyers
Parade 6.30 am

34SS ‘Anglia’ was another Hospital Ship.
(NB The original page for November 1st to 4th is missing with relevant entries added to the adjoining pages for those dates: hence the omission of Saints’ Days. However identifying which the Diary would have printed from among the many possibilities, Monday was probably Saints John & James, the other days less certain.)

Bed 3.0 pm Verran reports the Gramophone

Anglia stuck on the rocks
Bed 3.0 pm
Picture Palaces open

(See also entry for 17th)

8. LUNDI S. Godefroy
18th & 19th R L’pools35 pass
SA 7.0 pm
Cpt Fairley taken ill

35Presumably a reference to the 18th & 19th Battalions of the Kings Regiment (Liverpool) which arrived in France at this time to join the 30th Division.Their first action was the Battle of the Somme the following July. Casualties were very high in the 18th Battalion especially, including the commanding officer. Captain Noel Chavasse, the only man to be awarded two Victoria Crosses in the Great War, was a member of this Regiment and won one of his VCs on the Somme.
Ernest’s future brother-in-law, Alfred Dolton, later transferred to this Regiment from the Worcestershire Regiment & was awarded the Military Medal in 1918.

9. MARDI S. Théodore
SA 3.0 pm
Very rough sea
Captain J F Fairley36 died @ 10.0 pm

36Captain James Fairburn Fairley was an Australian Cerebral Surgeon. He died of meningitis caused by typhus.
10. MERCREDI S. Juste
Municipal Picture Palace 6.0 pm
SA 7.30 pm
Sea very rough

12. VENDREDI S. René
2 boats sunk struck mines 18 & 1 saved
Capt J F Fairley Funeral start 1.45
7 Sty 13 Genl & 11 Genl 37
18 Died & 1 Moorside
Municipal Pictures @ 6.0 pm

37Presumably personnel from these three hospitals attended the funeral.

15. LUNDI Ste Eugénie
SA 3.0 pm with Verran & walk with Dasher Thorne

17. MERCREDI S. Aignan
H. S. Anglia38 goes down off Dover 85 lost.
We sent 21 A 14 B & 10 C39
Mrs Mitchell40 saved
Struck a mine
SA 3.0 pm

38The ‘Anglia’ was carrying 390 casualties plus medical staff & 56 crew. First reports stated 85 deaths but later estimates range from 120-164 dead including 25 of the crew. Survivors were rescued by both the torpedo gunboat HMS ‘Hazard’ (sunk herself in 1918) and the collier ‘Lusitania’ (not to be confused with the liner of the same name sunk in May 1915)
39Possibly categories of wounded personnel sent from 11th General Hospital on the ship for that trip.
40Possibly the wife of Major Mitchell referred to on November 26th (below).

18. JEUDI S. Octave
Very busy
HS St Denis arrives first time

19. VENDREDI Ste Elizabeth
Stayed (shorthand phrase)
Wrote letters (shorthand phrase)
Rev AH Ballerine goes to England

22. LUNDI Ste Cécile
16 R War R & Gloucesters41 pass through
SA 7.0 pm

41Presumably references to the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and an unidentified battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. The 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment were one of the three “Birmingham Pals” Battalions. The Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment with them was almost certainly the 12th (Service) Battalion (a “Pals” Battalion from Bristol) which was with the 16th Royal Warwickshire in 95th Brigade within the 5th Division. Like most battalions of volunteers from 1914 they had been trained in Britain & first saw action at the Battle of the Somme: though fortunately not until the second phase of the battle, thus escaping the carnage of the opening day.

23. MARDI S. Clément
L 7 ws go through
S.A. @ 3.0 pm
Stewart goes to see Kennedy-Rumford42
In credit £8 -3 -6

42Possibly a reference to a performance by Dame Clara Butt (1872-1936) the famous contralto: though she was not made a Dame until 1920. She gave many performances during the Great War to troops and was occasionally referred to by her married name: she had married the baritone Robert Kennerly Rumford in 1900.

24. MERCREDI Ste Flora
Half day
3. 0 pm SA McElliott & Boobyer 7.0 pm
Municipal Pictures Stew & Verran

26. VENDREDI Ste Dephine
S.A. 3.0 pm
Major Mitchell return off leave


Municipal Pictures @ 6.0 pm
Arrival of Eaton from Mons

7. MARDI S. Ambroise
S.A. 7.0 pm
Meeting re Christmas festivities S.M (indecipherable phrase) Cornell Lt Davidson

8. MERCREDI Immaculée Concept.
S.A. 3.0 pm
Fiddlers gate & quick march

10. VENDREDI Ste Valérie
S.A. 3.0 pm
Walk over cliffs in mud. Tide up

14. MARDI S. Nicaise
S.A. 3.0 pm
Stewart Adderley
Arrival of 15 Ps & 1 Sgt from Rawalpindi

15. MERCREDI S. Mesmin
Municipal Picture
Camille Lahaye
Booly & Stew

18. SAMEDI S. Gatien
Stayed on all day
Started “Tetanus Papers” for Capt R G Abercrombie

20. LUNDI S. Gaétan
Finished Papers for Capt Aber
S.A. 3.0 pm
Sgt Barron return off leave.

21. MARDI S. Thomas
Barford, Nelson & Huntley* torpedoed43 *All lives lost 12 midnight 20-21/12/15
Verran goes on leave
S.A. 3.0 pm

43This entry must be based upon rumours going around at the time as the facts do not bear it out:
No British ship was called Barford but the battleship HMS ‘Barham’ did collide with HMS ‘Warspite’ around this time
HMS ‘Nelson’ was on this day taking part in the Dardanelles campaign as flagship. She was not torpedoed on this day.
The ‘Huntley’ was a captured German spy ship originally named the “Ophelia” masquerading as a Hospital ship. Having transferred to British control, she was indeed torpedoed on this day but only lost 2 crew in this incident.

24. VENDREDI Ste Irma
****** Minstrel Troupe perform @ 5.0 pm
Bran Tub in No 5 Ward

25. SAMEDI Noël
St John’s @ 7.30 am
S.A. @ 8.30 am
Service in No 5 Ward @ 9.30 am
Arrival of the Olive Christmas Dinner @ 1.0 pm
On duty in afternoon
Parcel from Matron
Miss Lena Ashwell’s party @ 5.15 pm

30. JEUDI S. Roger
Walk to Wimereux
YMCA @ 4.0 pm
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