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Old 11-02-13, 13:36
AndyHoldcroft AndyHoldcroft is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 32
Default Family transcript 12: "Great War Diary" pt 4

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



3. LUNDI Ste Geneviève
Walk around ramparts44 @ S.A. @ 7.0 pm

44Boulogne still has a full circuit of city wall with four gates

5. MERCREDI Ste Amélie
German Taubes45 pass over Hermaville(?) Camp
One brought down at Calais
S.A. @ 4.0 pm with Verran
HS St George
Col Campbell goes on leave Major Weston takes over

45A very early make of German military aircraft, it filled all roles required: fighter, bomber, reconnaissance etc but was obsolete by the start of 1916: if not earlier. Since the name was also used informally for any sort of German monoplane, such a use seems more likely by this date. If the entry does indeed read “Hermaville” (it is difficult to decipher but this is the only likely candidate), it refers to a convalescent camp south east of Boulogne, towards Arras.

7. VENDREDI Ste Mélanie
Saw British Torpedo Boats Nos 1 & 21 in dock
Very rough sea
S.A. @ 3.0 pm

11. MARDI S. Théodore
Went to bed 3.0 pm
Ship blown up at 3.30 pm

13. JEUDI Bapt. De N.-S.
S.A. @ 3.0 pm
Stewarts orders come through
My Leave put in

14. VENDREDI S. Hilaire
Kit inspection by ?? N. Cornell
All complete
Paid 10 f
Gifts given out received tin of chocolate
Went to Municipal Picture Palace @ 6.0 pm with Sgt Barron & Stewart

15. SAMEDI S. Maur
S.A. @ 3.0 pm
Stewarts farewell gathering in Clerks Billet at 8.30 pm

16. DIMANCHE S. Marcel
Stewart leaves for 22 Field Ambulance near Loos.
SA @ 3 pm
My leave granted from 17 – 1 – 16 returned to base Commandant for afternoon to 20 – 25 – 1 4

17. LUNDI S. Antoine
S.A. @ 7.0 pm
Leave granted 20 – 25 – 1 – 16

18. MARDI Ch. De S. Pierre
I proceed on leave
Drew 100 francs
Left Boulogne 12.15 pm
Arrived Folkestone 1.50 pm good voyage
Arrived Victoria 5. 0 pm
Leave Paddington 6.0 pm

19. MERCREDI S. Sulpice
Warwick (legs stiff?) & Leamington well.
Frank46 @ 10.0 am
Gay Gondaliers (sic) 3.0 pm
Height 6 f 1 ¾ ins
10 stone
Chest Ex 36 Nov 35
46His younger brother, Frank Cyril Cooke (1899-1972)
20. JEUDI S. Sébastien
Town47 10 am
Walked to Kenilworth 3.0 pm48
Carbena at the Theatre Royal Leam49

47Leamington Spa
48About 4 miles each way
49In Regent Grove, Holly Walk. Built in 1882, converted into the Regent Cinema in 1935, now demolished.

21. VENDREDI Ste Agnès
Aunt Pem50 at Cov by 10.30 am train
Bedworth at 2. 0 pm
Leam by 6.28 pm train
Colonade51 (sic) at 8.0 pm

50His great Aunt Emma Ward (née Liggins: youngest sister of his mother’s mother) b 1858. Ernest’s mother, Fanny, had lived with her Aunt Pem as a companion before the latter’s marriage to William Ward in 1881 (when Fanny would have been 14). They celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1931.She was presumably living in Coventry in 1916. The Bedworth visit would have been to maternal relatives: almost certainly including his grandparents Enoch Edmands (1839-1919) & Sarah (née Liggins) Edmands (1842-1936).
51The Victoria Colonnade still exists, albeit mainly as the access to the Loft Theatre and Robbins Well pub, the “garden” of which it also serves as. In Ernest’s day it would have been a fashionable meeting &promenading spot.

22. SAMEDI S. Vincent
Town at 10 am
Cov52 at 3.10 pm with Frank for promenade return by 5.27 pm
Gay Gondaliers at 8.0 pm

52Ernest would live in Coventry later in his life: 1931/2 to 1949: for about a year in Wyken and then in Hartington Crescent in Earlsdon.

23. DIMANCHE S. Raymond
St Albans53 at 8.0 am & 11.15 pm
Cycle ride to Leek Wootton, Warwick etc with Frank & Baden54 @ 3 pm

53Leamington church (in Portland Street on corner with Warwick Street) used by Cooke family: Ernest’s father, Walter Benjamin Cooke (1870 -1945) was a churchwarden there. However Ernest and his wife Mary (née Dolton 1896-1984) were somewhat nonplussed to attend a service there in November 1940 when they had had to take refuge with Walter Benjamin after the Coventry Blitz with their children George Dolton Cooke (b 1929) and Janet Mary Cooke (b 1932) where the vicar (Father Dyke) failed to acknowledge the events in Coventry: an attitude which was too often reflected in elements of contemporary Leamington society). Built 1877 and demolished in 1964.
54(William Edward) Baden Lenton(b 1901). The Lentons lived at 25 Hyde Place in Leamington (before later moving to Emscote) and hence were neighbours of the Cookes who lived at No. 5. Frank Cooke married Baden’s sister (Rose) Mary Lenton(1905-1980) in 1928.

24. LUNDI S. Babylas
Leamington Town at 10 am shopping
“Ideals” in the Winter Hall55 at 3.15 pm
Left home at 12 midnight by motor to Coventry – left 1.23 am

55The “Winter Hall” was the seasonal guise of the main swimming pool (opened 1890) within the Pump Rooms complex: it was used in winter for various events such as dances etc as well. Now houses the town’s library.

25. MARDI Conv. S. Paul
Arrived Euston at 4.0 am
Proceeded down Strand etc for Victoria took Tube from Strand – arrived Vic 6.0 am
Left Vic. 9.30 am arrived Folkestone 1.0 pm sailed Folkestone 1.30 pm Landed Boulogne 3.30 pm
Appointed 2nd Class Clerk R.O.

28. VENDREDI S. Charles
Walk with Fogg & S.A. @ 3.0 pm
Paid 10 f


7. LUNDI S. Fidèle
Mrs Olives for tea @ 5.0 pm

14. VENDREDI S. Adolphe
Weslyan Soldiers Home 7.0 pm

14. LUNDI S. Valentin
Stayed in & fitted up new jacket

17. JEUDI S. Théodore
On duty all day in place of Mc: on the oil.
P P goes on leave sponged S M

18. VENDREI S. Siméon
Kursaal Pictures Mr Mrs Jack & Louisa Olive
Walk to Wimereux with Fogg @ 3.0 pm
Called off at Y.M.C.A.
RAMC beat ASC 2 – 156

56Royal Army Medical Corps and Army Service Corps: the latter’s main role was in providing supply and transport.

21. LUNDI S. Pépin
Bath @ S.A. Home & Haircut @ 3.0 pm

22. MARDI Ste Flavie
Bed in afternoon
Fogg goes to Olives House

24. JEUDI S. Mathias
Went & met Bdr(?) Norman, Olive & Cecil Wright with Jack Olive coming off the boat Went to Olives for tea

25. VENDREDI S. Léandre
Paid 10 francs
Soldiers Sailors Institute57 with Fogg
Saw Imperial Minstrel Troupe 7.0 pm
Snow all day

57A Church of England facility (founded 1857) for troops and sailors: later (1930) expanded to Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Institutes. Since 1972, it has been the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Housing Association, providing housing rather than clubs for older ex-service personnel
26. SAMEDI S. Nestor
Deep snow
Fog & I go with Jack Olive to (indecipherable phrase) house for tea
Snow thaws.

Went to St Johns Church at 6.0 pm with Johnnie Fogg
Mr Olive Jack Olive & Jeane M. Afterwards returning to Olive’s house for supper.
All the N.C.Os celebrate P.Ps commission in the usual Army style.

28. LUNDI S. Romain
P P is now uncertain whether he has got commission much to the interest of the PP & LIs
Went to S A Home for tea @ 3.0 pm


No. 11 Genl. Hpl. Advance Party proceed to DANNES CAMIERS 58
2 Officers & 20 men under Major Weston
Senior N.C.O – Sgt Douglas
H.S. St George comes in & so got to see Len North
Went to Olive’s for tea with Fogg.
P.P. officially gets his Commission from 28.2.16
Saw the Prince of Wales59

58South of Boulogne, on the outskirts of Étaples. No. 11 Base Hospital was formally moved from Boulogne to Dannes-Camiers from April 1916: this advance party would of course be facilitating the move.(See Appendix 4 for photograph).
59Presumably the future Edward VIII who had joined the Grenadier Guards in June 1914 and was stationed in France though barred from serving on the front line. It is unlikely Ernest meant the battleship HMS “Prince of Wales” as she was stationed in the Adriatic on this date.

3. VENDREDI Ste Cunégonde
Major Lindsay goes to Camiers to take command via Major Weston.
S.A. @ 2.30 pm
Recommended for “Dispatches”60

60A curious entry: possibly an army “in-joke” as Ernest’s discharge certificate states that he was not so mentioned and the criteria for such a mention was “gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy” which was unlikely to be fulfilled in the context of a base hospital role such as Ernest had fulfilled to date. The spelling of the time was “dispatches” although “despatches” is now used.

4. SAMEDI S. Casimir
Served out with New Infantry Equipment61
S A & Weslyan Homes @ 7.0 pm

61The RAMC started the war in a blue uniform (see photo on Page 1) but later were issued with standard infantry uniform.

Olives house for tea with Fogg @ 3.0 pm

6. LUNDI Ste Colette
Second Advance Party of 16 go to Dannes -Camiers (which includes Verran)

Inspection Parade with New Equipment by Major Mitchell
QMS Springer goes to Dannes-Camiers
S A @ 3.30 pm

Large Transport goes down within view of Hpl
Seen from Billet windows
S.A. @ 7.0 pm

9. JEUDU Ste Françoise
Wesleyan Home @ 3.0 pm
Olives Farewell Party in Billet
Miller arrives

10. VENDREDI Ste Dorothée
Olive goes to 13 Genl Hpl62
Paid 10 f
S A & Wes @ 7.0 pm

62Based in Boulogne for the entire duration of the Great War.

11. SAMEDI S. Euloge
Barron Webb etc go to Camiers
In (alone?) in afternoon
Municipal Pictures at 6.0 pm with Harrold

St Johns with Fogg @ 7.30 am
S A 8.15 am
Olives house for farewell supper
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