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March 25th - Winzelee (Slept in Barnes)
March 28th - Left Winzelee Arrived Bailleul (Slept in Warehouse)
March 29th - Company Parade
March 30th - Trenching
March 31st - Trenching
April 1st - Left Bailleul for Armentieres
April 2nd - Rifle Inspections
April 3rd - Manned the Trenches no Casualties
April 4th Manned the Trenches no Casualties (2 Casualties for Battalion 1 each day)
April 5th Lecture on Trench Life
April 6th Left Armentieres for Bailleul
April 6th-11th Company Parades and Inspections
April 12th Left Bailleul for Trenches Relieved Dublin’s who had just been shelled they had lost a whole section from shell fire
April 13th Rather Quiet until about 9 at night when it was like hell in the direction of Ypres must have been in a terrible battle hardly a shot fired from our trenches spent the night repairing trench
April 14th Cannonade at Ypres at about 9pm
April 15th Shelled us Phillips wounded in hand by Rifle fire
April 16th Shelled our Trenches the shells dropped close but did little damage no casualties, relieved by 8th Battalion rotten night hardly see.
April 17th Battle in Ypres distant. Billeted in Barnes at Petit Point
April 18th Nothing doing
April 19th Night Digging
April 20th Back to our Trench
April 21st Had one or two shells over Trench
April 22nd Trench Shelled just heard that where battle been to at Hill 60 been at it now for nearly a fortnight.
April 23rd Shelled us again getting used to it now
April 24th April 24th Shelled again played the devil with our parapets. Relieved by 8th Battalion
April 25th Working party night digging
April 26th Resting, Inspections etc
April 27th Night Digging.
April 28th Back to Trenches
April 29th Rather Quiet
April 30th Brummy Green stopped one in arm
May 1st Shelled worse than ever no casualties in our Coy. D Coy lost 5 men wounded
May 2nd Relieved by 8th coming back to billet where ordered to man reserve trenches so returned at 6am on May 3rd.
(The War Diary continues on the next page, including account from Sergeant Brookes' brother in law, who was present at the end)
The shells are nothing in comparison to the everlasting torture of lice and the loathsome mud. To see me trudging along one would take me for an old man of sixty.
Stuart Chapman was one of the lucky ones. A young soldier suffering staunchly through the nightmare of trench life in World War One, he returned to his native shores after the Armistice in one piece, unlike so many of his generation, many of whom never reached majority age.
Chapman faithfully recorded his day-to-day life in France from 1916 to 1919, touching upon not only the squalor, violence, sheer exhaustion and astonishing discomfort but also the valour, comradeship and sacred moments of frivolity. This diary offers a unique perspective - of one who felt, lived and saw what history books can only recount from much-repeated facts. The fight was for the greater good, but set the tone for a century that darkened from there