Title - Percy Allsup's Diary, 19th December 1915 to 30th April 1916

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Reproduced by kind permission of Percy B. Allsup. Transcript © Andrew C. Jackson 2000.

Diary of Lcp P. Allsup
Y Coy. 11th East Lancs. Regt.
since we left England

Home address
Mr. Jas. Allsup
Pear Tree Cottage
Clayton Green
Nr. Chorley

Chorley Pals memorial at Serre
  Above: The Chorley Pals memorial (in foreground) at Serre. The Accrington Pals memorial can be seen in the background. Photograph courtesy of Tony Norcross.


Embarked at Devonport at 10.30AM Sunday 19/12/15. Sailed from Devonport at 10.50PM 19/12/15. Escorted by 2 Destroyers for 2 days. Sighted land. (Starboard Side) North Africa 22/12/15. Arrived Gibraltar at 10.30PM 23/12/15. Sighted Land (North Africa) for 3 days 24.25.26 Dec. Escorted by 2 destroyers: The Acorn 0.2 & Sheldrake 88:B8. Arrived Malta 9.40AM [27th Dec.] and was anchored in the Grand Harbour. Sailed from Malta at 8.30AM [29th Dec.] without escort. No 15835 Pte J. Wixted X Coy died at sea 8.30PM 29/12/15 buried at sea at 6.30AM 30/12/15, buried aft at Port Side. Attacked by submarine at 9.45AM 31/12/15. Torpedo missed by about 15 yds. Danger Signals Hoisted. All men mustered to their posts.


  S.S. Ionic, 19k

Above: The S.S. Ionic on which most of the Accrington Pals travelled to Egypt.
Photograph courtesy of Dennis Hounsell.


Jan 1st

We arrived in Alexandria at 11.45AM, a grand sight, stayed in harbour all day.

Jan 2nd

Tugged to the Quayside, stayed there all day, had our first day of rain here.

Jan 3rd

Went a short march on dock side for exercise, saw some queer sights of the natives and their houses.

Jan 4th

Set sail from Alexandria at 3PM, a very rough sea, most of the boys sick including myself.

Jan 5th

Arrived Port Said at 8.30AM, started disembarking about dinner-time and arrived in camp at 2PM which was close to the docks.

Jan 6th

Parade at 9.0AM, Colonel speaks about things we have to avoid in town, putting one part of town out of bounds called Arab Quarters.

Jan 7th

Ordinary drill, same in after., very hot.

Jan 8th

Ordinary Routines.

Jan 9th

Church Parade.

Jan 10th

Parade at 9.0AM for Route March on sea shore (very hot).

Jan 11th

Parade 9.0AM Inspection.

Jan 12th

No Parade in morning, bathing Parade in afternoon.

Jan 13th

Physical drill 8.0AM, company drill in afternoon.

Jan 14th

Parade 9.30AM. Bathing parade. No parade in afternoon.

Jan 15th

Cleaning up, inspection.

Jan 16th

Church parade, afternoon Football Match 11th East Lancs v 10th East Yorks, we won 5-2.

Jan 17th

Ordinary Routines.

Jan 18th

Inspected by Sir Archibald Murray (General).

Jan 19th

Short Route March, finished for the day.

Jan 20th

Parade 9.0AM Swedish Drill, afternoon Coy Drill.

Jan 21st

Got issued out with cigs & tobaccoe for the first time, inspection of lines.

Jan 22nd

6th East Lancs & South Lancs arrived in our camp from the Dardenelles.

Jan 23rd

Afternoon played 6th East Lancs Football, we won 13-1.

Jan 24th

Starts raining at breakfast, afternoon packing Mess Stuff on station ready for morning.

Jan 25th

Very rough weather, everything packed on train ready for moving off on our trip up country to El Ferdan which was our destination, we spent 6 hours waiting to be taken across the Suez Canal, arriving in camp 4.0PM.

Jan 26th

Raining all day, tidying things up.

Jan 27th

Rifle Inspection & also kit.

Jan 28th

No Parade in morning, afternoon Physical.

Jan 29th

Washing Day, very hot weather.

Jan 30th

Parade 9.0AM Coy Off. disposal, bit of arms Drill in afternoon.

Jan 31st

Pontoon Bridge across canal made by the Australians.

Feb 1st

Parade 9.0. Signalling Drill, afternoon sun bathe.

Feb 2nd

Saw two British Warships pass down the Canal, Jupiter & Implacable.

Feb 3rd

Saw SS Ionic pass down, Coy Drill in afternoon.

Feb 4th

Saw (Monitor) Sir Thomas Picton, also troopship (Alexandra). No Parade.

Feb 5th

Indian Ship passed down (Mercara), also passenger ship (City of Roona), starts raining at tea time.

Feb 6th

(Sunday) saw troopship (Nesta), also passenger ship Manwa. Church Parade.

Feb 7th

Inspection of Rifles. Company & Plattoon Drill.

Feb 8th

Parade 2.0PM. Lecture on care of arms.

Feb 9th

Move again up the country to Railhead.

Feb 10th

Camel Fatigue. Water Fantassies.

Feb 11th

Tidying up Officers Mess.

Feb 12th

Camel Fatigue.

Feb 13th

Same as usual.

Feb 14th

Watching Mirrorgraph Signaling Station right out on the desert, also camel Fatigue.

Feb 15th

Aeroplane Guard.

Feb 16th

Camel Fatigue.

Feb 17th

Making roof on Off. Mess

Feb 18th

Making a hut for the staff.

Feb 19th

Up at 2.0AM, and Batt. falls in 5.0AM, marched to El Ferdan, very tired, sleep again in the open.

Feb 20th

Revally 2.0AM, fall in 5.0AM to march to Kantara, got about 4 mls when transport had to turn back on account of dyke arrived. Arrived at 12 noon dead tired, sleep out in open again.

Feb 21st

Pack up ready for marching off at 7.0AM, hard march, arrived at camp at Hill 108 about 11AM, many men fell out, the sun scorching.

Feb 22nd

Straightening up all day.

Feb 23rd

Anniversary of our leaving Chorley for Carnarvon, one of our Officers died (Lieut Mitchell) through an accident on the railway, he was very well liked and his death was deeply regretted by all the Battallion.

Feb 24th

Canteen Opened. Ordinary Routine.

Feb 25th

Ordinary Routine.

Feb 26th

Ordinary Routine.

Feb 27th

Packing up all day (Sunday).

Feb 28th

Leave Hill 108 for Kantara to await orders for leaving the country.

Feb 29th

The Colonel told us that our Division had been chosen out of an Army Corps to go to France, which is a proud thing for us, and both the General & the Colonel were greatly pleased and he expressed thanks to our Batt. of which he is very proud.

March 1st

Ordinary Routines.

March 2nd

Left Kantara for Port Said on the train where we embarked on the Llandovery Castle in the afternoon, 2600 troops aboard, set sail in the evening at 9.0PM.

  S.S. Llandovery Castle, 22k

Above: The S.S. Llandovery Castle. Photograph courtesy of Dennis Hounsell.


March 3rd

Sea Choppy, many sick, felt alright myself.

March 5th

Gangway duty, very cold.

March 6th

(Monday). Saw the hills on the Northern Coast of Africa, afternoon alarm went, also issued out with new clothing, very cold & raining.

March 7th

Saw French destroyers, weather fair.

March 8th

(Wed). Arrived in Marsailles [Marseilles] harbour 8.0AM, on ship all day.

March 9th

Disembarked and entrained for our depot 1.45PM, passed through a very long tunnel.

March 10th

Still travelling by train.

March 11th

Still travelling by train until 3.30PM where we got off at Pont Remy station.


March 11 mls to Huppy village where we was billeted in barns, I had a good nights sleep.

March 13th

Kit Inspection.

March 14th

Parade 9.0AM. Rapid Firing Exercise. Same in afternoon.

March 15th

Parade 9.30 Company Drill. Afternoon same.

March 16th

Parade 8.30. Route March, went about 12 mls past many French Motor Convoys, also Indian Patrols besides English Transports, some of them made at Leyland, got back about 1.30PM very tired, rest in afternoon. A Guard from Y. Coy. went at 8.30PM to a place near Paris on Munition Guard, also X. Coy. went nearer the fighting line doing fatigue work.

March 17th

Parade 9.0AM Company Drill. Trench digging in afternoon.

March 18th

Trench digging, afternoon Gas Helmet Practise.

March 19th

Parade 9.30AM. Church Service.

March 20th

Parade 9.0AM Pay, afternoon Firing on Range, 15 Rounds.

March 21st

Orderly for billet.

March 22nd

Stitching Gas Helmet. Pockets in tunic.

March 23rd

Filling Trenches in.

March 24th

No Parade (Snowing) all day.

March 25th

Route March.

March 26th

Left Huppy 8.0AM, marched 12 mls. Reached Humpreys [Longpré-les-Corps-Saints] 3.30PM, billeted in barn for the night.

March 27th

Left Humpreys [Longpré] 8.30, marched 11 mls, reached Vignacourt 2.0PM, billeted in barns on wire netting bens for the night.

March 28th

Left Vignacourt 8.0AM, marched 13 mls to Beauval 1.0AM, billeted in same arrangements.

March 29th

Left Beauval 8.0AM, marched 14 mls, reached Bertrancourt 2.30PM, billeted in huts.

March 30th

Parade 9.0AM. Rifle Inspection & Iron rations. Parade 2.0PM. Lecture by Colonel Rickman on what he saw in the trenches.

March 31st

Parade 8.45AM, first gas practise in hut. No Parade in afternoon.

April 1st

Parade 9.30AM. Pay, moved out of huts into barns.

April 2nd

Parade 9.30AM. Church Parade. Parade again 2.30PM. Gas Helmet Pract.

April 3rd

Fall in 11.45AM. Full Pack, moved away from Bertrancourt 3.0PM, reached Collinscamp [Colincamps] 5.0PM, picked out as bomber.

April 4th

Start on a course of bombing. Parade 9.0AM. Throwing Dummies. Parade 2.0PM, instructions with live bomb.

April 5th

Parade 9.0AM, same as latter.

April 6th

Same as usual, about 8.30PM our artillery start work, we had to stand to in trenches behind billets expecting our friends retalliating, everything passed off alright, went back into billets for the night.

April 7th

Parade 9.0AM, instructions on bombing in trenches. Parade 2.0PM, same as usual.

April 8th

Parade 9.0AM, throwing bombs in trenches & instructions on rifle grenades, same in afternoon.

April 9th

Parade 9.0AM, instructions on stick grenade, afternoon throwing bombs into trenches.

April 10th

Parade 9.0AM. Passing examination on Grenades, afternoon exam. on throwing one live bomb each.

April 11th

Raining all morning, no parade.

April 12th

Parade 9.30AM, moving back to Bertrancourt to rest camp, reached Bertrancourt 10.30AM to wait until 2.30PM until W Yorks moved out of huts.

April 13th

Parade 9.0AM, digging trenches near the third line, rest in afternoon.

April 14th

Parade 11.30AM. Fatigue duty emptying wagons of stone at Collinscamp [Colincamps], on Guard Orderly all night.

April 15th

Off Duty all day.

April 16th

Hut Orderly. Church Parade in the morning. Parade 5.40PM, digging in third line trenches, finished 11.0PM, got back to huts 12.30PM [12.30AM].

April 17th

Rest through day. Parade 9.30PM, digging again in third line, wet through again, relieved at 3.00AM.

April 18th

Got back 5.0AM, rest through day.

April 19th

Parade 9.30PM. Digging in trenches again, wet through once more, got back 5.0AM, no sleep that day.

April 20th

Fatigue 11.0AM. Parade 2.30PM. Parade 9.30PM, digging in trenches, got back 1.30AM.

April 21st

Parade 9.30AM, bomb Practise.

April 22nd

No Parade.

April 23rd

Parade 11.0AM. Digging trenches a few miles away. Parade 6.30PM, digging in third line, finished 11.30PM, got back 1.30AM.

April 24th

No Parade, went to concert at Y.M.C.A. 6.30PM given by our band.

April 25th

Parade 7.30AM, dismissed. On Parade again at 6.30, digging in third line, got back at 1.30AM.

April 26th

Orderly Parade 1.0PM, dismissed.

April 27th

Parade 8.0AM, digging in trenches till 2.30PM, got back 3.30PM. Parade 8.0PM, digging in trenches, got back 1.30AM.

April 28th

Packing up. Relieving trenches, got in first line 4.0PM, took over from W Yorks, our section took No 12 Post over, about 200 yds from enemy's lines, very quiet all night, odd ones from working parties bobbing up now & again.
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April 29th

Stand down 4.30AM, very hot all through day, picked out for Lieut. Observer, went first rounds with him, came back to No 12 Post and took sentry on at end of communication trench, night very quiet until 11.30PM when our artillery started straffing which ceased at 12.30PM [12.30AM], enemy retalliated in few places, one shell dropped close by us while on sentry duty, and very lucky for us, as it was a dud, sniper at back very busy at intervals.

April 30th

Stand down at 4.0AM, went rounds with Officer, same at night, slight artillery fire moving, on duty all night.

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Permission to publish the transcript of Percy Allsup's diary is by kind courtesy of Percy B. Allsup. Transcript © Andrew C. Jackson 2000.

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