Title - March 1915 Diary of 12/69 Alphaeus Abbott Casey

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Monday 1st March 1915

6.30 awoke to sound of bugle. Stiff, pains in stomach, felt rotten, cold. Better after awhile. Snow blizzard blowing. Drill in hut.

Weather cleared, beautiful afternoon. Side arms, marched down Lodge Lane up road on opposite side of valley to top. Hard climbing. Went down hill side after rest and practised finding objects.

Evening Cowlyshaw [Cowlishaw] and self beat Lockwood and Robinson 2 rubbers to 1 at bridge.

Prime Minister declares blockade of Germany.

Tuesday 2nd March 1915

Parade 9.30. Practised bayonet fixing. Fierce snowfights between platoons 1 and 2 and 1 and 2 v. 3 and 4. Storey, Woodhouse and Earl caught it hot. Drill under Costello and Company Drill under Earl in afternoon. Route march in evening via Ringinglow,

Snow, drizzle, only 1 halt of 10 minutes in 8 or 9 mls. Very tired, hungry.


Naval operations at Dardanelles interrupted by bad weather.

Read Chaps 20, 21, 22 Matthew. No. of parallels concerning future life. The seers and prophets were the servants, the son Christ, the wicked husbandman the world. Splendid illustrations. If Christ came today, should one kill him?

Wednesday 3rd March 1915

Very stiff, sleepy. Parade 11am. Mess orderly, fetched bread 7am. Rain drizzling. Told at 10am to put equipment together for parade. Just as ready, told not needed, take to pieces again, and rub well with dubbin. Confounded nuisance.

Afternoon marched down Lodge Lane to practise outpost [   ] guarding main body at Crookes from enemy at Bamford. Front the Rivelin valley between Redmires and Manchester Rds. Formed part of screen on Redmires sides. Tiring work. Stiff and sore.

Evening, pingpong. Lost to Robinson in splendid game 18-21.

Thursday 4th March 1915

Shooting, 70%. Weather fair. Afternoon final A v. B. Result 2-1. Miriam, Eunice, Dorothy, Connie came up at 4pm. Showed them round camp. Brought plenty of grub up.

Tom also brought friend, Aubrey, from Bank. Showed them round.

Evening:- Night operations on parade ground, full equipment. Practised marching, taking off and putting on equipment silently.

Read Chaps 23, 24 25 Matthew.

Friday 5th March 1915 

Parade 10.50am. Washing up. Very windy. Played hut 9 footer. Won 1-0, Howard scored in last minute. Very strong cross wind. Unwin fetched me off towards end to prepare for ceremonial drill under Sgt Register 11-12.15.

Also ceremonial 2-4. Drizzle, stayed most of time in band room. Payed(sic) 19/-.

Evening concert at Y.M.C.A. by Laughton party. Excellent. Some delicious items by young lady:- The silence in the desert, Nelson’s Column, The Milkmaid. Fine duets and solos. Drake.

Saturday 6th March 1915

Excused parade because of funeral. Played bridge and read papers.

German submarine U8 sunk in Channel and crew captured. Admiralty announce that “Thordis” “in all probability” sunk German submarine.

Still battery Dardanelles.

Dinner 11.30. In town 1.20 arriving at Woodseats Lane 1.30. Surrounded by crowd of slum children until 3.30 when marched to Petre St Churchyard. Corporal and Sgt idiots. Didn’t know ceremonial properly. Vicar gave address at graveside. Pt Cherry had served 2 yrs HongKong, 2 yrs Singapore, 3 S. Africa. Died as result of wounds from operation for frostbite. Thousands of onlookers.

Evening Percy came down. Brought 2nd Book of Songs, Bandmaster, Drake. Had musical evening. Bed 12pm.

Sunday 7th March 1915

Awoke 12am. Oh its nice to be able to stop in bed.

After dinner went over different pieces of music.


Sermon by Rev. A.E. Rose. Very good. Text about Jesus weeping at sight of Jerusalem which had so often done things which were wrong and had winked at them that had lost power of seeing them. The people had lived up to doctrine that end justified means. So Germans said invasion and destruction of small people, Belgium, were regretfully necessary to save great nation, Germany.

Saw girls. Had bath. Just missed last bus and had to walk from Tom Lane, camp 11.30pm. Bed made by Clarke.

Monday 8th March 1915

Fine weather. Route march down Lodge Lane across valley, down and back thro’ Wyming Brook. Joined with B Co under Major Plac[k]ett.

Afternoon dull. Exam. Written answers to questions. Practised aiming positions. Tested visual training. Picked no of objects.

Evening night operations on parade ground. Passing messages. Row owing to chaps adding and altering. Amusing results. Holmes given extra guard.

Read 25-end Matthew, death of Christ, crucifiction(sic).

Tuesday 9th March 1915

Washing up. Parade 11am. Ordered to scrub hut out, and then put equipment together. Everybody dissatisfied. Won’t get good results unless are more decent to men. Working everybody to death doing fatigues and squad drill etc., which know is useless.

11-12am Company Drill under Jarrard. Did quite well.

Afternoon bayonet drill under Sgt Major Marsden. Everybody keen. Enjoyable. Practised point, parry, thrust, pointing at sacks on run and the  at wooden posts. Very exciting. Sgt Major pleased.

In evening played bridge and pingpong. 3 ships sunk, 27 out of crew of 28 in 1 drowned.

Wednesday 10th March 1915

Potatoes. Fine weather.

Practised company retreating by sectional rushes (under Jarrard). Later on colonel supervised retreat. The line moved from centre to rt and left gradually opening up a space thro’ which supports could fire. The sections retired with left and rt in a line. At last extreme firing line section got on flank of supports and deployed to rear to form new supports and so retired.

Afternoon, dull, drizzle, filled in trenches.

Evening night march 7.50-9.10pm to end of Wyming Brook. Picked out men hidden on road side.

Another submarine,U12, sunk. 10 out of 28 crew saved. British make biggest advance in Flanders since deadlock, capturing 1000 Germans, 2 mls trenches, 2 mls depth advance.

Letter from Douglas.

Thursday 11th March 1915

Parade 10.50 with equipment.

Beat Oldale 21-13 at pingpong, lost to Nichols 21-17 in tournament.

Mess orderly.

Company drill. Rain. Clean rifles.

Afternoon dull, close, no rain. C v. D 3-1, E v. B 5-1. Pater didn’t come up.

Played about 12 games pingpong in evening. Also bridge and solo.

Hard game of footer in afternoon.

Evening played pingpong and bridge. 

Friday 19th March 1915

[The writing on this page gives details of the Battalion’s movements between December 1915 and February 1916, and has been placed at the end of the transcription.]

Saturday 20th March 1915

Mess orderly. Dull weather, clearing. Battalion Route March, recruiting, full equipment, Sheffield, Malin Bridge, back to Redmires.

Home, bath. Have flitted to 101.

Camp 11pm.

Saw United v. Aston Villa, 3-0. Scrappy game, fine weather.

Sunday 21st March 1915

Chapel 10-10.40am. Talk on worldly repentance compared with true. Former often self-sympathy, caused by pain and not sorrow because sinned e.g. if peeling onions eyes smart and tears come.

Read “Harvester” by Gene [blank] [Stratton-Porter]. Tale of woodlands of America. Moral, life clean.

Washing up.

Monday 22nd March 1915

Shooting at range. Government test. 25 yds, 5 shots, elementary target, grouping, a) lying, b) kneeling and a rest. Made 1 ins and 2 ins groups, top.

Sprained groin at footer.

Physical exercise 6.30-7.30am. Double round parade ground.

Afternoon distance judging from Lodge Lane. Groin got stiff and hurt.

Evening swotted Zo. Protozoa, e.g. Amoeba.

Tuesday 23rd March 1915

Drill 6.30-7.30am. Coffee and biscuits. Jumping games etc. Enjoyed it. 1 ml double. Government tests continued. Target man standing in grass. a) 5 shots, b) 5 shots in 1½ minutes. Scored a) 18/20, b) 20/20. Top.

Afternoon bayonet drill.

Evening swotted Zo. The Tissues.

Wednesday 24th March 1915

6.30-7.30 drill. Exhilarating. Games.

9-12.30 Distance judging in Rivelin Valley. Men sent out different directions. Fire 2 shots of blank for ½ min. Had to lay sights and point direction with rifle on ground. Got 2 out of 4 correct, others 400 instead of 355, 350 instead of 300.

Afternoon practised retreat by sectional rushes, supports becoming firing line and vice versa, firing line opening out in centre.

Evening footer. Won 2-1. Good game. Pingpong.

Friday 30th July 1915

Left Cannock.

Friday 24th September 1915

Left Ripon.

Tuesday 16th November 1915

Left Hurdcott Camp for Lark Hill Camp, 14 mls away. Passed close to Stonehenge.

Filthy huts at Lark Hill.

Set to work and scrubbed everything. Last regiment, Manchester, must have been a [dirty? This word largely cut away] lot.

Monday 20th December 1915

Left Hurdcott.

Tuesday 21st December 1915

Sailed for Egypt on Nestor.

Saturday 25th December 1915

Passed through Straits of Gibraltar 9pm.

Wednesday 29th December 1915

Called at Malta.

Written on page headed Friday 19th March 1915

Arrived Malta Dec 29

     “      Alexandria Jan 1st

     “      Port Said     “    2nd

     “      Salt Island  “    10th

Returned Pt Said   “    17th

Arrived El Ferdan   “ 26th

Left El Ferdan    Feb 21st

Arrived Kantara 21st Feb

Left          “          23rd Feb

Arrived trenches   23rd    “

Permission to publish this transcript of Alphaeus Casey's diary is by kind permission of Jacky Hodgson and the University of Sheffield Library.

Top | Sheffield City Battalion | Site Map