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Queen Mary’s Hospital, Whalley in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Queen Mary’s Hospital, Whalley

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Those known to have worked or been treated at

Queen Mary’s Hospital, Whalley

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Feb 2018

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Pte. Robert Cleverton 9th Btn. Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

This is a copy of the contents of the diary written by Robert Cleverton written between 1 April 1918 and 21 July 1918. It covers Robert’s second tour in the Trenches of Western France and Belgium, where he saw active service at Ypres and near Reims. Robert’s first active tour was fighting on the Somme where he received shrapnel wounds and contracted Trench Fever before being evacuated to the UK for convalescence in November 1917.

Robert was born on 1 April 1898. He enlisted in the KOYLI on 16 March 1915 at the age of 16, two weeks before his 17th birthday, but falsified his year of birth as 1897 to make him nearly 18. He was demobilised from the Army on 14 March 1919. He joined the RAF on 14 August 1919. His service record again gives his birth year as 1897. He served in the RAF for less than a year and was released as “no longer physically fit for War Service” on 30 July 1920. After his service careers Robert married twice, had 7 children in his first marriage and 4 in his second. He lived mainly in Weymouth, Dorset, where he worked as a Master Butcher. During the Second World War he served as a sergeant in the Home Guard. He died on 1 May 1969.

The diary itself is actually a small pocket “Agenda Française” (French Diary). In the front of the diary it states that it originally belonged to Paul Moingeon from Gigny near Beaune. It is not known how it came to be in Robert’s possession or if there is any connection between this and the entries from 31 May 1918. The only entries in the diary are those made by Robert between 1 April 1918 and 21 July 1918. The original diary is held by the children of Robert’s second marriage.

  • 1 April 1918 Left Folkestone for France for the second time and landed in Boulogne. Left Boulogne for base at Etaples. Own Birthday 20 years old today.
  • 2 April 1918 Etaples nothing doing
  • 3 April 1918 Etaples
  • 4 April 1918 Left Etaples for the 9th Battalion KOYLI. Got off train at a place called CaĂ«stre and marched to Reinforcement Camp at Steenvoorde.
  • 5 April 1918 Still at Reinforcement Camp at Steenvoorde.
  • 6 April 1918 Left the Reinforcement Camp for Locre (Loker) and found the 9th KOYLI there.
  • 7 April 1918 Left Loker and went in Reserve to the 49th Division at Ypres. We were in the Ritz Dugouts and expected Fritz attacking any moment.
  • 8 April 1918 Still in Ritz Dugouts. Heavy Bombardment by German Artillery.
  • 9 April 1918 Same as previous page.
  • 10 April 1918 Left Ritz Dugouts for Maida Camp 2 km from Ypres.
  • 11 April 1918 Left Maida Camp for front line trenches at Kemmel Hill. Heavy shelling all the way up. Relieved D.L.I. (Durham Light Infantry).
  • 12 April 1918 Front Line trench. L/Cpl Tolson killed by sniper after killing 4 Germans. German Pillbox 50 yds away. Machine Gun inside.
  • 13 April 1918 Front Line all quiet.
  • 14 April 1918 Front Line all quiet.
  • 15 April 1918 Front Line. Heavy shelling both sides at stand-to.
  • 16 April 1918 Front Line. Trench mortar bombardment by Fritz. 2 killed 6 wounded quite close to me. 1st letter from Mother.
  • 17 April 1918 Front Line all quiet. Heavy shelling in the rear of us by Fritz.
  • 18 April 1918 Front Line all quiet.
  • 19 April 1918 Front Line all quiet. Wiring most of the night.
  • 20 April 1918 Front Line 2 killed close to me.
  • 21 April 1918 Front Line all quiet.
  • 22 April 1918 Front Line all quiet. Patrol 2 hrs tonight.
  • 23 April 1918 Front Line all quiet.
  • 24 April 1918 Front Line all quiet. Wiring most of the night.
  • 25 April 1918 Relieved at 10pm by 1st East Yorks and marched about 6 km to Jager Camp. Heavy shelling of camp during the night several wounded and killed. Fritz also sent Gas over for 4 hours.
  • 26 April 1918 Left camp for Front Line as Germans had broke through our line and Fritz advancing in hundreds but we stopped him by rifle and machine gun fire. Next morning we made a counter attack.
  • 27 April 1918 Page missing
  • 28 April 1918 Page missing
  • 29 April 1918 Division relieved from Ypres Front. Marched to Cassel and stopped 1 night in open field.
  • 30 April 1918 Left Cassel for Lederzeele 19km, 10 miles. Arrived Lederzeele 5pm.
  • 1 May 1918 Reorganisation of companies and platoons.
  • 2 May 1918 Still at Lederzeele. Received letter from Mother.
  • 3 May 1918 Still at Lederzeele.
  • 4 May 1918 Still at Lederzeele.
  • 5 May 1918 Still at Lederzeele.
  • 6 May 1918 Still at Lederzeele.
  • 7 May 1918 Still at Lederzeele.
  • 8 May 1918 Left Lederzeele for Saint Omer by road. Entrained at Saint Omer for unknown destination.
  • 9 May 1918 Train all day.
  • 10 May 1918 Train all day.
  • 11 May 1918 Arrived at some station and marched to Romigny. 25 km from Reims.
  • 12 May 1918 Left Romigny for Jonchery. Arrived Jonchery. Left Jonchery for support line trenches. Relieved the French at Berry-au-Bac between Reims and Soissons.
  • 13 May 1918 All quiet in support not 1 shell.
  • 14 May 1918 Lotties birthday. Support Line not 1 shell
  • 15 May 1918 All quiet support line.
  • 16 May 1918 All quiet support line. Received letter from Mother.
  • 17 May 1918 All quiet support line. Received letter from the old man Mr R Cleverton and cigarettes also letter from Mrs Rixon.
  • 18 May 1918 Support Line quiet. Received letter from Ethel.
  • 19 May 1918 Support Line quiet. Received letter from Lottie and one from home to say parcel is coming.
  • 20 May 1918 Support all quiet. No parcel.
  • 21 May 1918 Relieved by East Yorks and went to Front Line and relieved the D.L.I. all quiet front line. No parcel.
  • 22 May 1918 Front Line all quiet. No parcel.
  • 23 May 1918 Front Line all quiet. No parcel.
  • 24 May 1918 Front Line all quiet. Letter from Evelyn and photos of Mary but no parcel. Parcel must have got lost.
  • 25 May 1918 Front Line all quiet.
  • 26 May 1918 Front Line slight shelling in the afternoon. Heavy shelling by Fritz about 12 midnight still continuing.
  • 27 May 1918 Front Line 4 a.m. Barrage of shells also Gas by Fritz. Hundreds of Germans following barrage. Our Lewis Guns playing hell with them. Piece of shrapnel in the face and gassed.
  • 28 May 1918 L/Cpl Brown a pal of mine killed. Lt Greenshields hand blown off. Arrived at Field Ambulance. Germans still advancing as they broke through on the left and got round us and we had to retire.
  • 29 May 1918 Arrived 37 C.C.S. and were told to get out of it as quick as possible and Fritz was close on. All walking cases went to Ville-en-Tardenois 10 km away and the Germans hold that now. 300 stretcher cases left. Fritz may have got them!
  • 30 May 1918 Entrained for unknown hospital. Fritz bombing railway by aeroplane. French, English and Americans all mixed up on this Red Cross train.
  • 31 May 1918 Arrive at Buanne and put in a French Hospital only 2 meals a day here mostly French in the hospital. (There is no place called Buanne in France and Robert spells it differently in following diary entries. For consideration this could be Beaune in Burgundy. The Americans completed the building of a military hospital there in January 1918. The town has a similar name to Robert’s entries. It contains some beautiful buildings and there is a “mountain” near by. All of which Robert refers to in the following entries). Buanne a very nice place something like Oxford and most students speak good English.
  • 1 June 1918 I am still at the French hospital at Buanne expecting move tomorrow to Rouen. No church parade since I left Rugeley.
  • 2 June 1918 I went for a walk this afternoon (Sunday) and the country around here is the prettiest I have ever seen and I am writing this at the foot of some French Mountain. This place would just suit Mother but I think I would sooner be in England even if I had to live in Narrow Marsh.
  • 3 June 1918 Still at Buenne and this afternoon we went for a walk round and found a place where cherries were growing wild. We picked about 14lb. Should like to send some to Mother but of course that’s impossible.
  • 4 June 1918 Left Buene today at 12 noon. Arrived in Paris at 3 a.m. the next morning.
  • 5 June 1918 We were given a good feed at the Red Cross at Gare du Nord and then had a look round Paris. Left Paris at 11 a.m. for Rouen. Arrived Rouen at 5 p.m. and went to 10th General Hospital.
  • 6 June 1918 Left 10th General Hospital for Convalescent Camp and promised a staff job there. Shall know for certain in the morning.
  • 7 June 1918 Have been before the doctor and marked for employment as Bugler in the camp. Got paid 20 Francs today. Wrote to Ma, Evelyn, Lottie, Ethel, Mary, Mrs Rixon but they will not get away until tomorrow Saturday.
  • 8 June 1918 Still at Convalescent Camp.
  • 9 June 1918 Still at Convalescent Camp feeling pretty bad.
  • 10 June 1918 Sent back to hospital No. 6 General.
  • 11 June 1918 17 Ward 6 Gen feeling bad.
  • 12 June 1918 Marked for Blighty.
  • 13 June 1918 Left No. 6 General for England. Left Le Havre for England 10 p.m. on the HMHS Grantully Castle.
  • 14 June 1918 Arrived Southampton 10 A.M. and left there on Ambulance Train for Whalley Lancashire.
  • 15 June 1918 R1 Ward Queen Mary’s Hospital Whalley Lancashire.
  • 16 June 1918 Whalley.
  • 17 June 1918 Whalley
  • 18 June 1918 Whalley.
  • 19 June 1918 Whalley.
  • 20 June 1918 Whalley.
  • 21 June 1918 Whalley.
  • 22 June 1918 Whalley.
  • 23 June 1918 Transferred to Pike Law Military Hospital Rawtenstall Lancs.
  • 24 June 1918 Pike Law.
  • 25 June 1918 Pike Law.
  • 26 June 1918 Pike Law.
  • 27 June 1918 Pike Law.
  • 28 June 1918 Pike Law.
  • 29 June 1918 Pike Law. Went to Manchester with Ethel.
  • 30 June 1918 Pike Law.
  • 1 -21 July 1918 Pike Law.

Joanna Malley

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