Stephen Warner Diaries – Volume I, July 1915

  July 15th, 1915

“called up July 15th 1915. Reported at Whitehall. Took 3 hours to connect with much signing of ones name. We numbered just over 100 orderlies with a large number of N.C.Os most whom knew very little about their business! The majority of the men are north-country (Newcastle & Lancashire) but I was fortunate to get in with the southerners. For my own part I was not sorry to leave Aldershot or ‘Blitey’ as the Tommies from India call it (whether I have spelt it right I do not know) we have been waiting so long to be called up that further delay was irksome of course as a place it is deadly uninteresting”

July 22nd, 1915

“on Thursday July 22nd at 3.00pm we marched off to Aldershot North Camp Station headed by Major Trimble. Reached Folkestone harbour at 9.00pm and at once went on board the S.G.R Co. Steamer ‘London’. We found ourselves in company with contingent of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire L.I and a varied collection of Indian regiments – strange figures in Turbans, slouch hats and other head gear”

July 23rd, 1915

“spent in the General Hospital in Boulogne – went round town, saw casino at No.13 General Hospital – saw a good many fishing boats held up in the harbour and one or two government patrol boats”

July 24th, 1915

“we’d driffle dragged along with many slopes to Etaples which we reach at about 6.00pm – Etaples is about 10/15 miles from Boulogne!! The R.A.M.C have two or three General base hospitals, the Canadians an enormous one and we come last with ours to hold about 500 – a veritable sea of canvases and corrugated iron buildings, helping one to realise a little more clearly the magnitude of the operation upon which England is engaged to the tremendous casualties which must be expected before peace can be won”

 

 

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The Stephen Warner Diaries

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In 2014 Lowewood Museum marked 100 years since the start of the First World War with an exhibition displaying objects and stories connected to the Borough of Broxbourne.

Exhibits included a collection of diaries written by Stephen Warner, the great grandson of John Warner of Hoddesdon. During the War, Stephen served initially as a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, but after a time there he felt that he could not let others bear the brunt of the battle and so became 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion Essex Regiment where he was served with distinction and was awarded the Military Cross.

After the war, he wrote and illustrated a number of books, many of which are now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. He died on 24 June 1948, leaving his wife Winifred Warner. They had no children.

The diaries which are part of the Museum’s collection provide an insight into an individual’s experience of the First World War. For the first time these diaries will be shared online.

Follow the blog page and Lowewood Museum’s Twitter page to read extracts from the diaries and follow Stephen Warner’s journey through the First World War.