I never knew either of my grandfathers; they both passed away before I was born.
My maternal grandfather, Walter Laming, was born in 1896 and died in 1947. He served in the army throughout the First World War and later worked as a printer for the Sheffield Telegraph.
My mother recently lent me a small booklet containing my grandfather’s own handwritten notes about his military service. Below is a transcript of those notes.
Age 16 years. Enlisted as Driver, Royal Engineers (Territorials) June 1913.
England declared war on Germany August 4th 1914. Then in camp at Hornsea. Immediately returned to Sheffield.
Mobilised 7th August 1914. Left Sheffield with Forces 24th August. Marched to Conisborough, Askern, Cawood. Thence in training at Doncaster, Sandbeck Park, (48 hours leave), Rossington (then last leave 4 days)
Kineton. Joined 29th Division (now famous). Next civilian billets at Long Hitchington*. Havensmouth*. Thence embarked on Troopship B13 March 18th 1915 for abroad (destination then unknown).
Landed in Egypt (Alexandria). Stayed there 13 days. Sailed for Lemnos. April 24th 1915 sailed for Dardanelles. Landed Sedul-Bahr V Beach Gallipoli April 31st* 1915.
Evacuated January 4th 1916. Sailed back to Lemnos. Thence Egypt (Alexandria). Entrained for Port Suez. Sallied through Suez Canal to Port Said. Thence to Marseilles. Via coast of Africa, Morocco.
Landed Marseilles, France March 1916. Pont Reme* 2½ days in cattle trucks, Mailly. Mailly Somme. Ypres Somme.
After 22 months abroad, 10 days leave for England. November 1916.
Back to Somme for Xmas. Arras, Elverdinge, Pilcombe Ridge.
Wounded. Bullet in left knee. CCS Calais. Sailed for Blighty. October 1917. Edmonton Military Hospital, London. Convalescent Home, East Finchley.
February 1917. 10 days sick leave. Back to Duty. Aldershot until June 1917. Sailed again for France with 550th Field Com. To Messines Ridge, Belgium. Bethune. Aberville* etc, etc. Tournai.
Granted 1 month’s leave after 5 years service. November 8th 1918. 3 days later Armistice signed. War ended November 11th 1918. 11th hour, 11th month, 11th day.
Back again to France December 1918. To Tournai, Belgium. Then Antwerp, Belgium.
Demobilised at Clipstone, England May 1st 1919. After 4 years 2 months Foreign Service Abroad. Then only 22 years of age.
*I have deciphered my grandfather's handwriting as best I can, but there may be a few mistakes in this transcript. Some of the place-names appear to have been misspelt. “Long Hitchington” is probably “Long Itchington" (Warwickshire) and “Havensmouth” could be “Avonmouth" (Bristol). “Pont Reme” is probably “Pont-Remy" (Somme) and “Aberville” is probably “Abbeville" (Somme). The date “April 31st” is clearly incorrect.