Army medic’s diary recounts harrowing tales from the frontline in the First World War

Cpl P. G. Elsey of the Royal Army Medical Corps
Cpl P. G. Elsey of the Royal Army Medical Corps

Cpl P. G. Elsey of the Royal Army Medical Corps spent a short leave at his parents home in Sleaford Road, and shared extracts from his ‘October’ diary with The Standard.

Here are some snippets:

October 1: Town shelled by shrapnel. I brought in and dressed three men wounded by shrapnel whilst playing football.

October 4: A large Belgiun mastiff dog which followed us from Mons is still with us. We call him ‘Mons’. He can now understand some English.

October 8: Two shells burst in the ground as I was riding across a field on my bike. A third burst 10 yards high, but I was 30 yards away then. I should have been killed. I put my bike against a tree and walked into the hospital 30 yards away. A shell struck the tree, tore branches off and damaged the bike.

October 23: 400 German prisoners brought in tonight by our troops.

October 24: Rose at 5am, worked hard and visited field ambulances many times. It was 2.30am before I finished. Had a shave in the town by a woman.

October 26: Heavy engagement taking place. Injuries of men most ghastly and cruel. English aeroplane brought down during the afternoon. Machine burst into flames 800ft up. One officer jumps out and is killed. The other remains and is burnt to death.