Welsh Regiment Badge The First Glamorgan Bantams - 17thwelsh.org.uk
Rev. Captain David Edwin Davies BA - Gazetted Chaplain 22nd May 1917
France    June 1916 to February 1918

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Captain David Edwin Davies BA (1878 - 1947) - Non Conformist Battalion Chaplain - Page 7
Rev. Captain David Edwin Davies's Diaries - Page 2

In France with the YMCA, the 17th & 18th Battalions The Welsh Regiment
& Battalions of Other Regiments

Pages (1 - Family & Timeline), (2- Letter to Leta), (3 - Hymn Sheet), (4 - Signatures) (5 - Send Off),  (6 - Diary Pg1 & Evan Matthias)  (7 - Diary Pg 2) (8 -Misc Images)

Date Comment Sources & Notes

His Diary
Edwin's granddaughter, Mrs Ceridwen Harris has kindly provided two extracts. The first extract starts by being undated until a first date of 23rd September 1917. Therefore, as he left for France as an official Army Chaplain on 22nd May 1917, it is assumed, from the content, that it covers the period 22nd May 1917 to 22nd September 1917. It appears that the first set are from an Army notebook with pages ripped out, front and back and Mrs Harris refers to the contents as rough nots.

This, the second diary extract commences 20th December 1917 and ends 21st May 1918 with Edwin having returned to the UK the previous day, 20th May 1918. He shortly returns to his previous life as a non-conformist minister in chapels in Wales and England, marrying Leta, at Narberth on 11th September 1918 and as summarised on page 1 of the Rev. Captain David Edwin Davies BA pages of this website. Many of the entries are abbreviations, some obvious, other less so. Further, it is not known if the lines of notes as per day, per week, or per month, probably a combination of all three. Where I have expanded an abbreviation or assumed a date based on related information, I use a Font coloured RED - [GGD - 15 April 2014, almost 97 years later]. These diary pages have been subject of Google Map searches and where I have commented or completed words or expand abbreviations, significant use of a dictionary. Hope I remember what I've read - GGD.

2.15 pm so 1 hr late. L J on the lookout [Leta Jones]. Afternoon and evening together.
Left 7.25 am arrived Folkestone 9.30 am found Tonkin on board.  Supposed to sail 11.00 am, owing to fog left 4.00 pm. Very cold and wintry.  Stayed at Dervoux. Gt fun – Pin ( ?P in the slot?) first Capt then Canadian Canadian gt sport.
Leaving 12.00 noon! Fairly comfortable railway journey – reached Boisleux au bois ?about 6.00 pm. Stayed the night at YMCA. Very comfortable quarters
Left YMCA 9.30 reached depot (Erviller) soon after 11.00 am.  Found Evans on leave so made myself comfortable (Ervillers Brigade details).
Up the line with Tonkin.
Christmas Day Service at 11.00 am with 17th Welsh. In camp rest of day. Service followed by Communion  - about 15 remained. [The 17th Welsh Diary gives the Map Referen ce Ref: Map Handecourt Ed 5 Special Sheet for the period around Christmas 1914 and they were at Camp Iniskilling - the diary entry states, simply, Church Services in the morning. The 17th Welsh diary entries covering those days were signed by IDG - 17thWelsh diarist 17th Welsh Diary page 06 - December 1917
In camp most of the day. Went to Hamlincourt to see Matthias in the afternoon – indoors rest of day.
Left early for the lines – took quite 1 ½ hrs lunch with Taylor IMBs (or ? JMBs or FMBs?) called with our own people for news re deceased officers and men. Tea with the SWBs – very slippery walking home.
Writing to friends of fallen in morning, Matt came over in afternoon – writing again at night.
On the move to Armagh Camp – the other side of Hamlincourt.  After some discussion decided to be billeted with T.O., V.O. and Interpreter and self in apparently very cosy hut.[Transport Officer, Veterinary Officer?]
Arranged service at 11.00 am in Railway Reserve with S.W.B.s ! [South Wales Borderers]For some reason men did not turn up – probably preferred to remain in cosy dug outs to facing wintry weather.
Walk a good 2 hours – by the time I got back home absolutely done to the world!
Went to see Matt in morning – afternoon walked to Mory (North Camp) to 18 Welsh in hope of arranging service, but did not come off. (note – service was arranged but no-one turned up. 18 Welsh).
Wrote home and London – began in 1917 finished in 1918!!

Hut in morning - sweeping chimney – no good! Walked in afternoon as far as Moyenneville - - but feet still very troublesome.
Letter writing at night. Wrote to E.S.Prior [ie secretary of church in Tavistock, Devon, where DED was then minister].

As Batt. had come to Mory – walked here for lunch. Arranged service for Thursday evening 6.00 pm then walked back. Feet still blistered.
Off to see Matt in morning. Went to see distribution of ribbons in afternoon.  Arranged for service at 6.00 pm but as they were paying the men in the same hut had to abandon idea.  Walked home – feet still badly blistered.
Wrote home, Vicar Holywell, Open Air Sch.

Saw Matt in morning. Told him could not go up line – feet too painful. Stayed in and did some writing.
(Wrote) Home, L J, Barratt, Horswill, Bank.

Saw Matt in morning – had some music on fine gramophone.
Walked to Ervillers to arrange Sunday service.
In house in evening
Wrote home, L J.

11.00 am S.W.B. at Mory Theatre off 1- pm Funeral  S. Hopkin; 3.00 pm F.A. at Ervillers; Had quite an interesting day – Major Gen. and Staff turned up for service at 11.00 under impression it was C of E – No one else turned up hence service off; 12.00 went to C. of E. Service Ch. Army hut with Tonkin – This followed by funeral at 1.00 pm. Lunch with S.W.Bs. United service at Ervillers  - Tonkin lessons myself the address.
Home, L J
Nothing very special in morning letter writing, in afternoon long walk with Matt in the evening Hut – wrote home, L J, Mrs. Lovell, Mrs. Lefesack
February 1918:

In the ravine in the morning.  Jerry again busy – and still more fortunate – one shell landed just outside Soup Kitchen – killing 4 and wounding 11 – narrow escape as under ordinary circs would have been at the Soup Kitchen at the time. Nothing else of note to record.  Wrote Matt suggesting transfer to CCS as Brigade was being reorganised.
[Note – 12th Battn was disbanded on the reduction of strength of brigades to 3 battalions, at this time].
[ My mother told me that DED was very upset because when he got to the Soup Kitchen a distressed soldier who had lost some of this friends there blamed DED – said his friends had been waiting for DED and had he turned up they wouldn’t have been killed. CMH]

Came down to details in the morning – with Matthias seeing Corps final football in afternoon – hut at night.
Saw H.L.I. chaplain who came in ? for first time.
Sunday 3rd February 1918 No service in morning – got rid of some surplus kit. Went to Ambulance – but napoo ? – no one turned up.
Got kit in order in afternoon in case of emergency.

Had long walk – went to funeral at St. Leger (Pte Davies) walked – Ervillers – Mory – St Leger – Funeral at 11.30 am – got back just before 1. Very tired so didn’t go out in afternoon except to see Matt.
Up at Mory in morning rode back in Corps car – gt fun Matt and self. ‘Air cut and gramophone in afternoon – hut in evening.
Having arranged with Close to meet him at Behangnies for billiards – left early. Previous night very disturbed – saw result in the morning – meeting the battn on the way down the line. Very sorry to part company.
Got to Beh[? GGD]. And had gt fun over Close and Matt’s billiards. Found that I was to be attached to H.L.I. [Highland Light Infantry?] but when arrived at 136 found Muir still with them then further upsetting things! Hut at night.
Nothing of very special importance in the morning. Matt in afternoon. Concert in evening at 136 – great!
Up with Matt in morning – found that at last my destination was fixed – 18th Welsh.
Afternoon knocking about. After tea  went to 18th Welsh to make arrangements – going tomorrow.
Concert at night – answer received from L J  - OK – A1 [He had written asking her to marry him, see separate letter, and she wrote back saying ‘Yes” to his proposal]

Up to see Matt in the morning – got off 2 letters – in afternoon tea with him then to new quarters 18th Welsh.
*Started with 18th Welsh *

Slept well until a rat coolly walked over my face – was just a second too late!
One service – 11 am Belagnies – 5 present. Went to hear Close 2.15 pm. No service there again. Stayed for Tonkin – at 3.00 pm. Remained for Communion at the close. Hut at night.
Reported to Mathias in morning, up at Hamlincourt. In hut in afternoon waiting for Tonkin who never turned up! Walked to ? P.O. in evening.
On tramp! Found that destination was not far so walked past Ervillers reached camp soon after 11.00. Cap Lewis (acting Second in Command) said was to mess with ‘C’ company – got hut to myself – later joined by Jones C of E.
Paid Evans 10 F.

Very wet day – stayed in hut morning and afternoon getting the place to rights! With Jones walked to YMCA and then to Town Mayor (?) In hut for evening.

Went to Blairville in morning – see Matt – 2 letters and parcel – in camp for rest of day.

Jones and I went to Arras – lunched at Officer’s Club.  Got home just in time for tea. Usual letters.
Nothin’ doin’! Had a stroll round with Jones in the morning - - hut for rest of day.
10.00 am English good
11.45 am Welsh – Wash out
3.00 United RAMC poor
6.00 Voluntary service – very fine - I took it while Jones presided over the communion – great time
Subject: Self denial, sacrifice, consent, Wait on the LordMonday
Off to see Matt in morning at Blairville – saw Dight as well – from there motored to Bailleul (?). Saw football match in afternoon – wrote to J.J.J. in evening! [Note – J.J.J. was  Rev. John James Jones, father of Leta Jones, and his father-in-law to be - cmh.]
Bombed again
Nothin’ doin’ in the morning, sports in the afternoon, hut in the evening – All serene!
Bad night – slight touch of Johnny Walker – result in hut all day. Jones at Amiens. Brief service at 6.30 pm (no-one turned up).[ I think Johnny Walker was Diarrhea – cmh]

Left camp at 11.00. Tried to make a short cut  - so lost rest of battn. Had to

Up to see Matt in morning at Blairville – saw Dight as well – from there motored to Baillent (?)
Saw football match in afternoon – wrote to JJJ in the evening! [ie his prospective father in law – perhaps saying he had proposed to Leta?)
Bombed again.

Nothin doin in morning. Sports in the afternoon. Hut in the evening. All serene!

Bad night – slight touch of Johnny Walker- result – in hut all day – Jones at Amiens. Brief Service 6.30? – no-one turned up.
[since he was pretty much teetotal I take this to be diarrhoea, not alcohol! Cmh]
Left camp at 11.00 am – tried to make a short cut so lost rest of battn – Had to make (maki??) by road – no tea until 5.00 pm – restless night as result
Prisoner again today – have been very abstemious – wrote usual letters.
Arranging services in morning – hut afternoon and evening
9.45 am Parade (Brigade)
6.00 pm Voluntary
Fairly good morning parade, evening sermon gt, fully 400 men present, - Spinney prayers, Jones –lesson, Self – address, great time! E. Surrey band in charge
Subject – called Isaiah
M = Glory in the x of xt (Christ of Christianity)
Nothin’ Doin’ !
Nothin’ Doin”
Nothin’ Doin’
Yarn HLI – 72 gallon(?)  beer outside transport dvns (Davis?)– East Surreys came up – all that was left, hoops of one barrel! [Highland Light Infantry]
Left Blairville 9.15 am – glorious morning tho’ previous night very wet – marched via Ransart, Bellacourt, Beaumetz, Monehut to Gouz en Artois!
Billets in attic cold but room to myself so quite satisfied. Speaks and Barker in one room – Wms on top of stairs.
Called to see doc and Jones.

Bluff wire – Hun prepare- whole brigade out – I smelt rat and stayed behind with the stuff!!! – so did Jones
Rest went out and did not return until 3.30 – absolutely fed up to back teeth!
Remained in billet in the evening- sore throat.

Battn on route march I remained behind to deal with some correspondence then strolled round.  Bible class at 6.00 pm Fine time – spoke about Suffer affliction –workman approved of God– Timothy; Dinner tough pieces of meat.

Gouz [en Artois]
Left billet 9.45; did not leave square until 10.45 – bitter morning – cold – raw – damp – sleet; Rotten meal; ? service in hut in evening I introduced Jones gave address.

Nothin’ doin’
Brig, returned but did not go out

Out for Brig. Stunt morning. Rode over to Durham Lines in afternoon.  Remnants of 19th.
Hut in evening.

General stroll round morning and evening.
Bible class at night.
General tramp round in morning – football in afternoon, hut in evening.
9.45 Parade service theatre; Full (Brigade stunt); Ezekial – Eagle, Ox, Lion, Man; 6.00 pm Voluntary service; Watson and self By the 300 men that lapped!
Very fine time in both services tho’ have felt better.

With Matt in morning. Nothin’ doin’ for rest of day.

 Battn up the line. I move across the road to the details.
Up the line at Mercatel smoke bombs – Mills Bomb and Revolver practice – rode up and rode back!!! Corps Staff Car.
Walked to Basseux by map and compass Address for K.D.; Shell holes – pitfalls of life; Wood – Temptation of life; Div moved – Ideals of life
Paid Evans 12 francs [?]
Up at Northumberland lines – no special news to report – glorious walk hom across country.
In camp all day
One service 11.00 am Northumberland line – fine time – “Shake off the Beast”
Equally good at Hendecourt – call of Isaiah
In camp all day. Matt came along wished me good time!

Up at Mercatel – then with Brigade – then back to camp. Slept at Boileux au Mont.

Off to Boulogne on leave; Tried to get away in evening – failed
Nothin doin
Glorious day on the Pier
IS; Travelling OK


Wet; 7.00 am Fagged out; L turned up
Llwydcoed []ie home in Wales with his parents – cmh]
Fearfully wet today.

Home – tea with Grawys [Jones, minister and family friend]
L and Self after supper together!!

Gymanfa Ganu morning and afternoon – thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Left at 9.00 pm reached I.S. [?] 4.00 am. [A Gymanfa Ganu was/is a singing festival where congregations would gather together to sing and practise hymns and learn new ones. This writer attended and played the organ at a number of such events, as Dirprwy Organydd (Deputy Organist - from memory & checked in "Y Geiriadur Mawr", Evans & Thomas, Gwasg Aberystwyth, 1960) to the highly regarded Llanelli Organist and music teacher, Idris Griffiths, particularly at Lloyd Street Chapel, Llanelli during the 1950s. Hugh Edwards, the renowned BBC newsreader and presenter became organist of Lloyd Street Chapel, Llanelli, some years later and more recently has written and published a book on the Chapels of Llanelli - "Capeli Llanelli"- GGD]
Rush for train – disturbed night. Called with Pirie [?] and then with F. J. Davis. Met L 7.00 pm then went to Pofor [??] j. Jo. Joining us. [ie Rev. Jophn James Jones, father of Leta – cmh]; Wound up walk at Hyde Park. Rush for train.
Left 7.30 – glad L. not there – absolute break down.  Very quiet time.  Australian strong smoke in train.
Wet stormy crossing – little Mory off colour.
Put up at Mrs. Hills and (?) home – EA C and YMCA full.
Called at 6.00 am got down found train supposed to leave 9.13 am decided to stay at B. Another day – get my boots soled and put right.
Had fine sleep in afternoon – went for stroll with Kendal, Horncastle, in the evening.
Went to RTO early – told train left 12.30 – so had walk round – came back – found it was now 1.50 pm what next I wonder!
Turned up 1.30 train left 3.00 pm reached Hazebrouck  7.30 pm Divn. nowhere near
Staying at officers rest billet for the night.
Great night – slept in glorious bed – sheets etc all complete. Left 9...for Berguette reached at 10.00 am fooling round station Left B at 11.00 so reached Lingham about 1.30 settled in Nissen hut with about half a dozen other officers. 
Borrowed blankets from QM stores – very cold night.
Left Lingham after lunch 12.30 – motored through Lillers-St Venant – Estairs – partly along road already known!
Reached billet about five – Evans had actually got my valise and all my property intact! Great!
Awoke 5.00 terrific bombardment – went to I.O – found him in bed – Came back – had breakfast – found Estaires getting decidedly warm! Tried to get through to division – Croix de ... – failed – followed advice of men and officers – Anderson and Close  = both somewhat fed up like myself.  Walking back distinctly dangerous – shelling so intense. Set out with transport in afternoon – wandered about pillar to post fashion – finally bivouacked in field. I slept on bakers table and glad to do so!!!
Awoke soon after 6.00 – awaiting orders. None came. Had wash, shave etc to make myself somewhat more respectable.
Found in afternoon that Div HQ was only 15 mins walk – so immediately made tracks – saw Matt – had long chat – explaining whole position of things – sending in resignation at earliest opportunity. Vieux Berquin; Funeral ... ammunition dump

Shelling intermittently all night hence very little sleep. Matt up before 8.00 had walk and chat once more.
Ten o’clock – suddenly ordered to move off double quick time – at present awaiting orders.  Managed to get decent billet – if we stay the night. French civilian people leaving us the key.
While making ourselves comfortable for night – orders suddenly came – be off at once. Left hurriedly about 9.0 reaching destination 1.30 am. Slept in Armstrong hut. (Wallon Capel ?).

Hear to be on the move early – place full of refugees – Left Wallon Cappel about 10.30 am glorious April morning – most enjoyable tramp until 1.30 landing in open field in Hondeghem.
All sorts of rumours about – however had to stay the night – bivouacked in field – couple of blankets stretched between two timbers – night bitterly cold and foggy – but only woke once – dropped off nicely afterwards. Hondeghem.
Took 2 funerals in Hondeghem – Jones up to committal myself the prayers Jibb and Mowbray. Jibb – officer next to New Zealnd.
Strolled round in afternoon – in night set out about 9.00 after batt had come out of the line – reached the outskirts of Staple 11.00 pm slept in bed with Dr. Ewbanks USA.
Off 8.30 am marched from outside Staple to Tilques (see back) Bitterly cold day – slept in gutter for few minutes – long tramp round about way – quite 20 miles – dead beat when I landed.  Had splendid billet in old chateau – artillery officers put us up with beds etc= Rogers Withen Milford self – Tilques.
Buzzing round in morning trying to find billet – nothin’ doin’ – At dinner table told to be ready to move once more – Off at 4.00 pm.
Fortunately not far away – only about 1 ½ miles and clicked for once – bed – sheets – everything that the heart of man could desire
Nothin special in morning or afternoon – just having a look round place

Taking an inventory of all casualty officer’s kits etc

Nothin special
Down with Matt at Wizerne then St Omer – apart from that nothin’ doin’ – Cathedral then canteen.
Arranging services for the morrow- supposed to be on the march – however have made provisional arrangements
9.30 Tilques MIDD and RAMC; 11.00 Moulle 18th Welsh; Withan reports loss of 150 F
9.30 Tilques for some reason the MIDD never turned up – had 6 RAMC – nice service
11.00 Moulle Address given by Bishop Gwyn ACJ
Leaving Moulle 1.30 pm for Zeudanques [Zudausques]
Reached 3.00 pm fine billet nice old farm house!
St Omer – rode in a lorry – rode to Wizernes – saw Matt came back to lunch to St Omer – round Cathedral – concepts [?] Mary and John descent from Cross
Walked back very tired at end.
Nothin’ Doin – letter writing
Rode over to see Matt at Wizerne – unfortunately he was out – rumours of another shift and another break up!
Up to dinner at B.H.Q.
Nothin’ special bar letter writing – C.O. here to dinner!
Nothin’ special except Padre in to dinner up at Basinghem [Boisdinghem]
Standing to – ready to move off at 2.00 pm – Cancelled – then fresh order to be ready for bus. Then cancelled again – staying the night.
Very wet and sultry; 10.30 am service in old barn – no great shakes!; 6.0 pm Voluntary. I read prayers – Jones spoke – very much at sea!
Again here for the night.
Off to see Matt – cycling – rather heavy going after rain.  According to him battn to go digging until sufficient Americans turn up for training. Nothin doin in afternoon – news we must be off tomorrow.
Reveille sounded 4.45 am – found Kennedy sick! Think he must have been fighting the night before.
Left 6.30 am regular downpour until 9.30 – wet practically to the skin! Marching continuously until 4.00 pm – very heavy going – dog tired. Slept in valise in the loft! Roughly 12-15 miles
May 1918:
Reveille 5 am – off at 7.00 am – via Lederzeele – Womairs Cappel – Cassel – to Terdeghem arriving there 2.30 pm – roughly 15 miles walk gt time passing through W.C. French army HQ – band immediately in front – Marseillaise – saluting all round – gt stunt! Cassel itself wandering serpentine fashion – very slippery pave rd – Glorious view.
In camp – tent C Co ! 15-20 miles
[‘C” company?]
Off to Cassel with Jones in morning to interview Field Cashier! Rode in and rode out!! After making all comfy for the night (5.30 pm) orders suddenly received to be off 6.00 pm! Left 6.30 pm marching until 2.00 am back to the very same billets we had vacated the day before. Dog tired – lay as I was on mattress – did not drop off however for some time

Woke 815 am, had breakfast – walked out in a wood – delightful – lovely spring morning – frightening hawk in pursuit of quarry – birds melody woodland bursting with life – guns – guns – guns !!!
Lay down in afternoon awaiting orders – none came!
Wrote usual letters.
Xtened [Christened - GGD]Richard Eaves of Manchester – 5.30 pm – in little pool near HQ. [ie Christened – cmh]

In the wood again this morning – glorious! Nothin’ of special interest morning or afternoon. Batt dinner at night.
9.00 Service (“C” company in farm) whole thing mucked up, still one of the men good enough to say service well worth the walk.
After lunch batt moved off to St. Omer – I remained behind.
Nothin’ doin rest of day.
Terrific thunderstorm, vivid lightning.
Rode into St Omer to see Matt and call with base cashier.  Got back found we had to make sudden move make room for 59th Division. Came to field near “A” Co billet – got tent with floor – tip top! Apart from that nothin’ special.
Tuesday 7th May 1918 Very wet night – tent in fearful state! Still it might have been worse!
In afternoon down with Matt in St Omer – tea at YMCA met Jones (my predecessor and Penry Davies chief A.C.France
Nothin’ special.

Glorious morning but nothin’ doin’. Hung about practically all day.
Had a walk out in the evening to investigate frog question! Small in size – green in colour – large bubble in throat.
Bombed during the night – tho’ nothing serious.

Nothin Doin! Football match Officers v Men

Reveille 5.30 am – Breakfast 7.00 am – on the march. (.00 am excellent travelling lunch served 12.30 – off again at 1.00 pm reaching destination soon after 4.00 pm. CO thought it 20 miles – I very much doubt it! 15 more like
Present billet – disused aerodrome – what hopes for bombs!!
Nothin’ doin’ – Saw aeroplanes land and go off!
Long chat with Davies and MB ( Penarth) engaged to R C.
Religious difficulty once again.
United service flying men and 18th Welsh Jones prayers self address. Not very happy.
Nothin’ doin’ rest of day – 2 hours bombing at night.
Absolutely nothing doing! Rumour Jones leaving for 29th Div.

Nothin doin. Jones left for 29th Division. Another bombing expedition. Gt. stunt search lights etc

Moving again! About a mile or so to the yard of a farm – tents once more – another bombing stunt!
Nothin’ doin –Witham gave me watch and exchanged blankets – great!!
Bad attack of toothache – almost mad. Long chat with Laurence MD.
Nothin doin. Camp all day except for walk to Brigade re ticket.
United service in morning 10.00 am with ; Left with ?motor 11.00 am for St Omer – saw Matt and arranged stay with him.
Long walk at night avoid planes.

Left St O. 9.15 – arrived Boul. 2.00 very late found boat left 3.30, likely to be still later following day, so used a little palm oil! Got to London 9.15 booked room and immediately buzzed off to Brixton – had warm reception so stayed the night!

 great time out on bank of river at Teddington...

Mrs Ceridwen Harris goes on to say:
"... and he goes home, picks up [the] life of minister with christenings, marriages, funerals, Sunday school anniversaries, mothers meetings and helping with the harvest – and gets married to Leta in Sept (diary records simply The Day passed off OK’.)"

"Under stress his writing is small and neat but when he relaxes or has nothing he wants to record, it becomes a sprawl. After his return the entries are usually just single words – the name of the place where he preaches etc".

End of Diary Book (2)

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Pages (1 - Family & Timeline), (2- Letter to Leta), (3 - Hymn Sheet), (4 - Signatures) (5 - Send Off),  (6 - Diary Pg1 & Evan Matthias)  (7 - Diary Pg 2) (8 -Misc Images)