Tuesday 6 June 2017

Will Sidney's War - December 1918 - Re-engagement

The WW1 Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, just after Will headed for home on his one month's re-engagement leave, having been in hospital in Italy for nearly six months.

It was quite an eventful leave for Will with him and Ethel getting married on 28 November.

With The Armistice signalling the end of the war you would be forgiven for thinking that would be the end of Will's WW1 journey, but that is not quite the case.

Whilst the last entry in Will's 1918 diary is dated 30 October, there are some notes at the beginning of his 1919 diary, which give an idea of what happened to Will at the end of his month's leave.

  • Arrived Southampton - 20.12.18
  • Left - 20.12.18
  • Arrived Cherbourg - 22nd
  • Left - 22nd
  • Rough journey across. Wondering whether all is well with Darling Ethel. God bless her.
  • Sent her 6 or 7 letters.
  • Landed @ Arquata @ 11pm 26.12.18
  • Sent a card to Ethel
  • Writ to Ethel - a letter with cards.
  • Saw the MO on the next morning. Marked a medical B. Got put to. Sent a letter to Ethel telling her the good news. Writ to Ma, let know very cold, not got water bottle (God bless her (haha)). Can't help but smile.
  • Went into hospital 51B Section. Writ to Ethel - 28.12.18
  • Went from there to Genoa - 29.12.18
  • Writ to Ethel from Genoa.
  • Went from Genoa 51A to France. Started @ 7.30 30.12.18.
  • Landed @ Marseille @ 7.30. Stayed on the train till 1.30. Whilst on the train I writ to Darling Ethel. How pleased she will be to think I am so near home. 
  • Left Marseille @ 11.30 for Le Havre.
  • Landed @ 4pm New Year's Eve in the 57 General Station @ Marseille & New Year's Day.
So, at the end of his one month's re-engagement leave, Will was sent back to Italy, landing at Arquata on 26 December, from where he sent this card, depicting the camp at Arquata, to Ethel. 

29 December of 1918 finds Will back in Italy and back in the familiar surroundings of the 51st Stationary Hospital. His Casualty Record shows him as being admitted with an 'old GSW', which research tells us is shorthand for an 'old gun shot wound'. This is really interesting as, whilst we know Will has suffered with problems to his neck and shoulder, at no point have we seen any other mention of him having been injured in this way.
Will sees out the rest of 1918 in the 57th Stationary Hospital in Marseille. I will let you know what happens in 1919 in my next post.

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