Diary of Roger Allison Stamp of Stockton, 1915-1918
Served in the 1st/5th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
On this page you can start to read the diary of a Stockton soldier who was a staunch Methodist and worked in the local shipyard before serving in the First World War. He kept an observant record of his experiences with the 1st/5th Battalion DLI, showing us what it was like to be an ordinary soldier fighting for his country.
Within days of arriving in Belgium Roger Stamp’s battalion was under fire at the Second Battle of Ypres.
Read Roger’s fascinating story, painstakingly transcribed over the last two years by one of his descendants. She said that if Roger could stick it serving in the trenches then she felt she could persevere until the job of transcribing the diary was finished.
We will be updating this page regularly until Roger’s story is complete. Here are some extracts:
I saw an old lady making lace by hand, I have never seen anybody so quick with fingers before.
My thoughts have wandered to the chapel at home about 3 times this morning, what a contrast, peace and quiet against warfare.
This afternoon we lost our first man from our section and another in the same trench was badly wounded. I have found an old cavalry man’s waterproof cape and intend to stick to it as long as possible.
Somebody had stolen our corporal’s ration bag which had our tin of jam for the section in besides his own rations so we have only biscuits and corned beef today, and water, and have to be careful with the water as well.
I have not had a shave since leaving Newcastle; my finger nails are sore with not washing …
I will tackle a biscuit now for breakfast, they are that hard that I will be able to eat a bone with a bit more practice.
I also had a good plate of rice pudding last night at a farm house for 2d, it was that nice it reminded me of home.
Rum was again issued and just the same I turned it down for a cup of tea.
I wonder if my cherry cake has come, if so have the Germans eaten it, for I think they will have been at the parcels and rations.
Ypres has been a beautiful city, also a lot of towers and steeples to judge from what is left. It will be interesting to go in a few years time to revisit and see how it looks then, for at present it looks absolutely hopeless. I don’t think I would know where to start to clear away first, if I was a contractor.
Date: 17-Apr-1915 to 14-Mar-1918
Author: Roger Allison Stamp
Where to find this: Private collection
Contributed by Linda Patterson, Redcar | Durham County Record Office