Radcliffe on Trent WWI Diary
Edward was born 1881 in Radcliffe on Trent and married Louisa Forester in January 1909. They had two children, Fred and Freda.
Before enlisting in February 1916 he was a bricklayer. He became a building contractor on his return.
He died in 1929 in Manchester. His home address at the time was Eastwood Road, Radcliffe on Trent.
Military Service: Edward Rockley left Cannock Chase on 29th May 1917 and arrived in France on May 30th. On 1st June there was an air scrap over the camp; the men then spent the next two weeks training on the ‘bullring’. On the 15th June they drew their kit and spent until 2nd July working their way to the front. At the end of June, he was transferred with his regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, to Achiet-le-Grand, which is north of Albert and Thiepval, France. On July 1st, the regiment moved East to Vélu and to the trenches the following day.
He had five days on the front line which he describes as ‘a bit lively’. There followed five days behind the lines and on 14th July he was given the task of wiring at night. On the 17th at midnight he was injured with a gunshot wound to his toe, taken to hospital for an operation and then loaded on a ship and sent to a hospital in Manchester where he arrived on the 23rd July.
On 4th August Louie, his wife, and Fred and Freda, his children, visited him in hospital. They stayed in Manchester until 27th August. His recovery fluctuated, appearing to improve but then suddenly deteriorating. According to his military records he spent five months in hospital. He never returned to France and was given ‘light labour’ after he left hospital. Pension records show that he was assessed initially with a disablement of 20%, which was later reduced to 1%.
His hospital diary below has been transcribed as it is now difficult to read a copy of the original, having been written in pencil.
1 June Friday Easy day. Kit inspection. An air scrap over camp
2 Saturday to 15 Friday Very hot weather Bullring
15 Friday Kit inspection and drawing things for the front
16 Saturday Left IBD (Infantry Base Depot). Loaded up at sidings 7.30 some instructors and come in carriages. Very slow train could walk from one compartment to another on steps.
17 Sunday Trevenu Camp Church parade
18 Monday to 20 Wednesday Easy days very hot
21 Thursday Up at 3 breakfasted at 5, cleaning up, going away about 9, in trucks, arrived at Goury
22 Friday 23 Saturday Inspection and marching orders, feet inspection.
24 Sunday Church parade and moved into huts
25 Monday to 29 Friday Drill, firing on range
30 Saturday 50 cars holding 24 each removed from Goury at 10 arrived 12.45 at Ashet. (Achiet)
1 Sunday Church parade at 10.30 lovely open air service, after parade in marching order. Started 3.45 about 13 miles arriving about 9.45 at Velu.
2 Monday Just got up 10 o’clock nothing doing until night when we marched into the trenches.
3 Tuesday to 7 Saturday In front line trenches. Getting a bit lively
8 Sunday In front line trenches, wet day, thunder storms. Left for a rest
9 Monday to 13 Friday Drilling
14 Saturday Went up to front
15 Sunday 16 Monday Resting in day time, wiring at night
17 Tuesday Wiring. Got wounded about midnight
18 Wednesday 19 Thursday Wounded sent for operation 10 o’clock Grey villas (Grevillers) Hospital
20 Friday Moved from Greyvillas (Grevillers) Hospital to Havre hospital in train 17 hours.
21 Saturday Loaded on ship 4.30. Set sail at 10 o’clock
22 Sunday Ship Warilda (Australian sold to British Navy 1915 lost to torpedo 1918). Landed in Southampton, at 5 o’clock took off ship, 10.30 loaded in train, 1 o’clock got in Manchester.
23 Monday to 31 Tuesday Hospital sleeping and eating
1 Wednesday to 3 Friday Bed rest
4 Saturday Louie Fred and Freda came to see me (wife and children)
5 Sunday Service 7 o’clock Louie Fred and Freda came to see me
6 Monday 7 Tuesday Louie Fred and Freda came to see me
8 Wednesday Moved from Fullerton Hospital. Temperature high. To Ilmersford Hospital. Did not see Louie and children
9 Thursday to 11 Saturday Had to stop in bed and have pills, foot not so well. Temperature high.
12 Sunday to 14 Tuesday Foot a little better but temp still high
15 Wednesday Temperature lower
16 Thursday Up half day
17 Friday Wet day up half day Louie took me in chair to have my hair cut
18 Saturday Up half day, nice day so Louie took me in chair afternoon and evening for a walk
19 Sunday Getting on fine, up half day.Went with Louie Fred and Freda for tea.
20 Monday to 22 Wednesday Not so well, foot worse than ever it had been. Doctor says must be very careful or shall have a lot of trouble with it. Not to get up until after dinner.
23 Thursday Foot a bit better, out only at night, rained in afternoon
24 Friday Foot a lot better, getting on fine
25 Saturday Went with Louie and children for tea
26 Sunday 27 Monday Out for tea again with Louie and children. Louie Fred and Freda went back home
28 Tuesday 29 Wednesday Didn’t get out, wet
30 Thursday 31 Friday Foot getting on fine, out afternoon in chair
1 Saturday Did not get out, foot getting well, nice day
2 Sunday to 5 Wednesday Got out in chair in afternoon nice day
6 Thursday to 12 Wednesday Got out in afternoon with stick
13 Thursday Concert, blisters on toe
15 Saturday Tea and entertainment at school
16 Sunday Foot worse, could not walk, had to go to bed at 7
17 Monday to 19 Wednesday Doctor ordered me to stop in bed for a few days
20 Thursday Foot worse doctor changing dressing
21 Friday Two doctors came to see me, a lot of pain couldn’t sleep
22 Saturday I think foot is a little better
23 Sunday No better doctor changed dressing, not feeling very well in myself, a lot of pain, had to put blocks under bed and not to get out of bed frame thing.
24 Monday 25 Tuesday A little better and not so much pain
26 Wednesday Still improving