A Day in the Life of a "SUB" in Divisional Reserve by Himself
From: The Church Times; with which is incorporated in The Wipers Times, No 4. Vol 1., Monday, 29th May, 1916
"Leave," a cartoon by First World War artist Bruce Bairnsfather. Published in "Fragments from France."
Click to see full image.
12:40 a.m.:— Sleeping peacefully.
12:45 a.m.:— Not sleeping peacefully.
12:50 a.m.:— Awakened by a noise like a fog-horn gone quite mad.
12:55 a.m.:— Realise someone has smelt gas, cannot find gas-helmet or shirt.
1 a.m.:— Grope about for matches and candle— find out to my discomfort several extra articles of furniture in the hut:— curse volubly.
1:05 a.m.:— People rush in to remind me that I am orderly "bloke." Have heated altercation with "next for >duty" as to when term of office ends. Matter settled by the entrance of C.O.— AM orderly officer.
1:15 a.m.:— Stumble round camp— rumour of "Stand-to"— curse abominably.
1:30 a.m.:— Rumour. squashed— gas alarm false somebody's clockwork motor-bike horn came unstuck:— curse
again:— retire to bed.
3:30 a.m.:— Sleeping peacefully.
3:35 a.m.:— Alarming noise. Somebody with bigger feet than sense of decency, enters the hut; and knocks over >a bullybeef box doing excellent work as a chair, collides with everybody's field-boots, mistakes my bed for his, and sits down on same—…
3:59 a.m.:— Order restored by Company Commander.
6:00 a.m.:— Reveille.
6:30 a.m.:— Get up, and wearily put on one or two garments, including somebody else's tie. Spend pleasant moments searching for my wandering collar stud.
7 a.m:— Go out and wave my limbs about for 45 minutes to the tune of "Head backward be- e-e-nd."
7:45 a m:— Try to shave:— we have one mirror amongst six.
8 a.m.:— Breakfast. The cook has plentifully peppered the sausage, put salt in my tea by mistake.
9 a.m.:— Take party to and from the baths:— one man has no cap badge— collect a bird from Adjutant. Have a bath myself, when nicely soaped the water gives out, becoming mud— curse offensively.
10 a.m.:— Orderly room:— attend with Company conduct sheets, collect another bird. Make arrangements for a cage and a supply of seed for same.
11 a.m.:— Retire to hut and quaff a stoop of ale.
11:05 a.m.:— Two in-command arrives inopportunely, speaks his mind and retires.
11:10 a-m.:— Inspect my huts and men, their clothes, rifles, gas-helmets, feet, etc.
12 noon.:— Realise I am not being as offensive as I might be, so go and annoy the next Company (who were working last night); by creeping in, starting their gramaphone with the loudest, longest and most loathed record, and creeping out again.
12:10 p.m:— Angry "sub" in pyjamas enters; am busy writing letters. After a few choice remarks about people in general and myself in particular, he goes away.
1 p m.:— Lunch.
2 p.m.:— Sleeping peacefully.
4 30 p.m :— Tea.
5 p.m.:— Fall in working party, astonishing number in my platoon suffer from bad feet at this hour: Discuss their ailment with them, and inspect members affected.
6:30 p.m.:— Reach lorries and pack men in. No. 9999 Pte Jones, X falls off and sprains his ankle, and proceeds to camp.
7:30 p.m.:— Arrive at rendez-vous and await R.E.
8 p.m.:— Await R E.
9 p.m.:— Await R.E.
9:15 p.m.:— R.E. arrive in the shape of one most intelligent sapper.
9:30 p.m.:— Loaded with material, proceed to job.
9:45 p m.:— My sergeant rushes up. Pte McNoodle, a sheet of corrugated iron, a duckboard, and a crump-hole full of water have got rather mixed. Leave a lance-corporal to straighten matters.
10 p.m.:— German machine-gun annoying. Grateful for tin hat.
1 a.m.:— Return to lorries.
2 a.m.:— Reach camp and retire to bed.