To mark Armistice Day, we have chosen one item from the Wellcome Library’s diverse collections pertaining to military medicine: the diary of Captain Martin Wentworth Littlewood, Royal Army Medical Corps, British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.).
Littlewood’s diary (MSS.8025–8026) relates his experiences from his embarkation to join the British Expeditionary Force in France in January 1917, through the battles of Arras and 3rd Ypres, the German offensive of Spring 1918 and the final advance leading to the Armistice. The diary continues to Littlewood’s demobilisation in March 1919.
His diary entries for November 10th and 11th 1918 offer a snapshot of one soldier’s concern for his fellow men and his celebration on the cessation of the war:
November 10th – To COURTRAI with BLANDFORD. At 9.30pm we heard that the Armistice had been signed. Dancing in village street. Band. Searchlights. Night flying by a plane and many Verey lights. Solemnly raised the blinds and enjoyed the sensation of naked lights. But what of the men lying round the Menin Road?
November 11th – A bomb shortly after going to bed, and we learned that the Armistice only began at 11am. Left by car at AUTRYVE and lunched with 36th Division Sappers.
Gave up idea of Paris leave and took car to 96th at ESCUILLES. Thence by car to FLOBECQ.
Glorious billet at mother of the Mayor. Gifts of old burgundy and fruit, bouquets etc etc
Tags:World War I