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Diary of 350378 Sergeant Wilfred Peach COLCLOUGH, 1st/9th (TF) Bn. The Manchester Regiment. 20.4.1917 - 2.5.1917

Left Guide Bridge 3.40 pm 20.4.17 arrived London 9.05pm. Train behind time stated in table. Had tea and cigars with gentlemen in train. Felt rather in the dumps and wishing I was going back. Left London 7.50am 21.4.17 after sleeping at Soldiers Bed Club, Buckingham Palace Road. The Army Pay Office is in the same building. Reported to RTO Victoria tipping him a 1/- to state a sooner time than we had actually reported. RTO states reported here 8.35am 20.4.1917 rather a good joke but I don't think the RTO has much principal. Arrived Folkestone 10.30am. Didn't see much of the country on our journey. Asleep all the way. Got on board and sailed about 12 noon. Escorted across all the way and arrived Boulogne 1.20. Marched to Billet and detailed off for train etc. and had cup of tea. Told we could go out between 4.0 - 8.0pm but on no account to get drunk. Had a stroll through the town and had a meat menu. Steak and chips. Plenty of the latter. Just at 2/- each. Quite satisfied. Left B [Boulogne] at 12.45am for Amiens. Thinking of Blighty all the way and wishing I was strolling around with H [Miss Hannah Lee, 214 Park Road, Dukinfield]. Slept a little but still down in the dumps. Just wishing we had arrived at our destination.

Arrived Amiens 6.0am 22.4.17. Visited YMCA and had eggs and a slice of bread and butter and a mug of tea (6d quite cheap). Came into station again and whilst waiting for train went to sleep on the platform. Left in cattle trucks about 9.0am.

Arrived in a Rest Camp somewhere between Amiens and Rouen, couldn't say where but awaiting train for up the line. It is now 2pm and still here. Written to H at home. Couldn't say much on account of having to leave letter unsealed before posting so I couldn't say who will censor same. Still feeling dumpy and want a shave and wash badly. It is a lovely afternoon. Trying to imagine myself walking through the park. Tis a long, long trail. Ah well someday.

Train arrived in 2.30 and don't know destination. However get in and ride as far as the train will take us. Eventually arrived at Mericourt 6.15am 23.4.17. and reported at RTO office. Asked where our Division was but unable to get a definitive reply. Somewhere near Peronne so started to walk. Proceeded along the road for a while and was able to stop a motor lorry and arrived in Peronne by 10.0am. Asked for the Battn and told they were 14 miles away. Very nice. Started on the track and passed through Brussu and Driencourt and on to Villiers - Faucon, 2 miles from St. Emilie. Glad to get back and settle for the time being. The rest of my day spent relating my experiences in Blighty.

24.4.17 Started work this morning. Plenty to do. Wrote to H last night. I wouldn't mind being around certain places tonight instead of going up yonder.

25-26-27. Nothing.

28th Saturday. Hurrah, moving out and marched back to Burre Courcelles 6 Kilos from Peronne. Under canvas to. Its good to be out again. The men are just about done. Our casualties somewhere near a 100. On the route of march this morning and rested for 5 mins. Many of the men had to be roused to proceed on. Houldsworth was one. Poor Devils. Will write again tonight. The camp is situated in a beautiful spot. Something like Lincolnshire. Got the order to move to Marquaix. I thought this was to nice a place for me. Just been writing to H.

Sunday, a glorious day. Sorry we are moving. 9.00pm just had an eye opener. The G's [Germans] have landed high explosives into the village. Three men killed. Got wind up fairly. Just thinking about the Sunday at home. Is this the same world. Tis hard to realize.

Monday - Just the usual routine.

Tuesday 30th April. Last day of the month. The Battn played the 1st G. Guards [Grenadier Guards] at football. Got an awful licking 5-0. Had wind up last night at dusk. Thinking we should have some shelling.

Wednesday 1st May. Nothing.

Thursday 2nd May. Been to Peronne today. By jove one can hardly realize that there is a war on. The town of course is practically in ruins. Saw a few civilians but what a large number of soldiers in Billets. Reminds one more of a Garrison town such as in Egypt. Canteens all over the place. Tonight I have written again to H and home. Transmitted £2 too through Preston. The day has been fine but rather dusty. Was watching the offs [Officers] of GGs [Grenadier Guards] play footer. Not much good. Received orders to proceed up the line tomorrow but later cancelled until Saturday. Rode back from Peronne on Field Kitchen.

 Pte.1725 WILLIAM PEACH COLCLOUGH of 19, Arlington Street, Ashton, son of Samuel Colclough, enlisted in the Ashton Territorials, 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the 14th February 1914 at the age of 19 years. He served in the Gallipoli Campaign with the Battalion before being drafted out to France in March 1917. WILLIAM survived the war, and in 1921 he married his sweetheart, Miss Hannah Lee of Dukinfield.  

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