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Journal, 26 June 1916-12 Aug. 1916

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9852/1/7

Scope and Contents

The volume is a ruled notebook and mostly comprises diary entries. It shows some signs of damp damage to the fore edge of the text block and there is mud in the grooves around the inside cover where the end papers overlap the covering on the boards. There are some ink bleeds at the edges of the pages. This damage and mud may be from the trenches.

Significant diary entries include: /9r. news of his award of the Military Cross; /10r-13v. 1st July, on the beginning of the Battle of the Somme; /18r-24r. accounts of Sassoon's battalion fighting against the Germans at Mametz Wood; /34r. on hearing (erroneously) that Robert [Graves] had died of wounds; /35r. on falling ill (with trench fever) and being invalided home. Many entries concern action in the Somme Valley (chiefly near Morlancourt, Fricourt and Mametz Wood).

The volume also includes:

- prose passage entitled 'Notes for a Satire': /38v-42r.

- drafts of poetry: /37v. 'Thickened'; /38r. 'Elegy for M.G. (Marcus Goodall)'; /47r. 'For England'; /51v-52r. 'The Stunt'; / 53v. 'Via Crucis'.

- sketches and doodles: /1r. abstract frontispiece in red watercolour reading 'Sassoon, R[oyal] W[elsh] F[usiliers], 1'; /3r. semi-abstract image of a soldier entitled 'The Soul of an Officer' including text; /10r. startled face, drawn under diary entry for July 1st 1916; /26r. a cart and vegetation; /30v. ?soldiers fighting in a trench; /31r. horizon with trees; /35v. head and shoulders of a cleric in a hat with a crucifix in the background; /36r. hospital ward with the head of the ?German Kaiser looking on; /43r. 'Water Eaton', a country house from a gateway; /45r. head and shoulders of a farmer in front of rolling hills; /45v. one head and two faces, male; /49r. a pastoral scene; /50r. mountains; /50v. a cottage; /106v. abstract lines.

- preparatory sketches for water colours: /15r. landscape including a road, village, shacks, trees, and a German trench; /43v. a galvanised iron shed.

- diagrams and maps: /2r. plan of trench lines and cemetery; /22r. cross section of a valley and trenches with a small copse showing Sassoon's solo raid.

- locations and dates of time spent at or near the Western Front: /2v.

- lists of members of his section and their fates: /15v.

- quotations: /7v. Thomas Hardy, 'The Dynasts'; /44r. 'from a monument in Barford Church'.

- notes from a military briefing meeting re consolidation of position, objectives and 'Scheme of Battle': /109v-113v.

- acquaintances' contact details: /115r.

- list of monies spent: /115r.

N.B. Sassoon wrote from both ends of this notebook; after folio /106v entries resume from the opposite end. Folios /54r-106r are blank. Enclosure is to be found in a separate envelope. The foliation is the archivist's.


  • 26 June 1916-12 Aug. 1916

Conditions Governing Access

This notebook and its enclosure have been digitised and can be viewed in full on the Cambridge Digital Library at The original items are currently unavailable for consultation due to their poor physical condition.


1 volume(s) (1 volume (black cloth, front pocket, marbled endpapers, 115 ff.); 1 envelope paper) : paper

1 envelope(s) (1 volume (black cloth, front pocket, marbled endpapers, 115 ff.); 1 envelope paper)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The binding is fragile and cracked. Damp has caused ink bleed and mould damage. There is ?dried mud on the turn in of the case cloth. The repair between folios /5 and /6 is poor; /46 is partially torn away.

Related Materials

See also the letter from Graves to Sassoon at MS Add.9852/1/6/4.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom