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Journal, 15 Feb. 1917-2 June 1917 (diary entries finish on 9 April 1917)

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.9852/1/9
Journal, 15 Feb. 1917-2 June 1917
Journal, 15 Feb. 1917-2 June 1917

Scope and Contents

The volume is a ruled notebook entitled 'Journal and Notes' and mostly comprises diary entries and reflective passages written in France.

Significant diary entries include: /2r-3v. Sassoon's return to France; /4r-6v. 'No.25 Stationary Hospital Rouen' [where Sassoon was recuperating from German measles]; /30v-32r. at Amiens; /27r. on joining the RWF Second Battalion at Corbie; /32v. 'Dream Pictures' (on ideas for a book of 'Consolations for Homesick soldiers in the Field'); /39r-42r. preparations for the attack at Arras.

The volume also includes:

- locations and dates of time spent at or near the Western Front: /1v.

- notes entitled '3 reasons for teaching bayonet fighting': /15v.

- preparatory notes and a draft of Sassoon's statement against the conduct of the war: /43r-44v.

- drafts of poetry: /9v. 'The Lesson of War', later called 'The Smell'; /10r. 'Life Belts (Southampton to Havre)'; /11v. 'Victims'; /14v-15r. 'The Lift'; /16r. untitled, begins 'Brown as the pine stems high'; /21v-22r. 'To an A.A.G. (Reinforcements)'; /23v-24r. untitled, begins 'If I were stout and bald and short of breath' (early draft of 'Base Details'); /24v-25r. 'In the Church of St. Ouen'; /27v-28r. 'Return'; /37r, /50v. 'Foot Inspection'; /42r. 'Song (To an Old June). The Hawthorn Tree'; /45r 'Supreme Sacrifice'; /45v. untitled, begins 'O Lads I've Loved'; /45v-46r. untitled, begins 'The battle and the sunlight'; /46r. 'In an Underground Dressing-Station'; /46v. 'A Quiet Walk'; /47r-47v. 'The Toast of the Town', later called 'A War Widow'; /48v. 'Death in the Garden'; /50r. untitled, begins 'Lost in a Laurel Thicket', together with a sketch of a youth holding an arrow; /52v. untitled, begins 'Give me the passion to re-build'.

- sketches and doodles: /8v, /10v-11r. preparatory sketches for watercolours of gothic windows and stained glass in the abbey church of St Ouen; /9r. a pine forest; /50r. a youth holding an arrow, together with a verse beginning 'Lost in a Laurel Thicket'.

- prose passages: /12r-14r. 'Reinforcements at Rouen'; /16v-19r. 'In the Cathedral (Purple Passage)'; /19v-21r. 'Lunch on Sunday in Rouen'; /53r-55v. 'Points of View'; /56r. 'Thoughts in a Cathedral'; /56v-60r. 'Character sketches of Officers in Hospital at Rouen'. - list of drinks and cocktails: /34v. - quotations: /34v. R.J.C. Greaves 'How he Came'; /61v. Thomas Hardy, 'Let me enjoy the earth no less'.

- a list of physical exercises: /40v.

- lists of members of his battalion and section and their fates: /42v; /51r.

- copy of a letter from Ottoline M[orrell]: /51v-52r.

- acquaintances' contact details: /1v; /62r; /60v-61r.

- a list of books taken to France: /62r.

N.B. Sassoon wrote from both ends of this notebook; from folio /43r entries resume from the opposite end. Enclosure is to be found in a separate envelope. The foliation is the archivist's.


  • Creation: 15 Feb. 1917-2 June 1917 (diary entries finish on 9 April 1917)


Conditions Governing Access

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


1 volume(s) (1 volume (green cloth, front pocket, patterned endpapers, elasticated tie, 62 ff.); 1 envelope paper) : paper

1 envelope(s) (1 volume (green cloth, front pocket, patterned endpapers, elasticated tie, 62 ff.); 1 envelope paper)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The binding is loose and cracked. Folios /13-14 and /18-20 have wax spills on them. Folio /49 is partially torn away.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom