December 21st 1915Good-bye France, you have given me some sleepless nights, and many a hard day's work. I very much regret leaving you for foreign parts, but some day I shall return to you and go over all the ground again; no doubt it will recall many sad recollections.
Boarded the S.S.. "Vita" at Marseilles at 11 a.m., after rushing about and looking after the equipment.
A mail has arrived, but, alas! it is not being served out, but put upon the mail boat "Persia". It was very hard to think that we could not read our letters for the last time on France, and Legge received a parcel from home, and how all our mouths watered to think of eating a cake in "Blighty".
December 22nd 1915First day's sail and no signs of sea-sickness. Everybody happy with the glorious sunshine, and the sea so calm.
Started on iron rations again which was not welcomed, but still, you must remember it's "War-time". Night arrived and all in darkness and no one allowed on deck. Lifeboats had to be worn, and sleep where you can. Garter and I found a very snug corner, but, oh, how hard the floor was! In spite of it all slept A.1.
An entire version of the diary can be read here.
From the first excerpt, "Good-bye France, you have given me some sleepless nights, and many a hard day's work. I very much regret leaving you for foreign parts, but some day I shall return to you and go over all the ground again; no doubt it will recall many sad recollections." He isn't exited to go, but is confident of return and victory, showing his true potential as a soldier.
From December 25, 1915,
"I have had some very rough meals on active service, but getting bully beef and biscuits on Christmas Day beats all. We all wished to be back in France; the food we were getting was terrible. " Even on Christmas, soldiers are still in "war time".
March 7th, 1916,
"Oh, my God! What's happened ? The noise of guns and rifles is terrible!" This shows, like Steven Crane, how war can be greatly overrated. Although smudged by the rush of adrenaline, war is a horrible sight, even worse when caught in it.