Diary of Events on Active Service.

This is a Diary of the Events on Active service of Lance Corporal Percival Fox No. 569 of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 16th Battalion, 3rd Birmingham City Battalion. Lewis gun detachment No 4 team C. Company.

Percy Fox was my grandfather. Born in Langley in 1895 the son of an ironmonger. Langley is a part of Birmingham known as the "Black Country." Along with his younger brother Jess, Percy joined up to fight in the great war, he was 20 years old at the time and would celebrate his 21st Birthday in the trenches. This is his war Diary, illustrated with photographs he took while on active duty on the front, firing line. These photographs have never been published before.

Below P .Fox. Inside his top pocket you can just see the Diary
P Fox

The Diary has a black soft cover. The pages are not lined but appear to be graph paper of a poor pulp quality. The book measures 11cm by 17cm. and the Diary itself takes up 30 pages. Now almost a 100 years old those 30 pages are difficult to read. The text is written in faded pencil on yellowing paper.


No 4 Company team members on leaving England No 1 P Fox 509. No 2 H Arculus 1056 Killed. No 3 Millard wounded. No 4 J Fox 139. No 5 Sid Shorter Died of wounds. No 6 R Hall Wounded.

No 4 Company in Arras No 1 P Fox 509. No 2 H Arculus 1056 Killed. No 3 H Kaye. New Captain. No 4 J Fox 139. No 5 S Shields Killed. No 6 C Hows Killed.

The War Diary 1915 - 1917.

20th November 1915. Left Codford for France with advance party. Marched from Codford to Wylye station. Loaded wagon on trucks. On arriving at Southampton unloaded train and loaded ship. Set sail on transport "Maiden" at 5 pm. Had very calm passage across.


21st November 1915 2 am ship stopped outside Le Havre harbour, landed 9 am. Sunday morning. Spent all day unloading ship, taking us nine hours. Went on top of motor travelled to station and waited for others to arrive. Meantime we raided an apple truck & made good headway with them. Departed in cattle trucks 11:30 pm, and arrived at Pont Perre 8 am. next morning


22nd November 1915 Proceeded to unload truck, and move to St Riquier arriving worn out at 2 pm. After unloading we went to our billet in an old barn, and got a little sleep.


23rd November 1915 Battalion arrived having come from Boulogne, stayed here 5 days. A nice place, fine cathedral 69 km from Arras. 15 km from Cerisy.


27th November 1915. Left for Vignacourt and stayed 5 days. Fairly large village. Motor back tested gas helmet in gas room.


3rd December 1915. Left for Pont-Noyelles 17 miles away, stayed the night


4th December 1915 Marched to Vaux-Sur-Somme via Corbie. we stayed here a week did drill etc. .. Saw for first time an aeroplane being shelled.


December 6th to 8th 1915 Had a bath at Corbie in dye vats. The first Battalion in the trenches, and have the first casualty Srg.Hackett.(?)

11th December 1915. Moved to Etinehem and stayed until the 21st. This is a village the troops use for a rest billet from the trenches. We see the 1st Battalion come through after doing 4 days in. They were plastered with mud and everyone's the same who had been up. We are now attached to the 5th Division, 1st Brigade company. Men go to the trenches for instructional purposes with the 1st Cheshires at Mellidon junction. Xmas mail arriving. Moved to Bray-Sur-Somme at night as road is under observation. The mail is still coming


23rd December 1915. Went into trenches as a Battalion, arriving there about 5:30. And we did find the trenches in a fearful state. The mud being well up to our knees. I now realize what the old squaddies mean. We are taken to 75 support line, with gun. It has not been used for sometime and we find the dugout, and trench in a rotten state. Didn't get jack boots until next day. -- Had no sleep.


Lewis Gun Team
C Company Lewis gun team arras France May 1916. Left to right. S Shields(killed) H Arculaus(Killed)J. Fox (P. Fox's brother.Wounded)C.Howe(killed)Wooton(killed)P.Fox(wounded)

24th December 1915 This is Xmas eve. Our dug out has a sump hole in the middle we have to have our feet in. Sit on pack in the mud . It is still raining. Having a lovely time-I don't think.


25th December 1915 Xmas day, and we do look a picture. Plastered in mud. Food the same. Went down the Dump about 11:00 am. Over the top the Germans see us. and start bombardment. R--- Hit with first shell, blowing his insides out. We jump into trench. When one lands 20 yards away. Sarg Major Morgan hit and died a week later. With about 20 shells I eventually got back from the Dump and we tried to enjoy ourselves as best we could, but it was a rotten Xmas





Paul Johnson 17/02/14.