26-year old William Jones enlisted in the military during November 1917. He came from London, Ontario, but officially joined in Winnipeg, Manitoba. By the end of December, he was disembarking in Glasgow, Scotland.
The diary begins in January of 1918, only 2 months after his enlistment. He writes daily about his experiences overseas, such as the scenic countryside and his military training. He ended up in the 1st Canadian Heavy Artillery pool, located in France. During the months of May to July 1918, William wrote very little. Drafted on the 26th of July, William began to write about his day-to-day life on the frontline.
As a soldier during this time, William witnessed the closing 100 days offensive by the Canadians. His diary includes his accounts of a ‘close shave’ with an artillery shell and being gassed twice. Other notable diary entries are their push on Canal du Nord, the burning of Cambrai, and the ‘Armistice with Germany’ on November 11th. By the end of the war, he was writing in his diary much less. He eventually picked back up in December of 1918 to write about his leave.
This diary is truly a unique and one-of-a-kind firsthand account of 1918, the last year of the war. It includes two snapshot photos (a rarity on the front lines because they were forbidden) and William’s passes.
To see his service record, follow the link above and look under the “service record” tab.