Extracts from the diary of Roland Gerard Garvin after detachment to Divisional Staff from July 1916


What does the diary extract show about daily life in the trenches?

Captain Roland Gerard Garvin was in charge of D Company of the 7th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment. On 20 July he recorded the company as having a fighting strength of three officers, six sergeants and 109 men in other ranks. The company was stationed near Bazentin-le-Petit in preparation for the attack on High Woods, which formed part of the Somme Offensive. 

The diary extract shows the monotonous nature of life in the trenches. Captain Garvin records the detail for Friday 21 July starting at 4am with stand to and the cleaning and inspection of rifles. The soldiers spent the rest of the morning cleaning and improving their trenches with a break at 8am for breakfast and lunch at 12.30pm. In the afternoons they were allowed to rest. 

On the following day Captain Garvin noted down the formation and objectives of the company’s assault against the enemies’ forces. This was his last diary entry as Captain Garvin was killed by machine gun fire during the attack at 11.30pm that night.


Thursday 20th July - The fighting strength of D Compy at 12 noon today is
Officers 3 }
Sergeants 6 }
Other ranks 109 }
R.G. Garvin Capt. D Coy.

Friday July 21st detail.

4 am Stand to. Clean and inspect rifles
Clean up trenches
5-7 a.m. - Improvement of trenches
8 am Breakfast
9-12 noon Improve trenches
12.30 pm . Dinners
Afternoon . Rest
Evening . As detailed later

R G Garvin, Capt.

Platoon Strengths

13 - 2 22
14 - 2 25
15 - 1 25
16 - - 24

5 96
Full title:
Extracts from the diary of Roland Gerard Garvin after detachment to Divisional Staff from July 1916, from Garvin Papers. General legal and biographical material; 1916-1974, n.d.
Diary / Manuscript
Roland Gerard Garvin
Held by:
British Library
© © From the Garvin archive | Usage Terms: Creative Commons Attribution
Add MS 88882/9/58

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