Two years ago we posted a plea for help to discover more about the author of a World War One diary which was found in an outbuilding of a house in Ruthin (see previous post here). We asked for people to come forward to offer information about the author of the diary, Arthur Edward Jerman and his connection to Denbighshire and we are very pleased that his great nephew got in contact with us tell us more of the story and show us the medals he was awarded (pictured).
Arthur Edward Jerman was born in Wrexham in 1873, son of Rev. Edward Jerman. He was educated at Wrexham Grammar School and went on to obtain a scholarship to study at Bangor University. He was appointed as Assistant House Surgeon at Westminster Hospital and later became Senior House Surgeon. He also served as Medical Officer in Kenya and returned after three years to Erith in Kent. His first public appointment was that of part time medical officer to the sanatorium, in Kent, which he held for 27 years. Dr A.E. Jerman died in 1928 in Erith hospital after suffering with heart problems.
During the First World War he served as Leiut.- Colonel of the 4th London Ambulance of the 47th Division spending to years in the war zone in the neighbourhood of Ypres during which time he wrote the diary. The diary began one hundred years ago today on 16th March 1915 when he leaves his wife, Maud, at Watford train station and departs for Havre on the SS Inventor.
“Boat remained outside Havre harbour till tide turned to get into dock which was reached about 9.30. Great difficulty in disembarking Horses. Had lunch on S. S. Inventor. At 4pm moved off to Rest Camp No2 about 5 miles from quay. Went under canvas. Fairly quiet night but cold and frosty. Heard that we had had a narrow escape from being torpedoed by a German submarine.”
The diary highlights the medical corp and their activities including casualty evacuation and caring for the injured.
26th May 1916-
“Causalities very heavy all night. All officers were working hard all night dressing wounds. The character of the wounds varied from immensely, some quite trivial others dangerous. One poor fellow, a Sergeant of Engineers, was so bad that we could do nothing for him, so he was put in the ward and died in about 20 minutes. One young lieutenant died in a few hours from wound of chest and 2 others died from some injury or other.”
The diary is around 200 pages in length and records Dr. Jerman’s time in France up to 21st November 1916. It is handwritten and in some places difficult to decipher and Dr. Jerman’s great nephew has been working on creating a transcription of the diary over the last year which is available along with the original to view at the office.
For more information about our holding see our website here.