1914 Diary of Norman Allatt
Functioning more like a notebook than a diary, sparse and telegrammatic, Norman Allatt’s entries routinely replace the printed 1914 dates with adjusted 1915 ones, making this volume slightly confusing (with some entries being repeated in expanded form in the next volume). At the age of 21, Toronto shoemaker Allatt records his courtship of his future wife, Gertrude May Benford (BMB or G.B.), whose name appears on Valentine’s Day, 14 February, and again three days later noting that he bought a ring, which the 1915 diary will identify as a cameo ring (presumably containing his hair or other miniscule mementoes by Allatt). He records locations, recalling the old and new names (e.g., Vancouver, Halifax, and Ottawa) of the Camps of 2nd Division, as well as addresses of contacts at Dibgate Camp in Kent, England, where he will be stationed, and his family’s address at 30 Victoria Park Avenue in Toronto. On 16 August 1915, after being given a good send off, he leaves the Niagara Camp for Montreal and from there sails overseas. This volume also details statistics on his shooting progress including effective zones and how many bullets he could shoot how far in how many seconds. Some of the pages are decorated with pressed flowers and his cartoon drawings including the final ones.