|May 14 -15: Went on fatigue up in the
firing line filling sand bags in ???? avenue to make
support trench in case we have to fall back. German machine gun keeps
on firing at us.
16: Motor anti - air craft gun firing at
right near our billet, but done no harm.
17: Plenty of Taubes flying about but very high up. Our artillery had
great sport with them.
18: Relieved from trenches by the 3rd Brigade. We then marched to new
billets about two miles from Sailly.
19: Marched to Astiers (Estaires)? about five miles. Relieved
C Company from guard. A good joint looking after a few tanks and about
20: Plenty of aeroplanes flying about but the Taubes are very scarce.
Went for a stroll into Laventie.
Mem: We have got a good job here looking after the trenches. We have
only six fresh water tanks to look after.
May 21: Went for a walk over to
Estaires, struck a good joint plenty of molls but very hard to find.
22: Dick and Lavender went to Estaires. Cpt Price came around and paid
us while they were away. So they missed their money.
23: We made great mates with the Tomys who were camped right near our
billets. We also had a very good night.
24: Things were very quiet all day. But a terrible bombardment in the
evening. Plenty beer and laughs.
25: We done a little work filling five tanks with fresh water and
fixed the parapets up. Capt. Price came around. I got terrible sick.
26: Capt. Price called around very early, about 5am, but only Lavender
was up. It is rumoured that the Huns are going to attack.
27: Received a letter from Pearl Prior, her address is Wylies Flat,
Mem: We are expecting the Huns to attack about Tuesday. Our rations
are brought around on fresh horses
May 28: Had a good day. Came home
8.30pm and there we found to our dismay that Dick had to be relieved.
29: Pt Muir and C. Osling come over to see us, we had a good time
together. We also filled up the leaky tanks.
30: Very dull day and slight showers. Aeroplanes are very plentiful
and any amount of shooting. A very easy day for us.
31: A great artillery duel from both sides. 11th Battalion lost 91
wounded and 18 killed, 60 yds of parapet got blown down.
Jun 1: A great religious day with the Frenchies. We done a little work
this morning, filled four tanks with fresh water and clorinated them.
2: Farley and Santler came across to
see us. Lavender and I cleaned out the trenches which was caused by
3: A great naval battle in the North Sea. Germans lost 32 boats,
English lost 18 boats and 6000 men. Germans lost a lot more men than
Mem: 1st June 1916, 1st Brigade was inspected by General Birdwood,
Billy Hughes and A. Fisher.
Jun 4: A very quiet day at Nouvane
de Monde??. Cp Sharpe and Pt Lavender got run in for being on boozer.
5: Dick Kerr came over and Snowy Baker also came down. We gave Blincey??
a lively time, also old Madam??
6: Booky and Davy got relieved by Bill ??? The reason is that
both of them were in a boozer after one oclock, so they got relieved.
7: Filled up two tanks one near the A.M.C. and one near the Church. a
very quiet night, nothing doing.
8: Filled up a tank over on the far trenches. Had a few boozers and a
late dinner. Bought a few things to take to the trenches.
9: Left Nouvou monde and joined my coy up. We then made for the firing
line. Passing through several small villages, striking the
10: firing line at Fleurbaix at distance of about 10 miles. I got
terrible foot sore and was very tired, only too glad to get there. It
was 12pm then.
Mem: Laventie front. German trenches were about 200 yds from ours. At
Fleurbaix 350yds apart or more.
Jun 11: Our artillery bombarded the
German trenches blowing them about lovely, sand bags were flying
12: Continued bombarding. C company met D coy out between the lines
and started to bomb one another. Pte Muntcastle got wounded seriously.
13: A very heavy bombardment from our side, blew German trenches
about. Our bombing party raided the German trenches killing some and
14: some prisoners 6. Went on RE fatigue filling sandbags and making
parapets. Also went on post at night.
15: Our patrol went out and threw a few bombs in the German trenches
causing a little mischief.
16: Went on water fatigue to the nannery? Pte Davison got a bullet
through the top of the head.
17: New Zealanders got gased and then attacked but the Huns got driven
back with heavy losses. Our artillery were waiting on them and
Mem: gave them hell for about two hours. I went out on patrol in no
mans land, bullets were flying everywhere.
Jun 18: Our trench mortars threw a
few plum puddings over to the huns blowing their trenches everywhere.
These bombs weigh 60lbs.
19: A terrible artillery duel. Had to stand too all Sunday night. Our
bombers threw over some more of those 60lbs.
20: A gas alarm came up from the left. We were standing too all night.
Pte Eagles got killed out in no mans land.
21: Pte Lamprell got shot through the knee at 2.30 this morning while
filling sandbags 15yds behind our parapet.
22: Went out on patrol over to the German's barbwire. Very near got
shot. Machine gun bombs and rifle were shot at us, but got home quite
23: Got relieved by the 3rd Battalion and marched out to the support
trenches about 1 mile from the firing line. A terrible place for
24: Went on guard at the X roads. Terrible artillery fire, also plenty
of aeroplanes flying out and in all the time.
Mem: We are camped in support for seven days about 1 1/2 miles from
Jun 25: A very quiet day in the
support trenches, but the 18 pounders right near our dug out made a
26: Artillery very noisy, shelling the huns trenches all day. Went on
fatigue up to 13? making dugouts.
27: Went on fatigue again, it rained very heavy all day, trenches very
sloppy. Stand too 2 to 3 and from 8.30 to 9.30 by night time?
28: 1st Battalion bombing party went over killing and capturing a lot
of Germans. We had nine casualties in our little lot.
29: Went for a bath down to Torbie? from Fleurbaix. German guns were
blowing up the paddock right near our dug outs.
30: Got relieved from supports and went into reserves down at
Fleurbaix. Went on fatigue down to trenches.
Jul 1: Went on fatigue. British captured three towns on the right
flank. A gas attack from our side.
Mem: Flares red and white were going up in thousands. Huns tried to
shell our billet at Fleurbaix.
Jul 2: Went on guard up at the
brigade headquarters, plenty of beer had a good time.Heavy bombardmt.
3: Got relieved from trenches and marched back to Sailly ??
a distance of about 7 miles.
4 & 5: A gas attack on the right flank. We stood to alnight.
6: Went on parade did new rifle drill and bayonet drill. A lovely day.
7: Started to rain. Gas attacks all along the line.
8: Big British attacks on the right and left flanks, capturing large
towns and still holding the huns back.
Jul 9: Left Sailly and marched to
Outersteine? a distance of about 8 miles. Had a hot bath at
10: Left Outersteine and marched to Bailleul entraining there for
Somme, then marched 10 miles through to Domart-en-Pontieu.
11: Left Outersteine at 6.30 and arriving at Somme 12.45 and arriving
at Domart-en-Pontieu 7oclock.
12: Left Domart and marched through hilly country to Vignecourt about
8 miles, my toes and feet gave me gib?
13: Left Vignecourt and marched to Cardonettes, about 12 miles, very
hilly country and rather pretty. Feet sore.
14: Went on parade at Cardonette. Gas helmet inspection and other
minor things, also had open skirmishing work.
15: Went for a route march towards Amiens, we then had bayonet
charging through the wheat crop.
Mem: Cardonettes 17 miles from firing line. English advanced 3 1/2
miles on our direct front.
July 16: Left Cardonettes and
marched to Warloy-Baillon, this place is in the vicinity of the great
17: Early morning parade, bayonet fighting etc. There is a large
hospital here used for Tommies only.
18: Tame as usual, got issued with wire cutters and colours for our
arms and back.
19: Left Warloy-Baillon and marched through Albert to reserve trenches
about 10 miles. Had no sleep that night.
20: Terrible bombardment day and night killing 3 and wounding 13. Two
aeroplanes were brought down, one of each side.
21: German artillery bit quieter but killing many. We also lost more
out of our company. Went on fatigue carrying bombs.
22: Got issued with a good feed ready for the charge. Carried bombs
and ammunition. 9 men killed and wounded today.
Mem: Lost a lot of cobbys including a lot out of my section. Captured
three of the Germans.
July 23: Birthday, 20 yrs old. 12.30
pm am?? charged the German lines and got there after a little muck up.
24: Lost a lot of men but still held the German third line. Also
captured a lot of prisoners in Pozieres and the wood. The wood was
very much blowed about.
25: A terrible day. Germans bombarded our trenches all day killing
dozens. Got relieved from second line and went to third line.
26: Another terrible day, many men getting burned alive. Got relieved
from trenches and went to Albert.
27: Bivouac near Albert. Went on fatigue up to reserve trench taking??
overcoats and waterproofs. shifted further back.
28: Left Albert and marched back to Henercourt, a pretty little camp.
But expect to shift back further.
29: Left Henencourt and marched to Talmas about 11 miles. My legs and
shoulders ache, very sore,
Mem: Pozieres was a mass of ruins when we were finished with it -
found a few snipers there.
July 30: Left Talmas and marched to
Bonville (Beauville?) 7 miles. Left Bonville and marched to Halloy 5
31: Got promoted to machine gun. A very hot day expect a change in the
Aug 1: Went on machine gun parade. I now know the most of the Lewis machine
2: Same as usual. Got a letter from Dick. Two cooks? had a fight.
3: Went again on machine gun learnt all about stripping and firing,
also stoppages. Had a very easy day of it, knocked off 3oclock.
4: Went to the range and fired 12 shots out of machine gun. Got 8 hits
out of 12 - early knock off.
5: Finished up my machine gun course. Had a half holiday in the
afternoon. Went for a walk around town.
Mem: Got a letter from home also one from Lucy Hidges. A terrible
bombardment on the Pozieres frontier
Aug 6: Went on physical jerks before
breakfast. After breakfast went to church. Had an inspection after
7: Went on parade, mess orderly as well. At 6pm went on guard. A very
8: On guard all day. Got relieved at 6pm. Got orders to move in the
9: Left Halloy and marched to Talmas about 7 mls. I was on pack guard.
10: A very dull day. It started to rain. Left Talmas and marched to
Louvencourt? - 9 miles.
11: Went on parade at Louvencourt. We are camped in a very pretty
orchard but no fruit ripe.
12: Went on physical jerks before breakfast. Got paid yesterday. Went
out for a stroll into Louvencourt.
Mem: The 4th Division captured a village also 2000 yds of trenches. We
are returning to them soon.
Aug 13: A very warm day. Marched to
Herissart church parade. We were addressed by General Birdwood.
14: Wet day. Left Louvencourt and marched to the forest near Halloy.
We are camped here in huts.
15: Left the forest and marched to a field near Albert about 8 miles.
We are bivouacked in the open, wet night.
(notation near back of diary "transferred
to machine gun section")
16: Left Albert and marched to reserve trenches about 3 miles. Went on
guard over our machine guns.
17: One of our planes brought down a Taube. He set on fire, a
very pretty but sad sight. Raining very heavily, very muddy too.
18: Went on fatigue out to our cookers. After dinner we marched up to
close supports, up in the forest near Pozieres.
19: 3rd and 4th Battalions got relived by the 3rd Brigade. A very
quiet day but a little damp. Got orders to move but were cancelled.
Mem: While we were in supports our company went on fatigue up to
firing line, digging a trench up to Fritz.
Aug 20: The 3rd Brigade charged one
of Fritz's trenches taking it easily. A very heavy shelling.
21: Still very heavy shelling, never seems to stop. The Huns bombarded
our trenches all night causing a lot of casualties.
22: Still the guns are booming, plenty of shrapnel flying about. Got
relieved from trenches and marched back to Albert.
23: Bivouac at Albert for the night. Left Albert and marched back to
24: Left Warloy-Baillon and marched to Beauval about 14 miles, my feet
25: Left Beauval and marched back to Talmas, a detail camp. I am
waiting here to be sent away to a machine gun school.
26: Had a days rest the first rest I have had since I have been here
in France. A lot of details arrived this evening.
Mem: The Tommies charged the forts of Thiepval capturing them easily
without any opposition taking many prisoners.
Aug 27: Left the rest camp and
marched to Le Roselle? and entrained there.
28: A very slow journey but arrived at Etaples at last.
29: Started on the machine gun course, had 6 hours on it.
30: Tame as usual. A terrible wet day and very cold.
31: Tame as usual. After parade I took a walk down to the coast about
1 mile distance.
Sept 1: A concert held in the YMCA, a very good turnout. Marched
to Etaples and got clothing and pay.
2: Went out on the rifle range and fired with the machine gun. Went
into Paris Plage (Le-Touquet-Paris-Plage?) a
very pretty town.
Mem: Bought a ??good case for my watch. Romania
declared war on Austria and Hungary and Germany.
Sept 3: Had 3 hours drill
skirmishing with machine guns, not easy task. Church at night.
4: Left the machine gun school and marched to Etaples. Got in train
there and trained to Poperinghe.
5: Marched up to firing line reserve trench about 11 miles. This place
is very quiet.
6: Went on guard in trench. Had a gas alert but everything else was
quiet. A few trench mortars came over.
7:Came up into front line, trenches are very close here only about 30
yds and 60 between. But very quiet.
8: Went on guard with machine gun, but nothing to shoot at though.
Went on fatigue cleaning out trenches, terribly muddy.
9: A very quiet day but old Fritz put a few over in the afternoon. On
guard as usual, 2hrs on day and night.
Mem: Machine gunners relieved the 3rd Battalion gunners on Wednesday
night. The company came in next night.
Sept 10: Very quiet here up till
about 5pm and then both sides started. D coy got relieved by 11th
11: A very dull day started to rain a little in the afternoon. Had
sleep. A rum issue too.
12: The first brigade got relieved from trenches and marched back.
13: We are camped in huts near the town of Poperinghe, a very
nice place too.
14: Went out on parade and did machine gun drill. Went to YMCA at
night, wrote letters.
15: Tame as usual. Went for a bath down to Poperinghe, a lovely shower
bath and clean clothes.
16: Went in for a walk to Poperinghe about 3 1/2 miles Brought a
fountain pen and few other things.
Mem: Poperinghe is a fine place, some very large shops there.
Sept 17: Went on church parade then
had the rest of the day off.
18: Started to rain, very miserable and muddy, had no parade. Had
machine gun practice in the hut.
19: Still raining very hard. Went on picket up to a small village,
about 3 miles away.
20: Still very wet, a very heavy bombardment. There is a big balloon
not far from here.
21: Sports postponed on account of the wet.
22: Battalion sports held on a nice piece of ground near gas school.
Had a good evening.
23: Brigade sports held on same ground but did not go. I went into
Poperinghe for the night.
Mem: D coy won the squad drill on Battalion day and a few more
Sept 24: Brigade church parade on
gas school ground. General Birdwood and Andy Fisher were there.
25: Left the camp and marched to the train. Took train to ??? then
marched to firing line, getting there about 10 oclock. Old Fritz sent
over a few mine and rifle grenades.
27: On fatigue making dugouts and fixing parapets. The Huns sent over
a terrible lot of grenades.
28: Fatigue as usual. 2nd Battalion had a little bombing raid. On post
2 hours on and four off.
29: Our trench mortars threw over a terrible lot of bombs and rifle
grenades, doing a lot of damage.
30: A very quiet night - the Huns never fired a shot. 6th Battalion
made a raid on Fritz's trenches and
Mem: capturing prisoners and killing a couple. They only had three
Oct 1: A very quiet day, the Huns
never retaliated after the raid at all. We fixed up our parapets and
2: Same as yesterday, nothing doing at all, with the exception of a
few rifle grenades. Started to rain.
3: At stand too: Pte Hollis got killed and Pte Morton got wounded by
the same bullet. Very quiet day.
4: The Huns brought up an armoured train and bombarded our front line,
but no damage.
5: A very quiet day also the night time. But a German sniper still
pots along these lines somewhere.
6: D Coy made a raid on the Huns trenches but done no good having five
7: Got relieved from firing line by 3rd Batt and we took their place
back in reserve.
Mem: Reserve trenches are about a hundred yards behind the line, a
Oct 8: Cleaned the machine gun and
then went on fatigue making dugouts and trenches.
9: The same as usual, went out pinching wood for parapet work and fire
10: Still parapet making and building trench up. Old Fritz sent over a
terrible lot of bombs.
11: Pay day in the trenches. We cleaned up the gun and all magazines
ready to move out.
12: Got relieved from trenches by the 15th Battalion and came back to
our rest camp.
13: Went into Pomperinghe for a bath before dinner. After tea went
over to Rineshelst to a concert held by ACA.
14; Left Pomperinghe and marched to Steenvvoorde, about 10 miles, a
very large place. Had a good
Mem: look around the town but only stopped there one night. Off again
Oct 15: Left Steenvoorde and marched
to Rubrouck about 11 miles, a very small village and old too.
16: Left Rubrouck and marched to Nort-Leulinghem about 13 miles,
my feet and ankles were very sore. We are stopping here
17: for a few days. Rifle inspection after breakfast. Bought a MG? for
my coat. We also had plenty of rum.
18: Same as usual bayonet fighting and rifle exercises, also musketry
19: A very wet and cold day. Had no drill but went for a route march.
A slight fall of hailstones.
20: Left Nort-Leulinghem and marched to St Omer. Had a few hours there
before we got in
21: train. Then took train to Longpre`. Unloaded transports and
marched to Brucamps about 8
Mem: miles. A very cold place ice all along the road. I very
nearly froze, my feet and hands were perished.
Oct 22: Left Brucamps with transport
and marched to Argoeuves about 10 miles.
23: Left Argoeuves and marched behind transport to a camp just near
Albert passing through Amiens 26 miles.
24: Left the camp near Albert and marched to another camp closer to
25: Went over and got M.G. and magazines and cleaned them up. A very
26: A little brighter but still misty. Plenty of balloons and
aeroplanes up. Fritz sent over a few shells.
27: A very miserable day - lazed in dugout all day. In the evening we
were shifted out of our dugout and put in a tent.
28: The rain has cleared up but the wind is very cold. Got issued with
yellow patches to put
Mem: on our backs. Expect to go to the trenches in a day or two.
Cleaned up the machine gun.
Oct 29: Left the camp and marched up
to supports about 4 miles. A very bad trench and no dugouts.
30: Made new dugouts, but are terribly wet. Went over to a small
village to get some timber.
31: Went on fatigue up to the firing line, about 2 miles. In the
evening moved up into firing lines, mud up to our knees.
Nov 1: Spent a terrible night. I very nearly died with the wet and
cold. Mud up to our knees all the time.
2: Got relieved from firing line last night and marched back to
reserves, about 1 1/2 miles.
3: Got issued with iron rations and flares. We are camped near a small
ruined village called Flers. The shells are terrible.
4: Still in the same place, a very heavy bombardment. went up to front
line and charged across to Fritz's trenches
Mem: but were driven back with heavy losses. Four out of the M.G. were
wounded and one missing. Charged 12 oclock Nov 4.
Nov 5: Got relieved by 3rd Battalion
and came back to reserves. Had a good feed and plenty of rum.
6: Got relieved from reserves by 11th Battalion and marched back to a
rest camp about 2 miles. Stopped one night.
7: On the move again, marched out 3 miles to another camp. Plenty of
mud we are camped in
8: tents but they are very wet and musty. Had a M.G. parade under our
new officer Mr Web.
9: Went for a bath about 3 miles down the road next to the railway
line. Had M.G. practice.
10: Same as usual, M.G. practice. Went up before Cpt Price? and got
creamed? for losing a machine gun.
11: Went down to M.G. carts and oiled them and fixed handles on them.
Still very muddy but no rain.
Mem: Very heavy bombardment artillery going all day to night, it
never seems to stop.
Nov 12: Left the reserve trench and
marched through mud and slush to Dernancourt - 7 miles.
13: Stopped at Dernancourt and marched to Ribemont (Ribemont-sur-l'Ancre?)
about 3 miles, a lot of German prisoners.
14: Went out on parade with M.G. under Mr Webb and also cleaned up and
oiled the guns.
15: Cleaned up the small bun carts and oiled them. Getting ready for
the road tomorrow.
One whole page missing (16th to 22nd)??
Nov 23: ??? We went to the M.G.
school had another light parade. M.G. parade.
24 - 25: M.G. parade St. Sauvere
26 Nov - 29: Nothing startling only
30: Left St Sauvere and marched behind the limbers? to Lahoussoye -
about 10 miles.
Dec 1: Left Lahoussoye and marched to Ribermont about 4 miles. A very
small place about
2: 6 miles from Albert. Ribemont is not a very large place and no estaminets
Mem: You can hear the guns quite plainly from here.
Dec 3: Church parade at Ribermont.
4: M.G. parade. Went in for a bath to Heilly. Caught a cold.
5: I am feeling very crook and have got a terrible cough.
6: Left Ribemont and marched to Mametz wood, about 7 miles.
7: Went on sick parade. We are camped in huts everything is mud,
the ?? are cleaning up a bit.
8: Went on fatigue carrying white chalk metal from an old German
9: trench. Cleaning the pathway with shovels. The mud is very
thick and deep.
Mem: Our balloons are very close to our camp.
Dec 10: Old Fritz sent over a mob of
aeroplanes and bombarded a camp
11: very close to us. Left our old camp and marched up towards the
firing line to
12: another camp. This camp is also very muddy.
13: Road fatigue as usual.
14: Went on fatigue putting in a cable.
15: A very heavy cold, got light duties and stayed inside.
16: Road making at cosy corner.
Dec 17,18,19,20: Road making at cosy
21: Colonel Carvel? took charge of
22: the M.G. section.
23:Left our old camp and marched to Birnacourt Wood , about 3 miles.
We carried all guns and magazines.
Dec 24: Left Adelaide camp and went
on fatigue up to Delville Wood about 3 miles.
25: Went on fatigue again. Had bread and cheese for dinner and got
warned about going on leave.
26: Left Birnacourt Wood and marched into Albert about 8 miles, got on
board the train 2pm.
27: All day in train, very cold took us 24hrs to go to Havre .
Marched into a rest
28: camp at 3am, got detailed off for our boats also got rations
29: Embarked at Havre and went across to Southampton - 6 hours.
Stopped at W.C.F. this night.
30: Had a good look around London and went to the Daly's theatre that
night. Slept at W.C.F.
31: Had dinner at W.C.F.