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Category: Digger's Diaries

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 Lance Corporal Harry Russell 1st Battalion


The Diary of


L/Cpl Harry Russell

1st Battalion AIF

Glenn McIntosh (G/son) & Jean McIntosh (Harry's daughter), donors of these images and text

Harry's diary has a page prior to Jan 1 which summarises his  movements to then, and then has information which is duplicated later.

Left Australia for Egypt 9 August 1915
Arrived at Pt Suez 10 September 1915
Left Egypt for Anzac 22 October - arrived at 9.20 pm 2 November
Left Anzac sick 15 December arriving at Luna Park 27 December

Jan 2  

2: Christmas present presented by the Sisters.
3: Very heavy showers - first rain seen by me in Egypt.
7: 9th 10th & 11th reinforcements joined their battalion.

10: Paraded before the doctor at Luna Park, discharged from hospital.
11: Left Luna Park and went out to Giza about four miles from Cairo. Tents very scarce - slept in the mess hut.
12: Went before the doctor, classed A. Leave first opportunity.
13: Went on picket up to Giza, a lovely little spot.
14: Went on picket up to the brewery, plenty of buckshee beer there.
15: Went into Cairo and had a good night sports returning home very late.
Mem: Cairo too lively for me, you are pushed down one side of the street and shoved up the other.

Jan 16: On quarter guard at Giza, a keystone guard at that.
17: Went into Cairo and then took tram out to Heliopolis to see Bill in Luna Park.
18: Betting day lost 51 Piastre. Went for a walk along the Nile, a very pretty spot.
19: Wrote to the base for my mail, but received no answer.
21: Went into Cairo, visited the Music Hall, a terrible lively and dirty place.
22: Visited Cairo and went to the soldier's sports ground, also skating rink. Very good refreshments.

Jan 23: Went to the Zoological gardens. Ragtime church parade alongside the road.
24: Inspection by the General at Giza, waited over two hours for him.
25: A terrible sandstorm afterwards slight showers, gent got in a terrible state.
27: A great concert held in the YMCA.
28: Shifted camp from Giza to Zietoun, marching through Cairo, 9 miles distance. Feet got very sore.
29: First parade at Zietoun.

Jan 30: Went to church out in the desert. Went to a picture show at night, very comical.
Feb 1: Great boxing and picture show at Zietoun.
2: First guard at Zietoun.
3: Went to Cairo, took tram from Helmeic st.

Feb 6: Shifted camp.
7: Went to the pictures at Helmeic st
8: Went to the music hall at Heliopolis, Acrobating very good especially the boys riding on the round balls.
10: Went to the Radium picture show till 9 oclock then went to the opera till 12.30 getting home at 2am.

Feb 17: Went to Heliopolis with Frank Winter.

Feb 20: Left Zietoun and took train to Tel-el-Kebir on the Suez line. Met a lot of mates there.
21: First march on the stoney desert, very tired at night.
22: Went to a concert at the YMCA.
23: Half holiday at camp, visited the old trenches at Tel-el-Kebir.
24: Went for a march out to the rifle range, passing through the village of Tel-el-Kebir.
25: Fatigue, digging wells to drain the water from the shower baths and washing places.
26: Half holiday - got 15 letters.
27: Serapeum motor trains and motor lorries running from canal to trenches 8 miles distance.(should be end of next day?)

Feb 27: Left Tel-el-Kebir to go to the canal and camped at a place called Serapeum, march very hard.
28: First parade at Serapeum. Fatigue duty. Camped 1.5 miles from canal on north side. Went for a swim in the canal - very cold
29: Inspection of kits very funny. Fatigue work making roads and digging drains, and fixing up our new camp in the desert.
March 1: Left Serapeum and took boat from pontoon bridge and went up to Toussum. Toussum camp a very nice camp situated on the banks of the canal.
2: Very large boats passing. Fatigue fixing up footpaths and pulling punt across canal, unloaded ration boat. Went on outpost duty on beach.
3: Came off outpost and went on drill. Fatigue fixing up footpaths. Went for a swim in canal, very cold.
4: Fatigue pulling the punt across canal conveying troops and camels across. Very heavy work.
Mem: Dimensions of canal - 91 1/4 miles long, 100 yards wide and 33 feet deep, more or less. In places it is wider and deeper.

Mar 5: Punt fatigue and fishing. Went on No 3 post in the firing line. The line of trenches that the Australians made in 2nd Feb? 1915 against the Turks.
6: Came off post and went on parade. After parade the company had a swimming parade. Very exciting, water lovely.
7:Went on patrol up to the Salt Lakes, went fishing in spare time, caught starfish and oysters, also very cold and windy.
8: Came off patrol and went in parade, in the afternoon went on punt fatigue, very hard pulling.
9: Still on punt fatigue up till 11.30am. We then went out to the rifle range until dinner time. Issued new rifles in the afternoon.
10: Left Toussum and marched back to Serapeum with full packs. Had no dinner but had a double tea instead. Received 20 letters.
11: Went out on the desert to the musketry. Came up a terrible sand storm, one had a job to see five yards in front of you.
12: A lot of C of E lads got confirmed by the Bishop of Jerusalem.

Mar 12: Went to church in the morning. After dinner went for a swim in the canal. At night a raid by the M. police on the gambling den.
13: Went out on musketry, fired 5 rounds, afterwards inspected by the General. Swimming parade after dinner.
14: Open field work on the Arabian desert, attacking and minor movements. Went for a swim in the canal. Called out at 11pm - false alarm.
15: Battalion drill. Brigade inspected by the General. Got innoculated again for typhoid and enteric.
16: Went for a route march, 6 miles in the Arabian desert, very nearly to the Australian trenches. Swimming parade.
17: Out post duty and sentry work. A night out post duty very tiresome work. Got paid early in ther evening.
18: A full muster parade. A terrible sand and dust storm, very nice in the canal though.
19: Inspected by the Prince of Wales and General Birdwood and many other high ranks.

Mar 19: The Prince of Wales visited our camp at Serapeum, he got a great reception, they cheered him as he rode.
20: A trial route march with our full packs up. A lecture by the General on French habits.
21: In the morning a kit inspection and pulling tents and cleaning up the lines. Marched out of camp at 4.30.
22: Embarked on board the train at Serapeum at 8.45 and arrived at Alex at 6.30am. Then embarked on the 'Ivernia'.
23: Left Alex at 6 oclock Wed night (22nd) bound for France. Boat drill and life belt drill. Told off to our boats in case of submarines being seen.
24: 6.30 pm saw the north coast of Africa. A lecture on gas helmets and innoculation again in the left arm.
25: Went on quarter guard and submarine guard. Passed islands on the port side.
Mem: Ivernia is a very large boat carrying over 2000 troops. Two battalions of infantry and ?????  engineers and pioneers.



Mar 26: Came off guard passed Sardinia on the starboard side. Short arm inspection after dinner.
27: Sailed into Selong 4pm. Selong is well fortified with plenty of submarines and mines.
28: Left Selong for Marseilles arriving 11pm. Disembarked and got on train. Left 12 pm.
29: Scenery very pretty, snow clad mountains, very cold, passed Lyons 4.30pm, had breakfast and tea on the train.
30: Scenery lovely, grape vines, strawberries, wheat is the  principal product, passed through the outskirts of Paris.
31: Landed at Hazebrouck 12pm. We then marched to a little village not very far from the front line.
Apr 1: Billeted in an old barn full of straw. The barn and house is under the same roof. Went for a short route march through the village.
Mem: The weather is very cold of a night time but this ?? hot bath? You can hear firing??  ??


April 2: Went to church parade up in the village. Went for a long walk along the train line also through the fields into another village.
3: Parade bomb throwing and rifle drill. We are in a good billet, pub, coffee palace joining? our home.
4: A very cold day, sleet started to fall. I thought myself it was going to snow. We had bomb practice in the afternoon.
5: Still very cold. Went for a long route march out into the forest, we then had a sham fight home.
6: Very cold breeze blowing, but it was much warmer in the forest where we were skirmishing. Semaphore after dinner.
7: Marched out to Brigade Headquarters today to dig gas trenches, got home 12.30pm. Sham fighting in the morning.
8: Marched out to the trenches and went through two different kinds of gases. Got payed after dinner.
Mem: We went through weeping gas without helmet. My word it did smart our eyes, also the other gas. 


Apr 9: Church parade. I had a real good time in the flat next door. But got very sick afterwards.
10: Left Wallon Cappel and marched to Oustensteine, a distance of about 12 miles, my feet were very sore.
11: Went up to the village and had a good drink of wine. You can hear the artillery roaring all day and night.
12: A very wet morning, had parade in the barn. Sgt Mills? returned from the trenches. Heavy bombardment in the east.
13: A very early parade, marched to Headquarters and was inspected by General Smith and General Walker. We then had a hot shower bath and got clean underclothing.
14: Went for a long route march about 12 miles with full packs on. Started to snow and sleet, very cold too.
15: Still inclined to snow a little, it also rained a little too. A half holiday in the afternoon.
Mem: Hedges and fruit trees just starting to shoot. The hedges are made out of hawthorne bushes.


Apr 16: Still very dull. Church parade on the battalion parade ground. Went for a long walk into another village.
18: Left Oustersteine and marched to Sailly, about 5 miles. Our camp is about 3 miles from the firing line. The roads were very muddy and slippery. Our planes are flying about in dozens including Germans.
19: Stayed all day at Sailly leaving at 6pm and marched to the support trenches about 1000yds behind the firing line.
20: Camped in reserve billets 1000yds behind firing line. Went on ration fatigue up the company.
21: A very wet day, German aeroplanes and guns firing all day. Went on water fatigue, trench very slippery.
22: Aeroplanes fighting in the air, very interesting. Water fatigue again. Our billets were shelled.
Mem: The weather is very miserable, wet feet every night when we get home. Get home 12.30, stand to till 2.30am. 


April 23: A very heavy bombardment on both sides, shells coming from all directions. Water fatigue at night.
24: Went for a warm bath and new clothing. Relieved 14 platoon from firing line. Off post that night.
25: Went on fatigue building up the trench floor and carrying away mud. A very lively night, heavy rifle fire.
26: Germans used gas and attacked the 2nd division but our chaps were too good and captured their transports.
27: On observation lookout. Gas attack and terrible bombardment. Wiss-bangs were just going over the parapet.
28: A very quiet day nothing doing at all. I slept all day but went on post at night.
29: A lovely day, just like Australian weather. Terrible rifle fire the night before, also artillery.
Mem: (April 25 A celebration of Anzac day. We got rum, tin fruit and fruit cake, also cheese and bread.) 


Apr 30: The 9th brigade got gassed by the Germans, but done no harm though. Off duty had a good rest and a sleep.
May 1: Germans bombarded the billets behind our trenches with high explosive shells. Still done no damage.
2: A heavy bombardment from our artillery. Shelled the German's billets. 2nd Battalion got relieved.
3: We got relieved from trenches at 9.30am. Marched to billets 1 1/2 behind firing line.
4: Went into Sailly railway station, bought food and chocolates. Went on fatigue up the firing line.
5: Fatigue in the firing line. Gas attack and artillery duel, also a bomb attack. Got home about 12 oclock.
6: Trench digging near our billets. Protection against bombardment of any kind. Weather very muggy.
Mem: (Germans bombarded the road near our billet with shrapnel but done no harm). 


May 7: Went up into the trench and helped the engineers to make dugouts. Got home 4.30pm.
8: Went on guard up at Headquarters. Wet and windy all day. The ground got terrible sloppy and muddy.
9: Got a prisoner for being drunk. A nice little job we had too, he was mad drunk, kicked a treat.
10: Aeroplane chase over our billets.
11: Wet weather again but only slight showers, roads terrible mucky and slippery. Meadows look lovely.
12: Came off headquarters guard, had a night off. Got drunk on wine and beer over at the estaminet.
13: Still wet but we went for a bath up in Sailly. The water was lovely and hot, we also got clean clothing.
Mem: (Dick Kerr and Lavender went into Laventie and got drunk, up for orders next day).


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 600yd trenches.
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, South Singleton.
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 moles.
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 us.
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 everywhere.
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 taking
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 safely.
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 shells.
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 Fleurbaix.

Jun 25: A very quiet day in the support trenches, but the 18 pounders right near our dug out made a terrible noise.
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 Outersteine.
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 battle.
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 miles.
31: Got promoted to machine gun. A very hot day expect a change in the weather.
Aug 1: Went on machine gun parade. I now know the most of the Lewis machine gun.
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 dinner.
7: Went on parade, mess orderly as well. At 6pm went on guard. A very cold night.
8: On guard all day. Got relieved at 6pm. Got orders to move in the morning.
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 Warloy-Baillon.
24: Left Warloy-Baillon and marched to Beauval about 14 miles, my feet blistered.
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 battalion.
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 honours.

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 casualties themselves.

Oct 1: A very quiet day, the Huns never retaliated after the raid at all. We fixed up our parapets and firing ??
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 casualties.
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 strong position.

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 steps.
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 next morning.

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 exercises.
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 the firing.
25: Went over and got M.G. and magazines and cleaned them up. A very wet day.
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 M.G. parade.
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 open.
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 corner.
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 issued.
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.


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces