Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
William Daniel Hardy diary, 9 October 1915-31 December 1916
MSS 2770/Item 1
[William Daniel Hardy was born in Bathurst, NSW but lived in Thirroul at the time of enlistment on 9 Nov 1915 at the age of 19. His occupation was Junior Porter on the NSW railway.
Trained at Liverpool and Casula Camps. Was present during the "Liverpool Mutiny" 4 Feb.1916.
Transferred to Army Medical Corps in December 1915. Sailed from Sydney on the "Kanowna" on 29 March 1916.
6 May. Arrived Suez and moved to Tel-el-Kebir.
29 May. Sailed from Alexandria on the "Corsican" for England.
12 June. Arrived Parkhouse Camp, Wiltshire, via Plymouth
24 June. Inspection by William Hughes at Bulford Camp
3 July. Four days leave in London
Received training in stretcher-bearing, bandaging etc.
15 Aug Left Parkhouse for France. Boulogne via Folkestone.
25 Aug Attached to "A" Section 4th Field Ambulance.
27 Aug Stretcher-bearing at the front. Mouquet Farm action.
19 Oct. Relieved. To various rest camps.
17 Nov. Back to the front near East Flers
28 Nov. Relieved. In various camps during lull in fighting.
18 Dec. Vignacourt.]
[See end of diary for spelling of place names]
[Front cover of Woodsí Australian Diary for 1916]
6 Septimus St Erskineville
"Mycumbene", Wrexham Road
New South Wales
Next of Kin
Mr W. Hardy
"Mycumbene", Wrexham Road
New South Wales
[Pages 4 to 35 not transcribed]
Enlisted 9 Oct 1915
Went into to Holdsworthy camp Nov 7th 1915
in C of 9th transferred to C of 19th
Casula Nov 12th
Transferred to Army Medical Corps Dec 7th 1915
Spent Xmas week end home & New Year at Mrs Blackwoodís Yowie Bay
1 January Saturday 
Out at Yowie Bay. Very lovely place. Slept at [Yowie Bay] that night
Still out at Yowie Bay. Caught afternoon train for Sydney with Mrs Nelson. Rang up Mollie McBeth but could not get her to come out, went back to camp in afternoon.
Went with Charlie Wynn to Carlton had dinner there. Went to Manly, met 3 girls, I went with Miss Bartlett of Enfield. Rather a jolly girl. Saw the Venetian Carnival at Manly at night. Had tea in Manly.
14 Monday [Feb]
Some of Casula & Liverpool troops Mutinied. No A.M.C. men in mutiny. Trooper Keefe killed on Sydney station & 5 more injured by bullets fired by Infantrymen from show ground. A terrible lot of damage done in Liverpool. 3 hotels smashed up, & all goods inside plundered.
S 5 N.T.G.
9th Field Ambulance partly picked. Working on hot all day
9th Field Ambulance picked right up.
Went on sick parade & ordered to Garrison Hosp Syd to undergo operation for Ch Tonsalitis, but missed being examined by O.C. for recommendation worked until 10 Pm on Hot Water Plant. Ordered to report for Hospital next day.
didnít get up until 7.30 am, reported for Garrison Hospital 8 am, caught 10.30 am train to Sydney, then tram to Barracks. Saw all the Police & Firemans Procession. Operated on for Tonsalitis & had a crook time, but a restful night. Had my photo taken just before operation didnt get one
Felt rather bad through operation but otherwise restful.
Discharged from Hospital at 12.20 pm. caught 4.50 train home Bought ticket to Helensburgh. People pleased to see me at home. Got till 2/3/16 sick leave. Went to Liverpool to get dirty clothes, got a letter from Doris. Went round the street at night, got home at 9 Pm. nothing doing, rain fell during the evening.
Pay day in camp (£ 3-10-0) never got mine. Spent a quiet morning home. Went for a surf. Went round the street in the afternoon. Saw Jeff Turners sister-in -law. Would like to make her acquaintance. Played Dad cards in the night beat him 4 games to 1 (euchre) a few showers of rain fell. Very cloudy.
1 March Wednesday
Very cloudy & raining in the morning stopped at home in the morning, got some cartridges & had a few shots in the afternoon, 2 hits out of 3 shots, very restless at night time, played dad 3 games euchre & he won the lot. Went to the pictures until interval, then went round to Station, Saw Frank Moran & George Makin, got home at 11 pm.
Caught 6.20 am train for Sydney, reported Garrison Hospital 9.15 got until 6/3/16 sick leave also Vchr to come home on, rained at 12 pm. had a slow trip on train home, made acquaintance Jeff Turnerís Sister-in-law. Seems a nice girl. Went to Empire Comedy Coy (Kitchenered it) it wasnít too Bad. Had a shower of rain between 7 & 8 pm arrived home at 11 pm Bright night
A beautiful bright day mended 2 punctures in Bike went for a ride to Austinmer & down to station. Got a stripe off Jack Buggy & sowed on Tunic. Met Miss Elsie Long
was talking to her for about half an hour out with Turners Baby, went for a walk, had a bit of trouble with Baby coming home. Went to Pictures half time not up to much. Met Mother off 11.30 train (Mother went to Clifton)
Went for a surf in morning, very good. Helped Dad put down pipes under wash house all the afternoon. Rolly very sick. Put Gwen[?] to bed & went to pictures with Elsie Long had a good time. Mother & Dad went to Bulli (Lodge Social).
Went for a surf in morning, no good. Raining in morning, didnt go out in afternoon went down to train in evening. Rained all afternoon & night.
Raining. Caught 6.55 am train for Sydney. Reported garrison Hospital, &
got sent back to camp. Reported at camp at 2.30 pm, caught 1.10 pm train to Liverpool. Worked from 10 pm to 6 am 7/3/16. Got a letter from Mrs Nelson & Mother
Got up at 9.15 am went round & saw about my pay. Took Breeches to QM Stores to be changed for a smaller pair & as they were short they took them off me. Got leave & went to Mrs Blackwoods in evening. Got socks Mrs Nelson knitted for me. Night work 10 pm till 6 am.
Got up at 9..30 am worked until 9.15 pm never went on any parades. Tried to get breeches back but failed. Went to Field Paymaster & got pay. Period 16/29/2/16 £ 3.10.0. Working on Plant by myself night time.
[continuation of entry on next page]
arrived home at 11.45 pm. very tired Thirroul & Coledale Band played at Austinmer.
Got up 9.45 am worked on plant all day didnít go out at night time. A fine day
Worked until 4 pm nothing happened in morning went round for Breeches but couldnít get them. Got leave & went to Sydney with G Handley. Caught 5.30 pm train nothing doing except walking about the streets. Caught 11.33 pm train home which took 1 hr 40 min. Slept all the way, sprinkling rain about 12 pm. came up to camp in Bus. Very tired. Portugal joined allies.
Bill Garwood came down on holidays. Worked until 12 noon caught 12.15 pm train to Sydney & 1.20 pm train home went for a ride on Bike in afternoon met Elsie Long & gave her her gloves, also went down to Wirrells with her met Ethel Spowart & Jane, & went to Pictures with them, went round to station & was talking to Jeff Turner, got home at 12 midnight.
Went for a surf very rough. Went for a walk to Austinmer in afternoon. Saw Ethel Spowart, but did not talk to her. Caught 7.10 pm train to Sydney & 9.40 to Liverpool
[continued on bottom of previous page]
Bill Garwood went back to Sydney. Got up & lit fire at 5.35 am went on sick parade having hives on body, medicine given didnít have much affect. Got some lotion to dab on which did some good. Wrote letters to Mrs Blackwood, Elsie Long, Doris, Mother & George Owens. A very hot day water very hot. Concert at night time. It was very good. 9th Field Ambulance partly moved over on their new camping grounds, went to bed at 9.30 pm.
Got up at 4 am had water hot 5.15 am. had a shower. Went through medical test all right, got a letter from Miss Lily Shepherd intimating she had made me a pair of socks. Water very hot all day. Wrote letters to Ellie Bennetts, Mrs Nelson, Miss Shepherd. The latter two in thanks for socks. Went & heard concert. Not up to much. Cleaned leggings & boots retired 9.50 pm. 9th Field Ambulance went to new camp at the Measles compound
Got up 4 am had water hot 5 am got a letter from Doris. Had a shower, a very hot day Got Paid £ 3.13.0 & had to pay 2/- for Bi-monthly railway ticket. Went over to miners old camp & saw where they had been Blasting & mining. Also went over to 9th Field Ambulance Camp with George Handley. George Handley slept in tent on the bed.-*+ Mosquitos very bad at night time. went to bed 10.15 pm.
Got up at 4 am. Caught 3.50 pm train for Sydney. Bought camera (Ensignette No 3) at Harringtons cost 35/- had tea at Continental Cafť not a bad place. Went for a walk up Surry Hills. Caught 10.55 pm train for Liverpool. Went to sleep in train. came home in Bus. Raining slightly when arrived at camp. Got into bed 12.40 am mosquitos & Fleas very troublesome.
Got up at 4 am. O.C. examined boiler & ordered a immediate overhaul.
a very fine day. Caught 3.55 pm train for Sydney. Bought a tank developer for camera & frame (14/6- & 1/3) went to evening at Misses Shepherds, had a very nice afternoon. Went for a walk to Burwood. Miss Lily Shepherd gave me a pair of socks, caught 11.10 train to Granville & 12.20 train from Granville to Liverpool a very slow ride. A very bright moonlight night
Got up 4 am had breakfast in G ward worked till 9.15 am, got dressed & caught 10.30 am train to Sydney. Then caught 12 noon train to Thirroul. Went to pictures till half time & came home & went to bed at 9.30 pm
(picked in Reinforcements)
Took 6 photos, didnt come out too bad. Printed two a bit smudgy, went for a walk with Miss Turner down on to beach. Caught 7.9 pm train for Sydney & 10.5 train to Liverpool, Came back to Town with Miss Turner
Got up 4 am felt very tired, paraded for final leave 9 am got 3 days at 12 noon, got leave pass caught 1.3 pm train for Sydney, got railway pass to go to Wongarbon. Got photo taken at Eden studios 12 P.Cs, 6 Cabinets & enlargements 31/0. Got form from Railway to make up difference in pay. Sent a wire home informing them of my intention of going to Wongarbon & wired to Doris to meet train. Caught 7.50 pm train to Wongarbon. Good journey.
Arrived Wongarbon 7.45 am had breakfast Mrs Pearsons. Walked out to Doris place, took 4 snapshots & developed 6 photos also printed 12 photos. Went shooting after dinner shot 5 parrots & 1 rabbit, dressed the parrots for dinner next day, watched George & Sam Pearson break in horse.
printed 13 photos. Had a few shots out of the pea rifle. Drove to Wongarbon with Donald & Doris. caught 7 pm train for Sydney. Mrs Seivers came as far as Orange to see her sister, but upon arrival learned she
was had died. Met a very nice fellow from out of 1st Battalion from Millthorpe & had carriage to ourselves from Blayney to Penrith. Had a real good sleep in train.
Had breakfast in Sargents Caught 8.25 train for Thirroul. Went for a surf before dinner a bit rough. Saw Elsie long in afternoon & said good bye to her & a few other friends, had tea at home. Caught 7.50 pm train to Sydney & 10.25 pm train to Liverpool.
Lit fire at 7 am. Got letters from George Owens Ellie Bennetts, Lily Shepherd, Olive Turner & Florrie Whitehead . answered George owens, Ellie Bennetts, Lilly Shepherds, Olive Turners, Florrie Whiteheads & Mother. Caught 3.50 pm train for Sydney. Got 4 rolls of films & selected proofs of photos, giving instructions to be left till called for. Went out to Uncle Arthurs place at Newtown, said good bye to all there Uncle Arthur driving Limited Melbourne Express. Saw Ellie Bennetts in town caught 10.25 train for Liverpool
Fire kept going all night. Paraded & got second issue & kit, bar mess tin. Caught 3.39 pm train for Sydney & 4.50 train for Thirroul, (Kitchener) Went to pictures & received presentation (Knife fork spoon & Money Belt) got a pair of socks from Mrs Paisly & Mrs Brown Uncle Berry at home
Went for a surf (very good) Uncle Berry went home. Went for a walk round beach in afternoon. Caught 7.10 train for Sydney. Said good bye to all. Caught 10 pm train for Liverpool
Got Identification disc engraved. Caught 3.50 pm train for Sydney & 6.50 tram to Ranwick Went to Olive Turners place, had a very enjoyable afternoon. Caught 11.33 train for Liverpool. A very slow journey.
Went on all parades, & done 2 hrs drill in afternoon
Caught 5 pm train for Sydney. Met Florrie Whitehead 7.30 pm & went to Bondi. I afterwards saw her home. Caught 11.33 train for Liverpool & it was a terribly slow journey.
Very Busy packing up. Fell in for Inspection at 8.45 am & left Liverpool 9.15 am. Caught 10.3 am train for
Liverpool Sydney & marched down to No 3 wharf Wooloomooloo Bay where all our papers were fixed up. We went on the boat HMATS KANOWNA at 12.30 pm & left the wharf at 2 pm. There was rather a big crowd to se us off. The Heads were cleared at 3.45 pm. The sea was rather a bit rough. Felt a bit sick about 8 pm but only for a short time. a school of porpoises followed us a very long way.
Got up at 6 am sea very smooth. See coast line very plain. Very cloudy. I slept on upper deck during the night Passed Cape Howe at 11.50. Clouds lifted at about 9 am rather a hot day. A good few sea Birds about. Concert held on
quarter Promenade deck. Went to bed at about 9.30pm. wrote letters to Mother, Olive Turner & Florrie Whitehead.
Rather a stiff westerly wind blowing. calm sea. Detailed for Guard duty on stairs to Isolation ward. Wrote letters to George Handley, Jim Griffiths, Mrs Blackwood, Doris & Olive. Passed entrance Heads to Melbourne at 2 pm, took photo. Landed in Melbourne 5.30 pm & got leave till 12 pm, didnít think much of Melbourne Went to Majestic pictures. Fruit very cheap & everything sold by the pound, got back 11.45 pm.
1 April Saturday
A very dull day. saw 2 companies of Infantrymen go aboard the Suffolk. Tin can band formed & doing good work, Rather a dull afternoon. Left wharf at Melbourne at 12.30
noon pm, pulled out into stream. Ship thoroughly examined & troops inspected. Sailed 5.30 pm Passed Heads Port Phillip at 5 pm.
Very changeable weather & rather a rough sea, rained during the day, went on church parade. No land in sight.
A very rough sea. Ship pitching & rolling very much. Very changeable weather. Rained during the day. Got very sea sick. Went on sick parade for cold. Rained very heavy during the night. Still out of sight of land. Nearly every body is very sea sick & are lying about all over the upper deck. There are very few go below for meals.
Still a very rough sea & ship rolling very much. Still very sick, couldnít keep up after 8 pm. admitted to C ward & spent a very bad night. Still out of sight of land. I wont be sorry when we get through the Bight as apparently we struck it at a very rough time. Parades are held daily but few go on them on account of being too sick
Sea still a very rough. Rained slightly during the day. Ship rolling very much. Still feeling very sick, suffering from gastritis & sea-sickness. Spent a very restful night. It is very windy & the boat is sometimes nearly submerged, owing to tremendous big rollers. It is impossible to stand on the upper deck for at times the water sweeps right over it.
Sea very much calmer. Rather a cloudy morning. Great criticism shown by the men of the different states between the capitals of the different states in C ward, owing to the fact that every state is represented bar W. Aust. Felt very much better in the morning, but not in afternoon, getting well looked after. Still no land in sight. The nurses are very kind & also the orderlies.
Sea very calm, feel much better than previous night. West Australian coast in sight A very bright morning & a most glorious day. Sea as calm as a mill pond. Coast seems to be very barren. Saw a couple of bush fires along coast. Passed Cape
Llewlyn Leewin at 6.40 pm.
A very fine day, passed Rotnest Island about 11.30 am & arrived in
Perth Fremantle 1 pm Coaling operations were started at once got leave from about 4 pm till 10 pm Ship did not go against wharf, but kept out in Port, had to go ashore in Motor Launch. Liked Perth very much.
Fremantle rather quiet A very cold morning
very rather windy day left Fremantle 3.15 pm. Sea choppy. Muster parade held 1.15 pm.
Rather a cloudy morning but a fine afternoon. Sea rather smooth. A blanket & hammock parade held kept up till dinner time. Felt a bit sick in morning, but soon got better again. We are getting very good food. I sleep up on deck every night as it is rather hot & not enough ventilation below. Cannot sleep in a swing hammock
A very fine day. Sea very calm. Done some physical drill in morning. Queensland held their first sports meeting & was a great success. 1 Sergeant & a private from each state picked for sports committee. The shipís newspaper trying to be started. Wrote
letters P.Cs to Mother, Doris & Olive Turner
A beautiful day, although rather cloudy A very cool afternoon. Sea very calm. Saw a great number of flying fishes. (They are
very marvellous). General inspection of troops held. Boxing match postponed until tomorrow. Wrote P.Cs to Ellie Bennetts & Mrs Blackwood. We have a few sportsmen on the boat who organise games, sports, & concerts, for the whole of the troops & crew.
A pretty hot day. sea very calm. Boxing bouts held on forward hatchway from 2 till 4 pm. some very amusing bouts. Rather a cloudy afternoon. Mock trial held in
afternoon evening & was a great success. Very hot night below. As there isnít anything to do during the day, I generally get into a quiet corner & read, or play cards.
A very hot day. Sea calm. Wrote a Post Card to Florrie Whitehead. New South Wales troops allowed to sleep on promenade deck. Glee club had a bit of a sing song without the piano, which the Officers had at a dance with the sisters. A very hot night.
A pretty hot day. sea calm. Cocos Islands in sight 8.50 am & passed the last one North Keeling Island about 10.45 am. had a splendid view of the "Emden" & took 3 photos of it & 2 of the Island it was wrecked on. Sports held on Port Side promenade deck in afternoon & concert at night time.
A very hot day. Sea calm. Didnít go on church parade. Detailed as Deck sweeper all day, easy job.
A very cloudy day rained slightly during the day. Sea very calm. Had a headache during afternoon. Took first roll of films to Dispensary to be developed.
Got Paid 10/- pay due up today. Everybody seems to be enjoying the trip & we are now looking forward for a good time at Colombo.
A fine day. Sea very calm. Very stormy looking evening also windy. The ships paper never came out. Supposed to have crossed equator today. Rained during the night. Slept below deck, but hot in a hammock. We are all looking forward to the first issue of the ships paper. It is very nice forward, but the majority of the troops seem to assemble there.
A very cloudy day, rained slightly. General kit inspection held to try & locate £7-10-0 & gold watch that was lost. Detailed for Police duty. Sports & Boxing held in afternoon. Debate on Conscription Ė Voluntaryism held in F Ward
in the evening. Got negatives from Dispensary. They didnít turn out very good, not bad though for an amateur.
Rained very heavy all day. forecast very dull. Very strong sea running Was very sick nearly all day. We are expecting to arrive in Colombo tomorrow, mostly the rumors that seem to leak out from somewhere always seems to come true, & I hope it does as we will only be too glad to set foot on ground again.
Arrived in Colombo about midday. Went ashore about 2 pm until 8 pm. Enjoyed myself very much The Singalese people seemed very funny but biggest rooks under the sun. Knocked about with Gordon Kennedy & Arthur Kilgour had photo taken in Rickshaw, also took a photo of Colombo Port & of the "Kanowra" but they didnít turn out any good.
Coaling & watering operations commenced about 7 am, very slow. Rather a hot day. Got leave from 1 pm till 8 pm. Went through one of the Buddhist Temples, also Cinamon Gardens & Victoria Park. Had quite an enjoyable evening.
Very hot day, still coaling & taking in water I went ashore from 10 till 12 am. left Colombo at 4.30 pm.
A very hot day. Sea rather calm. Sports held on promenade deck in afternoon & Boxing at night. Wrote P.Cs to Olive Turner, Mrs Blackwood & Florrie Whitehead. The next thing to look forward to is Egypt & going through the Red Sea. A good few games introduced in the sports, handsome prizes are given to the winners, such as an apple or a chocolate, etc.
Sea very calm. Rather a
very hot day with westerly wind blowing. Passed Minnaco [Minicoy] Island about 9.30 am. Boxing arranged for but no pugilists turned up & was therefore cancelled concert held on promenade deck in evening. The O.C. seemed very annoyed at the non-attendance of the "pugs"
Got Films from Dispensary. Wrote letters to George Owens, George Handley & Jim Griffiths. Sports held on promenade deck in the afternoon. A very nice day. Sea very calm. The ship seems very slow & can only do on an average about 9 knots an hour. Every day there is a guard put on to guard the gang ways etc, also fatigues. I have been fortunate as I seem to miss all these. Each state takes it in turn.
A very hot day. Sea very calm. Debate held in evening travelling & book knowledge.
wrote P Cards Got some photos printed. There were some very heated arguments on the above debate & in my opinion travelling & seeing for ones self won. Most of us get about in as less clothes as possible on account of the heat.
Detailed for Police Duty & was on from 9 pm till 1 am patrolling deck. Rather a hot day. Sgt Breen held lecture on elocution in evening. wrote a letter to Mother. Got a few photos printed. Had a very easy job patrolling, I was round at the cook house nearly all the time, another chap was on with me.
A very hot day. Sports held on promenade deck in afternoon & concert augonized by the ships unit held in evening & was very good. Wrote letters to Doris Olive & Mother.
Church parade held in morning passed Twelve Apostles Islands early in morning. Sighted Afracian coast about 11.30 am. Very mountainous.[indecipherable]
1 May Monday
A beautiful day. Sea rather choppy detailed for latrine picket until 5 pm. Mock parliament held on port side of promenade deck in
afternoon evening & proved a great success. Some of the Officers took part in it & there was a large attendance. 500 is now favourite game on cards.
Passed Gates of Hell about 8 am. Passed Aden 2.30am. also passed a good few Islands during the day including Gabel Tier Island [?] (a wonderful Island)
"Suffolk" in sight all day passed it about 8 pm. Sea very choppy. Gabel Tier Island is only a very large & very high rock with a light on top of it, it seems a very lonely place.
Lost sight of "Suffolk" in evening. Went on" full marching order" parade at 10 am. General inspection of reinforcements held at 10 am. Rather a cloudy day. Sea very calm. Sports held on promenade deck in afternoon (poor attendance) & concert given by reinforcements at night, which was very good, a couple of items was also given by some of the shops crew.
Got paid 10/- in morning, making the full 30/- we were allowed to draw at sea. Debate held on "Womanís status after the war" on promenade deck in evening. Very windy during afternoon. Sea rather choppy but
wasnít didnít keep up for long. It was a very poor & uninteresting debate.
A beautiful day. Sea very calm. Propellor on ships log taken off by a shark.
SawEgyptian coast line in sight all the afternoon. Passed several vessels during day. Remarkable twilight noted at night time. Great expectation as to our final destination maintained. War news received by wireless.
Entered the Gulf of Suez early in morning. Can see land on both sides. Appears to be very barren & sandy, although very mountainous in places. A beautiful day. War news received by wireless. Arrived at Suez at 8.10 pm. A beautiful sunset.
Handed in blankets & hammocks about 7 am General parade full marching order at 9.45 am disembarked at 10 am & left Suez at 11.30 am by train for Tel el Kebir arriving there at 4.30 pm. Received 24 hrs rations at boat. No blankets issued to us. Arrived Tel el Kebir.
Enoculated against cholera in afternoon. Got issue of blankets (2) in evening. Saw the buriel of a private out of the light horse. Went over to the niggers village at night. The weather being hot here we only go about in our shirts, trousers & boots. The flies here are also very troublesome. Allotted to "A" Section.
Detailed for fatigue duty in afternoon laying down oiled cloth in Officers tents. Allotted to different tent in morning, each section having a row of its own. Went over to infantry lines in afternoon & saw Pat. Owens & George Drummond, the latter
was had packed up to go to France. Couldnít get photographic supplies in camp.
Picked as reserve in 180 to go away very soon. Went on route march out on the desert before breakfast. Had to go before the O.C. re missing equipment, & clothing, so as we can get fully equipped before leaving. Went over to infantry lines in evening & saw W Christian & Joe Todd, afterwards going over to natives village.
Went on route march out into desert before & after breakfast. no drill in afternoon. Done washing in evening. Wrote letters to home. Olive Turner & Doris. Went over to natives village in evening & saw a couple of fights between natives. Very hot during the day. 120 men picked the previous day marched out in evening to Ishmalia.
Went on route march out into desert after breakfast getting back about 11.30 am
done nothing no drill in afternoon. Received one tin tobacco from red cross society. (could either have a tin of tobacco or 3 Packs of cigarettes) Owing to natives celebrating feasts no one is allowed to enter the village until May the 21st.
A very hot day although rather cloudy. Went on route march through camp before breakfast. No parade between breakfast & dinner, 2 parades after dinner. Got issued with pair of slacks. Wrote letters to Mrs Blackwood & Elsie Turner
Got Films from Cairo cost 36 piastres. Went on church parade & received tobacco from Egyptian Gov. in morning. Wrote letters to Ellie Bennetts & home. Helped Charlie Harris develop some photos.
Went on route march into dessert before breakfast. No drill between breakfast & dinner. Wrote a letter to Olive Turner. Detailed for Fatigue duty in afternoon filling in a big hole. Went over to infantry lines after tea & saw Bill Daisley & a good few of the South Coast boys. Very windy & dusty in evening.
Went on route march into dessert before breakfast. Orders read out Reveille 4.30 am fall in 5 am to 8 am & 4 pm till 6 pm. Was issued with helmet & puggaree in afternoon. Went up infantry lines but couldnt find any of the boys owing to the camp having been rearranged
I may say that the Temperature goes up to 122 now. Only early morning parade held for the day. Sowed the pugaree on my helmet in morning. Went to the pictures at night time. I will describe Tel-el-Kebir. Situated half way between Suez & Cairo on left hand side of the Suez Canal Railway. Village, canal & date palms on one side of the camp, otherwise dessert all round.
Large numbers of fellows taken to hospital with sunstroke.
Route march early in morning. Not a very hot day. Paid £ 2-1-0 in afternoon, or otherwise £ 2 in Egyptian money. Took a photo of Bill Daisley & Murrey Jones. Went up the street at night. Deaths here from heath & other diseases average about seven a day. The natives
here language seems very easy to pick up.
Detailed for Guard duty, done the following shifts 8.30 am to 10.30. 2.30 pm to 4.30. 8.30 pm to 10.30, & 2.30 am to 4.30 am 20th. There were a few fights between men through the influence of liquer, & a good few of them were put in "clink". A very fine day, with a cool breeze blowing. Went up the street in the evening, but as there wasnt much doing we came back home early.
Dismounted guard at 8.30 am. Took one roll of films up to the photographers to be developed. Mail given out in afternoon but I never got any. Enoculated for the second time against para typhoid, & felt very crook all the afternoon, went to the pictures at night. Saw a good hypnotist at the pictures.
Went on church parade at 9.15 am. Had photo taken with Thirroul & Australian boys altogether in afternoon. Missed issue of tobacco.
Stretcher drill given for the first time since being here. Got 7 letters 2 from home, 2 from Olive Turner, 1 from Mrs Nelson, 1 from Jimmy Griffiths, & one from Doris. We now have different times to drill as follows reveille 4.30 am fall in 5 am till 6, breakfast 6.15 till 7.15 am fall in 7.15 till 8.15 am & 4 pm till 6 pm. Not too hot during day.
Didnít do any drill all day. Detailed for fatigue duty over at No 2 Stationery Hospital. Shifting patients from No 2 Stationery Hospital to Tel-el-Kebir railway station & thence loaded into Hospital Train. Great rumors of our leaving Tel-el-Kebir for either France or England circulated. A very cold night. Wrote letter to Olive Turner.
Went for march in morning. Wrote a letter home. Got issued with mess tin, Jack knife, & ground sheet in evening. Concert held by A.M.C. detail in Mess hut in the evening. I forgot to say before we have no bugle to blow the calls here, a whistle serves the purpose. Went up the Infantry lines & saw a few of the boys.
Done stretched drill until 9 am. Rather a windy day. Took photo of camel with one of the R.M.P on it in evening. Got photos developed from the camp photographer. Went through the old Tel-el-Kebir cemetary, where many soldiers are buried who fell at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir on Sept 12th 1882. Kit inspection held all afternoon.
Went on route march along the canal. It was very interesting to see the mode of cultivation, irrigation, & hay making of the natives (like olden days) Took photo of old Tel-el-Kebir cemetary, one of the camp streets & one of myself on a donkey. Got photos of the group taken on Sunday from the photographer. Blanket inspection held in afternoon & blanket taken from us.
Informed in morning that we
had would have to be ready to march out at 5 pm. Fatigue parties for cleaning up camp operating all day. Camp was deserted about 6.30 pm. Marched to Tel-el-Kebir camp station & entrained in open trucks for Alexandria. The trucks were very dirty.
Arrived Alexandria at 2.30 am. Embarked on the "Corsican" at about 5 am. Left wharf at 4 pm & pulled out into middle of harbour.
Sailed 8.30 am with two gun boats as a convoy. Very poor food being given out. Orders for life belt to be worn all day & put within reach at night time. There are
close on 2800 men on board, consisting of Infantry, pioneers, Light Horse, Army medical, Army service & Engineers. I am occupying No 3 bed No 78 cabin below deck.
A bit better food given out. Boat drill being held continually. Boat taking a zig-zag course to dodge Submarines. A lot of gambling going on, nearly every art being used. Weather getting much colder. African coast in sight nearly all day. Orders Reveille 5.30 am parade 6-7am breakfast 7 am parade 9.30 am, dinner 12.15 pm, parade 3 pm, tea 5 pm. Lights out 7 pm.
Felt a bit Missed being on 6 am parade. Slept in. punishment metered out for same, 4 hours deck swabbing. Only one cruiser now as convoy the other one going back. Sea rather choppy in morning. Deck swabbing was very easy, but it was very cold & the water came through my boots a couple of times.
1 June Thursday
A very dreary journey, days seems like weeks. Felt a bit sick in morning , owing to the bad food we are getting. Done deck swabbing 1 am till 2.30 am. Rained
very during the early morning hrs. Felt OK in afternoon. Slept on upper deck.
A very strong westerly wind blowing all day. Very cold during the afternoon. Sea very choppy. Owing to a warship reporting a submarine in the vicinity of our vessel, we had to stand by our life boats from 2.30 pm until 8 pm. Everyone be rather of an excitable nature owing to the report.
A very fine day. Land in sight all day. Playing cards nearly all day to pass the time away. The journey getting very monotonous. Saw some wreckage. Supposed to be the fruits of the submarine the previous day, when it was rumored the troop ship "Briton" was sunk.
Sea very calm. Rather a cold day. The fellow who was supposed to have started the rumor about the "Briton" being sunk was sent in quod, as headquarters says it is false.
A very nice day. Sea as calm as a mill pond. Passed a great number of ships during the day. Boxing & a bit of a concert held forward in afternoon. Arrived a Gibraltar about 7 pm & anchored outside. Much interest taken in the extremely large forts & numerous search lights.
Coaling operations & taking on water going on all day. Went into harbour about 7 am. One side of harbour is the enormous fort & on the other is rather mountainous country (Spanish) also the biggest bull-fighting town in spain. The hills appear to be Fertile & green. Took a few snapshots, also one of H.M.S. "Swiftshure". Could see some of the guns of the Fort.
Sailed from Gibraltar at 7 am. No convoy. Spanish coast in sight nearly all day. seems very nice country & very fertile towards the sea. Direct westerly wind blowing all the evening. Sea beginning to get rough, (I hope it doesnít). A bit of a concert held forward. The zig-zagging course still being taken.
The Atlantic sea doesnít seem to be so risky as regarding coming in contact with submarines. Everyone looking forward to the termination of this journey. 2 Dead marches held on two pieces of pudding cooked on the ship (buried at sea). Sea rough at early morning otherwise calm all
afternoon day. Rumored death of Lord Kitchener.
Gun on boat fired off, practising on a barrell thrown into sea. Very sick from Colic all day
did couldnít eat anything, paraded & got some medicine, but didnít do me any good. Sea rather calm. Weather getting very much colder.
Still very sick, had some breakfast & dinner but no tea. A very cold day necessary to wear an overcoat all day. Stayed below all the afternoon.
Arrived at Plymouth at 4 pm disembarked & entrained for Parkhouse camp Salisbury at 8 pm. Very cold travelling in train.
Arrived at camp about 5 am. Very beautiful country all the way from plymouth. Every
thing where nice & green. Camp 4 miles from Railway station & 75 miles from London. Seems very little prospects of getting leave. Issued with bed & 2 extra blankets. Living on Bully beef & biscuits all day. Very long days here, twilight lasts till about 11 pm & daylight starts about 2 am.
Orders as follows reveille 5.30 am, fall in 6 am 9.30 am & 2.30. Went on sick parade for tonsalitis and was given a gargle. Saw Joe Todd on sick parade. We are quartered in huts here, with electric lights & hot water baths. Every convenience specified in & considered by all to be a real decent camp. Went down Shipton village.
The church in Shipton village dates back as far as 1560 & graves (discernable) 1741. Kit inspection held all the morning. A very cold wind blowing nearly all day
nearly. Went for a walk into Tidworth in the evening & took 4 spools of Films to be developed. Sun set here is about 9 pm. of course the daylight saving system puts it back one hour. Daylight saving system is putting Greenwich time back 1 hour.
A very fine day. Went on route march in morning for about 3 miles, passing through very fine country. Got paid £ 2 in afternoon. Went down to the village in evening. I notice that only one furrow plough is in use here drawn by 2 horses. There are plenty of Tommies here, especially the Army Service Corps.
A beautiful day, weather seems to be getting on the warmer side since our arrival here. Owing to having a very sore heal I was unable to go on parade. Walked into Tidworth in evening & came back in a motor car. Got some camera requisites. Nearly everyone has a cold.
Inspected by Mr Andrew Fisher &
party Gen. Moore this morning. Getting very good food here (its as good as at home)
We are allowed 5Ĺ d a day by Australian Gov. for food. Done some printing (Photos) in afternoon. Played cards until bed time.
Went over to Cholderton in the morning & took a few snaps. Went on a route march to Ludgershall (a distance of 7 miles) in afternoon & had quite an enjoyable time.
Drilling all day. Rained during the afternoon. Wrote letters to Doris home, & Olive Turner, also sending some photos. No 29 hut had their photo taken by Q.M. Sgt. A few changes occured in the hut. News of a great victory pending for over a week for the Russians.
No 1 Section detailed for fatigue, I fell into cleaning 3 stoves in the dyspensary. No1 & 2 section men examined to see if fit for a field ambulance or a hospital. I managed to get into a field ambulance & expect further arrangements at an early date. Went to the photographers at Tidworth for photos but found that they werenít finished. Returned early.
Drilling very hard all day. Rather cloudy. Done some printing but am leaving them for fixing until tomorrow. Got photos from photographers, the Egyptian photos turned out alright. I am going to try to develop my own Films, I have rigged up a bit of a red lamp & am now hoping for good results.
We see plenty of aeroplanes here during the day, 3 or 4 being visible at one time.
A very dull day, rained during the evening. Owing to an inspection being held on Saturday by Mr William Hughes (Prime Minister of Australia) it is necessary for us to march to Bullford tomorrow, to have a preliminary inspection to get our positions. Done some developing (the first since leaving Australia) & they come out alright too.
Went Owing to the review tomorrow we had to go over to Bulford & take up our positions, so as their would be no mix up tomorrow. Bulford is a very large camp & is central in the district. The New Zealanders are camped there.
Conscription brought in in England. The late Corporal Foster buried in N Tidworth cemetery. A review consisting of over 20,000 Australians was held at Bulford, Mr William Hughes taking the salute, others being present were Mr Andrew Fisher, two or 3 Generals and a large staff. Raining all the morning & nearly all the afternoon.
Went on church parade in morning. A very wet day. Went for a walk over to trenches in afternoon & took a few photos.
Raining nearly all day. 4 days leave started allowing 25% to go at a time. Went for a long route march during the morning. Received letters from Home, Olive Turner 2, George Handley, Florence Whitehead, 1 & 1 from Doris. I wrote a letter to Florrie during the afternoon. Looking forward for some money to go on leave with.
A very dull day No.1 section detailed for duty. I managed to scale all fatigues, including doing guard. Done some printing in the afternoon. A great argument started about the different states of the Commonwealth, well in fact it got that heated that the staff sergeant of the guards had to come & quell it.
Detailed for duty at headquarters in the morning, & was called out in the afternoon to go back again, but I scaled them & done some printing instead, which turned out real good. I also done some developing at night which didnít turn out too bad. There has been 3 cases of meningitis since our arrival here.
Paid £ 2 pound in afternoon, being
paid 13/0 overpaid & my word it is just the time it was needed too, as there is a rumor to the effect that we are getting 5 days leave from Monday next.
A new Warrant Officer arrived from Harefield Hospital, he seems to be very strict, & it is whatís needed here, to cut out the Keystone ways they have here. Rained during the evening. All that went on leave Monday last returned.
We have to start & go right through our drill again, so today we again started on elementary squad & section drill. Owing to the new W.O. things have somewhat changed, such as falling in in five minutes earlier & on a private section parade ground & marching on to the original parade ground. It was a beautiful day. Went to Cholderton in evening.
1 July Saturday
Had to go before the board to show reason why I shouldnít pay cost of knife, fork, spoon, but owing to these being unissued I got off. Playing cards until tea time. Went down to Tidworth in evening & got some films, later going to the vaudeville at the barracks theatre & my word it was very hot too.
Detailed for duty in sergeants mess. Went for a walk & took some photos of old trenches etc. in afternoon later developing same. Somehow the light got in & spoilt about Ĺ " along the bottom of them.
Fell in 9.45 am & caught 10.40 train to London everybody seems excited of having the privelege of getting off for the 4 day leave. Arrived at Waterloo station at about 1.10 pm. After going to headquarters at Horseferry Rd, we went round to the Aust Comforts funds & obtained information regarding quarters which we eventually got at Victoria League Club off Burke st. We later went to Victoria, Whitehall Charing X, Trafalgar square. Buckingham palace & Parliament house
Got permits from Works office to take photos of places in London. We later went to the Strand & Piccadilly. Traffic here is very brisk. About 12 noon we caught the bus for Regents Park & the London Zoo, which is an Ideal place & well worth the day of Inspection. We done a bit of wondering about during the evening. My word a fellow would never run short of a girl here. They seem very fond of the Australians.
Today has been quite an eventful day. We visited Hyde park & Rotten Row during the morning, coming back to Trafalgar square by Motor. I took snaps of the following place Whitehall, Queens statue, two in Hyde park, Parliament House, & Buckingham Palace. We spent the afternoon going over London & Suburbs in a motor which cost me 12/- being 1/3 of the afternoon. We all had quite an enjoyable time. I now have quite a good idea of London & surrounds. We motored home about midnight pretty tired.
We decided to go through the tower of London in the morning so after breakfast caught a taxi out, which cost us s1/8d . We were allowed through the historic parts at 10 am, also seeing very ancients relics of battles, historic places & the crown jewels valued at 5 millions pounds. We also saw the Tower Bridge. Didnít go anywhere during the evening, only played billiards at the club. Caught 10.15 train from Waterloo for Tidworth
Arrived at Tidworth station about 1.30 am, it was raining very heavily & we had to walk to Parkhouse Camp, (about 4 miles). It was very dark along the road. Rained very heavy during the day. Medical inspection held during the evening. Developed the photos I took in London, but they didnít come out too good, through over exposure, also done some printing after tea.
More men picked for field ambulance to go to France & another batch of Hospital men sent to Bulford for training. Owing to saturday being half holiday I took the opportunity of printing about 60 photos. I am going to keep a print for myself & sending the negatives home. Nothing in particular happens
Bought a camera for 15/- (Brownie No 2) & sold mine for 10/- which I think was a bargain. Went for a walk after tea. Attended church parade in the morning. Looked like rain in evening.
Detailed for permanent duty at the quartermasters store, which is a very light job. A.E.B.Jones came home drunk in the night & started to make a terrible row. Keeping every one awake until close on midnight. Rained just about dinner time, I donít fall in on any parades now.
We have a very easy job at the Q.M.Stores, there isnít very much work to do, although I suppose more
will can be expected to do when the stores begin to arrive. Wrote letters home. Olive Turner. Doris. Lilly Beck. Mrs Blackwood. Florrie Whitehead, also sent Post cards to the above. Played cards all the evening. They are drilling very solid here.
Working at Q.M. stores all day done some printing during the evening, very slow owing to the fact of it being a very dull day (a common occurence here)
At Shipton Bellinger there is an Inn called the Post Inn, upon arrival here some of our boys went in for a drink, & It being out of bounds for troops, They got the "boot out". it is a common joke in camp.
Done some more printing during the day, it also being a very dull day. Pay day for troops in camp I drew 10/- rather a small amount. Received a paper from Mrs Blackwood 2 letters from home & 2 letters from Doris. Went for a walk round the village during the afternoon. A very cloudy day.
The draft of men going to France was finally picked today & are expected to go away shortly. Owing to many different changes regarding drafts it was necessary to reallot men to huts where they would be together according to their draft, which caused considerable annoyance among the troops. I did not have to move. Went over to Cholderton in afternoon.
A very nice day also a very busy one for us in the QMS, a we had to equip the 200 men going to France, it kept us very busy all day. The men marched out at about 6.30 pm. We for a walk in the afternoon, also printed about 8 photos.
Working all the morning cleaning up the rubbish which the lot left that went to France. Hired a bike for 2/- in the afternoon & went to Lark Hill camp passing through Shipton, Cholderton, Amesbury & Stonehenge, a distance of about 8 miles Saw all the boys of the 9th Field A.
Writing for the last couple of day will have to be excused as I had a mishap & cut my 1st finger on my right hand, which causes much inconvenience
The weather of late has been very cloudy, but today wasnít too bad. Took some washing to be done, down to the village this afternoon. Still cleaning up
the in the QMS.
Finished cleaning up at Q.M.Store & my word we were not sorry either, as we tackled a very large job. Done some printing & fixing during the evening, & developing in the afternoon, received a letter from George Handley making an appointment,
but sorry answered it saying I am sorry I couldnít keep it on Wednesday.
A most beautiful day, it was absolutely the best since I have been in England. Done some photography during the evening (We had no parade in the afternoon) detailed for duty cleaning up the Y.M.C.A. Hut, which is a very light job & profitable
regarding getting considering we were treated to tea & cakes. The camp seems lonely since the mob went on leave, there being only about 40 men left.
Rather a hot day. Was put off quartermasterís fatigue as there was no work to do there, so I had to go back to drill again & my word they do make a fellow drill too. Went for a walk over to Cholderton & took my new camera to see how it worked, afterwards developing the photos I took, which came out splendid.
Very strenuous stretcher drill indulged in all the morning (the first time I have perspired for a long while). Kit Inspection held in the afternoon to inquire into shortages. Went for a walk to a village called Grateley which is about 5 miles away, was talking to a Tommy soldier who went through the battle of Mons. We arrived back about 11 pm.
Kept busy drilling all the morning. Got cleaned up in the afternoon but did not go out, stopped at home &
done developed four films for the corporal in charge of the hut. Saturday is the cleaning up day here. everything has to be scrubbed.
Went on church parade held in the Y.M.C.A. Went over to Wallop in the evening a distance of about 8 miles. An Imperial Officer gave us a ride over in his motor car.
Very foggy early in the morning & rather cold. Rather cloudy all day. Very strenuous stretcher drill indulged in during the morning. Practical experience exercised in tent pitching in the afternoon, 2 men at a time to learn how to erect a bell tent, which takes about 15 mins. Went for a walk round Cholderton in the evening, very quiet.
There are plenty of rabbits about here also partridges & pheasants
about. Issued with English pattern military boots. They are black, very heavy & have very big nails in them, they seem to weigh about 13 lb each after you have walked away. Detailed for Fatigue duty at No 1 camp kitchen in which is a very light job, about Ĺ hrs work.
There are about 150 men in camp here now. No 1 section is now complete, & No 2 is being partly formed, I volunteered for No 2 section, it is to be closed on Friday next, so as to give the ones on leave a chance to get to the front. Muster parade held in the afternoon. Was
picked detailed for Guard duty from 6 pm. went on 2nd shift & after coming off at 12 midnight, I developed a film.
For the last few mornings it has been very foggy; the fog rising about 8.30 am. Doing Guard duty until 6 pm, it is a very easy job, but somewhat monotonous. Paid 30/- being 11/- overpaid (it will hurt to cut that out). A good bit of boozing up, windows in two huts being broke through fighting. Went into Tidworth for photographic goods in evening.
Rather a very hot day. doing stretcher drill all the morning & went on a route march in the afternoon, we didnít go very far, far enough though to make our feet sore wearing the new boots we were issued with the other day. The leave I put in for last Wednesday was cancelled so I have to wait until next time.
We have to be up to time here now, when reveille goes in the morning & have our beds & blankets folded before first parade. On scrubbing out the hut all morning. Printing photos all the afternoon. done up all my negatives to send home.
Went to church in the morning & over to the airodrome in the evening, we had the ill luck not to be able to go up, so all we could do was to look on. We got back about 10 pm very tired.
I donít think I mentioned before that pennies & half-pennies are in great circulation here 3d pieces being practically extinct. We do an hours physical drill before breakfast now, which at first
seems was very fatiguing. Stretcher drill indulged in in the morning, & we were informed to prepare ourselves for a big route march in the afternoon, but we didnít go very far when we had over an hours spell & then returned.
1 August Tuesday
The weather now is beginning to get very hot a bath during the evening is a refreshing luxury indulged in by a great number. We have a very boozy mob in the hut now.
very seldom it is a rare occasion for some to come home sober. Today was the first time I have attended a lecture since leaving Aust Went on sick parade for dental reason in the morning
Doing stretcher drill all the morning & went on a route match during the afternoon. Stretcher drill being given so frequently is getting intolerable to all, but the route marches are liked much better, we only go about half a mile & lay down in the shade of a large hedge until it is time to come back.
The grass about is getting burnt through the heath. Every one was checked re enoculation in the morning, some not being done for the different diseases, I have had my full compliment. We indulged in some bandaging in the afternoon, & it is considered by all that work of this kind should have commenced long enough ago.
Sent parcel containing belt, badges, & negatives home. Register No is 428. Gave Pay books in to be audited. Church service held in church of England to commemorate the beginning of the 3rd year of the war. Went for a bit of a march & done some bandaging in the afternoon. Went for a walk in the evening.
Drilling all the morning. It still keeps very dry here, rain would be greatly appreciated. It is beginning to get very dusty, which seems to be a very light dust. Review held in front of headquarters to General Robertson, & like all the others was a very Keystone affair.
Went on church parade but it only lasted 5 minutes owing to the fact we had to march to Tidworth in the morning to be presented with the colours. Slept all the afternoon. Went out in the evening.
Doing stretcher drill all the morning & went about a half a mile away under some trees & had some bandaging & a bit of a lecture. Haymaking is in full swing here now on most of the farms about, owing to the shortage of men women are employed by the farmers, & are doing practically any description of farm labouring.
Went on a practical course of stretcher drill , loading & unloading wounded men & attending to same. We had some bandaging in the afternoon in the shade of some trees. The days here are very warm now. Went out for a walk in the evening getting back about 11 pm.
Rather foggy until about 8 am. It has been very cold this last couple of mornings. It is rumoured we are to leave for France on Friday. Rather a hot day. Went for a very long route march all the morning, but we had quite an enjoyable march. Handed in our second issue of clothing, only taking just things really necessary to proceed to France. We are not certain as to when we are going. The above rumor is true.
A very cloudy morning. A good few of the boys got drunk last night, as they reckon to celebrate our departure to France. They all seem to be merry even this morning Got issued with four different articles in the morning to complete my kit. Of course same as usual we were humbugged about a lot before finally receiving what we wanted. Went for a bit of a march in the afternoon, also in the evening.
Route marches seems to be the principal object of the draft now. We go about half a mile away & then amuse ourselves until it is time to go back. We are still uncertain as to when we are to go away. After coming back from a walk in the evening I developed a spool, They didnít turn out too good. It still keeps dry.
Stopped from the 9.30 am parade to help clean up the hut, we finished about 10.30 am, I then did some printing (the photos I developed last night) They came out fairly good except the one of myself & Riley. Slept nearly all the afternoon & went for a walk in the evening.
Of course went
for a on church parade in the morning, but the Parson didnít turn up. We sang a few hymns & then came back. Slept during the afternoon, & went out in the evening.
Rained nearly all day. My word it is a very muddy camp here. Received marching orders (to leave camp at 2 am tomorrow) at about 6.30 am. done some printing in the morning. didnít go out on parades all day. 2nd draft finally picked in the morning they are supposed to leave shortly after us Went out in the evening.
Fell in 1.30 am & marched out of camp 2 am Entrained at Tidworth at 4 am leaving at 4.20 am. Arrived at Shorncliffe about 9.30 am. We then marched down to the camp. There are 12 in a tent. It looks very much like rain. Left rest camp at 10.30 am & marched to Folkstone where we embarked & sailed at 12.15. Arrived at Boulogne (France) at 2.30 pm & marched into camp about 1Ĺ miles out of Boulogne. Feel very tired.
Had a good look round Boulogne last night. Pinched out of camp, although no orders preventing us from doing same. Left rest camp 9.30 am & entrained at 10.30 & arrived at Etaples at 1.40 pm Marched about 2 miles into camp. when we had to put up our own tent. Reveille 5.30 fall in 6 am drill till 6.30. Breakfast 6.45 am fall in 9 am drill till 11.45 am dinner 12, fall in 2 pm & drill till 4 pm. Tea 5 pm.
We have been divide since we arrived he one lot going to the 1st division & the other lot going to the 2nd division. I am in the 2nd division. The camp seems to be a dusty place. There is every convenience & the food seems to be rather good. Medical inspection held in the morning. Rained very hard in the afternoon. Went on swimming parade in the afternoon to the sea about 5 miles away had a good swim no breakers though.
We donít do any drill here. Rained during the early hrs in the morning. Fell in 7.45 am to go to what is known as the "bull ring". It is about 3 miles away. We went through a course of bomb throwing. a lecture & practice with the Poisonous gas helmets, a lecture regarding the first field dressings. We then went through the real gas, also the tear chemical, the latter is a chemical used to prevent you seeing, it also plays up on your eyes, it smells like pineapple, & is rather nice smelling.
After a lot of fooling about we got paid. I drew 30frs or £ 1-1-6. We also received an issue of tobacco, we could either have a 4 oz tin or 4 packs of cigarettes, I gave my cigarettes away. Went down to the siding & saw some troops go into the line. Went for a walk in the evening.
Warned for draft this morning, packing up all the morning Left the camp about 2 pm & entrained at the sdg. Riding in truck (covered in) 33 in a truck, travelling all night. Frequent stops. Very nice country.
Travelling until about midday. Arrived in a rest camp. After disentraining we had to march about three miles to the camp. Never had much sleep during the night & had a splitting headache when I did wake up this morning We had plenty of rations given us on the train. rou pmac si tuoba evlewt slims morf eht tnorf [our camp is about twelve miles from the front]
Orders are expected anytime to mch out. Slept nearly all day. Could hear sounds as of a heavy bombardment plainly. A guide & orders came while we were having tea, but as we were lucky we hadnít to march far, about 300 yards, where a Sect of the 12th field Amb is quartered. We pitched tents & camped there for the night
As there was no reveille we didnít get up very early, I think it is the first sleep in I have had since I left Liverpool, N.S.W. eleven of our fellows were picked for the twelfth field Amb.so that left 20 of us to be divided between the 4th and 13th field Amb. We marched nine miles to Contay & camped in a barn for the night. Alloted to the fourth field Amb. We are having fine warm weather.
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escapes every few minutes. Two of us were nearly buried by a very big shell. We got a good shaking up.
Being only about 8 miles from the front now, we can hear the firing quite plain. Marched about 2 miles to the fourth field ambulance. I suppose we will
get be put on the strength tomorrow. We are camped right in the middle of an orchard & there are plenty of apples trees about. Very badly wounded patients are brought here.
Attached to "A" Section 4th Field Ambulance. Cleaned up round camp. Plenty of small green apples lying about under the trees, which some of the fellows knocked down & never picked up. Slept all the afternoon. Detailed
for as stretcher bearer to unload Ambulance waggons coming in from the firing line. We werenít too busy. A good few of the poor beggars were knocked about, there being some terrible sights. We received orders to move out to the front in 5 minutes, but was cancelled at last minute, so we are now as a stand by move out any minute.
Kept rather busy unloading motors early this morning, some of the wounded are cut up terrible, having limbs blown off & terrible wounds, it is awful. Slept nearly all day.
We are There seems to be a good lot of fellows here, & I am quite satisfied being attached to such an ambulance. Attached to L/cpl Ryanís stretcher squad.
Orders to fall in at 11 am. had a very early dinner. Transported in Red X waggons to Becourt Woods. Marched from Becourt wood through Casualty corner & Sausage Gully to Brigade Hqrs. Saw poor Percy Merricks [?] grave he was killed on 27/7/16. Went up to Poziers (just behind the line. We only had one carry & it was enough as the Sap was dreadfully muddy, slippery & narrow. I barked all my knuckles on the side of the sap. Under heavy shell fire in the early part of the evening. A fellow is having narrow
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Raining a bit during the day. The guns are going off day & night, it is a ceaseless slaughter campaign. The sights are awful too awful to write about. Fritz put a few shell close to our dug out, he also put a couple just behind it & it is only by a miracle that they didnít go off, if even one had have about 12 of us would have certainly been blown to smithereens. We were relieved in the afternoon & went back to Hqrs. After tea we were under exceedingly heavy shell shrapnel, & machine gun fire it makes a fellow think I can tell you. We had a few casualties around Hqrs, also a couple killed. We had to carry to casualty corner.
Fritz is still putting a few shells over our dug out, he has apparently got the range of some of the places, as he keeps knocking them about. Had one carry to Casualty Corner. Went up to Dressing station on right about 1 pm. It is a much quieter place than Poziers, although during the evening Fritz put a good few high explosive & shrapnel shells all round us, Had only one carry down to Headquarters. As it seemed fairly safe here we get up & carry along the parapet. The Sap here is also pretty muddy. A very nice day.
Very quiet during the morning. The troops here seem to be just standing by as there are very few casualties. Went into the field Souvenir hunting in the morning got nothing worth having though I saw a good few dead bodies of both ours, Tommies & Fritzs while out apparently the shells had routed them out from where they were buried. Went back to Headquarters about 1 pm had asleep during the night for the first time. I can honestly say there is the fraction of an inch of land that hasnít been blown up here, through ceaseless bombardments there are shell holes everywhere.
Had a good sleep all the morning. Went up to Poziers about midday. Fritz was very quiet until about 6 pm Some Canadian troops took over from our fellows up in the line. The Australians are leaving the Poziers front. There is a brigade of Canadians here. After being humbugged about a good bit by some of the Canadian Officers we shifted from Poziers to another dug-out about Ĺ mile away. Had a busy night. Owing to the sap being very muddy we carried along the parapet, which was a big risk as the snipers were very busy with the machine guns, bullets were whizzing every minute. Fritz put a good few tear shells over, the stuff got into our eyes & nearly blinded us. I was crying nearly all night.
1 September Friday
Rather a quiet morning here. We get plenty of cigarettes & tobacco issued to us here & good food considering the position where we are. Fritz is exceptionally quiet this morning. Went back to Headquarters
about at dinner time. Fritz put a good few shells around Head quarters in the evening, very quiet otherwise. The weather is very changeable here, raining one five minutes & sunshining the next, I suppose the firing of the guns have some effects on it.
Fritz is unusually quiet today. He put up a slight bombardment in the afternoon went up to right side dressing station about midday, not many casualties, we had
A terrible bombardment commenced about 5 am by all of our artillary, you couldnít hear yourself talk. The 3rd Brigade after attacking twice captured Mouquet farm. Very busy during the early morning. Fritz put a few shells very close to our dressing station & a couple on it, but there were no casualties. The Canadians are losing a good few men.
Things are very quiet during the morning The Canadians are bringing all their dead out of the front line & burying them in a cemetery close to Hqrs. Went up to posy on the right for about ĺ of an hour to relieve our fellows for dinner, Fritz put a terrible lot of whiz-bangs over & very close to our dug out, we were nearly buried once. Relieved by the Canadians about 3 pm. Freddy Ryan George Wirth & myself put in the night by a mistake in Albert, we billeted with the 13th Field.
Fritz put a few shells on Albert during the morning doing damage. Killing one, wounded one, & injured 2 horses. About 10 am we came on to Warloy by motor sent out to get us. We found that our Amb had left, we picked them up about 5 mls out of Warloy, we then marched to Rubempre where we billeted for the night. Very dull weather & the roads are very muddy. Went for a walk up round the town in the evening. Paid £ 1-8-8 in the afternoon.
The 4th Field Amb.
had casualties, only had 1sergeant killed &about; 4 wounded, one man went off sick, the 13th had 2 killed & about 7 wounded, the 12th our section had no casualties at all. Fell in 8.45 am & marched out about 9.15 am. I was detailed off on one of the wheelers. It is pretty heavy work pushing them along. We passed through Val de Maison & Candas, arrived at Longvillette about 3 pm very tired, I suppose we marched about 10 miles. We are billited in an old barn & by jove it is a very lousy place too, but nothing compared to the trenches.
A very nice day, it is quite a change
after to have a whole sunshiney day, after the very changeable weather of the trenches. I donít think I mentioned about the flies out on the field, they are absolutely in droves of millions, but there is one good thing they donít seem to pest the life out of you like the domestic fly, they either go for the dead or the meat in the cook house. Sleeping & cleaning up all day. Things are very quiet here.
The people down in the South of the western front seem to be very reserved. Detailed for washing wagons in the morning, as they are to be taken down & loaded in railway trucks in the evening, I also had to wash 3 pairs of wheels. We are still in ear range of the firing, but I donít know the distance to the line. Left Longvillette about 8.30. arrived at Douleons about 10 entrained & left Douleons at 12.30 am Ė
Slept during the whole journey arrived at Poperinghe (Belgium about 7 am. We then marched to Reninghelst, where we waited all day in a vacant allotment for our billets The people here seem to be a far better lot than down on the Somme district, more obliging. We are about 6 miles from Ypres & about 8 miles from the firing line. Harvesting is in full swing here. Went into our billets about 4 pm.
The Belgium language is
very much like the German in some instances. A very fine day. A very big fog in the morning. Went for a walk round the town in the evening. Very quiet all day.
Yesterday the Colonel held a general parade & complemented us on our work on the Somme Front, he also presented a sergeant with the military cross & mentioned 2 others being mentioned in despatches. Today was a very fine day, although a shower of rain in the afternoon. On duty all day repairing, weeding & cleaning drains. Saw Bill Freeman & went round the town with him. The people are very obliging here.
Rather a cloudy day, rained a couple of times during the day. Didnít have anything to do all day. We can hear the firing of the big guns quite plain here. We are billeted in small huts (thatched roofs). Apparently the Canadians were here along time, as they had beds in all the huts, I was fortunate enough to get one, there are about 22 of us in the one hut; they are very comfortable. Saw Billy Collyer around the town in the afternoon he is in the 4th D.A.C.
We get up about 8 am, have breakfast 8 am dinner 12.30 pm & tea 5 pm, we very seldom have any parades. Detailed with a squad putting up a hospital tent, it didnít take us very long to put it up. Sewed 4th division colours on my tunic. We are not getting very good food here, I believe we got better in the line. There are a good few hotels in Reninghelst. The Belgian people seem to drink a terrible lot of beer. The 4th divisionís colours are chockolate circles, we donít wear brigade colour.
A very cold morning, the coldest I have experienced for a very long while, well in fact it was very cold all day. I had a tooth pulled out in the morning, now my gum is rather sore, it was a very long tooth & took a good while to pull it. A & B sections went for a route march in the afternoon, on account of my tooth I didnít go. Rained all the evening, mud is everywhere.
Detailed to stand by for fatigue but none cropped up & we hadnít anything to do all day bar read a couple of papers. We get fatigues every other day. C section took over the divisional baths last Tuesday. It is a lovely day today after the rain. The 4th Fld Ambulance played the 12th field, football in the afternoon which resulted in a draw, each scoring 5 points. Went for a walk round the town in the evening with Billy Freeman.
Things were very quiet during the morning, did nothing but read. The days are very cloudy & cold now. General parade held at 2 pm & the latest style of gas helmet issued. They are entirely different to previous issues & it only takes 6 seconds to adjust them ready for a gas alarm. Fell in 6.45 pm & went by motor to Dickebusch (about 5 mls We went through the gas at Reninghelst to test our new gas helmets.
We are now about 2000 yds behind the firing line, in the advanced dressing station. Things seem to be very quiet here a gas picket of 13 men has to be kept here, so as to give the alarm of gas.
The town of Dickebusch is fairly large but is in ruins now through shell fire. We are about 300 yds out of the town. I got the job as clerk in the dressing station, it is a very easy job, we only had three patients all day. I have to enter down all their details including their wound or disease, & again enter them when they are going out; It rained continuously all day.
We are on the right hand side of the salient [?] here. Things seem to be rather quiet, as we hear very little firing. We never get any shells over this far. There are plenty of rats here, some are a tremendous size as large as a fair size cat. We were a bit rushed this morning, with sic parade, but it was very quiet during the afternoon. Very cloudy & rainy weather.
Still very wet. I have four blankets now & 2 overcoats so you can guess I donít like getting up early of a morning (we have to get up at 8 am) There was a German Major brought in this afternoon he was shot through the leg & also had another wound, he seemed cheerful after we gave him a feed, but couldnít speak English. It was pay day here but as I had some money left, I didnt draw any.
We play cards, dice & read to pass our time away. Everything is still very quiet. Saw a couple of thrilling air raids by our airman this evening, my word there are some very brave men in the flying corps. Nearly all of us went rat hunting in the evening but only accounted for two. We used ascenteline gas to blow them out of their holes, but they were too quick for us.
Nothing doing all day, bar a bit of a sick parade & a couple of sick fellows who were to go to hospital, we have a couple of these fellows everyday, most of them suffering from influenza, I suppose the change of the climate is responsible for this. A German Airoplane flew over Dickebusch & dropped a few bombs but only added more destruction to the houses.
We have visits nearly every day by German airoplanes, but they are soon beaten back by our own guns & airoplanes, there was supposed to have been one brought down by our antiair craft guns yesterday. It is a beautiful day today. I wasnít feeling to well though.
It takes me all my time to keep the chats under, there are plenty here & whats more they breed very quickly.
We only had two wounded patients today, the first since we had the wounded German major. Preparations were made for a stunt which was supposed to come off during the night, but nothing happened. Every thing was exceptionally quiet during the evening. A beautiful day. I wrote seven letters during the day & sent 3 handerchiefs to my sisters & one to my mother.
A fellow couldnít wish for better weather than we are getting here now, although it gets rather cold of a night time. There are 5 big 12" guns being placed round here, one was fixed up this afternoon & fired 8 shots, the sound nearly deafens a person, you can see the shell of this gun if you look intently, when it is fired. One of our airoplanes was brought down this morning, & the Pilot died of wounds this afternoon, he was only 16 years old.
There are two anti-aircraft guns about two hundred yards away & we are practically surrounded by 18 pounders up to 12 inch guns. They make a terrible row when they all start. Pte Whiting gave me 3 francs (2/6) to do his shift on gas picket, I was on from 12.30 am till 3.30 am 28/th. I read nearly all the time, that is when the rats kept quiet.
I donít think I mentioned that the 4th field Amb has been cut up to fill the different posts about, most of the squads are in dressing stations as there isnít much stretcher bearing to be done up here. Another one of the 12" guns was firing this evening with the 60 pounders. All firing together they make some noise.
had rather a large sick parade this morning. Dug a bag full of potatoes up. They are rather large & good spuds. There are a good few fellows digging them so I donít suppose they will last long. There are very large mosquitoes here, they are absolutely the largest I have seen, but they donít seem to trouble you like the small ones.
Freddy Ryanís squad (bar me) went up to Spoilbank this morning, & Len Burnettís squad came down here. There was rather a big bombardment on over Ypres way about 9.30 pm. All timepieces have to be put back an hour at midnight tonight on account of the daylight saving
1 October Sunday
This last couple of days Fritz has been putting shells very close to our quarters, otherwise everything has been very quiet.
Raining all day. Done gas guard from 12.30 am till 3.30 pm, very monotonous. Great machine gun activity heard during the early morning. As there seems to be a scarcity of candles we have to manufacture a few fat lamps (made by putting fat & a wick in
the jam a tin. I am still looking out for some mail. I wrote to Lilly Beck so I can expect a letter in a few days.
The Germans occasionally bombard the village of Dickebusch, but only add more destruction to the damaged houses etc. I suppose at one time or another every structure has had a shell through it. Cpt Bently exchanged places with Cpt Phillips, & Pte Le Clerc went with Cpt Bently. The Big 12" Howitza gun nearest here was removed during the very early hours of this morning.
Done gas picket from 3.30 am till 6.30 am nothing startling occurred. The artillary about here has been very quiet this last few days. Still very wet, looks as if it has set in. Very big bombs are used by the enemy on this front, thrown by trench mortars, they are known as rum jars by our fellows on account I suppose of being similar, there is absolutely no hope for any one who happens to be caught by one, they account for more deaths than wounded.
Owing to a couple of arguments about work here, I threw over the job in the dressing station as I was expected to work outside as well. Went on gas picket from 9.30 pm till 12.30 am. Received 7 letters 2 from Doris, 3 from Olive Turner, 1 from Ellie Bennetts & 1 from Mrs Blackwood, this is the first mail I received since July 13th, so I can expect a few more letters also papers which Mrs B has sent.
Our principal pastime here is ratting, but I am afraid the rats know too much for us, because we never succeed in catching very many. We had about twenty minutes gas helmet drill this afternoon the shortest time was six seconds. I very seldom go down in the dressing station now, for since the argument I had I only work about outside.
It still keeps on raining, although it is a beautiful moonlight night. Filled a cart with bricks in in afternoon. We get the bricks from the damaged houses about (some of them are only a heap of broken bricks) but we run the risk of the Belgian Police, who if they catch us tries & makes the military pay for what we take they are red hot.
Done gas picket from 12.30 am till 3.30 am. Since we have
the a stove set in we have Scones, Tarts, Pies etc, we have a fair cook.
Word was received this morning that the G.O.C. & a couple more heads were going to visit here, but they never turned up, so we had all our extra cleaning up for nix. Went into Reninghelst on the back of Pte Beauchamps (Despatch rider) motor bike, had a real good bath at the divisional bath, bought a few things & walked out to Ouderdom, talking to Le Clerk & came back to Dickebusch by the horse Waggon.
Done gas picket from 12.30 am till 3.30 am I done the middle shift on account of Fred Moore wanting to go to Reninghelst early in the morning. Owing to the water we have here being pronounced "not fit for human consumption" we have to carry water about a mile. It is a beautiful moonlight night. Went out to Voormezeele in the ambulance wagon to have a look about.
everything out here is in heaps of ruins. Saw the place where the Canadian was supposed to have been crucified, & the Nunnery where the nuns were maltreated by the Germans. Voormezele is about 800 yds behind the firing line. Things have been very quiet for the last couple of days, bar a naval bombardment, we can just hear it here. We received the news here this evening that
four three of us have to go to Bedford House & one to Ouderdom. Received a letter from Mrs Nelson.
Received a letter from Lilly Beck & one from O. Turner. We went to Ouderdom during the morning by red cross motor cars. Done gas picket from 3.30 am till 6.30 am, very monotonous. We left Ouderdom about 7 pm for Bedford house, passing through Ypres, which now in places is nothing but heaps of ruins, while in other places it has been blown down to the ground. Ypres has been a very large city. We arrived at Bedford House about 9 pm & took over from the 2nd Field Amb. Rather heavy bombardment on.
Bedford House is just outside Ypres, It consists of three houses (which have all been battered about by shells etc) surrounded by a moat. Baron Rosenthal (a German spy used to own & live here, he was shot in the Tower of London). The place here is overrun with rats which through the want of food are very poor. Last night we were very busy with stretcher cases until about midnight, but tonight we only had one case & a few sick fellows.
[A Robert Rosenthal was shot in the Tower, but he was not "Baron Rosenthal"]
We are right in the middle of the salient here & the carry down to here is about a mile, but we are only about 800 yds from the closest point from which the Germans send over a good few machine gun bullets, it is dangerous to walk about on the north side of the house after dark. Did nothing during the night. Very big bombardment on at intervals during the night, there are guns all round of us, & the sound is deafening.
This morning Fritz is putting a good few shells very close to us, he is trying to locate the battery that was firing last night, but they went away early this morning.
Today was a beautiful day although rather sharp wind blowing. It is very dangerous to strike matches or show a light of any kind outside of a night, if a machine gun isnít played onto the place where the light was, it is a cert that a few shells will come over, so a person canít be too careful. The airoplanes observing for our artillary causes a lot of annoyance to Fritz, he fires hundreds of shells at them trying to bring them down.
We are it is fairly quiet here now, so we havent much to do. We have to carry our drinking water from King Alberts "Chateaux" a distance of about 400 yards. Only the walls of the chateaux remain standing. Went for a walk to Ypres in the afternoon & had a good look round. It has been a fairly large city, but now in places is in heaps of ruins & in places battered to the ground.
Seems very peculiar it always starts to rain about 7 pm every evening & continues throughout the night. It makes the boards very slippery for us to carry on. We generally have about six stretcher cases & about the same amount of walking cases every night. There are a good few 18 pdr guns around us, & when there is a bombardment on, the noise is terrible, you cannot hear yourself talk.
The rumors we have been hearing this last couple of days about us being relieved, came true today. The 4th London Field Ambulance took over from us during the afternoon, & we went to Ouderdom by the Ambulance cars about 7 pm. It rained very heavy nearly all day & the water is running through the roof of our dug out & is about 8 inches deep in places.
It was bitterly cold this morning & has been cold all day. There was a bit
of a frost this morning, the first I have seen for a very long time. I received 9 letters today including three from home. This makes 24 letters I have received this last week. Went into Reninghelst during the evening & had a good time. Sent some Xmas cards away to Australia.
issued with gloves, inner soles for boots, & undervest (winter clothing) This evening I went to a send off tendered to Major Welsh of C section of this Fld Amb. It was a very good turn out & had quite an enjoyable time. There was plenty to eat drink & smoke. The evening was concluded with speeches, recitations & songs which were very good
still keeping very cold. Done up parcel for home & got it censored by Cpl Furber. I think we will be shifting from here in a couple of days.
There is some talk of us going back to the Somme Front again, I hope it isnít true anyhow. Marched from Ouderdom to Reninhhelst about 7 pm. We had to put up the best we could in a marquee tent, the ground was very hard to sleep on after sleeping in beds at the previous places. Sent Parcel away to home in the morning (Freight 3Ĺ [indecipherable])
Fell in 8.30 am & marched to Goderwaersvelde. Rather a large town about 8 miles from Reninghelst & about 2 Kilometres on the French side of the France-Belgian border. Pte Le Clerk rented a room in a Hotel (estaminet) here, & as it is a double bed I am sharing it with him. It will be a treat to get between the sheets again. The rent is one Franc for the night.
This last couple of days it has been very wet & bitterly cold. My word it was a treat to sleep in a decent bed once again, I didnít like getting up in the morning. The people about here nearly all speak exceptionally good English. Everywhere it is very muddy. The trees are becoming to get bare of leaves now as it is well into Autumn here. The Germans seem to pushing well into Rumania, they have captured Constanza, Rumaniaís chief Port.
We are all busy packing up this morning. It is still very wet & dreary. Yesterday we went up to Mont des Cats monastry & had a look through it, it is now used for a clearing stn. A very old &
big large place on top of a very large hill, it is a splendid view from the top. We left Goderwaersvelde about 9.30 am & arrived at Caestre about 12.30 pm. Entrained left about 2.30 pm for Pt Remy (about 3 miles from Abbeyville. We came round by Calais, Boulogne, Etaples & Abbeyville. It took us just about 12 hours. Travelling in vans. The whole Fld Amb & Transport nearly took up a whole train.
We arrived at Pt Remy about 2 am & marched to our billets in a village called Monflieres. Still very wet. Slept all the morning, very tired. I have a pretty bad cold, but it is getting better now. Went through the church here (R.C.). They always have a nice church no matter how big the village, I suppose it is on account of the one religion.
General Parade & Roll call in the morning. Went into Abbeyville with Fred Ryan in the morning & we stopped all day getting back to camp about 9 pm. Abbeyville is about 4 miles from here & is a very large place. There is nothing of interest though bar the Catherdal (R.C.) & the Triangle. We went through the Catherdal & nearly all over the town. Had a real good time.
There were 4 officers & 4 sergeants presented with service recognition cards this morning. The O.C. complimented the whole Ambulance on its work since being in France. We are getting very poor food. Very cold.
A very bleak day. The bearers of A section are billeted in a loft, & it is very comfortable. There is a stove in the room which keep the place very warm. This is a very small village but they have a very nice church here. There are also three cafes which all sell beer, so it is a home for the Bhoys. We play five hundred all day to pass the time away. 25 per cent leave to Abbeyville is only now granted.
As we have to have a pass now to go to Abbeyville I put in for leave & obtained it from 2 pm till 8 pm. Went into town with Freddy Ryan. The military police are very strict & keep on demanding our passes. Saw bill Freeman in Town. Wrote ten Post cards & a letter & sent them away. Received 2 letters by the mail today got home about 9.30 pm.
1 November Wednesday
Fell in at 10 am & left Monflieres for Vauchelles a distance of about thirteen Kilometres (about 8 miles). Vauchelles les Domart is only a very small village & we are billeted in very dirty houses. It was an ideal day for marching today, but started to rain during the evening. There are plenty of apples about here. Autumn is now nearly over, & most of the trees have shed their leaves. Plowing & sowing have started, & everybody seems to be busy.
We left Vauchelles-les-Domart about 9.30 am & marched to Picquigny arriving there about 2 pm. It was very muddy & raining all the way, owing to having very bad boots my feet were soaken wet. It was very hilly country we passed through & altogether the scenery was very pretty. Picquigny is a fairly large place & now is full of Australians & Tommies. Had a look round the town during the evening. Paid 40 Francs in the evening.
There appears to be a very large factory near here as the whistle is continually blowing. We are billeted in what used to be a fairly large place & A. section Bearers are in a large room on the third floor, we are very comfortably quartered. 7 bearers & 3 tent division are allowed leave to Amiens daily, I am putting in for leave tomorrow, but as only small percentage is allowed off I may not get it. The weather is very good now but very cold of a morning.
We had gas helmet drill with the box respirators & a route march in the morning, owing to having bad boots & sore feet I didnít go on the route march. There was a football match on this afternoon between this Amb & the 16th Battalion, the 16th Battalion won. About thirty of us had to go down to the Somme river & wash waggon in the afternoon.
Got leave for Amiens & after waiting 3 hrs for a train we eventually arrived there. It is about 8 miles from here & is a large City. I had a splendid time.
We fell in 9 am & marched out of the town for about a mile & a half, where we were inspected by the DADMS. ADMS & an English Colonel. The Ambulance was complete including the transport. It rained slightly during the afternoon. Went for a route march about two miles out, up on top of a big hill from where a very good view of the surrounding district can be obtained.
It was a very cold morning, everybody is shivering with the cold. The football match between the 4th Fld & the 16th Btn that was to be held this afternoon was postponed on account of the rain. Raining all day, very heavy at times. As it was too wet to go out I stopped in all day & played cards. I also wrote a letter home, but as the post office had closed I couldnít post it.
Fell in 8.45 & after marching about a mile we enbussed to Ribemont a village about 21 miles from here & about 3 miles south of Albert. We came by large French motor busses capable of carrying 32 in each. They werenít very comfortable, but never the-less it was better than walking. We arrived in Ribemont about 2.30 & after treading through knee deep mud we got to our huts. It is about the muddiest place outside the line. I noticed a good few German prisoners repairing the roads, as I came through the different places. It is again raining tonight.
This isnít a very big village. It was a fine day to day I can tell you we all appreciated the warm sun. Saw Clive Dwyer in the evening. We didnít do anything all day, so I wrote four letters in the afternoon. The Huts we are in are light structures with tarpaulins thrown over they. We are expecting to be here for a few day. Saw Dan Dignian [?] & Tom Turnbull in the 13th Btn.
It was very misty until about 10 oclock this morning. This evening I can hear a rather a heavy bombardment on our left. Went for a route march about a couple of miles out on to the top of a big hill where a splendid view of the surrounding district can be obtained, There was a very heavy bombardment all night no news though. A German Airoplane bombed the Div. Rest station.
There were 12 casualties.
The bombardment is still continuing. The 4th Fld Amb played the 4th Machine gun Coy League foot ball this morning, scores M.G. Coy 6, 4th Fld 3. & we again played the Royal Engineers in the afternoon (socker) scores R.Es 3 to nil. Saw Jim Lihou & Bob Stewart in the evening. The days are very misty & cold now.
There was a very exciting game of socker between the 4th Machine gun Coy & the Royal Engeers Score M.G. Coy 1 to nil. The bombardment reached a very high standard during the night
There is word that the bombardment is from here right up to the sea on the whole of the western Front. It is a very bleak day. We are all packed up ready to go up into the trenches. We left Ribemont about 1 pm & marched to Dernancourt a distance of about four miles. The roads were exceptionally muddy in places. Received a letter from home & one from Doris also a
letter Parcel of cigarettes from O. Turner.
My word the German prisoners are made work, road maintenance generally. They seem to be well looked after though. We fell in about 8 am & marched to Longueval. It is absolutely the worst march I have done in my life. We had to contend with being blocked up with traffic, mud, etc. We are now about 4 miles from the line. Fritz put up a good few big shells on a hill about 300 yds away. As we were coming in I saw the Prince of Wales going back on a horse.
One of the big shell burst in a tent belonging to the 13th Fld Amb. killing one wounding two. It was an exceptionally cold morning this morning, nearly Freeze a person. Fritz is still shelling the hill. Detailed for road making all day. We have to take about 15 inches of cloggy mud off the road & put down metal, it keeps a fellow very warm this weather. Everywhere about this place there is about 12 inches of mud. Very cold evening. Most of the fellows are living in huts I am in a dug out.
There was a rather heavy frost this morning & it was bitterly cold. Was put on orderly room messenger all day, but it was very quiet. There were about six German airoplanes over this morning one was brought down near Flers. They dropped a few bombs, one killed a 13th Fld Amb fellow, a Tommy several Horses & wounded four men. There are a fair amount of Casualties go through here.
We buried six poor beggars yesterday who had either been killed in action or died of wounds. About 8 am A section went up to the East Flers dressing station, it is about 1Ĺ miles behind the line. There are shells bursting all round us, Fritz is putting a good few over. We are camped in dug outs here I saw the German airoplane that was brought down yesterday, also a ":tank" which got stuck in the mud here.
It snowed nearly all night & this morning. Everywhere is all white with snow. It rained nearly all day & was terribly cold. We went down for water in the morning & took a patient down in the night, a trip I will never forget, we were up to our waist in mud nearly all the way, it was terrible. We carry for about 800 yds then we wheel by a trolly for about a mile.
It is very bleak & cold. We donít get very many
cases wounded here, but a good few with trench feet. We are about 300 yds east of the village of Flers.
The artillery about here keeps up a continual bombardment on Fritzís trenches although at some times it isnít so loud. Fritz is putting rather large shells nearly all round our dressing station some bursting only a few yards away. An Officer out of the Pioneer Btn was killed & about 8 wounded by one shell, also 2 stretcher bearers out of the 13th Fld Amb were wounded. Saw one of Fritzís ammunition dumps blown up, it was rather a pretty sight.
It is misty this morning & there are a good few patients to be carried down, our squad carried a wounded German down, he was a very young fellow. With continual treading in the mud on the track it is getting much deeper & worse, we go over our knees in it now, it is awful. Fritz must have good observation because he puts a good few shells on this hill & if he could only put them about 100yds to the right it would be finish us, he has the range of us nicely
There was a very heavy mist this morning but it cleared away about 10 am. Fritz is still shelling this hill including shrapnel he shells the village of Flers very much. There were great air activities about dinner time it was very exciting to watch the airoplanes diving & firing at one another. 2 German airoplanes were brought down (smashed) one of ours was brought down by a German airoplane (both pilot & observer were wounded) & another had to land owing to engine defects.
Our squad has been very lucky, we have had only one night carry so far. The airoplanes were again active this morning, but were a long way away, so we hadnít such a view as yesterday, I saw one of ours beaten down. Fritz is putting shrapnel very close to us this morning. I suppose we average one carry every twelve hours, & by jove considering the conditions we have to go through it is enough. Very fine day sun shining nearly all day.
It was a very bleak day today. Our squad were on ration fatigue this morning & while we were away Fritz put 12 large shells all round the place we are camped in, one blew the cooks quarters to smithereens, but none of the amb men were hit. A pioneer working near by was killed & 3 wounded, so I reckon us being away at the time was fate. playing cards all the afternoon to pass away the time.
It was raining all day & was very miserable. Things have been very quiet for this last 24 hours, bar the artillery firing every now & again Fritz put over a few shells, but they all landed in unoccupied country doing no damage. We have a rum issue every day, & we donít fare too bad regarding food.
We were rather busy in the morning with stretcher cases [indecipherable] squads & Major Bently shifted to Brigade headqrts. There are now 4 squads left here. Quiet in the evening.
Fritz is still shelling all round here. He put over a good few shrapnel shells this evening but did no damage. I saw 2 airoplanes come down in flames today, one landed all right (one of ours) but the other was burned completely (? Whoís it was). We now have to carry about 400 yds & then wheel the patient to Brigade Hqrts (about 800 yds) it is much better than the other carry. It was very misty this morning but wasnít so cold as it was previously. There were 4 officers (Tommies) killed at B. Hqrts & 9 men wounded about dinner time
It was a bitterly cold morning. We donít get any news up this way at all, so it will be a treat to get a paper when we get out. We were relieved about 10 am & went per light railway train to Delville Wood & then walked to Longueval. Pretty near as soon as we arrived W.O. Baber had all of us carting the makings of three huts over here from the Engineers Depot. I am living in a tent
The first four squads of A Section were detailed for duty as stretcher bearers for the next 24 hours. I am in No 4 squad. We had three trips to do, most of the patients are suffering from trench feet & influenza of course there are
a good few wounded too. There are a good few go through here daily. We have to wheel the patients for about three hundred yds, carry about 200 yds then wheel trolly for about 1Ĺ miles, & then carry about 200 yds where they are entrained.
My word the Australian Comfort funds are doing great work here, something to eat,
or smokes & a cup of coffee are obtainable all hours of the day. Fritz put over a few big shells about 300 yds from here every day, one of his shells killed a German prisoner yesterday. As we were working all last night, we hadnít to work today. Fritz put over a good few shells tonight, there were 2 Tommies killed & 2 wounded also 2 of our horses killed. Some were very close to our tent.
1 December Friday
It was very foggy all day. Fritz is still shelling all round us, he done some damage to the artillery about here, both killing & wounding some of the artillery men. My word it is very cold. Working on the road all day, we scrape the mud off & put down chalk rock, all seem to buck into the work well, as it is the only means of getting warm. Posted 8 letters this evening. Was paid £ 2.17.4 being a double pay.
There was a very heavy frost this morning. Detailed for stretcher bearer from here to where the patients are entrained. We had rather a quiet time though, most of the patients were either sick or had trench feet. Received a Parcel (Xmas) from home & one from Mrs Daisly. pcl from home well got up. not so cold tonight.
As we were working last night we now have today off. Everything very quiet.
4 squads out of A Section & B Section fell in 6 am & entrained at Longueval for Dernancourt & from Dernancourt we marched to the Anzac Rest station just out of Buire a distance I suppose of about three miles. It is a beautiful clear day but there is rather a sharp wind blowing. The rest of the Ambulance went up to Delville wood. The 3rd Fld Amb. are looking after the Rest station here. had a good bath this evening, it was needed very much.
Raining during the day, just about enough to make the ground muddy. Detailed as clerk in the admittance tent. There was nothing much to do after we got rid of a very big sick parade. There were sounds as of a big bombardment on the right. This place has been condemned & has to be evacuated completely by Saturday next. Received 2 letters, the first to be addressed to this unit from Australia.
Reveille goes at 6.30 here, but as all of us have been used to getting up at 8 am, we have never attended the 7 am parade this two mornings. The 1st Fld is in charge of this place now. Relieved about 10 am. packed up & left here 1.30 pm for Ribemont about 2 kilometres away. Both my heels are blistered & it is a struggle to keep on walking. My cold is getting very bad, hadnít much sleep during the night through coughing.
The rest of the Ambulance joined us up about 8 am this morning, They left Longueval at 1 am & came nearly the same course as we came. We are billetted in the third storey of a storage shed of a french flour mill. The mill is wholly worked by waterwheels & is still working. My cold is still keeping very bad. Things here are very quiet. Took very bad in evening & admitted to Hospital. Temp 102
There are a good few sick here, & pretty near as soon as they are cleared to the C.C.S. batches of others come in. The place is full all the time. The general complaint is influenza, but patients with influenza are not now sent away. I have the general complaint every bone in my body is aching, altogether feel very sick.
We get fairly good attention here. A good few
of th fellows come every now & again to see me, including fellows out of the 13th Batt. I put in a terrible night & had to be given morphia to deaden the pain in my back. The hospital is on the base of the flour mill.
We are having very wet weather here now, it rains every day. Still keeping very crook.
Discharged from hospital, although I am still feeling pretty sick, the whole of my body is full of pains. Everyone is discharged as soon as they begin to get better. There are a good few fellows in the ambulances suffering from Influenza, some are confined to their beds. Went back up to our billets again. Spent rather a crook night. Had a touch of rheumatics in my right foot during the night.
It was raining & snowing when I got up this morning; as the ground was wet the snow melted a soon as it fell. We have a route march every morning & afternoon now. I am exempt for a couple of days, therefore do not go out on same. It gets very monotonous in the billets all day, most of the chaps play cards & gamble to pass away the time.
I am still keeping pretty crook, & a good few more have contracted influenza, three out of the ambulance have been evacuated to hospital.
It is very funny here of a night time, everything is very quiet, when someone starts coughing & in the space of a minute you can hardly hear yourself talk for the coughing, nearly everybody starts. It is still keeping very wet & dreary, everywhere is very muddy.
This is a rotten place, there are only about two bits of shops & a few off side places here, & my word a fellow is hit up too when he goes to buy anything, I think they double the price for Australians. There are great peace negotiations on Germanys part, Everyone here would sincerely welcome peace, I hope it wont be long coming.
There is some talk of us not going back to the trenches until January 5th. I hope it is correct, as it will be great to be out of that terrible place for Xmas & New Year. "C section" went to
Vauchelles Cardonnettes. We are shifting Monday to Vignacourt about 12 miles from here. Was paid 40 Francs (£ 1-8-8) today, I am now 8/- overpaid received three letters by todays mail.
everything is keeping very quiet, nearly everybody has still got colds. I am getting slightly better now although I still having the hacking cough. B section moved to Flesselles tonight)x It is still keeping very dreary but not wet.
X Sunday 17th
We play 500 to pass the time away. I havent been on a route march on Fatigue since I have been here. Church service was held up in our billet tonight.
Everything was cleaned up during the morning ready for departure. Fell in at 2 pm & marched to the railway siding about a kilometre the other side of Buire. Owing to being ill I never carried my equipment or blankets. We entrained & left about 5 pm for Vignacourt about 24 miles distance, arriving there about 10 pm. We are billeted about 10 mins from the railway station.
Went on sick parade this morning, I have nearly lost my voice through the cold I have got. Our billets arenít up to the standard here, we are very cramped for room. This is a fair size town, with a large catherdal. It started snowing at dinner time & is still continuing. I think it has set in. Got three letters by todays mail, but they were old ones.
Doing nothing all day. Feeling pretty crook & very weak. Leave is given to Amiens but it is very difficult to get in & out of that place, as there is no train service here you have to depend upon a lift in a motor lorry or else walk, it is about ten miles from here. It was rather a nice day today, the sun was shining nearly all day, but it wasnít too warm.
Went on sick parade, & as the doctor informed me that I was too weak to walk about I was to be admitted to hospital. There are a good few fellows evacuated to General Hospitals from here. Nearly everyone in the Ambulance are still very crook, suffering from colds & Influenza It rains nearly every night now.
Considering our position here we get looked after fairly well. The Hospital is an old barn & we are sleeping on straw, Great hopes of an enjoyable Christmas being spent are anticipated, arrangements are now being made for
an enjoyable time such. I am taking tonics & am just picking up my appetite again.
The weather hasnít been too bad of late, we actually get a glimpse of the sun now. I was informed today that the 21st of Dec is the longest day here, but it still remains very cold well into the month of march, so we have a long while to go yet. There are a large amount of Xmas pcls coming in now.
Discharged from Hospital. Not feeling too bad now although rather week. Plucking geese for tomorrows spread this evening.
A cold, bleak, windy day. Rained during the evening. Everything quiet during the day except for a few getting drunk. Received boxes of gifts from Colonel Beaston of Newcastle (original O.C. of this unit) in the morning. The boxes contained sweets, tinned goods, playing cards, tobacco, pipes, etc. We spent a very enjoyable time in the evening at a large room in an "Estaminet". There was a splendid spread including Roast stuffed Geese, Baked & boiled potatoes, Cabbage, Tarts, cakes, Xmas pudding Soft drinks. Wine & beer. The room was very well decorated. A concert was indulged in after.
Got up about 7 am & walked to Canaples (2Ĺ miles) where we caught the 8.30 am train for Longpre & after waiting close on three hours we caught another train for Amiens. Had a very enjoyable time in Amiens. Had a good bit of shopping to do. Made myself a present of an "Onotoí Fountain pen for Xmas 1916. We came the same way home Arrived home about 10 pm very tired.
Rather a fine day. Went on dental parade & after examining my teeth (I have two to be filled) the Dentist gave me an appointment at 10 am tomorrow. Everyone seems to be getting rid of their colds now, there arenít hardly any crook now. Writing letters all the afternoon. The country round here is very hilly & rather very pretty. The French people very seldom build fences round their ground. It is a very cold night.
A very heavy frost on the ground this morning, very cold & bleak all day. Went to the Dentist at 10 am & after putting a bit of filling in one of my teeth (about 5 minutes work) he gave me another note to call tomorrow. It is absolutely ridiculous I reckon standing out in the very cold weather for 3 hrs. for 5 min. treatment. Detailed for filling the water cart out of a well in the afternoon. Very cold monotonous job.
Well I have
got my teeth finished at last. went up at 10 am this morning & the Dentist finished filling them. Wrote three letters today. The A.D.M.S. Inspected A section including the transport, this afternoon. We had to go about half a mile away & as soon as we came back, I was detailed as orderly room messenger. I only had one message to go on though. Raining tonight.
A kit inspection was held this morning, Result! I have to change my mounted equipment for dismounted. I prefer the mounted. Arrangements are being made for another evening New Years night. Not on any duties during the day. Two of our fellows overstopped leave in Amiens & were today awarded 3 days C.B.
Very quiet all day. New Years eve kept up by some of the Bhoys. Carrying a bit of timber during the morning.
14 Ė Lent Ė 2. 0 Ė Mch 15th Cash on hand Ė 2.14.0
15 [indecipherable] 3d Ė 3 Ė 15 Ė Pay Ė 3.15.0
No of Photo Ė No of Film Ė Photo of
1 Ė 11/692
2 Ė "
3 Ė "
4 Ė "
5 Ė "
6 Ė "
Mrs H.L. Blackwood
[above address crossed through]
Mrs A. Nelson
53 Glebe Point Rd
[above address crossed through]
Miss Elsie Long
Bay View House
[above address crossed through]
South Coast Road
Miss F Whitehead
4 Ellsmere St
Mrs H. L. Blackwood
Cooper & Moseley st
Miss E Long
361 Marrickville Rd
Miss F Whitehead
17 Kendalll st
Miss Olive Turner
Miss Ellie Bennetts
54 Thorne st
Mrs D. Pearson
Staff Sgt Dental Unit
No 130 Horseferry Rd
Mrs A. Nelson
Private P.C. Dwyer
4th Aust Inf brigade
Priv J. Lihou
4th Aust Inf brigade
9th Field Ambulance
[Page not transcribed]
[Ishmalia = Ismailia
Poziers = Pozieres
Longvillette = Longuevillette
Douleons = Doullens
Abbeyville = Abbeville]
[Transcribed by Peter Mayo and Margaret Russell for the State Library of New South Wales]