Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Crooks war diary, 11 February 1915 - 24 May 1918
The figures in curved brackets at the beginning of paragraphs are the diarist’s and refer to the date of the month.
Thomas Ray Crooks had served in the Boer War, enlisting on 8 January 1912 aged 18, and for WW1 in December 1914 aged 30 with a wife and three young daughters. He served for three years in Gallipoli and in France. Crooks started off as a private but in January 1915 was promoted to Corporal. He moved through the ranks ending up as a 2nd Lieutenant, was wounded once and when holding the rank of Company Sergeant Major he was found guilty in a Court Marshall of having "interfered with Const. Sergt Bonnett in the execution of his duty, who was at the time endeavouring to quell a disturbance" and was reduced to the rank of Sergeant but soon regained his rank. He was eventually discharged after going AWOL and sent home, this was instead of another Court Marshall, his military record being taken into consideration. Crooks had been awarded the Military Cross for "conspicuous gallantry &devotion to duty" for commanding a "carrying party supplying the front line with grenades". Crooks does not describe what he did to achieve the award (nor does he mention the two misdemeanours and the reason for leaving France) but does write delightfully about the presentation ceremony with the King, held all on his own because an administrative bungle meant that he missed the ceremony in the morning when all of the others received their medals.
Feb 11th 1915
Our boys of the 2nd reinforcements of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd 4th & 13th Battn marched out of Liverpool & entrained for Sydney arriving 10.30A.M. and headed by a good band marched through the City to the wharf. Crowds lined the route & our boys were cheered all the way. We embarked on the H.M.T. Seang Bee & steamed away from Wooloomoloo at noon for Brisbane to pick up Queensland troops, weather very
rough along the coast. Majority of the troops down with seasickness. [indecipherable] anyhow generally.
(12) Sea a trifle lumpy. Boys beginning to get on the tooth again The C.O Major Roberts makes a start to get some kind of routine order going aboard. Things on the Cooks galley badly in need of brushing up, as regards distribution of food. We have a long journey before us, so probably get over it some day.
(13) A life on the Ocean Wave – we arrived at Pinkenba at 11 o’clock & took aboard 300 Troops belonging to the 9 & 15th Bn. We left again about 6P.M bound north. A pretty strong southerly wind blowing.
(14) Turned out a beautiful day. C.O. still struggling to get things in ship-shape order a very difficult task just at present. Distribution of goods still open for argument.
(15) Fine Weather. Vessel making rather slow progress owing no doubt to want of docking: Water supply on [indecipherable] very poor food troubles still on [indecipherable].
(16) Weather still sublime. Very pretty scenery along Queensland coast. On duty as Sgt of Guard with Cpl & 36 men from 8.30A.M. 16th to 8.30A.M. 17th Up till the present very little use for detention room. Not a bad performance.
(17) Beautiful day, the sea like a sheet of glass. Vessel struck a sand bank about 3 o’clock this morning, but freed herself apparently without damage. Food supply still a source of bother.
(18) "What Ho she bumps" Another sensation caused this morning at 3.45A.M. by our ship running on a Coral reef & sticking hard & fast. Very funny to see the nigger crew flying about like paper cats. Wireless calls sent out for assistance. H.M.T. Seang Choon returned to our aid but failed in her efforts to tow us off. Large number of sharks prowling round the ship waiting for someone to drop overboard for lunch. Troops with officers & men turned to in watches to heave coal overboard to lighten ship forard.
(19) Still ashore. All hands still working hard on coral heaving. Seang Choon makes another attempt to tow us off but fails and to [indecipherable] troops from the niggers owing to the coal dust about. Turned out very warm day.
(20) Still on reef. Seang Choon striving hard to tow us off & at last succeeded about 10.30AM, loud cheers from the boys, (we were on the reef for 54 hours.) Seang Bee steamed for Thursday Island & arrived at 4.P.M Anchored in Bay. Township looks very pretty with its cocoanut Palms & Boys anxious to get ashore for a
change. Just woke aboard this ship & at last and have told us off to our life boats & fire stations. It is evident someone wants sharpening up about these matters.
(21) Ship went alongside wharf this morning to be examined by Diver. General leave granted to all ships to go ashore untill 6.P.M Had a stroll round town & punished a few bottles of cordials the day was very warm. A great number of Japanese people here. Pearl fishing appears to be the chief industry here. The boys made a raid on the cocoanut trees this afternoon.
(22) We left Thursday Island at 9.A.M. this morning for Ceylon. Several men missed the boat. Some of the boys up before the Major on charges of misbehaviour [indecipherable] of the "birds" charged with making a [indecipherable] ball of the provost & were put in cells. Everything aboard seems a scramble from morn till night. Sea very calm.
(23) Coy Orderly Sgt to-day with Cpl Dawson as Odly Cpl. Court Marshall held one of the boys sentenced to 3 months imprisonment with hard labour & dismissed from the service. Several cases of sickness the Hospital space already taxed. Doctors inspection this morning also innoculation. Weather very warm & ocean [indecipherable]. We have seen nothing of our escorts up till now.
(24) Floating along as slow as ever. Affairs on board going in the same old go-as-you-please fashion. At the Orderly room this morning Sgt L-- charged with striking Sgt B—(both Queenslanders) case remanded. A great number of the troops suffering with a rash caused through the heat. Same old ding-dong arguments going on over the tucker. Weather still very warm.
(25) Had some heavy showers through the night. Very uncomfortable for the boys who slept on deck. Rifle exercises this morning the first time since leaving Sydney, Hammock & Blanket inspection this afternoon. Lecture on [indecipherable] by Lieut Hinde for Officers & N.C.O’s. Nice cool breeze blowing all day.
(26) Wind freshened up through the night vessel getting tossed about a wee bit. Sighted a number of small Islands on starboard side. Some of the East Indies no doubt. The flying fish are plentiful about here, saw some very large ones to-day. Many troops suffering from bad attacks of cold, the atmosphere appears to be quite damp in these parts. Lecture tonight on sanitation by the M.O. Captain Single A.M.C.
(27) Fine day. Boat drill carried out at last also lifebelts issued to each man. We have 2 lifeboats & 4 rafts allocated to our company of 150 men guess there will be some squeezing. Held mock Court Marshall in Sgts Mess this afternoon over Cpl Pierce for stealing Sgt Noads pyjamas. Sgt Hogan acted in the capacity of Judge, proceedings very amusing. A lecture tonight on the care of rifles by Lieut Vine-Hall very interesting & largely attended.
(28) Widdies Birthday. Showery weather land in sight supposed to be Sumatra, passed a very high mountain peak named Mt Fuji. Looked very nice from the sea. I am Coy Orderly Sgt to day. Usual Church parade held. Things in general running much better now. Sea calm.
Still in sight of Sumatra. Atmosphere much cooler. Rifle exercises this morning on Foc-sale deck. Same performance this afternoon. Lecture on Physical Culture tonight by Lieut Judge very interesting.
(2) Our Coy on duty to day. Things in Cooks Galley & other departments ever so much better, thanks to an energetic Lieut. Still having fine weather & another lecture tonight on outpost duty by Lieut Lawrence.
(3) Beautiful day. Morning spent at Rifle drill & Physical drill. Sgt Duncan Odly Sgt – Lecture tonight on administration by Lieut Wall. A little excitement caused aboard caused by "Seang Choon – sending up rockets for assistance about 9.P.M.
(4) Sea as calm as a mill pond. Rifle drill & signalling Parades to day. Lieut Hinde making preparations for our Equatorial celebrations which promise to be O.K. All those forming part of Neptune’s court hard at it making up their various guises. Lectures night on Rifle aiming by Lieut Harland very tame.
(5) Sea as per usual dead calm. But the weather is very warm. Holiday given to all the boys in honor of the occasion crossing the Line. About 10 A.M. King Neptune’s court headed by "Nep" hailed Capt of the ship from Forecastle deck & then headed by the boys of the "Squeeze Band" and surrounded by his Sattellites marched round the decks much to the astonishment of those who had not previously witnessed such a weird sight. After Neptune having welcomed the ship & those aboard a successful voyage etc. etc The ducking shaving etc was indulged in much to the merriment of the onlookers. The Officers taking the lead N.C.O’s & men following Lieut Hinde Court usher, myself King Neptune, McKenzie was the Doctor & Abbot was the Barber etc the function went off splendidly. The afternoon was spent haveing water sports, a large canvas bath haveing been erected for the purpose.
C.O. Sgt to day. We are haveing splendid weather. Lecture on the care of Arms by Lieut Vine-Hall. Col-Sgt Parsons & myself doing a little stokeing down below for exersize.
(7) usual Church parades held R.C at 9.30 C of E at 10.30 & Pres 11, o’clock. Food & Water supposed to be getting short judging by the quantity issued these last few days. Expected to arrive at Colombo tomorrow afternoon.
(8) Beautiful weather. Had a breakdown in Port Engine at 2.30 A.M this morning which reduced our speed to about 6 knots . Sighted Ceylon about 9.30P.M & arrived at Colombo at 6.30. Seang Choon steamed in just ahead of us. A large number of vessels in Harbour here. Searchlight flashing across the harbour from the Forts all night.
(9) Great activity among the Troops this morning all hand expecting shore leave which was not granted much to the disgust of all. Seang Choon men ashore on route march. Sgt L-- escaped from escort & went ashore. I was detailed by Major Roberts to go ashore with 4 men to apprehend him, he was brought aboard at 10.30 & placed under close arrest. Had heavy fall of rain tonight.
(10) Fine day. Colombo looking its best. Coy Orderly Sgt to day. The men very dissatisfied at not getting shore leave made a demonstration before the Major this morning but gained nothing. Sgt Parsons & myself were granted leave to make purchases for Coy ashore, also had a tour round Colombo. A very pretty & interesting place. A great many of our boys took French leave & got ashore which required a strong party to round up. The Major was bombarded with rotten spuds on leaving this ship this afternoon. About 300 men had to face the beak on charges of breaking from the ship. Fines inflicted ranging from 6 days pay to 14 days pay, pretty stiff when it stings the pocket. Took aboard a considerable amount of Food & water also Coal. S.S. Choon sailed about 11P.M.
(11) We left Colombo just after midnight, several men missed the ship. Calm sea but very hot on board. Muster parade held this morning. Came in sight of the Maldive Islands about 10, o’clock off starboard.
(12) Fine day. Things on board getting anyhow again. Rifle drill this morning. Sgt Pestell & myself at Orderly room this morning on Sgt L-- case. Lecture tonight on Military law by Major Roberts. Sgt Parsons the Ships 3rd Officer & myself spent very pleasant evening playing cards.
(13) Another grand day. Sgt Jock Duncan had a bit of a hurry-up with Pte Williams & got second, caused roars of laughter. Another lecture tonight by the Major very interesting.
(14) Coy Orderly Sgt to day, Tom Nelson O. Cpl. Usual Church Parades held. Afternoon spent reading & loafing about. A very pretty sunset this evening. S.S. City of London passed us by on starboard side this afternoon. We came up level with the "Seang Bee" [probably means the Seang Choon as he is on the Seang Bee]
(15) Calm sea. Morning spent on rifle drill & Physical stunts. Lecture by Lieut Vine-Hall this afternoon. Another tonight by Lieut Harrison on Advance Guards duty, very interesting. Boys getting tired of Sea.
(16) Splendid weather. 13th Bn Coy for duty. Sgt of Guard with Cpl Tom Nelson & 45 men. detention room pretty full of boarders. Passed by large steamer going eats about 2P.M. lecture tonight by the Major.
(17) Changed Guard at 8.30 this morning. Orderly room this afternoon in connection with Sgt L—‘s case, also present Sgts McKay & Pestell. Sgt L— put in irons for making threat towards the major. Proceedings very exciting. Major a bit puzzled.
(18) Passed by Aden about 5.30 A.M. this morning and passed by Perrim at 1,o’clock. We were escorted from here by the "Empress of Asia" which has been converted into an armed cruiser. Day spent at Rifle drill passed by several steamships going South. Lecture on Typography by the Major.
(19) Weather very warm. Wireless message received about the "Dresden" being sunk in the West Indies, the boys give 3 cheers for the Victors. Major gave another lecture on Typography tonight.
(20) Fine weather, nice cool breeze blowing. Feet inspection by O.C. also Rifle drill. Had the afternoon to ourselves. Lecture on Out-Post duties by the Major. Several N.C.O's Sgt Parsons & myself invited to a farewell supper given by the 3rd Officer & we all spent a splendid evening . Excellent menu, Finished up with Soldiers of the Queen & God save the King, assisted by the Gramophone.
(21) Fine day, fresh breeze blowing. Coy Orderly Sgt to day. Usual Church Parades held. The Major took for his lesson The Crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites. Passed by several large steamships.
(22) Heard we were to arrive at Suez tonight, close into the coast, great activity amongst the Troops all hands getting their kit ready for disembarkation, many fellows finding other blokes things before they are lost. Passed by the S.S. Chilka & S.S. Soldier Prince, carrying Indian troops going South. We arrived at Suez at 6.30P.M & anchored out in the stream all night. Beautiful scene this evening at sunset, the hills presented almost as many colours as the rainbow.
(23) Beautiful weather. Orders to get ready for disembarkation. Coy Orderly Sgt to day, plenty of running about ships etc. We entrained at 8.30P.M travelling all night in a very slow train, and very cold.
(24) Arrived at "Helmuk Station" this morning at 4.30 A.M. & marched out about 3 miles to our camp near "Abbasia" Great number of troops camped here. We pitched our camp about 3P.M & got under cover as we all needed a blow. Had to get our tea the best way we could, some of the lads beginning to wish they were home again, popped into bunk early & had a good sleep.
(25) Fine day things trifle mixed at present. Started on our new menu of Beef & Biscuit. There are a great many troops around here, British Troops, Egyptian Lancers & Camel Corp. Paid a visit to the Lancashire Fusilers Barracks this afternoon. They are a fine crowd of men & can drill some.
(26) Coy Orderly Sgt. We had a march out across the Desert this morning. Rifle drill this afternoon, we get a good view of the Pyrimids from here. P aid a visit to "Heliopolis" (City of the Sun) this evening, very pretty place & some fine Buildings, especially the Palace Hotel.
(27) Went through our usual parades to day. Had leave to visit the City of Cairo, had a good tour round, there are people of all nations here especially French, there are some fine buildings but the City generally is rotten, it fairly hums, they dont have any sanitary arrangements at all. There does not appear to be any rule of the road. Donkeys, Camels Garrys, Horses etc seem to go where they wish, Of course as one can expect the City is crowded with Soldiers, who the Egyptians profess to like, no doubt on account of their spending powers.
(28) Sand storm passed over camp this morning making things very uncomfortable. Very had job trying to keep rifles clean on account of the sand. Usual Church Parades held. Swarm of locusts passed over camp this morning. Had the afternoon to ourselves. Received order to be ready for joining our Battns at any hour which are camped at "Bernaiul"[?]. Our food supplies are not being managed as they should be. Paid a visit to Heliopolis.
(29) Turned out at 5A.M. & struck Camp, packed our bags ready for moving off. After the usual waste of time we set off to Aerodrome & arrived just in time for dinner. Had to fall in again in full marching order for the general inspection by General Sir Ian Hamilton. Something like 25,000 men on parade, they stirred the dust up a treat on the march past both horses & men one could hardly discern the company in front the dust was so thick at times. Finished up the day by pitching our camp in the Battn lines & resting which we all needed.
More to follow - [indecipherable]
Tuesday March 30th 1915
Very warm day. We have been attached to A. Coy of the 13th Bn. C.O. Lieut-Colonel Burnage. Spent the afternoon at Platoon drill the lads shaped very well. Am Coy Orderly Sgt. to day. I met a couple of Tasmanians here to day, Dud Sergeant who is in the 1st Light Horse & Johnny Williams who is the 15th Bn he served with me in South Africa.
(31) Physical drill & Semaphore signalling on first parade this morning. Kit Inspection afterwards & Bayonet exercises this afternoon. The lads made a demonstration before the O.C. this evening in reference to their pay which is certainly overdue, the usual bantering took place, also the same old promises, no satisfaction gained. Very warm day accompanied by dust storm.
13th Bn marched out to 3rd tower to bivouac. Reinforcements being put through the various drill movements, & have already gained a good knowledge of the business.
(2) Usual Parades held. Had leave & paid a visit to Cairo this evening just in time to witness the big dust up, and things were real lively. There must have been fully 4,000 men in the mix-up composed chiefly of our own lads, They took charge of one quarter of the City & fairly ran amok, they smashed everything they could lay hands on, windows were bent with bricks, furniture pulled to pieces and thrown from places 4 storeys high, to be gathered up by those in the street to be piled up & ignited, and what fires they were, also had petrol to help them on. Pubs were raided & what couldnt be drunk was destroyed, & in no time about 50 mounted Red Caps (Police) made a charge through the street firing their revolvers on the crowd. & hitting several, then the mob went mad & pulled several of their horses, others were knocked off being hit by bottles thrown at them. Then a company of infantry were marched down & they were pelted the same. The box on lasted about 4 hours & died down. The Dark Town Fire Brigade were brought up to put the fires out & these were also chased out of the street, Order was restored when they brought a strong picquet in from the Mena Camp.
(3) Usual Parades held. All leave to Cairo stopped tonight. A bit of an argument stated in Heliopolis tonight but was soon stopped. Very little damage done.
(4) Easter Sunday. Usual Church Parades held. Received orders to be ready for marching off at 4A.M tomorrow morning for destination unknown. 50 men & 3 N.C.O’s Sgt Parsons & myself & Cpl McMillan were told off as an advance party for the 13th great arguments among the lads as to who should be the lucky ones to go.
(5) Easter Monday. Turned out at 3A.M. this morning and marched out of Camp for Cairo, it was a wild morning the wind blew very hard & of course the sand played havoc with the lads eyes. After a tramp of 8 miles we arrived at the Railway Station about 7.30A.M. & after a long wait we entrained for Alexandria arriving there about 3P.M. We were taken straight aboard O.A H.M.T. Osmanieh. Appears to be a large amount of shipping here.
(6) Beautiful morning. Great scramble after tucker this morning no arrangements made for our coming. The American Cruiser Tennessee is in Harbour here she is a fine vessel. There are a great number of French troops quartered here they look peculiar in their Blue great coat & red pantaloons, some have the new grey uniform . We steamed out about 3P.M this afternoon & had a merry time crossing the Mediterranean Sea., our ship tossed about a treat, at the same time being enveloped in a thick fog, many down with sea sickness. This vessel can go some, she steams 20 knots per hour which is going.
(7) Sea much calmer. Still catch-as-catch can with the Tucker. Some of the boys find it pretty tough tackling the new menu viz Bully Beef & Biscuit. We are feeling the change in the weather now it is much cooler. We are steaming among a number of small islands belonging to the Greek Archipelego.
(8) Calm Sea. Beautiful sunny morning. Still among the islands. Passed by 2 French Destroyers & 2 of our own large Battleships they looked fine, also the 5 funnelled Russian Cruiser "Askold". We arrived at Lemnos Island about 5P.M., A great many Troopships & Hospital Ships anchored here, There are some small Greek villages around the Harbour & some nice farms. The 3rd Brigade who have been here 8 weeks embark on board H.M.T. Suffolk, troops pouring in from all parts, we are about 30 miles from the Dardanelles.
(9) Beautiful weather, transhipping foodstuffs to "Suffolk". Troopships continue to arrive. The Naval Sea Planes go out in the morning & return at midday. Our troops received orders to be ready to move off this afternoon, I had the bad luck to be left in charge of Ships Guard, but I suppose its all in the game.
(10)Fine weather Transhipping going on all the morning. Colonel WC &several other officers remaining aboard also 3 men –AMC men &3 signallers-2 large troopships arrive this afternoon. There are 6 battleships at present in harbour.We are only 2 hours steam from the Dardenelles.
(11) Things pretty quiet on board now with the boys away. The Battleships go out occasionally to the narrows we can hear them quite distinct Bombarding the Forts. At present there must be fully 100 vessels in port of all descriptions. It is a fine sight.
(12) Fine day. Col McVea received instructions to join H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth which left early this morning for the Narrows, probably to select suitable Landing places for the Troops. Queen Elizabeth returned to port about 7.30P.M. after exchanging shots with the Turkish Forts, Aeroplane also returned after flight over Turks position.
(13) Turned out rather cold & showery to day, Troopships still blowing in I got a few details about the fighting that has been going on in the Dardanelles from petty-Officer who was aboard H.M.S. Irressitable which struck a mine & sunk, H.M.S Ocean & a French Battleship the "Bouver" were also sunk, a large number being drowned. Some principal Turkish Forts being put out of action. We have several Submarines here.
(14) Our ship turned into a Hospital Ship for the time being. About 250 sick Troops taken on board suffering from all kinds of illness Col Percival D.S.O was also among the number. Colonel McVea left this morning to join his Battn also Capt Littler of Tasmania. Ships still arrive here carrying troops & other impedimenta for the Army.
(15) Fine weather. We left Lemnos for Alexandria at 9A.M. this morning with sick & injured. There were also a number of men being sent back to prison for various offences committed while on Active Service. One lad died this morning & was buried at sea his name (Pte McInnes) South Australian.
(16) Beautiful day with smooth sea, which makes things ever so much better for the sick. We passed by several Troopships steaming north. We saw very pretty sunset this evening.
(17) Arrived at Alexandria at 6.30A.M. Sick taken ashore & sent by train to Heliopolis. Several of the secure leave to go ashore, had a trip around myself, It is a much nicer place than Cairo, it has a beautiful sea front & some fine buildings & son on, but still has the same old pen & ink (stink) . There are a great mixture of foreigners here but the French & Greeks appear to be the thickest. There was a dust up here this evening between some of our own artillerymen who are camped at "Mex" & some native police, things were real lively while they lasted, & was going strong when the Maltese & Italian Police arrived in the nick of time & stopped it. A few fellows were damaged.
(18) Beautiful day. The people here dont observe the Sabbath it is just the same as week days. Shops and Hotels etc are all opened and do not close until early morning. Had a stroll round with Signaller McNeil this afternoon, went through the native quarter & native Markets some queer sights, a bloke deserves the V.C. to tackle the food they prepare.
(19) No news of when we are going to return to Lemnos. think they must have forgotten us. A large force of Indian troops arrived here from France this morning on their way to the Persian Gulf. The Ex Premier of Greece arrived from Athens this afternoon & was accorded a great reception from the Greek populace his name is "Venizellas". A great statesman.
(20) We still remain here. We are properly fed up with it, We want to get back to our own Battn. Saw a French Ammunition Column pass through the city to day, they appear to wear all kinds of uniforms.
(21) Our ship was taken out into the stream this morning & moored near the French Warship "Latouch Treville". Major Wilson and his A.M.C. men left the ship this afternoon to join forces ashore. We have a new mob of Firemen aboard mostly Arabs, the Greek fellows we had are all getting shy of Submarine & Torpedo boats.
(22) About 3A.M. this morning Major Wilson & his men rejoined our Ship. Instructions received to proceed to the Dardanelles with all haste. 4 French Transport ships left here this afternoon escorted by cruiser. Ship takes in Coal & other provisions & left about 6.30. We had it very rough for a start.
(23) Very strong wind blowing this morning vessel tossing about a great deal. We passed near the Island of "Candia" (Crete) at 6P.M. The sun looked very pretty setting
tonight this evening. Steaming with all lights out tonight.
(24) Sea much calmer this morning. 2 large steamers passed by this morning going south. Passed the Island of "Kasso" at 1P.M. We arrived at Lemnos when the first of the convoy left for the Dardanelles escorted by 6 Battleships, 4 Cruisers, & 8 Destroyers it was a grand sight. We heard a strong Demolition party had landed from the Warships & spiked a number of guns at Seddul-Bahr & Kum-Kale. Other Troopships preparing to leave.
(25) We can hear the big guns booming early this morning & heard our boys had made a landing at Gaba-Tepe & drove the Turks far inland. We left here at 4 this afternoon for Gaba-Tepe & anchored off at 7A.M. what a din, the big warships pounding away at the Turkish Forts & the Turks returning their fire, shells were bursting out over the Bay were numbers of Troopships are anchored one burst over the stern of our boat & wounded 1 chap the bullets fairly hissed as they struck the water. There were Destroyers flying about in all directions towing boatloads of Troops ashore were they are fighting for their lives. One can see the spits of fire from rifles & bursting shells overhead. it was a grand but terrible sight. We are to take a crowd back to Alexandria who are wounded. A great batch of boys came aboard about 8 oclock with all manner of wounds, there was some awful sights to witness. We left about midnight for Alexandria, some of the boys were terribly smashed about & before we reached Alexandria 10 of them died & were buried at sea. We done our best in the way of looking after them , we were only 16 strong. The majority of them disembarked in Egypt with not even being washed the blood all over their uniforms but the majority were very cheerful. It was my misfortune to have been left on Ships Guard as nearly all my old pals were ashore, landing even before the Battn. But perhaps its all for the best as I may have been stopped by a bullet. but it wont be long I hope before we are taken off this job.
(26) Was reported to us from Torpedo Boat that a Turkish Destroyer was cruising around & that she had attacked the Transport H.M.T Manitou. And in the scramble 62 of the Troops had been drowned, a large number having been picked up by our destroyer.
(27) Fine day. We have not sighted a steamer all day. Guess our ship is steering another course to dodge enemy destroyers. Pretty hard if we were attacked with all these mangled aboard. We have only 3 doctors on board & they work hard day & night to relieve the lads’ suffering.
(28) Several buried this morning. We arrived at Alexandria about 4P.M. & started straight way to get wounded ashore. There were a strong detachment of the R.A.M.C. men to carry them ashore & place them in the train for Heliopolis. 2 more Troopships came in tonight with wounded.
(29) Several Hospital ships arrive early this morning with more of the wounded, I met Jock Duncan coming off the Soudan on a stretcher, he had a bad wound in the thigh, he told me that many of my old pals had been hit.
(30) Troopships continue to blow in, also Hospital ships with our wounded. There are also a great many troops on the move for the Dardanelles. Things fairly hum over Alexander at present, what with the boys arriveing & motor Ambulances & other vehicles flying about it presents a very busy appearance.
May 1st Our Ship took aboard 1,600 Australian Troops this morning. I met lots of chaps I knew & of course had to give them a description of what took place on the 25th April they were all very interested listeners. We left here about 10P.M. to night for Lemnos.
(2) We are having a splendid trip so far. There is not too much room for moving about with such a crowd aboard, the ship is a vessel of about 4,000 tons. Met Sgt McKillop aboard who was in old D. Coy with me at Liverpool, also many others I knew very well. Another very pretty sunset this evening, worth any amount of money to see.
(3) Edie Mays Birthday 7 years God bless her. Another beautiful day, lads all anxious to get to their destination. All troops went through boat drill & manned ship for practice in case of an attack from enemy Submarines. There are supposed to be two Turkish Destroyers about having escaped from Smyrna during the bombardment of that place.
(4) Arrived at Lemnos early this morning. Saturnia arrived just after us with another crowd of Australians aboard. We hear our lads are holding on at "Anzac" although suffering heavy losses. The lads getting full up of being cooped up on board ship. Major Newland & his A.M.C. went off here to the Base Hospital.
(5) Still lying at anchor. Gets properley on ones nerves remaining inactive. Naval launch came alongside this evening with message to O.C. guess there is something doing. Heard later we were to leave early in the morning for the Dardanelles. News received with much cheering by the boys. All into bunk early tonight, as one never knows what tomorrow might bring forth.
More to follow - Dear X
Left Lemnos at 5.30 A.M. this morning & arrived off "Anzac" about 8.30 A.M. We were escorted by 2 destroyers. All troops ready for disembarking. There are scores of Troopships anchored off here also many Warships. There is heavy fighting going on ashore. We can see & hear the guns going a treat, & often shells burst over the Troopships the old "Seang Bee" had her deck damaged with Turkish Shrapnell. Our boys disembarked about midday, we tried to scramble off with them but were stopped & told we would be guilty of deserting our post aboard Ship, not a bad joke, suppose we will have to remain here until relieved. The Warships have their searchlights going all night.
(7) Fighting going on all night, mostly rifle fire, about 5 this morning things got extra willing, Big Guns talked & the air was alive with bursting shells. The Turks artillery fire a great many shells on our landing stage. The noise from "Queen Elizabeths guns was deafening it fairly drowned all other noises, The shells from her 15 inch guns burst with an awful crash, one would think half of the Hill had been blown away. when her shells struck them, Just after our Sea-planes went to roost a Turkish Aeroplane flew out over the Bay and was immediately fired on from the Warships, but they escaped.
(8) Things fairly quiet early this morning, but about 9.30 Queen Lizzies guns broke the solitude & they all took a hand "Big guns, machine guns & rifle fire & buzzing Seaplanes overhead made things real merry. Trawlers bringing our wounded off to the Hospital ships. The din slackened down about midday. The Turks apparently have their guns well concealed. The weather is Ideal.
(9) Very little rifle fire going on last night. About 10 A.M. this morning The Turks shell our landing stage, but only did slight damage. Several shells came out among the Troopships, a piece of Shrapnel tore a hole through a ventilator on board our ship. Many dead bodies of our lads taken out to sea & buried. Brig General Carruthers C.B. came aboard this afternoon to find out what stores were aboard. Our Warships doing a little bombarding this evening.
(10) We left Gaba-Tepe at 6 A.M this morning for Cape Hellas about 1 hours steam. There are many Warships & Troopships anchored off here. The Battleship Majestic was sunk off here her keel can be seen above water. The entrance to the Dardanelles from "Seddul-Bahr" to Fort Kum-Kale is about 3 miles & the depth about 50 fathoms, the highest point is "Tree Peak Hill" 730 feet above sea level. Heavy cannonading going on all day. Went with Ships 2nd Officer to H.M.S. Queen this afternoon, called on old Seang-Bee on the way back.
(11) Rain fell during the night. Heavy artillery having a day out, Shells flying in all directions, several fell near Base on beach. Many sick & wounded came aboard this afternoon. Lt Col Newmarsh is in command of the A.M.C. aboard. Things very lively ashore tonight & rifles & machine guns barking to some order.
(12) Weather rather cold. Heard the old 15 Bn came off successful in bayonet charge made yesterday. Have met several of my old comrades who have been wounded. Our Warships opened a terrific fire on Turkish Forts about 7P.M. tonight & kept it up for a couple of hours, & what a din, Flashes from the bursting shells & booming guns resembled Thunderstorms.
(13) Gun fire started again at midnight & kept up till early morning. We heard that "Fort Chanar" had been put out of action by yesterdays gunfire. H.M.S Golieth was sunk off Cape Helles & our losses were 540 seamen. Another batch of our wounded were brought aboard this afternoon, many were suffering from wounds for hours.
(14) Fine weather., Heavy fighting going on ashore. A Turkish Submarine reported to have got through the narrows last night. All transport ordered to leave at once for safe anchorage. Our Ship left about 4P.M. & arrived at Lemnos just after 6 oclock after a fast run across. We steamed inside the harbour boom & anchored.
(15) Still lying at anchor. Troopships continue to arrive with fresh troops. Heard that our Australian Submarine A.E.2 had got into the "Sea of Marmora" & had been captured by the Turks & her crew made prisoner. Lt Col Newmarsh O.C on board our ship, paraded before him this morning in reference to getting this job as we are full up with this game. He promised to do his best for us.
(16) Beautiful day. Making preparations for another move, lots of medical stores taken off also A.M.C. men belonging to the Royal Naval Division who are to do duty in Egypt.
(17) Left Lemnos about 6 A.M. this morning & passed "Nikaria Island" about 5.30P.M which was steaming home. I had several of the R.N. Division handed over to me to augment my Ships Guard.
(18) Having fine weather at sea & glorious Sunshine "Tommie" Officers making things lively for their men, they have them scrubbing down decks every morning needless to say the "gresey Greek crew dont raise any objections.
(19) Arrive at Alexandria at 7.30 A.M. this morning after a smart passage. The R.N. Division all disembarked here & went into Camp at "[indecipherable]". Our sick & wounded were taken off and sent to Heliopolis & San Stefano Hospitals. Having very warm weather here.
(20) Waiting for orders as for our next move. Had a stroll round the City. Egyptians making great preparations for the Sultan Huessian who arrives here next Monday. The principal parts of the City to the Palace at "Ras-el-Tin" are gaily decorated with venetian poles & flags, mostly "Gyppo" flags.
(21) Went along to "Bosto" as they call the Post Office to post some letters for the boys at the front. Some of the Australian troops who are still camped here had a box-on with some sailors off the American Cruiser "North Carolina & had a win, many on both sides finished up with bent faces.
(22) Fine weather. Ships taking in Coal, water & provisions. Major Gordon & his 30 A.M.C men took their medical stores & baggage aboard Troopship "Werflingen" which is leaving tonight for the Dardanelles, we also receive orders to join her.
(23) Here we are again back on the "Osmanieh" they told us we would have to remain here until relieved. Very amusing, no one seems to want us, keep on smiling. Went into the City this afternoon to see his royal nibs the Sultan arrive, what a gay turn out to be sure, he had a great welcome. A mob of wild Australians ran amok in the town again tonight & the niggers flew in all directions. (why not)
(24) Grand old Empire Day. Received good news that Italy at last decides to make war on Germany & Austria & about time too. Many patriotic demonstrations in the City.
(25) Fine weather. Had a visit from a Warrant Officer from Ordnance department this morning, & handed over to him all spare rifles & ammunition & had invitation aboard S.S. Anselma de Farringa from Chief Officer Duncan of Liverpool & spent a couple of hours card playing.
(26) We left Alexandria this morning at 6 oclock for Lemnos. Captain received orders to steer different course this time owing to Submarine being reported. We indulge in some rifle shooting to day at floating targets just to keep our hand in. Steaming with all lights out tonight. Sea very calm.
(27) Fine weather. Passed by the Island of "Crete" more rifle shooting to day. Ships captain has a shot also he is not a bad old "Bird". Splendid scenery along Greek coast Steaming with all lights out tonight. Held a "miniature" banquet tonight the Cap & Ship Engineer being present, the skipper thinks a lot of our boys.
(28) Fine weather. Arrived at Lemnos about 10 A.M. this morning after a splendid trip. A great many warships lying at Anchor here, mostly French. The Ship’s Captain & myself went aboard Headquarters ship H.M.T. Arogon this afternoon for orders. Heard we have lost 2 more Warships in the attack on Dardanelles, we are finding it a very hard nut to crack.
(29) Paid another visit to H.M.T. Arogan this morning to see Cpt Dunlop in reference to our being sent to join or Battn & got the same old promises. The big Cunard liner "Mauretania" arrived this morning with 5,500 British troops aboard, she is a splendid ship.
(30) Beautiful weather. We are still lying at anchor, this job getting us down. They have over 700 Turkish Prisoners of War on Lemnos. They keep them nobbing making roads.
(31) S.S. Tunisian came alongside our ship this morning crowded with British troops , composed of the Royal Dublin Fusilers, Munster Fusilers, Lanearshire Fusilers, Essex Regt & other details.
June 1st Still lying at anchor. Munster Fusilers left to day for Seddul Bahr, also Field Artillery (We gave a decent burial to some cheese,s which by the smell of them, have been dead for some time, should have been used against the Turks for noxious gases)
(2) As per usual still Idle. Took stock of stores aboard ship this morning, will report to Headquarters tomorrow, at the same time must make another effort to get rid of this job.
(3) Fine Weather. The H.M.T. Vaderland (Southland) came alongside our ship this morning she is a fine big vessel. We had invitation on board from Chief Steward for lunch & took advantage of it & they blew our kite out properly.
(4) We took about 600 of our own lads on board this afternoon for Gaba Tepe & arrived here at 11P.M. tonight. Plenty of rifle fire going on ashore. We are looking forward to popping off with this batch of troops in the morning.
(5) Raining & strong winds blowing, sea coming up very rough. Unable to land the Troops Ship had to leave Gaba-Tepe at 9.30, the boys all ready for hopping off. Heavy fireing going on, Shells bursting over our landing stage.
(6) Weather clearing up. All boys went ashore in lighters towed by naval pinnaces 3 A.M. this morning. All anxious for a dust up. joined my old Bn, lots of my old mates still going strong but many faces missing, Some of the lads had heard that the ship I was doing Guard duty on had been torpedoed, & looked rather surprised when they saw me. Parsons & myself went down to Anzac this morning for a dip, but of course had our plesure spoilt by the Turks shelling.
(7) Fell in for duty this morning & was attached to No 6. Platoon B. Coy left gully at 7 A.M. & went up on "Walkers Ridge" to do some sapping in support trenches. Plenty of stray bullets flying around, a bloke wants to keep his nut down or he will quick get it smacked. The place fairly reeks with dead bodies & other unsanitary arrangements, of course it cannot be helped. The only time they can get to bury the dead is at night time & there is always a risk.
June until 22nd – Same routine, working & dodging bullets etc
(23) Several shells burst among our dugouts this afternoon wounding 5 of our boys. The Turks also shelled the beach heavily killing & wounding many. One of our Battleships tried hard to silence Turkish Battery but did not appear to have made much impression as they continued. Our Howitzer guns then took a hand and must have got a few shots in as they got a lot quieter towards evening. was promoted to full Sergeant to day, dating from June 11th.
24 & 25
Turks artillery doing great damage on the beach both to men & stores, men have received warning not to go bathing untill the evening, but the days are so hot they will risk anything to get a dip – A dust up took place on "Quinns Post" last night between the L. Horse & Turks, pretty lively while it lasted.
26 & 27
Weather getting very hot. Turned out at 3 A.M. this morning & marched out on our left front, while carrying out this job another attack was made on "Quinns Post" by the Turks & the bullets came singing through the air near our Position, of course we kept our nobs down. On our way back to bivouac a Shrapnell burst about 15 yards overhead but slightly in front of us & luckily no one was hit. Our casualties on Quinns Post were 103. Several shells burst over our dug outs this evening & several of the boys who were preparing their evening meal were hit.
28 & 29
13th Bn Inlying Picquet to day. Heavy fighting going on at Cape Helles. Things fairly quiet on our front. One of our aeroplanes passed over Turkish lines this afternoon & was fired at by the enemy but escaped uninjured. More casualties among our lads on the beach to day. Heavy fireing all along our line this evening, Turks took advantage of the storm that was blowing & tried to rush our trenches, but they lost heavily & had to retire.
(30) At daylight this morning it was seen how great the losses of the Turks were as the bodies were pretty thick all over the ground in front of "Walkers Ridge, some of them got very close to our trenches, others jumped in only to have their heads battered in. We also took some prisoners. A Thunderstorm came up tonight & things were anyhow, The Turks made another mad rush but were repulsed, our casualties were slight.
More to follow Mother X
Hope they don’t weary you, it is just something to pass the time away. Toot-Toot.
July 1st 
Fairly quiet all night. A little sniping indulged in at Daylight. A great deal of damage done on the beach , several lighters wrecked by the Storm which passed over last night. Sgt Parsons & myself paid a visit up to the 26th Indian Mountain Battery this afternoon, they are splendid fellows We had a par of good field glasses & could see the Turkish supply columns coming from Maidos to "Achi-Baba". While we were in Gun emplacements a 15 pounder shell came tearing overhead & burst quite near the N.Z. Battery but no harm was done, Parsons & I thought it was about time to get under cover. We returned to our bivouac and had a meal of Biscuits & Cheese & a nice dixie of hot Tea, very moreish, but we have to make a little go a long way as water is so very scarce.
(2) Stand to Arms at 4 this morning, B. Company fell in at 7A.M & marched out to number 3 outpost to work on big sap. One of the N. Zealanders shot by his own men in mistake for Turk early this morning, his mates were burying him when we went out. Heavy bombardment going on down at Cape Helles & Achi-Baba. Our Howitzer Guns open a heavy fire on Turkish Positions in front of "Walkers ridge". Returned to bivouac at 3P.M the 15th Battn relieving us in the "Big Sap" this work continues day & night the sap being about 9 feet deep & 8 feet wide to allow mules laden with Ammunition to pass each other.
(3) Had a little rain through the night. Everything fairly quiet in Trenches to day. The usual amount of shells deposited on "Anzac" beach by Turk artillery, its very strange the enemy opens fire at regular intervals on our landing place. Of course we are getting quite used to it by now, one can hear the screech of the Shells as they pass overhead & then there is a dash for cover of any description, but its hard to tell where they are going to burst. Several lighters & Naval launches have been sunk at various dates. And very often men are killed & wounded. It is a marvel there are not more hit as there are often large numbers working on the beach & so on. The Dressing Station get their share of the shells that come alone and often get smacked while attending to the wounded.
(4) Stand to arms at 3 A.M left Bivouac at 4 A.M to do fatigue work on the beach. They are erecting large iron tanks for water supply, which they will pump from water boats. 2 large shells came over this morning from the direction of "Fort Chanar" one dropped into the sea very close to one of our Trawlers, which soon moved out of the way. The other dropped on the beach & never burst, it was supposed to be fired from the German Warship "Golben" it was an 11 inch Shell. of course we all had to go down at breakfast time & inspect it. On our way back to the Bivouac "Lonely Liz" sent over a few shells one of which burst amongst a fatigue party from the 15th & killed 1 man & wounded 11 others. Heavy fighting taking place out on Tasmania Post to night.
(5) Out at 4 again this morning to do sapping out on the left. Snipers get to work at us about 10 o.clock but got no one. Returned at midday. The 16th Bn were taken off in lighters this afternoon for a 4 days rest on the Island of Imbros about 11 miles off. Turk artillery soon discovered the movement & rained shells on them, but strange to say no one was hit.. Parsons & myself had a grand view from an old Turkish trench, we could see the flash from their gun when it was fired , & the shells burst over the lighters the bullest lashing the water into foam. When dusk came on Turks cease fire.
(6) Things pretty quiet again last night had a decent sleep. Fell in at 9 this morning for inspection by Mjr-Gen Monash, Major Tilney of the 16th Bn took command of our Bn with the rank of Lt. Col. Our old Commander Col Burnage having gone to England wounded. Things got pretty lively this evening. Turk artillery trying hard to get N.Z. Battery out of action, shrapnell bursting overhead a treat. After all the din our casualties numbered only 2 men wounded. Great scarcity of water at present, one gets so thirsty this warm weather. The engineers are sinking new wells over in Monash Gullie, so far they have struck good drinking water. We are allowed 1 pint somedays & a quart others.
(7) Usual sniping goes on all night. 13 Bn inlying picquet today. Parsons & myself get permission from O.C. to go for a dip, which is very acceptable after so much heat & dust. H.M.S Humber bombards Turk Battery out towards "Lone Pine" this afternoon. Turks getting very active on our lefty no doubt preparing for another wild charge. Well let em all come we are quite ready for them. Sending rockets up to night to illuminate the space between enemys trenches & our own to guard against Turkish surprise attack.
(8) On the move at 4 this morning for fatigue work on the beach, We had only been down about 20 minutes when over came a shell & burst pretty high in the air, but 4 of our boys were wounded. We returned to bivouac about 10 A.M. About midday Turks train their guns on N.Z. Battery again, smashing a wheel of one of them. Of course our dug-outs being in rear of them we often get fragments of shell & showers of earth & stones. Got pretty quiet again until after 6 o,clock when they got noise,s in the head and they started a lively artillery duel & kept going for over an hour finishing up the Chorus with a merry tune on the machine guns. Afterwards quietness reigned supreme.
9 Very quiet night, took advantage and had a splendid snore. 13th Battn inlying Picquet to day. Turned out very hot and dusty. 2nd Division under General Godley makeing preparations out on the left for new offensive movement. Turks appear to have got noises in their heads tonight as they kept up a pretty heavy machine gun fire. Of course our guns reply occasionally to keep them company.
Stand to arms at 3.10 this morning. Fireing became very brisk along the whole front expecting an attack from the enemy but after waiting to accomadate him it never came off. Our 15th Reinfts arrived this morning with the exception of 8 men who were wounded coming ashore. Fierce fighting between our Warships and Forts at Kilid- Bahr this afternoon. H.M.S Lord Nelson done some splendid shooting. Turks anti-aircraft guns try hard to bring one of our aeroplanes down this evening but failed. There are great numbers of dead Turks lying in front of our lines, stench from them very bad. Things much quieter to night. Both sides must have wasted an enormous amount of ammunition today.
11 Left Bivouac at midnight to go road marking out on the left returned at 4 this morning 14th Battn relieving us. Things getting joyful on Walkers Ridge again, Bombs freely used by the enemy but with small success. Kilid-Bahr again Bombarded by Warships this afternoon. Things getting quite lively across the whole front towards dusk, looks as though there will be something doing. They appear to be having a ding-dong go down at Seddul-Bahr judging by the roar of cannon.
12 Roused out at 3 this morning expecting to make an attack on enemy trenches, the 6th Battn Infantry & 6th L.H. Regt made a bayonet charge on our right & captured a trench. They had 11 killed & 23 wounded. We heard the British forces in the South had done well, they get it pretty rough down there at times. Hurrah, get letters from home. We formed our new bomb party to day expecting to do great things. They call us the "Suicide Club".
13 Marched down to beach again this morning for more fatigue work, but didnt remain long as the Turks Artillery got to work on us,
several 5 of our lads hit. Parsons & myself got clear again. Our 6th Reinfts arrived this morning, also some of our lads who went away early in the Campaign with wounds and are now fit again. Turks shell beach again this evening doing little damage
14 13th Battn Inlying Picquet again to day. Turks blew one of our trenches up this morning at "Courtney Post" injuring a great many. Big Battle in progress down at "Krithia" the air seems full of bursting shells. Turk Artillery pays attention to us again this evening and give us a shower of Shrapnel bullets killing 4 and wounding 7 A Doctor had both legs blown off.
15 Stand to Arms at 3 this morning. Turk guns again busy, they pour a great many shells into our Batteries but little damage done. Aeroplanes report Turks doing a lot of sapping out on our left. Down for a dip this afternoon must have been hundreds in the water when over came a couple of shells and burst high in the air some of the lads make a dash for the shore while others remain paddling about, there were three men wounded. Although dangerous it has its humorous side. Lessons in Bomb Throwing this evening.
16 Had a good nights rest. Turks shelling our Supply Base hevily this morning. HMS Humber exchanged shots with Turkish Field Battery out towards "Lone Pine" position but seem unable to silence them. The Turks have one gun out there which our boys have named "Beachy Bill" and another on our left near "Anafarta" which they call "Lonely Liz" they cause no end of trouble to us. The boys in fireing line get busy this evening with their machine guns, So does the Turk sending showers of bullets overhead
sighing like wind they fairly whistle.
[a sketch of something that is unidentifiable]
17 July 
13th Battn Inlying Picquet to day. Very quiet along the whole front this morning. Turned out another very hot and dusty day. Water still very scarce. About 6 oclock this evening the din broke out again, especially on our right were they had many casualties. Another fight raging down at "Seddul-Bahr". Two more 6 inch Howitzer Batteries brought ashore at "Anzac" tonight, and covered with bushes so that enemy aeroplanes cannot detect them.
Turk artillery have a go at another of our aeroplanes this
18 Fairly quiet all night. Stand to Arms at 4 this morning, but nothing doing. Church Parade held this morning, good attendance. Colonel Rae & Capt Gillies conduct service. The lesson was in reference to St Paul crossing from Asia to Greece & introducing Christianity to Europe for the first time, very interesting knowing we are in the vicinity of where these happenings took place. Turks again shell the Base this afternoon doing a fair amount of damage, and wounding 5 men. It has been very hot to day, men going around in knickers, Hat, and boots,
19 Our Batteries open first on Turkish Position early this morning doing damage to their trenches. One of our Aeroplanes flew over enemy lines this afternoon and dropped two bombs, we could see the bombs released from the machine and fall among their trenches, with an awful crash. H.M.S. Humber bombards Turkish forts on our right with her 14 inch guns. Destroyers close inshore to night using searchlights & fireing on the enemy.
20 Things got very lively on our right early this morning, expecting an attack from Turks. 3 Battn in rediness to reinforce men in fireing line if needed, Went for a dip this afternoon. Had a good feed on our return consisting of Biscuits, singed bacon and Bully Beef warmed up to , to say nothing of half a tin of Deakins Apricot jam, the stuff that does more damage than half the shells fired on Peninsula. However what dont fatten will fill.
13th Inlying picquet to day. 3 of our Warships hard at it down at Cape Hellas this morning Turks reply to their fire and some of their shells go pretty close. Our Howitzer’s hurl a few shells at Turk trenches this evening just to let em know we have a few rounds left I suppose. Turk Artillery also waste lots of ammunition fireing at one of our aeroplanes this evening. One of our lads killed by falling empty shell case.
22 Stand to arms at 3 oclock this morning untill 5.30. After a feed a party of us went down for a dip out near no 2 outpost, after about a dozen of us were splashing about like a lot of youngsters, the Turk snipers opened fire on us and then there was some joy getting to the shore, it seemed such a long way off, but they only hit one man in the arm after all sniping, needless to say we did not venture in again that day. Expecting an attack to night, stood to arms at 11P.M and dispersed at midnight nothing doing.
23 Another alarm at 1 oclock this morning but false one. So lay down with all equipment on for a doze again. But roused again at 1.30 and stood to arms until daylight, waiting for Turks to Box-on. Our Howitzer,s carry out usual programme bombarding enemy trenches. Turk gunners reply and do some good shooting. Warships stir them up with a few high explosives now and then, for old times sake.
24 Stand to arms at 1 oclock this morning until 4 A.M. but the wily Turks have not made the long expected charge as yet. Enemy guns shell beach
hevily again this morning doing a lot of damage to stores. Sounds of heavy fireing going on out towards "Krithia". Everything pretty quiet on our left. Retire early to night for a good rest.
25 Out again at 1 oclock this morning as Turks were reported comeing on towards our trenches, so every man on the alert. But the Turks came at our troops near "Walkers Ridge" and got a warm reception leaving many dead on the field. Our losses were 28 killed and wounded. They carry out their usual programme and shell the Base and landing stage, several reported to have been wounded. They can hardly miss hitting someone as there are allways such a large number of men doing duty on the beach.
26 Stand to arms at 3 this morning untill daylight. Turk snipers shot several of our lads while bathing this morning. The usual artillery compliments paid by both sides. 4 New Zealanders shot down by machine gun fire while erecting barb wire defences on our left. The 4th Brigade shift our Bivouac over to "Shrapnell Gully" this evening not a very homely place as stray bullets drop around pretty frequently.
27 A lot of rifle fire indulged through the night, finishing up by our crowd being called to arms on two occasions at midnight and 3.30 this morning (No rest for the Wicked). Several of our lads returned from Hospital this morning. Turk artillery get the range to a nicety and do a great deal of damage on the beach. A bit of hurry-up going on our left this evening. Into burough early to night for a snooze.
28 To arms again at 4 this morning fireing pretty brisk all along our front,
some one another false alarm. Turk Artillery drop numerous shells on the beach and into our bivouac this afternoon killing and wounding a large number of our lads some awfull sights. Got orders to get back to our old bivouac, and did so, quick and lively , but on the way a Turk shell burst among a crowd of our boys and killed 3 and wounded 12. We had a very bad day. The dead were taken down and buried in cemetry at "Hells spit" the wounded removed to dressing station.
29 Had a good spell all night and was properly in need of it. Everything pretty quiet along our front this morning. Sgt Parsons beginning to break down in health, but insists in remaining with the boys. One of our aeroplanes flew over enemy lines & dropped bombs this afternoon and had no sooner retired when a German Aeroplane came over our lines and dropped 2 bombs one fell into the sea and the other killed 3 mules. Warm weather and water still very scarce.
30 Stand to arms at 4 this morning. Went for a dip after breakfast Turks put in a few shells on the beach wounding 4 men. Our Monitor & French Battleship bombard "Achi-Baba" this afternoon. German Aeroplane came over our lines again this evening and dropped bombs & steel darts about 3½ inches long but did no damage.
31 Very quiet all night. Parsons & myself took a tour round "Walkers Ridge" after breakfast had a good pair of glass,s & could see Turks gunners working their 10 Pounder gun against our trenches at "Quinns Post", Hard to distinguish enemy trenches from our own now, as they are so jumbled up. Especially at "Popes Hill" where it is a mass of trenches. We witnessed a grand but deadly sight this evening on our right & away down South were the Turks attacked our lines. The air was alive with bursting shells of all calibre,s, the rattle of musketry was deafening. Got quiet again after dark.
August 1st 1915
Heavy fighting took place all night on our right the 11th & 12th Battn of the 3rd Brigade having done good work capturing 2 lines of enemy trenches after stubborn resistance. Our casualties were about 125 killed & wounded. A German aeroplane flew over our own position this afternoon but made off when 2 of our machine guns came on the scene. Turks started lively Machine gun and rifle fire after dark, but made no attack.
2nd Our Brigade stood to Arms at 3.30 A.M. this morning expecting an attack. The 6th Reinforcement from Egypt this morning and were posted to various Company,s. Received orders to be ready to move off at minutes notice, all the boys anxious for a bit of hurry-up. Turned out a very warm day and awfully dusty, with very small supply of water to quench ones thirst. Turks get noises in the head to night and fire wildly for about 20 minutes, doing very little damage.
3) A quiet night spent. Great preparations still being made by all hands for the expected advance. Water supply still very poor. Met Lieut Gould of the 4th Battn in "Shrapnell Gully" this afternoon, he was with our Company at Liverpool for a time. Great quantity of Ammunition and other stores including large tins of water which were brought from Egypt for the Troops. Also many new Troops. Turks send over a few shells from their 75 cm gun among our bivouacs but luckily no-one was hit. Great din along the whole front to night.
4) 4,000 Imperial Troops came ashore through the night, Turks put a few shells over to welcome them. German aeroplane came over our trenches this morning and dropped 4 bombs which fell with a deafening crash but no material damage. A "Monitor" shelled Turkish Field Bayteries on our right near "Krithia". Turks put several shells over our Bivouac this afternoon killing 2 New Zealanders and wounding one of the 13th. Brisk rifle fire at intervals throughout the night.
5) Stand to arms at 4 A.M. this morning. Making ready for the great offensive. More Imperial Troops came ashore last night. One Battln each from the Cheshire Regt and Worcester Regt. Spent the afternoon in making bags for Bomb carriers 4 men from each Coy in Bomb party. Turks getting very troublesome with their Artillery they put one of the New Zealand Batteries guns out of Action and killed 2 gunners this afternoon near "Walkers Ridge". They also sent a few over our "Bivouac’ from their 75cm guns and send showers of stones and dit down on the boys Dug-outs.
6th Aug Great activity in our lines to day putting final touches to everything, such as sewing our white arm bands on to Tunic,s and also on the back, so as to distinguish our own men in case of a mix up to night. Water bottles are filled and enough rations for 48 hours. The 4th Brigade addressed by Brig-General Monash this afternoon when we had our portion of the programme explained to us. The 29th Indian Brigade came ashore last night and were hidden away in dug-outs in case enemy aeroplanes should hover over position and see new troops and raise the alarm, up till the present everything has gone off well. About 5P.M our Howitzer,s of which we have quite a large number, although of a very old pattern, started a heavy Bombardment of the Turkish position right along the whole front And what a din. Our boys received orders not to fire a shot in the advance, everything was to be done with the bayonet. Our Brigade moved quietly out after dark to wards No. 3 Outpost, where we were to support the New Zealanders in the assault on the Foot-hills at "Taylors Gap" About 9P.M the assault commenced in earnest the N.Z,s and "Maori,s" led off with our Brigade in Support, The Turks were caught napping and the majority went off at the double, some hung on and fought desperately but were either killed or taken prisoners, as we were to strong in numbers for them, there were several hand-to-hand combats with the Turks and old B. Coy. The little hill above "Taylors Gap" was strewn with dead and badly wounded whose cries for Water Water were pitiful. We had received orders before the assault that men wounded in the abdomen were not to be given water as it would do them more harm than good. Our Coy lost many men about this spot, young Dawson "Sutton" Robertson & Walker and several other chaps that came away in the 2nd Reinforcements with me were killed or wounded. Away we went tumbling over rocks and bushes in the dark and yelling out any old thing to make a noise, wherever we saw a rifle spit we would make for it and so on in the hurly-burly
About 11 o,clock Lieut Perry was struck in the shoulder and Lieut Marks was wounded and had to retire. Lieut Pulling was shot dead. We could hear the Turk artillery getting their guns away in the dark, but unfortunately we were to late to make a capture.
What a night, we could hear the NZ,s yelling away on our right as they made their way up to "Chunak Bair", we came upon some barb-wire entanglements but after battering and tearing away for a time we got through, and went on with Capt Salier.
7th The battle raged fast and furious all night. Our boys were driveing the Turks from one ridge to another inflicting loss,s and in many cases makeing prisoners, we also had many casualties due to Turkish snipers being hidden in tree tops. The New Zealanders, Gurkhas, and several Battlns of Imperial troops reached our main objective "Hill 971" Chunak Bair and terrible fighting took place, further on our left our Brigade supported by the Wiltshire Regt and a Battln of the Kings Own Light Infantry were putting in good work, but arrived just to late to capture a Battery of enemy Guns which were splendidly concealed in an Olive grove, some of our Company were quite close and could hear the Turks shouting out orders and whipping their horses up, in their efforts to save their guns, they left many rounds of big Gun ammunition behind (The famous "Lonely Liz" was one of the guns lost.) We went well out scraping all the way untill meeting superior numbers when we dug in and held on.
We were greatly surprised when we saw Warships and Transports in Suvla Bay as we never heard they intended makeing another landing and what a "mess" it was, it being daylight when the movement commenced, with the result that the Turk Artillery played havoc among them as they advanced across open fields, we could see them falling in dozens. We held 3 wells for a time but had to leave.
8th Battle still going strong, Warships shelling "Hill 971" and the W. Hills in our front all night, the Imperial Troops gain a footing on the "Chocolate Hills" after some stiff fighting, but unable to connect up with our line. At daybreak our Brigade was ordered to attack "Hill 60. The 14th – 15th and 16th supported by the 13th went [indecipherable] forward in grand style but soon came under heavy Machine gun and rifle fire which checked our progress, men took what little cover there was and held on for a little more than an hour. Several small parties of our boys were cut of and either killed or made prisoners. The Turks were being strongly reinforced and we retired to our old position, leaveing many of our gallant lads dead on the Field, our retirement was covered by our machine guns. We started right away to consolidate our position and prepare for any attack the enemy might deliver. The Turks must have brought up thousands of Troops on "Hill 971 as they fairly swarmed over the flat top when they attacked our troops, we could see the big naval shells bursting among them which must have killed hundreds. The dead were piled up in places, our loss,es were very heavy also, and the :Hill Top was lost, the Turks fought bravely as did the New Zealanders who hung to their position right through.
Troops badly in need of water.
9th Fighting continues all night, first in favour of one then the other. In several places the British gained a position and held on. The Turkish fighters very troublesome, picking off many men,
About 7.A.M. a force of about 200 Turks jumped from their trenches and attacked us on "Saliers Post" we were about 130 strong and the boys were very fatigued after the last few days hard work, but every man sprang to it, grabbed his rifle and got to them, the range being about 200 yards only, it was almost impossible to miss hitting someone. As the Turks left their trenches and ran down the opposite slop to attack us led by a big German Officer, we let them have it properly. They went over like "skittles", of course the German got more than one bullet. More than half the attackers must have fell, a few got close to our trenches 3 of them were just about to Bomb our Machine Gun when they were shot. Their wounded that were able crept back to their own lines, our casualties were slight 4 of our chaps being wounded. They came at us again after dark but our bombs being directed well kept them off, but our loss,es were heavier They attacked the K.O.S.B on our right and were repulsed.
10th Turks made an attack at daybreak along our front, but were repulsed, we lost many men. We were relieved at 6 A.M. by A and D Coy,s were only out of the trenches about an hour when we were hurried back again, as Turks were massing on our left in large numbers. The Wilts Regt on our left command approaches to Water Wells. About midday things got very lively on our right which is held by K.O.S.B Regt, supported by 15th Battln. The boys are properly worn out with fatigue. Water very scarce, what little one did get was like mud, Pitifull sights to see around the water holes in the "Dere" were scores of soldiers hang around almost famished.
Our cruisers open fire on Turkish reinforcements on "Hill 971 and smash them up properly. The slopes covered with dead and wounded.
11th. Everybody very weary. 13th Battln ranks very thin. We are haveing few hours out of Firing line will now have a sleep. Woke after 5 hours sound sleep feeling very refreshed. A wash quite out of the question, so walk about covered with dust as usual. Drinking water hard to procure (Oh, to be among good water again.) The Battle still going strong on 971 and the "Chocolate Hills. The Turks go for the "Imperial Troops like one thing. They are mostly lads of the new army and are brand new at roughing it, but will soon be broken in. We go into fireing line at 9P.M relieving A and D Company. Capt. Salier in command of B. and C. Coys with Lieuts Brierly and Boccard.
12th The lads working hard all night strengthening our position against attack, The usual snipeing indulged in at daybreak, time to catch the Turks carrying water to their trenches. Turkish artillery fire a few shrapnell shells over our position this morning, I was in the act of putting a clip of cartridges into the magazine of rifle, when a bullet went clean through – Of course had to get another magazine form damaged rifle. The S.W.B.s Regt did some good work on our left this evening. Turk artillery from "Anafarta" fired on one of our warships that came rather close inshore and drove her off. They also shelled a mule train bringing our supplies from the beach, there was a great slaughter among men and animals, also stretcher-bearers and wounded who were making their way towards the dressing station were blown to atoms. I passed by on my way after water late in the afternoon, the sights were indescribable. Several parties out to night burying the dead.
13th Heavy artillery duel on this morning. Tommies dropping out of ranks for want of water. Turkish snipers picking our men off when going for water. Fighting still goes on all along the line, great carnage on 971 – large numbers of dead Turks and some of our own lads lying in front of our own lines, stench very sickening. Went into fireing line at 7.30P.M. (received letter from home very cheering.) everything pretty quiet until about midnight when they got real joyfull.
14th Snipers busy early this morning enfilading our trenches. Turned out another very warm day. Water supply slowly improving. Turks shelled our bivouac for over 2 hours this afternoon killing several and wounding others. More Troops being landed at Suvla Bay the enemy being pressed back in some places. A great many of our lads being struck down with sickness are being taken to "Anzac". After dark I crept out over the parapet and recovered 2 Paybooks and other belongings from two of our dead comrades who fell in the advance. Snipers "possies" pretty close to our firing line, got to be very cautious.
15th Warships continue to shell 971, and Turkish Field batteries at "Anafarta". Several of our lads wounded earlier in the campaign returned to Battln to day. Sick list growing daily. Troops preparing for another dash at 971. Heard this morning that our 1st Division made an attack on "Lone Pine" to the right of "Anzac" and were successful, but lost very heavily. Capt A. Snow a splendid officer of the 1st Battln who had previously won the Military Cross was recommended for the CV.C. He died from wounds. Several of us run a risk this afternoon and went for a dip to get some of the dirt off, Turks got a Machine Gun on to us and we were off in a twinkling all escaped unhurt. Went into trenches at 7.P.M relieving D. Coy.
16th Fairly quiet night all along the line. Heavy fireing down at Cape Hellas, heard they were making another attack on "Achi-Baba". Turkish Artillery try to bring down naval observation balloon at Suvla Bay but again fail. Our Howitzers shell enemys trenches on our front this afternoon. More fighting out towards Salt lake, Turks appear to have upper hand holding all important positions. 3 of our lads wounded this afternoon. Some of the 14th Battln sunk a well near Olive grove and struck good water.
17th Everything much quieter last night. Turk snipers doing lots of damage again, had 2 of my section both Brothers, killed early just after daybreak ("Darky" & Harry Rice") fine brave fellows. Bill Curtis was shot through the jaw while having a nap, and Cpl Kay shot through the right shoulder, taken to dressing station. Very difficult job getting killed and wounded out of firing line, owing to narrowness. A German aeroplane flew over our trenches this afternoon and dropped 2 bomb,s and lots of steel darts, but all fell in front of our lines. One of our "Planes" took after the "Taube" which went off at a great speed, easily escaping from our machine. Sickness claiming many of our lads.
18th Plenty of hurry-up on our left early this morning. Turk Artillery got busy early, must have received fresh supplies of Gun ammunition. Snipers getting more troublesome than ever, Some shrapnell shells burst over bivouac about midday, while the boys were enjoying tinned dog and Biscuits, 4 were killed 1 badly wounded. Turks discover were our new water wells are, and when a crowd gather for water, they get their Machine Gun to work and then there,s a scramble.
19th Fairly quiet last night had a grand snore. About 7 this morning some wild cheering took place on our right, we heard afterwards that the British Troops had made a charge near "Flat-Top" and carried a position. We had a stiff fall of rain this morning and were soon wet through, we have not yet received our overcoats or blankets which we left at "Anzac". the night of the advance. Turkish Field Guns doing some good shooting, against out Howitzer Battery neat No.3. outpost Sgt Parsons and myself had a glorious feed to night, haveing "borrowed" some honey from empty Farm house.
20th Very cold last night after the rain. A little sniping going on this morning otherwise pretty quiet. About midday Turkish Artillery got busy again hurling shells about, one of our Cruisers done good shooting, one of her shells crashed into Turks gun pit, putting gun and most of the gunners out of action. Our forces are well supplied with aircraft no fewer than 5 were up this afternoon observing, The Turks got to work at them with anti-aircraft guns but did no damage. Shells look pretty bursting high in air great danger from falling empty cases.
21st Fairly quiet night, Turks made attack at daylight on S.W.Bs trenches on our left but were beaten back. All prepareing for another dash, our Howitzers start heavy bombardment of enemy trenches about 5P.M. the boys waiting ready for charge. Tough job on hand, about 6 o,clock we lept over the parapets and dashed down the slopes and on towards the Turks trenches , many of our boys were knocked over getting out of our trenches, others killed & wounded going forward. The Turks had several machine guns playing on us besides rifle fire. Things were very warm, an 8 inch shell burst and set fire to scrub, many of our wounded were burnt to death. We reached our objective and captured part but lost heavily. Lieuts Carter & Thompson wounded. We consolidated position through the night.
22nd Turks try to drive us out of newly won "possy" but fail, we were reinforced by 100 men before daylight the ground we charged over littered with our dead and many wounded. Warships and Howitzers again bombard enemy trenches this afternoon, expecting to make another attack this evening, hope we have better success. Major Herring reported our Battln to weak to make assault, we numbered only 160 men. Remained on defensive all night.
23rd Turks made attack on our position at 2.A.M. this morning, but met with a very warm reception and were obliged to retire, at daylight there were many dead Turks lying in front of our Trenches. We were relieved by 2 Coys of the 16th Battln at 8.A.M. this morning, and after working our way back, at times on hands & knees through prickly scrub and stonking bodies of Turks we reached our Bivouac about 400 yards in rear of fireing line. After haveing a good fill of Beef & Biscuits we curled up for a much needed sleep.
24th) Wide awake again at 5.A.M. this morning after a beautifull sleep and dreams of "Home Sweet Home". Things got really lively on our left this morning when the 18th Battln 5th Brigade which landed a few days ago, and were under fire for first time made a great charge, but when things appeared to be going well they were ordered to retire. And it was then that the Turks machine guns cut them up. They lost many men. We had 2 Companies of the 17th Battln attached to us, our own strength is about 320 men, our ranks have been thinned out since the 6th. Turkish Artillery "whacking" plenty of shells into our bivouac this afternoon but do no damage, everybody being well under cover.
25) Had another good nights rest. Our Howitzer guns do some good shooting this morning, dropping high explosives into enemy trenches and shifting things generaly at the same time. (Received news from Home Sweet Home). Lieut Boccard and myself went over to our old trenches on "Saliers Post" this afternoon to find most suitable place for instructing bomb throwers from the 17th & 18th Battlns. On our way back Turkish snipers opened fire on us and you should have seen us trying to break all sprinting records, we had not very far to go, but before we were far across Lieut Boccard staggered, and fell having been shot in the stomach lost no time in getting him into a place of safety and shouted for stretcher bearers who are always ready to do their duty and Dr Purvey who was quickly on the scene, soon dressed the wound and hurried him off to "Anzac" Dr says it was very bad wound but there was a chance of recovery.
26) Stand to arms at 4 A.M. this morning, but nothing doing. Spent the rest of the morning giving instruction in Bomb Throwing to 17th & 18th Battln and my own party. The lads shaped very well. Turk artillery indulge in a little shooting this afternoon and drop several close to water wells. Rough weather coming up from Sou-west, guess we are in for a wet night. Got busy and rigged up water-proofs for cover.
27th) Some heavy showers fell last night making things very uncomfortable. Preparations being made this morning for another advance. Heavy Bombardment from our Warships and land Batteries start about 4.30 this afternoon and lasted for over an hour, then we went mad climbed over the parapets and down the slope in front of our trenches, but the Turks were quite ready for us and our Coy was cut up badly before we had gone 100 yards, but we scrambled on another 50 yards and got into dead ground and dodged the bullets for a time. Then after a blow we were off again, but the Turks machine guns got busy and it was deemed best to retire to our old position. Our casualties were very heavy Lieut,s Brierly & Gardner were both badly wounded, several of our lads who were left wounded managed to crawl back after night fall, and others were carried back by their comrades. So once again we failed to dislodge the tough old Turk.
28th) Pretty brisk rifle fire kept up by both sides all night, at day-break there was a proper mix-up, Turks and our lads at pretty close quarters. Many Turkish Infantry show great recklessness to get a shot in, some even standing on the Parapets of their trenches and blazing away at the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, then our chance came for a little sniping and one could hardly miss them they presented such targets. The Turks soon discovered where the sniping came from and sent a few shots our way, we lost no time in ducking our heads, but poor old Whelan got one in the chest, just gave a groan & fell, we took him to the rear of the fireing line and Cpl Shields had the top of his head blown right off. Turkish Artillery shell our trenches this afternoon killing 3 men and wounding 5 others. We have very little cover at present from their shell fire as they can almost enfilade our fire trench. We were relieved about midnight by the 16th Battln. All our boys done up need a good rest.
29th) Stand to arms at 5 A.M. this morning. Turkish Artillery send a few shells among the 16th & 17th Battln at "Herring Post" about breakfast time, killing one man and wounding 6 others. German aeroplane came over our trenches at midday and dropped 3 Bombs which all fell outside our lines. 2 Coys of New Zealanders and the 10th Light Horse made an attack on the Turk trenches on our left and drove them from their first line after a hard scrap, they had plenty of Bomb fighting at close quarters, both sides suffered many casualties.
30th) Stand to arms at 4A.M. this morning. Usual sniping indulged in at day-break, I was holding a periscope up trying to find the exact position of a sniper who had been very troublesome to us the last few mornings. Had the periscope up only a few seconds when "crash, a bullet went clean through, smashing the mirror, which rattled down the tube and peppered my face, they are fine shots without a doubt. Giving instructions on Bomb Throwing and Fuse timing to throwers of A.B.C. & D. Coys after breakfast Turk artillery again busy shelling "Herring Post at midday Our Aeroplanes trying to locate position of enemy guns which are apparently well concealed.
31st) Stand to arms again at 3 this morning but nothing sensational takes place. 8 men and myself of the 13th Battln journeyed to "Anzac Bomb Factory for instruction in new Bombs recently arrived from England. We made most of the trip and had a good swim while on the beach. Had just reached the entrance of the big Sap on our way back when a shell from Turk Artillery dropped among a stack of Tinned meat (Boxes) which was scattered in all directions, one man was killed, having the side of his head smashed with a piece of shell. Got back again to our lines about 5 oclock, the 13th were relieved by the Essex Regt to night and we moved off towards Flat-Top near "Suri-Bahr, most of us got into our new position about 10 o,clock, but one of our Companys got bushed and never arrived untill 2 in the morning.
Spent a very cold night in the trenches. We are bivouaced near the Worcester Regt, we are to releive them, they have lost very heavily since August 6th. About 3P.M we were on the move again scrambling through bushes & climbing hills to occupy our new position known as "Durrants Post" near "Hill 971". We anchor at last after a weary march as the majority of the lads are done to a turn. We got straight to work to make our position stronger as the defences were very weak when we went into them. It is evidently a dangerous spot this judging by the number of graves about. The part of the Defences allotted to the 15th are quite close to "Flat-Top".
(2) Spent the night in trenches nothing sensational took place. About 8 o,clock this morning a ding-dong scrap takes place over at our old position at "Herring Post" now occupied by the Essex Regt. We got a good view of the fight as we are a fair height above sea level. Turk artillery put many shells among them. They also bombard Suvla Bay Camp this afternoon. Major Herring called for volunteers for Patrol work for to night Privates Roscoe, Young, Ryan & myself were sent out just after dusk & made our way cautiously towards Turkish trenches, often stumbling over the dead body of a Turkish or English Soldier who had fallen a few days back in the Big Battle, We reached the bottom of the "Dere" without being spotted & after remaining there for a time we could hear a babble of voices coming our way & we counted 9 Turks who passed within 6 yards of our "Possey" but we had orders not to fire a shot unless attacked, so after finding out one or two items we returned to our own lines about midnight & made my report to C.O who seemed quite satisfied with our investigations.
(3) Things fairly quiet all night. Turks indulge in a little artillery fire this morning, damage insignificant. City of London Regt take up position on our left. Our Cruisers in Suvla bay send a few shells into Turkish position this afternoon for old times sake. Pte Young & myself out on Patrol work again to night, returning to our lines about midnight. Spring a surprise on some Tommies who had been attached to our Battln by getting into firing line without being challenged. The scene that followed was very funny, although risky. Things pretty lively on "Walkers Ridge" tonight.
(4) Firing continued all night on our right. Turk Artillery try hard for Indian Mountain battery this morning, but their shooting was very eratic. The "Monitors drop a few "pills" into enemy trenches this afternoon sending up clouds of earth & stones. A party of 20 from 3 Coy went for a dip this evening a great treat. Things get a bit lively towards midnight.
(5) (Sabbath) Everything very quiet this morning. Imperial Troops hold church service down in the Olive grove, the singing sounds very sweet it carries ones memories back to more pleasant surroundings. Spent afternoon writing letters. Went into fireing line at 4P.M. Had a little Bomb practice at the Turks expense to night. This Sunday has been an exception we generally have some scrapping weekends.
6th Had a good nights rest. Great Artillery duel on this morning Warships takeing part, a great din. There appears to be great activity out towards Suvla Bay. We are having beautiful weather this last few days. But "Oh the Flies" Flies" they are nearly maddening. Great wonder is that there has not been more cases of serious illness among our Troops. I took another Patrol out towards enemy trenches about 7.30P.M and returned at midnight nothing of a sensational character took place. Pretty risky job.
7.) Usual artillery activity goes on this morning, doing more or less damage ion either side. Some of our Battleships using their big 12 inch Guns, there is an awful thud when they fire. B. & C. Coy came out of trenches at 4P.M. being relieved by A. & D. Coys. Things very quiet all night.
8. Artillery haveing another great Box-on this morning. Our boys out again on fatigue work, majority of men very weak. Out on Patrol work again to night with a party of 12 men also Major Johnson of the Essex Regt & Lt Gardiner of our own Coy, after doing the usual creeping about among the bushes like youngsters playing hide & seek, we returned to fireing line at 11P.M.
[September 1915 – dates 9, 10, 11 Sept might be missing]
12) Artillery still booming, must have been tons of iron hurled about these last few days. 2 Battln of the 6th Bgde of Australians came up near our position this afternoon looking in splendid nick, haveing just arrived from Egypt. Hope it is not long before we are looking & feeling as well as them again. Had another journey down to "Anzac" this afternoon for instruction in new Bombs that have recently arrived from England, took me all my time to crawl down & back again as I am feeling dead weak, have been suffering with Dysentery these last few days.
13) Everything quiet all night. Early this morning the 27 & 28th Battln came and
releived us. Thank God we are off for a spell at last. The remnants of the old 4th Bgde left "Durrants Post" about 6 o,clock for "Anzac Cove" and after going at a snails pace reached there at 11P.M and stretched out on the beach for a couple of hours sleep.
14) Just before daylight we went off in lighters to S.S. Abbassia and left "Anzac" for Lemnos Island arriving there about 10 this morning. I never thought it would be my good fortune to see Lemnos again, However here we are. We came ashore at midday & made our way out to the rest camp they had "partly" established for us. There was an abundance of good food, but I was to washed out to go it (Something wrong as I am pretty good on the tooth.)
15) There was great shortage of tents for the number of men that came so many had to sleep out, your humble included, Just before daylight a storm came on & rain fell in torrents and it was not long before everything was wet through, water poured down the slopes a treat. At daylight there was a sight. Those that slept out doing a shiver & wet through, of course we were fixed up through the day for better accommodation etc. I felt that bloomin weak & sick of things it could have rained for ever, I am right off food.
16) I had to throw the towel in this morning I couldnt stick it any longer. Dr McGlouchlin had me taken to 3rd A.G.H. On arrival I had a fine bath & was put into a beautifull clean warm bed & lay like a log. We have Australian nurses here who do everything to make us comfortable, also the orderlies are very attentive. After have
ing some beef tea I went off to Slumber land & could have slept for a week. Well I guess I am here for a few days to come.
In Hospital at Mudros from 16th Sept. untill Oct 7th
A number of patients both sick & wounded myself included were sent on board the H.M.T. Caledonia (11,000 tons) this morning to be taken to Alexandria we have heard. I am still a little weak about the legs, guess its through laying in bed so long. Have lost a lot of weight.
(8) The Hospital ship "Rewa" came alongside this morning with a large number of sick & stretcher cases. The total number on board 950 souls. Heavy rain fell to night.
(9) A great mixture aboard. English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, N.Z,s & a sprinkling of Australians from various Battlns. Very comfortable we have mattress, sheet & blanket also pillow. Of course I am on light diet, will be glad when the time comes for a good feed of meat. Several of the "Tommies" get noises in the head soon after leaving Lemnos they thought they could see & hear Submarines everywhere.
10) Bright sunny day. Steamer skipping along at a pretty good bat. A Light Horse Officer died last night after having his leg amputated, he was buried this morning. Passed by 2 French Troopships escorted by a Destroyer going east.
11) My Birthday 31 years of age to day. Another bright sunny morning & calm sea. We had another death last night. Passed several steamships. A sharp lookout being kept for Submarines.
12) Very dull morning, right off tucker again.
13) Another lad passed away last night & was buried this morning. Sighted Morroccan coats about 4.30P.M off Port bow.
14) Vessel changed course during the night & headed for Gibraltar. Came in sight of Spanish coast about 9.30 this morning., starboard bow. Arrived at Gib at 3P.M and steamed into the Naval docks. A wonderful sight to see the great rock towering ever so high. The Town appears to be a fair sized one.
15) Received orders to be ready to disembark at 8.15 this morning after the usual fiddling about we got ashore at midday. We were taken in "Garry,s" to different hospitals. Our group of about 40 were quartered in Europa Pass Hospital a great height above the sea. There has been some wonderful work done here in the way of Fortress building. There are a great many big guns on the rock, some you can see projecting over the parapets of emplacements, & there must be many others one cannot see (They say there are 350 Guns on the rock.
16th Everything in Hospital here is spick & span & no shortage of food. One should be able to get well & strong again very soon. I was speaking to an Artilleryman about different parts of the rock & so on, he told me the highest point on the rock was 1405 feet above Sea level some height.
17th to 23rd Same performance eating, drinking & sleeping.
24th Spanish Warship and Battery at Algeciras in Spain fired a salute this morning it being the Queen of Spain,s birthday
25th to 30th As per usual.
31st One of our torpedo boats while doing patrol work was rammed & sunk by a Troopship entering the Bay 12 lives lost. Of the men on duty at time only two were saved.
Nov 1st) 2nd Taken for a drive this afternoon around Europa Point Saw the Austrian Prince & Princess out walking, the Prince is interned here.
6th Moved up to Windmill Hill Barracks. We are to be given leave from 2P.M untill 10P.M. each day. We have had plenty of rain fall these last few days.
7) Still raining hard. Received word at midday that 50 men be got ready to go aboard the Hospital Ship "Regina D. Italia. While on the quay waiting to embark the Govener if Gibraltar Sir Herbert Miles C.B.C.M.G & his staff inspected us & had a few word with each man. We left Gibraltar at 5.30P.M with a total of 620 sick, wounded, & convalescents for England.
(8) Vessel tossed about a great deal through the night. Passed by several ships both steam & sail. Our vessel steaming close in to Spanish coast. Lots of the boys down with sea sickness.
(9) Things real merry. Our boat doing some Topsy-Turvey stunts. We are in the much talked about Bay of Biscay, it is certainly a rough lot. The weather is getting very cold. Passed by a couple of Destroyers.
(10) Another rough cold day. Very funny the way folks serve up the meals on board this ship. Passed by several ships including 1 Hospital ship. Passed by Ushant about 7.30P.M.
In the English Channel sea much calmer Came in sight of English Coast (Isle of Wight) about 8 AM. Arrived at Southhampton about 3P.M. There were 8 other Hospital Ships in port, including the big Cunard Liner "Mauretania" which brought over 3,000 sick & wounded from the Dardanelles. Ambulance trains very busy carrying patients off to Hospitals in various parts of England. We remain aboard ship until tomorrow. The weather here is bitterly cold.
(12) Still raining. The Imperial troops were entrained at 11 o,clock this morning & taken off to Hospitals. Australians left about 12.30 & were taken to various Hospitals in Oxford. Many of us were taken to the Town Hall which has been turned into a Hospital, everything is spick & span & there is plenty of wholesome food & careful attention. We feels the cold very much in these regions. (The country looked very picturesque coming up from Southhampton.)
(13) Still raining & awfully cold. Could not get to sleep last night missed the rocking of the ship no doubt. All men who are able to walk about are allowed out from 1P.M to 5P.M. We were taken over some Historical places by a Gentleman of Oxford this afternoon. We were taken over Oxford College & the Tom Tower & several other old time places which were very interesting. Some Ladies of the City gave us a concert here to night.
(14) Heavy frost this morning bitterly cold. Went for a stroll this afternoon through Oxford a very pretty little place with the River Thames running through the city, also numerous Canals, its old fashioned Buildings. On the outskirts of the Town there are beautiful green fields & gardens, fine cattle etc. Sp sweet to gaze upon after dry old Turkey.
(15) Heavy frost this morning. A party of us out again this afternoon. Saw a Battalion of Kitcheners New Army marching through the town this afternoon – they looked fine. There are large numbers of men flocking to the Colours now, as the Conscription Bill comes into force at the end of the month.
(16) Cold again this morning, fairly heavy fall of snow last night. A party of N.S.W Soldiers 8 of us invited out to afternoon tea by one of the Fish-heads of the Town Mr Montague Burrows at his residence, We spent a ripping time, we had a great welcome. After tea we were shown over the large Drawing Room which has a large collection of curios from all parts of the world. (Mrs Burrows is a cousin of Admiral Jellicoe’s).
(17) Very cold night. Went for a tour again this evening. The majority of men one meets are in khaki. Wherever you go you can hear orders being shouted out. & the Tramp Tramp of feet. They evidently mean to give the Sausage Eaters a gay time.
(18) Turned out very nice day. A Lady Mrs Dixon took a party of 4 of us through some of the Colleges this afternoon, Also the old church were the Martyr,s interned & the spot in Broad St were they were burnt at the Stake, the spot is marked, they have a beautiful Tower erected to their memory. Afterwards we were taken to a bun fight & put up a good go.
(19) Raining all night. Cold day. Visited the City markets this afternoon. Also took a stroll along the "Osney Canal" to see the lock gates & was told that there are 27 Colleges in Oxford.\
(20) As per usual very cold. Invited to Tea at Professor Butlers home & were treated like royalty. These people take a great interest in Australian Soldiers doings at the front. A musical party gave us another splendid concert to night.
21) Church Parade this morning, Presberterians went to St Columbas Church . Preacher the Rev [indecipherable] Lusk. Had a distinguished visitor to Hospital to day in the person of Sir Edmund Barton came round to see the boys he looks just the same old stick. Church service held in Town Hall to night.
(22) 23) 24) As per usual & so on.
(25) Out to tea at Professor Butlers residence to night.
(27) Very cold indeed this morning, heavy frost. Went for stroll this morning, very heavy fog hung over the City this evening. Impossible to see 15 yards in front of you. Another splendid Concert given by the Town folk to night.
28) Heavy frost this morning. Went to Church Service this morning. Invitation to Mr Hunts residence this afternoon, they are grand old folk. Young Mr Hunt is Lieut in the local Regt & is going to the front shortly, his brother was killed in France about 2 months ago.
(30) Still raining. St Andrews day. All Colonial Scots invited to dinner in Lincoln College this afternoon. Great festival.
December (10) Discharged from Hospital. A batch of 50 Australians were entrained for London, am very anxious to see this city we hear so much about.
(12) At Horseferry Road , Westminster. Met many of my old comrades at the "Anzac Buffet & had yarns galore to tell each other.
(13) We received our furlough & railway passes also a few quid & set off to see the sights & the Australians are well treated everywhere.
Xmas day. A party of 6 of us had dinner at Professor Butlers residence at Oxford, having promised to return there. And they made us quite at home. Packed up same night & went to Scotland arriving there next morning. I travelled by the London Nor Western Railway & I can assure you they travel some. I stayed at Mr J.M.Lauder,s residence in East London St. in the heart of the City. They are very nice people. The son Alex came from the Dardanelles in the same Hospital ship as myself. Another son is also home from the front having been wounded. And of course we go sightseeing together & I can assure you there are some fine sights right here in Old Edinburgh, it is still more interesting to me knowing my dad came from these parts years ago. While here I have visited Edinburgh Castle twice, Holyrood Place & Queen Marys, Famous Bath, Calton Hill with its relics of bygone days, Nelson Monument, also the unfinished Waterloo monument, , one can also get a splendid view of the City from this Hill. Paid a visit to Robert Burns memorial in Regent Rd & the Municipal Museum where John Knoxs hat & other articles the famous reformer wore are kept. Visited Lady Stairs House & The Heart of Midlothian. John Knox House & burial Place in the Royal Mile. Also the old Scottish Parliament Houses, & the Grass Markets. The Murry House where the union between England & Scotland was signed. The old Tool-Booth, Arthurs Seat, Lions Head, St Bernards Well. St Margarets Well, St Anthonys Chapel, St Giles Cathedral where John Knox preached & so on, Queensferry, Forth Bridge, Portobello, Leith, Dudiston Loch, Rosyth & numerous other places.
New Years Eve.
Mr Lauder Alex & Allen & myself set out from home about 10P.M to see the gathering of Scots at the Iron Church in North Bridge & what a sight & babble, there were thousands of Burgoo eaters waiting for the midnight hour to strike & when it did blow in there was some Highland yells & songs., dancing & singing & whiskey boozing I can tell you. Mr Lauder tells me it is very quiet here this year on account of the War, it must be real lively when the war is off. Well we returned home & had a splendid supper laid out & we sat down & gave it nothing.
Mr Luke an elder from the church, also Mr Sinclair were present & we spent a couple of hours yearning & so forth, & after wishing each other the best of luck & good fortune & singing "Auld lang Syne" & Wishing success to our Army & Navy & so on, also wishing that I am spared to be home with my loved ones by next "Hogmaney" It is a great time among the Scotch folk, we retired to bed about 4 in the morning.
Reported to headquarters at Horseferry road this afternoon. I came back by the East Coast Railway through Newcastle & York. About 30 of our lads myself included left London for our base in Weymouth on the South Coast about 5P.M & arrived there at 10P.M & marched out to camp which is situated about 2½ miles form the town. I met some of the old 13th here.
Medical Parade this morning & passed fit as a fiddle & so on. Haveing stormy weather around these parts. They have large Huts erected here to accomadate the Troops, of whom there must be 3,000 all waiting to be drafted away to Egypt. And there is another Camp at Westham were the unfit for further service are camped they are also waiting for a boat to Australia. Daily routine, Parade at 9A.M. go for a light march along Chickerill Road & back, sometimes they march to Weymouth & so on, Duties are very light, we get a guard at intervals, it is just a matter of eat, drink & sleep & a bloke can snore these cold nights.
12 Jan. Issued with new equipment, looks like business again
13 Another of our lads taken out of the Harbour drowned, this makes the fourth since I have been in Weymouth, they say their is foul work being done, The local Regt of Dorsets & our boys often mix it.
Tues 25 Inspection of Troops & Camp by Mjr General Johnson who is in command of Weymouth Military District.
(26) Australia day & a fine day as regards the weather. Our boys to the number of 2000 or more, were marched into Weymouth given a concert in the Jubilee Hall. It was a great turn out.
27) All hands down at the rifle range this morning doing a little shooting, just to get their hand & eye in.
(29) Beautiful Day, easily the best since my stay in England. The sun shone for fully 3 hours which is going some in this country at this time of the year.
(31) Inspection by Lt Col Courtney C.B this morning, the men that are going in this draft served out with gas helmets, field dressings etc etc.
Feb (1) Turned out at 4.30 this morning. Left Monte Video Camp at 6 A.M. 50 officers & 500 men & marched to the Weymouth Railway Station,. entrained & left here at 8 o,clock & arrived at Plymouth at 3.P.M. & embarked aboard H.M.T Saturnia, there were a large number of troops already on board from various Regts, quite a mixture, Norfolk Regt, Middlesex, A.S.C A.O.C & R.E. Royal Flying Corps, Lincoln Yeomanry, Scottish Horse, Lovats Scouts, Fife & Forfar yeomanrynd our own birds, we numbered 3000 altogether, a nice haul for a German Submarine. Ships O.C. 1st Col C.E. Fishbourne an Imperial Officer.
(2) Left Devonport at 11.30 this morning, escorted by 2 Destroyers after leaving port encountered heavy weather, boys start to feed fishes & so on, felt a ticklish sensation in the neck myself, but managed to hold my own. A Submarine Guard mounted, to keep an eye open for the tin fish.
(3) Very rough. Ship doing all kinds of acrobatic feats
(5) Sea much calmer. Naval men have a few shots out of 4.7 gun which is mounted aft in case of a Submarine attack. Shooting not too good, might hit something if they had a dish of rice.
(12) Fine weather. Passed a British Cruiser steaming west this evening. Also a large Transport escorted by a light Cruiser making towards Alexandria. Many Trawlers doing patrol work around these parts.
(13) Arrived at Alexandria at 7P.M this morning & anchored inside breakwater near Ras-el-Tin Light-House. A great many vessels in port mostly Troopships & Hospital ships. The Imperial disembarked at midday & marched to Mustapha Pacha Barracks. Australian Troops entrained at 11P.M for Cairo.
(14) Cold in train travelling all night. Arrived in Cairo at 5 A.M. & marched out to "Gizeah" [Giza] camp about 5 miles from station. Received orders to be ready to move off again to "Zeitoun". Left "Gizeah" 2P.M & arrived at "Zeitoun" 4.30P.m just in time for Tea, Attached to B. Coy A. Class details.
(15) A great number of troops in camp mostly new arrivals from Australia. Went out top our Base depot and obtained my Black Kit Bag which I had left behind last April, After a search found it among the dead mens kits.
(26) Battln out for a route march today through "Mataria" to the "Virgins Well"
March 5th Left Zeitoun for Tel-el-Kebir at 8 this morning & arrived at midday. Reported to Adjutant & was attached to B. Coy 13th Bn. This is a great Camp and there are between 12,000 & 13,000 troops under canvas. Met several of my old Pals here. Many of the old 13th have gone into new Battns just formed called the 45th Am thinking of transferring myself. More to follow - DiddieX
The 12th Brigade inspected by General Cox our Divisional Commander & Mjr-General Godley, Our Brigade complimented by the General on its smart appearance "some swank to be sure"
25th April Anzac day. Holiday granted to all Troops in the vicinity of the Canal. There was a great gathering on the Canal and the Sports were a great success. Some of the boys made boats out of Canvas & other material that was lying about & some very humorous sceanes were witnessed. We had distinguished persons as spectators such as his Royal Nibs the Prince of Wales & so on. He holds the rank of Capt and is attached to General Murrays staff. All the boys spent a great day. To top it up, every man received a bottle of Lemonade to wash the desert sand out of his neck, needless to say it hardly wet were it went.
26th We received news of Turkish raid in "Kantara" a town a few miles from here in a Northerly direction. It appears the Turks caught the British napping and after a short scrap the Turks captured over 200 Soldiers & about 300 Camels & 150 Horses – some loss to us. Almost sure to be an enquiry held the rumour flying around is to the effect that they had no Guards or Sentries posted (Just like the British to always underestimate their enemies.) Also received news of an action near the "Wells" on our east front.
Received news of General Towshend,s surrender of Kut-el-Amara after defending that town for over 5 months, which certainly was a great work, owing to climatic conditions, & serious sickness that broke out among his Garrison which by the time of his surrender must have been reduced to small numbers. On 2 occasions attempts were made to relievehim & were beaten back by the Turks.
2nd D. Coy on Out Post Duty to night.
3rd Eddie May’s Birthday
5th The whole of the 12th Brigade marched out and occupied our first line Trenches as Aeroplane came in & reported small Turkish Force in vicinity. Our Battn the 45th are at Post K.5.D. about 9 miles east of Suez Canal. The march out from railhead was pretty heavy to so much drift sand, & the heat of the day. Of course as is usual there was a great shortage of water.
7th Stand to arms at 3A.M this morning, Building barbed wire entanglements & emptying sand out of the trenches. The weather to day has been very warm. And water scarce. Done a little sketching of various hills & ridges in front of redoubts for Capt Perry. Also marking out ranges for rifle fire
13th May Another hot day. Turks reported to be about 12 miles from our Position, they are a long time making up their minds attacking us, (looks as if one side couldnt & the other wouldnt) Still working on the entanglements & so on. Our aeroplane was out over enemy positions to day.
14 A regular scorcher easily the hottest day up till the present with hot winds & sand storms. Church Parade held early this morning. One of our new blokes from Australia had his left forehead shattered by a bullet while cleaning his rifle this afternoon ( The old "Gay" didnt know it was loaded.) Water is still very short here. Have heard we are to be relieved shortly.
15th Another warm day with clouds of flies.
17 Another "snifter" of a day. Heard that "Metz" had fallen. Sounds to good to be true. Boys getting their gear ready to move off in the morning. Paid a visit to 9th Light Horse Camp with Sgt Ashburner & Cpl Phillips to night.
18 Stand to arms at 3A.M. Marched out of camp for "Railhead" at 5.30 arriving 2 hours later & rested for the day. It turned out another "snifter" of a day.
19 Left railhead at 7 a.m and arrived at Serepeum about 9A.M. Pretty dry march as we had no water issued to us before leaving. As we marched into Camp at Serepeum the old 4th Brigade were out to give us a rousing cheer especially the old 13th Bn who had their band out. It was like old times seeing so many faces one knew & made me feel a lump in my neck. A great many of the old boys recognised me & called out. God bless them.
20th The boys had the best part of the day to themselves & indulged in plenty of bathing in the Canal. Several of my old chums from the 13th came down to have a yarn over old times. Our Coy supplied Divisional duties to night, a bit of a scramble to get enough men together as many went visiting other camps. However I got over the difficulty allright.
21 Church Parades held this morning. This afternoon our 2 friends from the 9th Light Horse who are camped out at Road head about 8 miles from here, came in to see us, and brought 2 extra horse,s in for us to go for a tour which we did & enjoyed it immensely of course a dip in the canal was included in the programme. The boys have some high jinks in the Canal when any shipping goes by, hanging on to ropes and any other old thing that hangs over the Ships side, thus getting quite a surf bath.
22 Our Company marched over to west side of canal this morning and were issued with high velocity rifles for use in France, also other equipment and clothing, guess we shant be here very much longer.
23 A very warm day. With Sand storms. The swimming parade was largely attended I can tell you.
Good Bye Dear for the present.
May 24th Empire Day.
The whole of the 4th Division comprising the 4th, 12th, and 13th Brigade,s of infantry, together with engineers, Pioneers, and other details take part in night operations.
25 Final stage of operations, which terminated at daybreak this morning, when our force (Blue) attacked position on Suez Canal held by force (Brown) General Cox passes favourable comments on tactics. 45th Bn specially noted.
26 Preparations for our departure carried on with all haste. I was granted leave of absence this morning and spent the day at Ismalia about 10 miles from Serepeum. A pretty little town with Palm and other trees growing either side of the streets, making things cool after the glaring Sunshine. While haveingmy midday meal in a cafe, I got into conversation with a Greek chap who spoke excellent English, he turned out to be a fireman who was on the Seang-Bee which brought us from Australia. We had a good old yarn about events which happen aboard ship & so on.
28 Church Parades held as usual. Turned out a very warm day. Lt Col Herring rejoined us this afternoon & was given a grand reception from the boys. He was wearing the red ribbon of the French decoration which had been awarded him for his services on Gallipoli. Sgt Blenkinsop & myself had a few minutes conversation with him & he showed us both the decoration which is prettily designed, it is called, Chevalier de Croix.
29 The whole of the 4th Division were inspected this afternoon by General Murray, Commander in chief of the forces in Egypt. Also General Cox our Divisional Commander, the march past was not the best by any means, it was rather difficult to keep any line as there was such a thick dust about caused by such a large number of men & horses. However they gave us the same old "Pretty Cocky" & said it was fine.
30 The boys marched across "Serepeum" this morning with all clothing to be fumigated before leaving Egypt. Q.M. Sgt & myself went for a dip in the Canal this evening, splendid after the heat of the day.
31 All hands very busy to day getting ready for marching out to morrow, the Quarter-Master rushed from all sides by the boys, one bloke wants a chin strap, another a pull through, someone else a field dressing and so on, a great joke. We handed in all Sun Helmets, and have had new Australian felts issued to us, we look brand new again. The 4th Bde marched out of Camp this afternoon for Serepeum Station we lined the roadway and gave some rousing cheers for the old 13th Bn as they marched by.
1st June All on the move early this morning. A.B.C. and portion of D Coys 45th Bn march out this morning for "Serepeum" the remainder of our Coy, myself included remains behind to strike Camp & the boys had a fair amount of work to do but after the usual growl set to work & finished in good style. We marched out at about 6.30P.M. & left "Serepeum" at 9P.M for "Alexandria"
2 Arrived in "Alexandria" about 8 oclock this morning & went on board the Troopship "Kinfauns Castle". There are about 2,500 troops aboard, including Div & Bde Head Quarters Staff (Generals Cox & Hafuard.) A great many Troopships anchored in Port, including the S.S. Caledonia the vessel I went from "Lemnos" to Gibralter in. We anchored out in the Bay all night.
3 June (Kings Birthday) The same old bustle on board for the first couple of days, The 1st & 2ng Class W.Os dine in the Officers Mess & we get the very best of what is going, some class sure. We passed by several steam vessels this afternoon, haveingleft Alexandria at 11 oclock this morning. Beautiful weather.
4 Fine weather at sea. There are 6 Troopships in our convoy escorted by 2 Torpedo-Boat-Destroyers. The Vessels steer some erratic courses owing to Submarines being reported in the vicinity. There is very little work done aboard by the Troops, ship is too crowded, guess there would be some scramble if anything serious did occur, as we have not been alloted to boats as yet.
5 We received news from one of our escorts this morning that there had been a Naval action in the North Sea, and we are waiting anxiously for details.
6 Heard more about the great sea fight & by the way it reads we have suffered rather heavily, both in Ships & men, guess its about time our people woke up & didnt underestimate our enemy so much. We passed by the Island of "Pantalidia" about 4 this afternoon. Vessel changed course through the night, we are now steaming Nor-West. Our escort left us at dusk to pick up a boat with survivors from a vessel that had been Torpedoed in the vicinity.
7 Sea as smooth as a sheet of glass. Passed quite close to the Island of "Sardinia" about 8 oclock this morning, looked very pretty with its farms & wooded lands. About 2 oclock this afternoon our boat nearly ran into a fair sized whale which was on the surface spouting. We have passed many vessels to day both sail & steam.
8 All hands on the move early this morning getting lifebelts & hammocks stowed away, also getting equipment put together ready for disembarking. Sighted coast of "France" about 6 A.M. looked very pleasing to the eye after the sands of Egypt. Arrived at "Marseilles" about 9.30A.M & anchored in the Bay. The Towns looks very pretty from the Bay with its "Chateaus" & red tiled houses & tall church spires. There are a large number of vessels in port flying the flags of many nations. Our ship went into dock at midday and started to disembark troops at 6P.M. We received a warm reception from the French folk. The 45th Bn went ashore at 10P.M.
9 We entrained about 2A.M. this morning, after a scramble for room, the transport arrangements were rotten, the R.T.O & staff dont appear to know their job. However we got away in the end. And what a beautiful sight after daybreak. Beautiful green fields & trees flower gardens looking their sweetest & the birds seemed to be having a day out, judging by the whistling. It is a splendid country, and all the boys appreciated it after their sojurn in the dry desert, We had rations issued to us at a station called "Avigden". We were cheered by the People as we steamed through the small stations. We stopped at "Lyons" a very large city for about an hour (Tea). One can see on all sides how seriously the French nation is takeing this great war At all
the stations there are numbers of women employed as engine cleaners & doing other railway work, thus enabling the menfolk to join the colours. There were a batch of about 300 German prisoners of war here just brought in from the front. They looked a pretty healthy lot. French folk very bitter towards them.
10 June Still buzzing along through fine country. The French Red Cross folk at several Stations gave the boys hot Tea and Coffee which is very acceptable. At the big Stations one sees many French Troops either going to or returning from the Trenches. One also sees many maimed Soldiers about. We passed through some fine fruit growing country this morning. Saw some very large strawberries, best I have ever seen.
11 We pulled up at a Station about 8a.m & made a start on some biscuit & beef, but when half way through the whistle sounded for all to get aboard & what a scramble took place, very funny. We passed through "Boulounge" about 10 oclock this morning. There was a large detail Camp there, also many of our Australian Troops from the 2nd Division. We arrived at our destination "Bailleul" about 3 miles from the Belgian border about 3P.M. and marched out about 2½ miles from the Town & were billeted in Farm houses and so on, on the Noot-Boon road near "Meterean". This place at the early stages of the War was in the hands of the Germans, who were driven out by the "Gordons" and Canadians. There are several anti-aircraft guns mounted in the hills for use against hostile aeroplanes. We can hear the roar of the big guns at the front quite distinct. Our Coy are billeted in 3 Farms-houses which are within 200 yards of each other. 2 Platoons in one, 1½ in another and ½ in stowed away in a loft, the boys feel the cold at present. There are always one or more aeroplanes up observing every day. Their is a large "Hangar" near the Town.
12 It rained very heavy all night, and we had mud everywhere, quite a novelty after so much sand. Col Herring had the Officers & N.C.O,s together this afternoon to give them a few hints on the wily ways of the Hun. Went into the village of Meterean this evening, one can see traces on all side of the knocking about it received during the fighting that took place in the streets between the British & the Germans. One church has a very high steeple & the Germans had 2 machine guns in the tower during the time they were in possesion of the Town & did great execution with them. Some buildings have been destroyed by big gun fire & bullet marks are to be seen everywhere. One of our Regts the "Warwicks" lost heavily just outside the Town. The graves are very thick. There are also many Germans buried near the Township. Guess it must have been willing.
13. The 45th & 48th Bn attended a memorial service this morning for Earl Kitchener, The service was conducted by Rev Capt Ingamel. We are still getting our share of rain. A heavy Bombardment started about 6P.M out towards "La Bassee" we could see the big shells bursting quite plain.
14 Rifle inspection every morning in the Barns & lectures while it rains. Col Herring inspected the Coy Billets this morning. We had our Steel Helmets issued to us this afternoon, guess we must look like "Cromwells Ironsides" of ye olden times. We get plenty of food & so on, but firewood appears to be very short, of course their must be an awful lot of Troops to provide for. Even the French folk store up all manner of stuffs for firewood, the principal item being old hop-vines & there are many hop-fields around these parts & also splendid wheat paddocks, art present looking their best.
16 About 1.30A.M. this morning there was a terrific bombardment over "Ypres" way, and again at daybreak. We heard the "Canadians’ had done good work through the night. It turned out a fine day. Several Aeroplanes up observing to day, some at a great height. Another Bombardment commenced about 11 o,clock to night at "Ypres"
17 Things got very lively first thing this morning., 5 Taube,s came over British lines at a great height, and were fired on by our Anti-aircraft guns, of which there are a great many round about here. The air was filled with bursting shells but none appears to have done any damage to the enemy planes. Another came over towards Bailleul about 11 o,clock but was driven back.
18 Beautiful day, usual parades held. 2 of our aeroplanes were fired at this afternoon, a regular hail of shells being fired at them, but both returned safe.
19 45th & 48th Bn,s inspected by Lieut. General Plumer this afternoon, the boys looked very smart on Parade. Of course we got the usual "Pretty Cocky".
20 The whole Brigade were put through a gas attack this morning, (Mild of course) to test new Gas Helmets. They also used some other "tack" for injuring the eyes (Tear Shells) they stung some I can assure you, guess when all these infernal devices are played out, they will start pelting stones at each other or pulling faces & so on
22) 12th Brigade inspected by Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Flanders, General Sir Douglas Haig, also our General Birdwood & staff. The C.I.C spoke to a good many of the boys about their past experiences on Gallipoli. The "Soul of Anzac" looked better than ever, the boys all sang, no one like "Birdie". The march past was very good indeed, but would have been much better if the band had been there, we had 2 side drums to go on with.
24 D. Coy marched to "Ootersteene" this afternoon for bathing parade which was very nice indeed. Warm water showers to be sure. Our Anti-aircraft guns brought down a Taube this evening. Received a letter from Home sweet home.
28 1 Officer & 3 N.C.O,s myself included attended school for Bayonet Instruction at "Outersteene" under instruction of Sgt-Mjr Barrett of the Coldstream Guards, very interesting indeed, we are to attend for 1 week.
30 Heard an account of the German attack on the 20th Bn a few days ago, several of our new Stokes guns were lost, also a large number of casualties.
1st July A great sight this afternoon when about 20 of our Aeroplanes went up and flew over the German lines dropping Bombs. We heard later they did great damage.
2 A beautiful day, plenty of Sunshine. A great Bombardment started about 7 o,clock to night and kept pounding away for 3 hours at the enemy trenches, a great din, the ground fairly shook. We received orders to move off about 3P.m and marched to "Outerstiene place of Rondezvou, and then a 9 mile march to "Sailly" where we billeted for the night. The German artillery have played havoc with the buildings especially the Eglise (Church). One can see barb wire & trenches on all sides, also Soldiers graves by the score. One of our Aeroplanes was shot down this afternoon from a great height.
3rd July. Everything pretty lively all along the front from "Armentieres" to "La Bassee". Several Aeroplane actions.
(4) Our Brigade marched out from "Sailly" about 8.30P.M. this evening. We marched in squads of 6 and 7 men at 15 paces intervals to prevent haveing serious losses in case we were shelled by the enemy. Pretty awkward keeping in touch with each other in the dark, 2 of our Coy were hit by fragments of Shrapnell just before reaching the Trenches. Our Artillery kept up a furious fire on the German positions. We occupied our portion of the Firing line at "Forays Post" about midnight relieving the 3rd Bn. Plenty of mud and slush about after the heavy rains, the boys splashing about like so many ducks. The German Trenches are about 300 yards in front of us. The majority of the boys in our Coy are reinforcements who joined us up in Egypt, and naturally some were a bit nervy art first but they soon settled down to business.
(5) Stand to arms at 2.30A.M. The Brigadier came around about 3.30AM. B. Coy had 1 man killed & 1 man wounded early this morning. Everything quite again until about 6.30 P.M when they got very merry. Our Artillery opened a very heavy fire on the German Trenches, and of course they replied and there was some screeching overhead as the great Shells tore along. Our Gas Alarm gongs sounded about midnight and our boys donned their Gas helmets, as it was reported the enemy were using Gas, but it was a false alarm. Stand to arms at 2.30A.M. till 4 o,clock, plenty of work to be done, strengthening parapets & dug-outs. The usual amount of sniping indulged in on both sides. The German is not so good at sniping as the old Turk. Enemy Artillery shell A. Coys trenches on our right this afternoon and make several large gaps in their parapets, Another heavy Bombardment after dark & machine guns were barking in all directions. One enemy machine gun in front of our Post is very troublesome, he often sprays the parapet with bullets, the boys call it "Parapet Joe". At night the space between our lines and the enemys (No mans Land) is well lit up by their flares which they fire continually to guard against surprise from our blokes.
(7) Another gas alarm at 1 o,clock this morning. Raining again this afternoon making things very uncomfortable for everyone. About 2 o,clock this afternoon the Enemy fired a few shells into our trenches doing slight damage to C. Coys parapet, but our crowd escaped damage of any kind. Usual sniping indulged in all day. Enemy shell burst among a working party in the communication trench this afternoon and killed one man.
(8) Beautiful Summer Day. About 9 o,clock tonight things got very lively, our guns and Mortars rained Shells and Bombs on enemys trenches, damaging them badly in places and tearing a fair amount of hisbarb wire defences away
Then "Fritz" (Germans) took a hand and gaveus a very lively time especially on the right of our Battn, were they thought our Trench Mortars were. A. Coy had 3 men killed & 4 men wounded, among the killed was one of my old mates Signaller Sid Wells who came from Australia in my Coy. Enemy Shells fell pretty thick near "Convent Avenue" were our Brigade Headquarters were but very few burst, The village has been battered out of recognition, only ruins remain. And the fields after nearly 2 years of war are growing, weeds, corn, and all description of vegetation.
(9) Stand to arms at 2.30 this morning. An enemy Aeroplane flew over our trenches this morning and was shelled by our guns but escaped. This plane is about the fastest I have seen, it could go some. Another heavy bombardment started about 5 this afternoon, our artillery destroyed portion of enemy trenches and wire entanglements. Enemy replied towards dusk and did some damage to our Parapets & dug-outs. Lieut Davis and myself out on Patrol into "No mans land" about 10 o,clock to find out how much damage our guns had inflicted on the Hun trenches. We had to keep on the alert because the enemy flew up flares continually, as they must have been expecting an attack from our boys, we got pretty close to enemys lines and could hear them jabbering away while they repaired the damaged works. So we started on our return journey about 2 o,clock in the morning, after reaching our barb wire the fun started, it takes some wriggling through, however while we were twisting about one of their flare light revealed our position and the put over 3 bursts of machine gun fire, the bullets pinged into the ground about us but we never got hit. As a matter of fact I thought the end had come. We had to remain still untill the flare went out, and then made a dash for our lines which we reached safely, me with my togs torn to shreds after my argument with the barb-wire, some joke I can assure you. However alls well that ends well. Our Commanding Officer was well pleased with our investigations.
(10) Had a trip to "Fleur-Baix" this morning on Court-Martial case. My word what an amount of destruction has been done here by the German Artillery, Churches and other buildings have been battered into shapeless masses. But strange to say The "Crucifix of which every town is possesed of one or more has escaped injury. There had been some hard street fighting here in the early days of the war , We left on return journey about 2p.m and while going along communication trench the German Artillery were doing a little shooting and some fragments came our way, Cpl Hansen was struck with a piece of shell but as we all wear Steel Helmets, it minimises the damage. Our O.C. received note from Brig-General Glasfaurd in reference to work done on Patrol the previous night by Lieut Davis and myself. Our Artillery shell enemy trenches again this afternoon. 2 of our aeroplanes flew over enemy trenches about 11 o,clock to night and dropped Bombs.
(11) Stand to arms at 2.30 this morning. . Things fairly quiet. 1 man of A. Company killed early this morning, 1 of my coy received a slight wound while sniping. Enemy artillery shelled our trenches this afternoon doing some damage, but we had no casualties. We were relieved by the 53rd Bn about midnight and marched though "Fleur-Baix" and "Bac-St Maur" to "Sailly" and reached there about 5.30A.M. and occupied our old billets.
(12) Left Sailly for "Meterean" 5.30P.M and after a pretty rough march arrived about 9.30P.M.
(13) A day of rest, and the boys need it. Some talk about marching off again to night.
(14) Left "Meterean" for "Bailleul" west, and entrained for destination unknown at 2 o,clock this morning. Arrived at place called "Doullens" about 7 A.M. after a spell we set out on a 15 mile march to "Berteaucourt" near "Amiens". A great many men fell out on the march with sore feet and so on. We were billeted in Barns round about the Township.
(15) A great many men attended sick parade this morning (after yesterdays march. We rested for the remainder of the day.
(16) We heard this morning about the big Advance made by the British on the "Lys-Somme". Out for a route march this afternoon. Haveing plenty of wet weather, and the thatched roofs of the Barns dont keep the moisture out much. We get more than a fair share of rain here, while in Egypt we got none.
Yours Truly "Charlie Sausage"
July 19th 1916. A squadron of 20 Aeroplanes passed over our billets this morning, going in the direction of "Albert" which is about 22 miles from here. Heavy Bombardment going on along the "Somme Lys". Another 8 mile route march this morning through "Vignacourt", many of the lads suffering with sore feet.
(23) 45th Battn Training in Wood fighting in "St Ouen" woods.
(25) Heard this morning that our boys of the 1st Division had done good work at "Fromelles’ and "Fricourt".
(27) The 45th Bn marched out this morning from "Berteaucourt" to Rubempre a distance of about 14 miles. A great many of the lads fell out on the march with bad feet & so on. We arrived at "Rubempre" about 6 o,clock & were billeted for the night.
(29) Turned out at 2 oclock this morning and marched out to "Vadencourt" Wood near "Contay" arriving about 8A.M. Battn rested for the remainder of the day.
(30)Sabbath. Church Parade held this morning. Grand old General Birdwood addressed our Bn after the Service, a real treat to see his face again, he always wears a smile and has a cheery word for all the boys. He has command of all our "Anzac Forces" he is a splendid fellow.
(31) Boys making preparations for moving off. 2 Batterys of Artillery who belong to our 1st Division came into the Woods this afternoon to rest for the night. 2 Companys of the old 13th Bn left "Worloy" this evening for Battlefields on the "Somme" to bury dead of whom there are hundreds both British and Germans.
August 1st Still waiting for the order to move off. 4 Enemy flying machines came over our lines this afternoon at a great height they were immediately fired on by our Anti-Aircraft guns but escaped. Our Battn marched off at 6P.M. and arrived at "Albert" at about 9P.M., The day had been very warm and the roads dusty, causing many men to drop by the roadside. There are a great many Soldiers both French & British about this front, also large Transport & Ammunition Columns and all other details that go towards making an Army. There are Cavalry here by the Thousands. The town of "Albert" has been badly knocked about by enemy Shell-fire, up till 4 days ago it had been in their possession, but since the big offensive started they have been driven back. Artillery very active tonight on both sides, Shells bursting by the score,
August 2nd Very heavy dew fell through the night making everything more uncomfortable for the boys, whose clothing was already wet with perspiration from the march of yesterday. Cpl Parke and myself took a stroll into "Albert" this afternoon to see some of the ruins caused by the Germans. It is a fair sized place & has had many fine buildings, of course they are now a heap of bricks and mortor. The "Basillic" (Cathedral) has been a beautiful Gothic building, but is riddled with shell holes. On the dome of the tower there is a splendid figure of the Virgin Mary holding our Saviour (when a baby) up over her head, The figure must stand about 12 feet high, and is made of metle. Well, this has also been hit, but strange to say, remains hanging among the debris, about 250 feet above the ground. Another terrific bombardment opened up by our artillery about 8 oclock to night and kept up till 3 next morning.
(3) German guns again shell "Albert" this morning, several hit the "Basillic" but the figures still remain in same position. We are expecting to be put into the firing line any moment now. Another artillery duel started again this evening, great clouds of earth are sent high into the sir when our big shells burst. The Germans also shell our trenches heavily, the fields are a mass of mine craters. About 10 o,clock tonight a great bombardment started and the earth fairly trembled. There was a din hundreds of big guns in action at the same time. A great sight bursting shells & flares & what not. Guess the Huns were getting it some. This morning had a bomb accident in the lines, 4 horses killed and 4 men hit, and another this afternoon Lieut Meggit of C. Coy while toying with a German bomb. Another bombardment to night which lasted a couple of hours, a few enemy shells burst close to our Bivouac. Somebody got noises in the head to night and sounded the Gas Alarm, great scramble. We heard that the 7th Brigade had successfully carried enemy trench to night.
(4) A batch of about 200 German prisoners were marched in this morning having been captured in the scrap with our boys, they look a pretty healthy lot and not half starved as some of the papers are fond of saying. Many of then appear to be pleased to be finished with the war.
August 5th Our Battn left bivouac about 4P.M. this afternoon to relieve the 7th Brigade near "Pozieres"whohad lost a great many men in the last 2 days. We came under Shell fire just after entering what is known as "Sausage Gully" were the Germans had their 1st Line trenches, we pushed on and occupied their 2nd Line trenches being shelled heavily all the time and losing many men killed and wounded on the way up to the ridge. We occupied enemy trench about 8P.M and what a shambles they were in, trenches torn to atoms by the great shells, dead and wounded Germans and Australian lying twisted and mangled out of recognition. There was hardly a square yard of ground that had not been ploughed up by high explosives, often a shell would get right in a part of our trench and half a dozen men would go out in one pop. There were dead bodies by the score and what a stench. Men were buried by the mass of earth torn up by the great shells, you could see an arm or leg sticking out here and there, its wonderful at anybody being able to stand such a fire, it was a hot shop, Our boys had to crouch close into the sides of what had been trenches and just wait & see who would be next to go. Our Major was standing at the entrance to an old German dug-out, when a shell came and finished the lot. We set 2 of the boys to work to try & dig him out but had to give up. The shells came as thick as rifle bullets & what a roar, when they burst the noise was deafening. The bombardment kept up for hours. The Hun trying hard to wrest the ridge from us at all costs. Lots of my old mates were wiped out & lots wounded. I had a busy time doing up some of the lads wounds, as most of our stretcher bearers had either been killed or wounded. The Steel Helmets we wore save many a men from being badly hit about the head. Poor old Cp. Jack Mullholland got a nasty wound, tried to do my best for him, but he died in a few minutes, one of the boys shouted out to me that young Callaghan had been hit, so I got busy on his wounds & left to see how things were faring on the right, had not gone many yards when I saw some of our boys who had been smacked, standing in one of the old dug-outs, I was just telling them of the great risk they ran of being buried alive, when "Wallop" a great shell burst close to us & smashed dug-out & buried several of them, I must have been tossed a few
feet into the air buy the explosion & got a slight wound on right arm also sundry cuts elsewhere and clothing torn a great deal. I was knocked quite deaf. When I could gather my wits, it appeared that the Battle had finished to me as I could hear nothing. When I found myself bleeding I made to the dressing Station, it was getting light and I saw many of the boys that had come into the firing line the night before lying dead. There were a large number both Germans who had been captured & our own boys waiting to be fixed up, there were some awful wounds. I was very lucky indeed to get off so light. The sights were enough to make your heart bleed. Some of our boys would be helping German wounded to the rear, & vice versa. We had our wounds dressed again about an hour later in an old ruined Church which had been turned into a dressing station. Then we were sent on by Motor Ambulance to "Contay" were we remained for the night.
(7) We were taken on the Red Cross train about 9 o,clock this morning and taken to "Boulogne" Stationary Hospital were we are being attended to. I am still on the deaf side.
(10) Still at anchor in hospital. More sick and wounded arrive here from the firing line. We are having fine weather and being by the sea coast makes a bloke very cheerful, especially where there are no shells screaming overhead.
(13) Left "Boulogne" in Belgian Hospital Ship S.S. Jan Breydel about 10 oclock
this morning and arrived at Dover about 12 noon, after a smart run of 2 hours. After the usual wait in the docks we were taken by Ambulance trains through "London" to "Manchester" arriving there about midnight, There were a great many people about the Station and as the Cars carrying the Wounded troops came along they were greeted with cheers. We were taken about 5 miles in the cars to "Stockport" No 2 Western Gen Hospital Vernon Park. After a good hot water bath which was very nice, and having had my scratches attended to, I tumbled into a nice soft bed and snored a treat & so on.
Tell Jenna I still have her little Red shoe. I always carry it in my pocket along with little prayer book. It has traveled some, been to Egypt, Turkey, Gibraltar, England Scotland, back to Egypt, then France and now England again.
I will probably send it home from here "Diddie" XXXX++
From The "Linesman tell" Jenna
1st to 13th August 1916
A few notes from my Diary "Diddie"
May be interesting for girls to listen to & so on.
August 15th We are allowed 4 hours leave from Hospital every afternoon, so I took a stroll around Stockport. There are numerous Cotton Mills in this part of England, of course Stockport is a Suburb of Manchester with a large canal running from Liverpool which enables the vessels to bring the cotton straight on to the mills. The City of e United Kingdom to London "Some City Sure".
(16) A party of us were taken up to the City this afternoon, There are some beautifull buildingsto be seen it is a very busy place. We were taken to a picture Palace which was very nice especially the music We also had our Tea in the City.
(25) A small party of us taken to "Mossley" about 21 miles from Stockport and went into a convalescent Home away up among the hills. This place is also a great manufacturing centre, Cotton mills & so on. The amount of stone used in the construction of houses & on the roads, resembles Gibraltar in the south of Spain. We are housed in the "Mechanics Institute" which has been turned into a home for the boys, it is in the hands of St John Ambulance, and they attend to us first class.
(28) A piece of good news in the paper this morning in reference to Roumania,s declaration of War against the Central Powers, they have a splendid Army, which will be of great use to the Allies.
(30) A party of us were taken and shown over one of the largest Cotton Mills in the district this afternoon, it was very interesting, they have some wonderful machinery.
Sept 1st Took a stroll up on the Hills this afternoon to get a close view of "Hart’s Head Pike a tower erected a number of years ago, The storey about is , that Mariners can pick up their bearings by it when miles at sea.
(4) Another big Zeppelin Air Raid over London last night, One of our aviators brought one down in flames, a grand piece of work to be sure. Two other boys and myself were incited out to Mr Rawsons place "Herod" near Stalybridge for Tea and spent a pleasant time Mrs Rawson & her daughter played the piano and sang to us.
(7) Left Monday for London at 10 oclock this morning and arrived at Euston Station at 3P.M. and reported to Headquarters, Westminster.
(8) Left Waterloo Station at 11 A.M. and arrived at Luggershall Station at 1.30PM and were conveyed in motor cars to "Perham Downs Camp. there are about [indecipherable],000 Australian troops training here, mostly new arrivals from home. Also large numbers of Imperial Troops. Met one of my old comrades out of 13th Bn down here.
Sept 23rd Great excitement ion London to night. Zeppelins reported to be hovering over the City. All Trains and Trams running with lights out. City almost in darkness. About 10.15P.M. one of the Searchlights picked up a large Airship, it looked very uncanny glideingthrough space at such a great height, it looked like silver in the rays of thesearchlight. Anti-aircraft guns soon got to work and shells were seen to explode near her, then the Airship went higher up. All searchlight were turned off. The streets were crowded with excited women and children.
(24) About 1.20A.M. the searchlights were busy again, and located another Zeppelin, Bombs being dropped by other Zeppelins in various parts of the City, and what a din they made, several fell near Stratham Station and done considerable damage. The German dropped several Parachute flares to light up parts of the City, no doubt to pick their way out. About 1.30A.M. there was a burst of flame high up in the air away over near Woolwich, it got bigger and bigger until the whole length of the Zeppelin was in flames and was crashing to the earth, one of our aeroplanes had flown over her and destroyed her. There was mad cheering from the people as she came down. It was a grand sight.
(27) A large body of Australian Troops were marched form Perham Downs Camp to Bullford this afternoon, to be inspected by King George, it was a splendid turnout, and the boys looked their very best.
(29) About 20 men, myself included, took our departure form Perham Down this morning for "Aymsbury" about 35 miles off. Were then marched to "Rollestone Camp" about 9 miles further on. We passed by the historic "Stonehenge" a pile of very large slabs which have been there for centuries. As a matter of fact no one seems to know the real history about them. We are having extra rough weather in these parts, it has been raining for several days.
(30) On the move again. The 4th, 12th & 13th Training Battalions were marched from Rollestone Camp to Codford – distance 15 miles. We were put into Hutswhich were far better`````tents, especially this weather, as our chaps cannot stand too much of the cold stuff. It appears the men from Canada last year lost a large number of men through the severe weather.
October 1st. A Muster Parade of the 12th Training Bn held this morning. I met one of my old comrades Cpl Butler of the 45th Bn late 13th Bn. The majority of the men i9n Camp at present are recent arrivals from Australia, who are finishing their training in England. The weather still very rough here, oceans of mud and rain.
(4) Met my old "Gallipoli" mate Sgt. Major Norm Parsons whom I had not seen for over 12 months, I thought he had been invalided to Australia, my word it was grand to meet ban old chum who had roughed it with you. Again this afternoon I had another surprise, Cpl Parke of my own Company another splendid little fellow who was my chum at "Armentieres" and on the "Somme" in France, and strange to say he came away wounded the same day as myself, it was a grand treat to meet them all again I can assure you.
(7) The Battln out for a route march this morning, went through the village of "Wylie". It is a pretty little village and has some ancient buildings especially the Church, Cpl Parke and myself went through the Church which has some very nice stained glass windows. We also were shown over the "Grist Mill" which is driven by water power.
(8) Church Parade held this morning, very well attended. Met Lieut Kirkwood of my Company who came from France wounded.
(11) My Birthday to day, 32 years of age and still going strong.
[November 1916] [There are either a few pages missing or Crooks has not written anything for a month. It is now November (Sunday the 19th only occurs in November of 1916) and Crooks is in France]
(10) Sgt Major McIntyre and myself paid a visit to the Township of "Etaples" this afternoon, it is rather a dirty looking place and the smells reminds me very much of Egypt. Although it is situated close to the sea they have no sanitary arrangements. Just about 250 years behind time (more or less.)
(11) Paid a visit to the township of "Paris-Place" about 4 miles from "Etaples" on the coast, and in the Summertime it is a great Tourist Resort for the wealthy classes of France and England, it is just the opposite to "Etaples" in cleanliness.
(14) We re having some very cold weather here just at present, we have had several frosty nights lately. We are still waiting to be sent to our Battln. We are considered trained Soldiers again, a great joke. Ah well.
(19) Sunday Church Parade held. Several of my old Comrades came into camp yesterday, C.S.M. Young and Sgt Gadry of the 45th Bn.
[On 25 November 1916 Crooks "interfered with Provost Sergeant Bonnet in the execution of his duty who was at that time endeavouring to quell a disturbance". Crooks was found guilty, docked 8 days pay and reduced from the rank of W.O II to that of Sergeant. There is understandably no reference to this in the diary and a gap in the dates on which the diary was written]
Sunday 3rd December.
Our draft entrained at "Etaples" about 7 o,clock this morning, and left shortly afterwards. Passed through "Abbeville at 9.30 "Picquigny" at midday, "Saint Roche" 12.45P.M. arrived at "Amiens" 1P.M. had lunch and moved off again passed through "Mericourt" about 2.30, large numbers of German prisoners working on the roads and doing other work around the Town. Details for the 1st Division detrained here. Off again passed through "Buire-sur-L’Ancre" and arrived at "Albert" about 4.30P.M. A shell destroyed portion of the Railway line near the Station, after a couple of hours waiting we were marched through the Town to 4th Div Camp on the S.E. Side of Town & were put up for the night, plenty of mud & slush about.
(4) On the march again this morning for "Dernencourt" about 3 miles from "Albert" arrived about 10.30A.M. met many of my old comrades and what a welcome it was a treat to be among them again. Many of the boys suffering with Trench feet.
(5) Coy on Parade this morning preparing for the Inspection by new Brigade Commander. Usual Bombardment this afternoon. Several German prisoners came in to day.
(11) C. and D. Coy inspected by Brig-General Robertson our new Brigadier. A real smart turn out in spite of weather conditions.
(12) Snow fell to day. A continuous stream of Troops & other Transport moving to and from the front line to day.
(17) Preparations being made for our departure to night. Marched out of "Dernacourt" about 7P.M. and entrained at "Edgehill Camp at 8P.M. and left at 9P.M. An awfully slow train nearly as bad as the Hobart mail trains.
[December 1916/January 1917]
(18) Arrived at "Flesselles" at 2.30A.M this morning after a very cold & weary ride, the distance we travelled was only 23 miles but the Puff-Puff took a little over 5 hours to do the journey (going some) we marched about a mile from the Station & were billeted, some of the billets were very good, but the majority were up to "Putty". However the boys were glad of anywhere to lie down.
(19) Very cold morning. Parades etc were gone through. Snow fell again to day.
(20) Sunshine to day, place looks a wee bit brighter. Leave granted to a large number of men to visit City of "Amiens"
(24) Sgt Hooker and myself took a trip into the City of "Amiens" this morning, it was well worth the walk to see the famous Cathedral, it is a splendid building. Of course the French folk have placed sand bags around many parts of it for protection against shell splinters. Met 2 of my old comrades form the 13th Bn Sgt Phil Adams & Doig.
(27) Paid a visit to "Berteaucourt" and met some folk who gave us such a good time when we were billeted there last July.
(1) January 1917. Brigade sports held today. 45th Bn were represented by D. Coy who won 2 events and were 2nd in no les than 5 other events. The day was anything but favourable for sports. It rained and of course their was oceans of mud everywhere.
(2) 45th Bn marched out from "Flesselles" at 10A.M. & arrived at "Franvillers" at about 2.30P.M. a great many men suffering with bad feet.
January 5th 1917. 12th Brigade marched out from "Dernancourt" at 9 oclock this morning and reached "Fricourt" a couple of hours later, the roads were in a very bad condition, owing to such heavy traffic & so on. We were billeted in huts just outside "Becordel" for the night.
(6) It rained hard all night. 45th Bn left "Becordel" about 10.30A.M. this morning and passed through "Mametz" an hour later & had lunch, moved up through "Delville Wood" or rather what remained of it, to the support Trenches near "Gudecourt Wood" .
(7) Several of our Aeroplanes were on the Wing early this morning. Seven enemy machines came over & our planes gave them Battle. Enemy Artillery shelled our trenches early this morning, but did very little damage. One of our Coy wounded. We left support Trenches about 5.30P.M. & after wading through mud etc for about 1 mile and half we reached our front line Trenches and relieved the 1st Bn. The boys up to their knees in slush in most parts of the Trench.
(8) Stand to arms at 5.30 this morning, bitterly cold. Rationsparty arrived just before daybreak. Enemy Artillery fairly busy this morning shelling "Gudecourt Wood" or the few stumps that remain. The country for miles around is torn up where great Shells have exploded. Snipers very busy this evening, one of our boys wounded, young OConner was killed by Rifle Grenade.
(9) Heavy fall of snow last night. Snipers again very busy early this morning. All the boys doing a shiver in the snow & mud, its awfully cold. We were relieved by B. Coy about 6 oclock this evening. Enemy Artillery dropped a few shells over, just as we were nearing the "Chalk Pits" and Pte Hunter was wounded. We arrived in the Support Trenches about 7.30P.M.
(10 Had good snore last night. Enemy Artillery fired a great many shells near Supports this morning, Some of our Engineers who were coming in suffered several casualties, many rushed to take cover behind one of our disabled "Tanks" but Fritz soon shelled them out. Enemy Aeroplane come down within a few hundred feet of the ground, and used their Machine Gun on a Mule convoy which were carrying rations,
(11) Another fall of snow this morning adding to the discomfort of everybody. Fritz Artillery very busy shelling "Flers" and "Les-Boufs" this evening. Many of our boys suffering with trench feet, Lively Artillery duel to on night.
(13) Very cold day. Usual Artillery "Box on" this evening. D. Coy left support Trench at 5P.M. and after the usual rough passage steering clear of Shell Holes & so on, we arrived in front line about 7P.M. releiveing B. Company.
(14) Sunday. Another "Snifter" cold morning. Our own Artillery fired a couple of Shells very close to our own trenches, but no damage done. Snipers again busy this evening. Enemy fire over many fish tail Bombs to night.
(15) About one o,clock this morning a German came towards our line and was made a prisoner, he belonged to the 231st Regt of Infantry. We had some fine shooting just after daybreak at some German working parties and made the scramble for cover. About 11A.M. Fritz put over a shower of Rifle grenades and fish tail Bombs several came close to our line but the majority went "well away"
(16) Enemy Artillery put over a heavy "Barrage" fire about 2 this morning, it was quite furious for a time, remarkable what a lot of shells go to waste & do no harm. A. Coy 45th Bn had their Post raided by a party of Germans early this morning, but had several of their men put "Hors-de-Combat" A Coy lost a Lewis Gun. More Bombs about 1 oclock but no damage done. We left front line about 6 oclock to night, being releived by 46th Bn. After wandering around the country in the dark for a couple of hours we finally reached our destination known as "Gap Trench".
A very heavy fall of snow again last night, must be fully a foot deep. fairly quiet day, very little "straffing".
(19) Very cold morning. Had a batch of 20 Reinforcements join us up this morning. A party form our Coy went down to Divisional Baths this afternoon. We were badly in need of a wash as the dirt was well grimed in, We also received a change of flannels, which was very acceptable indeed (Guess we shall have a little sleep to night, getting rid of so much vermin.) They fairly sit up and bark at a bloke. Fritz Artillery opened up again this evening, there happened to be a great many men on the move, and of course there were many casualties.
(20) Still on the cold side. Fritz Guns busy again this morning, several blokes knocked, Stretcher bearers having a fairly busy time. About 3 o,clock this afternoon Fritz got real narked & Shell our dug-outs a treat, The day was very clear for Observation and "Fritz" took advantage of it.
(21) Sunday. Things fairly quiet this morning. Usual Artillery activity this evening, several casualties, Stretcher bearers hard at work carrying their patients back near Bde Headquarters, fair distance off & the ground being covered in snow makes matters worse.
(22) Great outburst of Big-gun fireing on our right towards "Les-Boeufs" lasted for about an hour. Fritz indulges in a little Artillery work to night, several dug-outs in B. Coys trench knocked to atoms, but luckily no one were in them at the time.
(23) A very heavy frost fell last night. and made it easily the coldest day we have experienced up till the present. Aeroplanes were very active on both sides to day. Usual Big-Gun straffing again this evening. Pte Crittenden killed by shell explosion to night.
(24) A "snodger" cold morning. 45th Bn left Switch & Gap trench this morning & arrived at "Mametz Wood" at midday were we billeted in Huts. On our way down from the trenches we passed by the old 13th Bn going in, met several of my old comrades.
(25) Allmost to cold to sleep to night. Water in tanks frozen hard, very amusing to see the boys with axes & picks chopping it out to fill their Tea Dixies. Majority of he Boys have only one blanket and feel the cold very much.
(26) Another "frezzer" this morning Aeroplanes very Active to day.
(27) Heavy Bombardment early this morning. 29th Division made a raid on enemy trenches and captured nearly 200 Hun Prisoners.
(28) Sunday. Another "cooler" this morning Big Guns roaring all night, "Fritz" Aeroplanes very busy to day.
(29) D. Coy out for a route march this morning. About 80 men selected form 45th Bn to undergo training for the raids that are to come next time in trenches. A great number of African Blacks employed on road making & other work. Great Aerial activity to night, also heavy Bombardment on our own front.
(30) 45th Bn Raiders out training this morning. Snow fell again this afternoon it is pretty thick already. Enemy Aeroplane brought down to night by our Anti-Aircraft guns.
(31) Same as per "usual"
Feb 1st Snowing again to day & very cold indeed.
(2) Raiding party out training this morning, went for a double as far as "Contalmaison". Took a trip into "Dernancourt" this afternoon in search of 5th Division, had my walk for nothing. The Nothhumberland Fusilers were in Billet there. 4th Bde raid enemy trenches to night.
Feb 8th 1917. Very cold morning. Received 2 letters from home, first for quite a long time. Heavy Bombardment going on to night.
(9) 45th Bn left "Mametz Wood" about 2 o,clock this afternoon and arrived at "Gap Trench" at 5P.M. releiving the 14th Bn.
(10) Another snifter cold morning. D. Coy out on fatigue to night, trench digging in our second line and wireing and so on. Another Heavy Bombardment on our left to night "Fritz" was very busy sending up flares of all colours, it looked like some fireworks display. We heard the 2nd Division had take 217 Prisoners to night.
(11) 2 years to day since the 2nd Reinforcements of the 13th Bn left Sydney for Egypt. Everything fairly quiet this morning. D. Coy out on fatigue again to night.
(12) Another "cooler" this morning. Very misty about midday. Artillery fairly busy on both sides this evening. Gas Alarm sounded about 8 o,clock to night, great scramble in the dark for "Gas Helmets, very amusing.
(13) Snow begins to melt makeing the ground a wee bit sloppy. Went with Capt Holman up to the front line this morning and paid a visit to the German Strongpoint recently captured by the 13th Bn. A great many mangled Germans also a few of the 13tyh who fell in the raid, still lying unburied. The Germans had several large dug-outs about 25 feet deep, some contained dead Germans, were the 13th threw bombs in. It was a fine piece of work & well carried out. Capt Murray of the 13th did splendid work.
(14) Pretty "nippy" again this morning. 45th Bn Raiders training near "Delville Wood". Great Aeroplane activity this evening, several fights took place, one of our Machines was shot down & burst into flames before hitting the ground. The Pilot & the Observer were both burnt to ashes. Another Bombardment of enemy lines near "Les-Boeufs to night. Raiding party from the 5th Div captured 30 Prisoners to night.
(15) Aeroplanes extra busy to day, 5 German & 6 of our machines had a scrap this afternoon, things were real lively for a tome, but after about an hours fancy twisting about in the air each returned to their own lines. Lively Artillery Bombardment on this evening. We had no less than 4 Gas Alarms to night, gongs and horns ringing & snorting everywhere. Enemy Artillery fire a few Gas Shells & someone must have got noises in the head and gave the Alarm as a "Dinkum" gas stunt. Sgt O,Donnell wounded in the right shoulder while out on fatigue to night.
(16) Very "nippy" this morning. Enemy had several of his observation Balloons up this morning. Our own Aeroplanes were flying about in large numbers. Another lively Bombardment on this evening. We heard the 52nd Bn made a successful raid. "Fritz" guns busy about 11 P.M – fired a great number of Shells.
(17) Great thaw sets in, oceans of mud to splash about in D and B Coy left "Gap Trench" about 4.30P.M. and arrived in front line about 2 hours later, releiving the 46th Bn. Trenches in very bad condition, mud about a foot deep to wade about in. Our :Lewis Gunners pretty busy to night, "Fritz" fires a few fish tale Bombs but no damage done.
(18) Sunday. The boys indulge in a little snipeing this morning. Others at work improving the trenches. Enemy fire a few fish tail Bombs this evening Young Hobbs was killed & 2 other lads wounded. Stan Coombes, Rocky Adam & myself out on Patrol to night for about 2 hours, wee bit uncomfortable creeping about in the mud from Shell hole to shell hole.
(19) Makeing preparations for our raid on Enemy trench. Went along with Major Perry & Capt Knox to Bn H.Q. at "Pilgrims Way" in connection with to nights work. Since the thaw set in the ground has been in a terrible state, mud being knee deep in many places. About 9P.M A. & C. Coy began taking up their places in the line, many men got bogged in the mud. After a consultation between the Officers it was decided to leave it untill the weather conditions were more favourable. So the raid was put off for the time being.
(20) Drizzling rain set in early this morning makeing everything more uncomfortable in the line. "Fritz" fired a great many fish tail Bomb,s near our line this morning. "Fritz" Artillery very busy this afternoon shells pretty thick. More noises proposed raid to come off in the morning. Stand to arms at 11P.M. but only false alarm.
(21) At 3 o,clock this morning our raiding party consisting of 2 Officers and 100 other Ranks moved out from our "Block" on the left towards the enemy block about 80 yards distant, and after 3 minutes bombardment from our Stokes guns we went for his trench and took about 250 yards also 31 Prisoners, there were about 20 Germans killed and several wounded, there was plenty of work for his Stretcher Bearers. Our losses in the attack were 1 killed & 1 Officer & 5 men wounded. In one dug-out we netted 17 Germans, and of course other dug-outs held more, including several who were killed.
At daybreak several of the enemy crept towards our newly won position, but our boys "nailed" quite a few. There was some lively scraping near the "blocks" with bombs and so on. Some of the boys hard at work with pick & shovel connecting up with our old trench. Enemy Snipers very busy, several of our boys killed & wounded. One shell burst near our post & killed 2 men & wounded another. Our Stretcher bearers hard at work getting the wounded away, which was very difficult owing to the muddy state of the trench. On one occasion an enemy machine gun opened on them and wounded 2, our bearers had the white flag held up but "Fritz" never eased up. None of our boys fired on their bearers when they came out with the Red Cross flag.. We found an abundance of food in their dug-outs and made ourselves right at home. The Prisoners we took belonged to the Hamburg-Grenadiers they were big men, and apparently well fed, their clothing also was of the best, they appeared to be full up of the slaughter.
(22) Stand to arms about 4 o,clock this morning, thought "Fritz" was going to counter attack, but he would have had a lively reception had he done so. His Artillery got furious about 11 o,clock this morning and peppered our trench and round about to some time. B. Coy on our right had some casualties. A great number of our boys were sent back to the "Chalk Pits" to day suffering with trench feet and other sickness. The mud in some parts of the trench is almost waist deep, men get bogged and take some getting out. The conditions are exceedingly bad.
(23) Shortly after midnight a raiding party from the 45th & 48th Bn rushed "Fritz" trench, and after a short scramble captured a portion, also about 20 Prisoners. They belonged to the 139th Grenadiers. Enemy Artillery again busy this morning. Our Coy pretty weak in numbers, just 40 men left in our sector of the trench, and a worn out lot they are. This makes our 7th day straight off in the front line and the boys are feeling the strain badly. Their artillery got real furious again this afternoon and Shelled our position for a couple of hours, one shell burst right among one post
and killed 4 and wounded 4 of our Coy. We also had a gun position blown out.
(24) Everything pretty quiet this morning, Thank God. We have only 31 men in my Coy out of 120 we brought in, this is the 8th day we have been ploughing about in the mud. Our hearts were gladdened when we heard that we were to be releived to night. Thank the Almighty.
"Fritz" Artillery opened up just about dusk, our own guns were fireing short also, but luckily for us none burst. After reaching Brigade Headquarters we were sent on to "Burnafay Wood" and then on to Mametz camp reaching our huts about 2.30 in the morning, properly done up.
(26) Majority of the boys went to "Fricourt Baths" and had a good scrub down, it was a treat to get rid of the dirt and get a change of clothing. Our Band came up from "Dernancourt" this afternoon and gave the Bn some music, cheered the boys up a little.
(27) 45th Bn headed by the Band left "Mametz Camp" about 10 o, clock this morning and reached "Becourt" about an hour later.
(28) Reorganising Bn this morning. Afternoon spent makeing good all shortages, such as equipment, Clothing and so on. Preparations being made for movement off again to morrow.
March 1st 45th Bn marched off about 9.30 this morning and arrived at "Bresle" about 1 o,clock, a very small township about 3 miles from "Albert". Why we even had a glimpse of the old Sunshine this afternoon.
(5) 45th Bn out on a route march this morning. Another heavy fall of snow to day.
(8) Another big field day, the Brigade took part.
(11) Sunday. A Parade of the Whole Division under General Birdwood, the same old stick, I met several of my old chums from the 13th Bn and had a good yarn about old times & so on.
[March 1917 written in a new book]
Portion of Diary
St Patricks day turned out fine. Received news of the fall of "Bapuame" about midday, a great bombardment opened up about midnight and kept going till daybreak. The French people of Bresle were very excited over the takeing of Bapuame and other villages including Le-Transloy and Beaulencourt..
(19) The advance still going strong "Fritz" getting a lively time.
(22) Another heavy snow fall this morning fairly cold again.
(23) 45th Bn marched out from "Bresle" about 10 o,clock this morning and halted outside "Albert" at midnight for lunch. Moved off again at 12.45 and passed through "Albert", "La Bousele", "Becourt" and arrived at Shelter Wood Camp on the Contalmaison road about 4 o,clock.
(24) Had a stroll around the old Battlefield of Poziers this afternoon, visited many of my old comrades graves, a great many bodies still lying about unburied, both German and our own.
(25) Sunday. Glorious weather to day. A large number of my company paid a visit to "Poziers" and the big mine crater this afternoon. I was decorated with the Military Cross ribbon to day. [See Military Cross in the glossary below.]
(26) Started raining early this morning making everything miserable again.
(27) Went into village of "Meulte" this afternoon with Sgt Alabaster to get some timber for proposed monument for our boys that fell at "Poziers".
(28) On the move again. Marched out from Shelter wood Camp at 7.30 this morning and passed through "Martinpuich", "Pozieres, Le-Sars and camped between "Warlencourt" and "Le-Barque". The roads are in very bad state owing to such heavy traffic, and are blown up in 3 places. Paid a visit to the Butte-de-Warlencourt this afternoon, it has been almost levelled off with the large number of shells that have been hurled at it from time to time. A large cross has been erected on top to the memory of Officers N.C.O,s & men who fell in the attack on the "Butte" on Nov 6th 1916. The enemy had some powerful positions in Le Barque but he had to go.
29 & 30 Stormy weather again. Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig and several other Army Corps Commanders including our old friend Gen Birdwood passed through our Camp this afternoon on their way to Bapuame.
April 1st 1917. Sunday. Paid a visit to village of "Grevillers" about 1½ miles from "Bapuame" this morning, went through the big German Cemetary several bodies lying about, being blown out by our Shells in the advance. The Huns carried out their usual work of destruction before leaving. There were several large dug-outs and subterranean passages running right through the village. Most of the big trees that adorned the village have been chopped down.
(2) Heavy frost this morning. 45th Bn marched out from Le Barque at 10A.M. this morning and passed through Bapuame" to a Camp on the Eastern side of the town. "Bapuame" itself a fairly large Town, but at present like all other French towns in the War zone that the Hun has been forced to evacuate reduced to a heap of ruins. A few shells fell around the Town this evening from enemy long range guns. Snow falling again to night.
(3) Snow fairly thick on the ground this morning. Paid a visit to "Bapuame" this afternoon and had a peep at the spot where the Town Hall once stood, but was blown up when the enemy evacuated. Took a stroll into the village of "Fravriuel" this evening and met several of the old 13th Bn. Enemy Aeroplane came over and shot down 2 of our Observation Balloons, both burst into flames, the observers jumped from the cage and came to earth by "Parachute. The enemy plane flying very low then made off, followed by shells from our Anti-aircraft guns and bullets from all directions. It was a very smart and daring piece of work on the enemy airmans part, But he was shot down before going very far.
(4) Rain fell all last night making the ground in a very bad state again.
(5) Turned out a beautiful day. Cpl Kingell and myself had a tour around "Bapuame" and district this afternoon, many very interesting places to visit such as some of the old Fortifications erected in Napoleons time etc etc.
(6) Good Friday. Turned out another beautiful day. Great Aerial activity this morning. Heavy Bombardment going on towards "Arras" Another batch of reinforcements joined this afternoon. Rain fell again to night.
(7) Took a run into village of "Fravruiel" this morning. Enemy Artillery put a few shells into "Bapuame this evening from their long range guns, Our O.C. Capt Jack Holman was badly wounded in the right arm. Lieut Davis now acting O.C.
(8) Sunday. Fine weather to day. One of our Aeroplanes met with an accident this morning and came to earth upside down, but the airman scaped uninjured. Took a stroll as far as the ruined village of "Le-Barque" and "Beaulencourt" this afternoon met several chaps in the 55th and 56th Bn who came from Australia in the same boat as myself. Had a peep over the remains of the "Bapuame" Cathedral on the way back to camp, a great heap of skulls piled up ion the crypt of the Cathedral, remains of the Revolutionaries.
(10) A party of N.C.O.s and myself from my Coy went up to have a look at our new position in front of "Bullecourt" on the way up we passed through the wrecked towns of "Vaulx" and "Nurieul" which the Germans had evacuated in a hurry but not before blowing the roadways up at the various crossings to impede our advance. A grate many dead lying about unburied both German and our own. Heavy snow storm this afternoon.
(11) The 45th Bn marched out from "Bapaume" about 1P.M and halted outside "Nurieul" untill dusk. A great many wounded making their way to the rear, the 4th Bde and portion of our Brigade made an attack on the enemy line near "Bullecourt" early this morning and held it about 4 hours, the enemy counter-attacked no less than 5 times, and our lads had to retire on their old positions haveing run out of Bombs and other munitions, the loss,es on both sides were enormous the field being littered with killed and wounded. The "Yanks" took part in the attack but were not such a great success on our front as they were in the North. A large enemy Shell burst among our Coy when moving into position and killed Cpl Dawes and 2 other lads and wounded several others, some were blown a great height into the air. An ammunition wagon drawn by 6 mules passing by at the time was blown to fragments, only 1 mule and Driver escaping. Another blinding snowstorm this evening, a great many Shells fell into "Nurieul" as we were passing through but we had no more casualties. We reached our line which was portion of a sunken road about 9 o,clock. Spent very cold night.
(12) Still snowing hard. Our Artillery Bombard "Bullecourt" all the morning and smash down what few German buildings stood. The Town is occupied by Fritz and no doubt well fortified. Enemy Artillery get pretty busy this afternoon, one shell burst among some of my lads but only one Cpl Hunt wounded, his left arm being torn off. Lieut Davis and myself pay a visit to A. Coys lines about dusk, enemy guns busily shelling it. 3 of our "Tanks" lying about in No mans Land disabled.
(13) Turned out a fine day. Everything was real lively this morning Aeroplanes by the dozen flying around, one of ours shot down over enemy lines in flames. Some of our Aviators do some fine work flying at the height of only 20 ft or so and fireing their machine guns into enemy trenches. Another artillery duel this afternoon. We were releived by the 18th Bn to night and marched back to "Bapuame" reaching there at half past one in the morning.
(14) Left camp and marched to Railway Sideing about 11 o,clock, a shell from "Fritz" long range gun blew up a Railway Engine quite near and held up the Traffic for some time. Left "Bapuame" by Train about 4.30P.M. passing "Achiet-le-Grand" "Beaumont" and several other towns and arrived at "Albert" about 10 o,clock. On the march again and passed through "Becourt" and arrived at "Crucifix Camp" near "Fricourt" about midnight.
(15) Sunday. Raining again to day.
(17) Marched from "Crucifix Camp" about 10 o,clock this morning and passed through "Albert" - "Millencourt" – "Laviecourt" and arrived at "Bresle" at 2P.M. and put up our own little Billets. A great number of German Prisoners were being marched through "Albert" as we came through.
(25) April. Anzac day. Brigade Sports held to day near "Henencourt Wood" a great success. The 45th Bn won 6. Firsts 2. Seconds and 3. Third prizes out of 11 . Events not so bad at all. We had a real fine day for it and everything went off grand, As a matter of fact it took our thoughts off the War for the time being & so on.
Best love from Dad XXXX
May 7th 1917. Left "Bresle by motor lorrie about 2P.M this afternoon and reached "Amiens" a couple of hours later. Left "Amiens" by Train at 6.30PM and arrived at "Boulogne" about 9P.M.
(8) Left "Boulogne" at 3PM. and arrived at Folkestone England 5.30, left by Train and arrived at Victoria Station London about 9.30P.M. and a party of A.I.F on leave (Special) 10 days were marched to Headquarters were their London addresses were taken and so on. I had to see several heads of Departments to make arrangements about receiving my decoration.
(12) Very funny turnout to day, through a mistake made by the people at Horseferry Road Office I missed the Investiture this morning at the Palace, So I had to see the Lord Chamberlain (Sir Douglas Dawson) at St James palace and arrangements were made so that I should receive my Cross that afternoon. So at 3 o,clock I was taken to Buckingham Palace on my own and after wandering through several Corridors and large, gaudy, Halls etc I was finally ushered into the Kings presence, sure I felt a little excited being all on my own before the King-Emperor of the greatest Empire the world has ever known, (I also felt a wee bit proud of myself when he pinned the Military Cross on my brest and shook me by the hand, exactly what he said to me I cannot quite remember as I was in a sort of fairy-land, I must have been in his presence fully 10 minutes, and he asked me what state I belonged to, if I was married, who I served with in S. Africa, had I been in Gallipoli and
numerous other questions, and after another hand shake I retired, outside I was taken by the hand again by several Officers belonging to the Kings staff and wished all kinds of nice things and so on. I then marched form the Palace with smiles galore, my face fairly ached with smiling, and I only wished I was going straight home to "Diddie" and the girls, to show them what I had won. God Save the King.
(13) Took a Train journey as far as Stockport near Manchester and visited the Hospital at Verno Park where last Sept I was a patient, there were no Australians there and very few British Troops. No doubt the Sinking of Hospital Ships lately has set them thinking.
(15) Took a run out to Mossley where I was in Convalescent Home after leaving Vernon Park. The Staff were all very pleased to see me again, especially when they knew I had come over from France to be decorated.
(17) Returned to London. The country looks beautiful this time of the year.
(18) Reported back from leave. Steamed out from Victoria Station about 9A.M. this morning and arrived at "Folkestone" midday. Went straight on board Troopship and left about 5.30P.M and arrived at "Boulogne at 8.P.M. and were billeted for the night
(19) Left "Boulogne" by Train at 2P.M. and reached "Calais" about 3A.M. this morning and arrived at "Bailleul" about 8A.M. were I detrained and after a march of about 6 miles I joined my Bn at "Neuve-Eglise" (New Church) in Belgiaum. The boys were pleased to see me return and crowded around to see my Cross. They made me promise before I left, to bring it back and show them.
(22) Great preparations being made for the great Offensive which is to come off shortly. Large numbers of big Guns are being taken up daily. The Aeroplanes are also very busy.
(28) Sgt Hansen and myself paid a visit to the fireing line this morning, arrived there just as "Fritz" Artillery was Straffing the front line, and putting a few well over in the rear, scattering several Fatigue partys.. There were several casualties. One poor chap belonging to the Royal Engineers who was crouching in the bay of a Trench not very far from us received several bad wounds Hansen & myself carried him to the rear but he died on the way down.
One of our Fatigues partys were shelled by Enemys Artillery to night and there were several casualties, 3 of my Coy were wounded, A. Coy lost 3 killed and 7 Wounded.
(30) 10 Officers and 114 Other ranks of the 45th Bn marched from "Neuve-Eglise" at 10 o,clock this morning, passed through "Bailleul" about midday, and arrived at "Merris" at 3P.M. this afternoon and went into billets for a couple of days.
June 1st. Left "Merris" about 10 o,clock this morning and arrived at "Morbecque" our destination at 3P.M. fairly warm on the match with our full equipment.
(3) Enemy Aeroplane came over "Hazebrouck" about 4 o,clock this morning and opened up Machine gun fire on the Camp,s around the Town, and inflicted a few casualties among the New Zealand troops. Anti-Aircraft guns were soon busy and drove him off.
(4) Brigade details went for a dip in the fresh water canal this afternoon, very acceptable after the heat of the day.
(6) Took a trip to into Township of "Hazebrouck" this afternoon, a fair sized place.
(13) Left "Morbecque" at 5 o,clock this morning in Motor Lorries and joined Brigade at "La Creche". A great many of the old faces missing. Enemy Artillery drop a few Shells around the camp to night but did no damage.
(14) 12th Bde inspected by General Godley this morning.
Sunday June 16. The 45th Bn marched from "La Creche" about 11 o,clock this morning to the "Armentieres" Road and were taken in large motor lorries to "Renescure a distance of 12 miles and were billeted in old Barns and other ramshackle buildings which were well stocked with vermin, as is usual.
(18) Violent storm passed over this afternoon. Things were real merry for a time, several large beach trees were blown down, one of our observation balloon,s broke away from its moorings and soon was out of sight among the black clouds, both the observers came down in Parachutes, after being tossed about like feathers.
(19) On the move again. 45th left "Renescure" in motor lorries at 10 this morning and reached our destination near "Neuf-Berquin" at midday, and were billeted in the usual way.
(22) One of the enemy,s Aeroplanes had a day out to day, he came over and shot down no less than 5 of our observation balloons which all came to earth in flames. The observers lost no time in hopping out of their cages, of course each man is equipped with a Parachute as a life saver.
(23) Great Air fight this morning, one of our Planes shot down a "Taube" near "Bailleul"
(25) A Squadron of enemy machines came over to night and dropped bomb,s on some of the villages near here.
(27) Heavy bombardment on "Armentieres" front early this morning.
(29) On the move again. 45th marched from billets around 9 o,clock this morning, passed through "Doulei", "Steenwerck" and arrived at "Kortepyp Camp" Belgiaum about midday. Several air fights took place this afternoon. Enemy Artillery also very busy.
(30) 45th marched from "Kortepyp" at 2.30P.M. after passing through a couple of ruined villages we reached "Red Lodge" near Hill 63, a couple of hours later. "Fritz" pretty busty putting over Shrapnell, but none of our boys were hit going up. Both the 45th and 47th Bn were billeted in an enormous dug-out under the hill, which they say can accommodate 4000 Troop,s, it is certainly a wonderful piece of work, and whoever has the good fortune to be on the "Messines Front next winter are sure of a fairly good home, much
the reverse to what the 12th Bde had during last winter "Oh to think of it" They must have had a large number of men working several months on this underground home, there are rows upon rows of alleyways all lit up by electricity. As a matter of fact they are needed these dug-outs at present, as "Fritz" is very spiteful he is using some high explosive shells that fairly shake the Hill. They are continually shelling Hill 63 & "Messines Ridge"
Sunday July 1st 45th Bn on fatigue work in 3rd line. Great aerial activity several fights take place. One of our Aeroplanes came down in flames.
(2) Enemy artillery shelling pretty heavy. General Holmes our Divisional Commander was killed this morning near "Hill 63 while on a visit to the 12the Bde. He left his motor-car at "Red Lodge and while makeing his way up along with Premier Holman of N.S.W. a shell came over and burst close to them, a piece of steel passing through the Generals back & coming out of his chest. Mr Holman badly shaken also.
(3) Fritz Artillery again very busy.
(4) Enemy Artillery start "Straffing" about 8 o,clock this morning and keep nobbing up till midday, they played havoc, they tore up one of our light railways, dropped several shells into a large (Soldiers) cemetary and uprooted many dead bodies, scattering legs, arms and fragments all over the place. Even big trees were brought down, fair sized pieces of timber were sent flying through the air and so on.
(5) Another lively day, "whips" of shells whirling about, several casualties among the 12th Bde. Major Howden M.C. was among those killed, he was second in command of the 47th Bn. He served on the Peninsular with the old 13th Bn he was a splendid Soldier. He was decorated for work done in the same scrap as myself.
All for the present Dear X
[No further entries in July. According to his military record, Crooks had been in hospital suffering from Orchitis]
August 3rd 1917. Rejoined unit after an absence of 15 days.
6 45th Bn marched out from "Neuf-Berquin" and after a march of 9 miles, bivouacked near "Kemmel Hill" (Belgium).
7. On the move again. Went up to act as reserves to the 48th Bn, we were stowed away in old German dug-outs in the battered village of "Wytschate". The enemy had done his usual tunneling under the ridge, his dug-outs were all connected up by long galleries and so on.
8 Enemy shelling fairly heavy about midday. large numbers of Aeroplanes skating about in mid-air, several scraps.
9. 3 of "Fritz" observation balloon,s brought down in flames by or planes. 1 of our brought down by "Fritz". British Artillery very busy near Ypres.
10. A great number of our Aeroplanes and observation ballons up, I have never seen so many before in the one sector, several fights took place. An enemy plane shot down by our Anti-aircraft guns.
11. Heavy rain fell to day making the ground rotten.
12 Sunday. All the boys on fatigue, improving communication sap.
13. Things fairly quiet on our front to day. Our Aeroplanes were on the move ton night annoying "Fritz". The enemys line looked quite gay with the large numbers of varied coloured lights he fired up, especially one for enemy aircraft..
14. 45th Bn releived the 48th front line & support trenches about 10P.M to night, ground very bad after recent rains, the boys slipping and skateing about among shell holes. To top matter up "Fritz" guns opened up & dropped several shells rather near, but none of lads were hit. The 48th had some casualties while releiving.
15. Weather still showery. Several enemy planes cruising around this afternoon. A great Artillery bombardment of enemy lines to night near "Ypres" air alive with bursting shells. Paid a visit to front line to night "Fritz" very busy with Machine guns. One of B. Coys posts had a box on with enemy patrol to night, 1 man wounded.
16. About 4A.M. this morning enemy Artillery opened up pretty heavy bombardment on our position, pretty lively for about 2 hours, nothing but booming & crashing, hell of a din.
17. Another lively night, enemy quite furious shelling our support lines, many casualties among the working parties of 45th & 48th Bn, my coy had 4 Killed & 14 Wounded.
18. D. Coy releived B. Coy in front line about midnight, everything quiet while we changed over.
19. Sunday. "Fritz" got busy with his machine gun early this morning, 1 of my boys badly wounded (Since dead). A great many dead lying about since the big advance. Enemy aeroplane brought down in flames by shell fire.
20. everything pretty quiet until about half past 3 this morning when "Fritz" got real busy, sending over Shells, Pineapple Bombs, and trench mortor stuff in large quantities, the noise was deafening, began to think the end had come, after an hour of this rough stuff he quieted down, the damage done was insignificant, only 4 men wounded in our lines, and the trenches damaged a little.
21. About 4 o,clock this morning one of "Fritz" machine gun crews, while making their way back to their front line , they stumbled against one of our posts and got a lively time, our boys got busy with their Lewis Gun, killing 2 and wounding several others the remainder scattered, dropping their gun in the rush which we promptly pinched. They belonged to the 133rd Regt 2nd Machine Gun Company. 2 of them were decorated.
with the Iron Cross. We also got 2 fine Mauser Pistols. A very heavy fog came over this morning.
22. "Fritz" got pretty lively again this morning with his trench mortors. 45th Bn were releived to night by the "Wilts Regt" we were shelled on our way back, had a few casualties.
23. The boys came back in twos & threes from the line and reached the Transport lines about 2.30 this morning. After a rest we were on the move again about 9 o,clock and reached our destination near "Dranoute" at midday.
24. The whole Bn went for a hot bath and change of clothing to day which was very acceptable.
25. Coy in training again, same old stuff.
26. Church Parade held. "Fritz" Aeroplanes came over to night and did a little bombing.
27. Bn inspected at training by General Godley and Staff. Raining again this afternoon. Had an interview with our Brigade Commander Brig-General Robinson this evening.
28. Left "Dranoute" at 9A.M. this morning and passed through "Bailleul" about 11A.M. and arrived at "La Motte" about 5 P.M. we were rested for the night.
29. Left "La Motte" at 9 A.M. and after a pretty long march through "Hazebrouck" we reached "Staples" about 5 P.M. and occupied several barns as billets. We were caught in a storm on the way finishing up pretty moist.
30> Bn out training. Weather very unsettled.
Sept 1st. More rain. Several of our boys came back to day that were wounded at Battle of "Messines" and a few that were smacked at "Pozieres" twelve months ago, guess they have had a good spell. Ah well "Narpoo"
More to follow.
A wee bit of my Diary. Also a wee bit of Iron Cross Ribbon taken from Fritz.
Sept 19th 1917. 45th Bn moved out from "Quhem", about 9 o,clock this morning and embussed near village of "St Julien". After traveling about 9 miles we went into billets near "Le-Nieppe", the whole Bn being billeted in a huge farm building. It was easily the best billet we had ever stopped in since arriving in France.
20th Usual parades indulged in and so on.
21st Bn on the move again about 9 o,clock this morning, marched from "Le-Nieppe", through "Cassell" which is situated on a fairly high point overlooking a wide stretch of country and then on to "Steenvoorde" were we were billeted. Paid a visit to my old Bn the 13th this evening were I met several of my old comrades.
22nd I received promotion to the rank of 2nd Lieut to day, my boys were quite delighted and gave me a bouncing about and so on. Several Officers of my Bn gave a small dinner in honour of the occasion.
23rd Sabbath. Bn on the move again early this morning, we were taken in Motor Bus from just outside "Steenvoorde" to "Linde-Goed Farm in Belgium.
24th Moved off again this morning and bivouacked near "Belgian Chateau" near "Ypres". Very warm & dusty on the march up. While erecting our shelters this afternoon a shell from a long range enemy gun fell among a group of our boys but strange to say only 1 Officer was hit. I was sent with 4 N.C.O,s this
afternoon to find 4Bn Headquarters on "Westhoek Ridge". I left about 3 o,clock and returned at 7.30P.M. We had to go a fair distance over shell torn country, we passed several torn & shattered men & horses, also wrecked aeroplanes both British & German on the way – Our people have quite a large number of guns of all Calibres round "Bellwarde Ridge", ready for the big advance to take place in a day or two.
25th. 45th Bn moved into Support Trenches this morning passing through "Ypres" on the way up, and out through what is known as the "Menin Gate". Enemy artillery spray a few shells among our batteries this afternoon. Our guns replying vigourously.
26th All the boys getting ready for the fray which came about 5.30A.M. this morning. At a given signal all the Guns on our Division frontage opened up an hellish fire on the enemy and kept it up for some time, our Machine guns were also Brigaded and put up an elaborate barrage of 303 bullets & the booming of the big guns & the rattle of the Machine guns was deafening, our boys got a little excited now & again and took some holding back. The 4th & 5th Division hopped over the top, The English & Scotch Regts going over near "Zonnebeke" were they had a real hard job on hand, as the enemy were fighting very stubbornly. Our boys tore into them right royal, at least what was left of them, our Artillery inflicted severe losses on them. The ground was
strewn with their dead & wounded, of course we had many killed & wounded also. It was a great scrap and also a victory for our boys. There was a great number of Hun prisoners taken, including many officers. We struck the famous Ersatz Regt (Prussians.) Things were very lively about 7 o,clock, Enemy planes flew down very close to our new lines and our boys opened fire with Rifles & Lewis guns, and to crown everything D. Coy brought 1 down, it fell about 100 yards from our line our stretcher bearers went out and carried the 2 Huns in, but they died of wounds. 2 more enemy planes brought down by our shell fire.
27th A real Ding-Dong scrap this morning about 6 o,clock, drizzling rain fell this morning, but cleared off before midday. Enemy Artillery very active this afternoon, part of my platoon’s trench blown in, Young O’Loughlin killed and 5 others wounded. Enemy made an attack on our front about 6 o,clock this evening but was beaten back leaving several dead upon the field. Our guns rained shells by the hundred, and our machine guns kept up a continual rattle. A great screen of smoke hung over the Battlefield for hours. D Coy moved up to trenches near "Garter Point" an old German "Pill Box". 4 N.C.Os & myself on the move this afternoon in search of 14th Bn Head Quarters, whom we are to relieve, an awful lot of German dead lying about near their
28th. Weather still in our favour. Enemy guns fairly busy this morning. Our Aeroplanes up in great number observing & so on. Our Bn relieved 14th Bn in front line about 9.30P.M Enemy guns again start shelling towards midnight, Cpl. Mowatt killed & several lads injured by being buried.
29th. Stand to arms about 3 o’clock this morning. Enemy planes came down very low over our lines first thing this morning and fired their machine guns at us. Enemy Artillery again pretty lively this morning, but most of their shells fell about 100 yds over our line. Greta scrap on this evening our Artillery going for all they are worth. Lt Leddy, Cpl Chapman and myself do a little patroling to night, stirred a "Fritz" machine gun crew with a few Mills rifle grenades & so on.
30th Sunday. "Fritz" Artillery very active again this morning about 2 o,clock, a couple of our lads killed, several had narrow escapes, a regular nerve racker for the boys. About midday his artillery got quite furious again, 1 of my boys killed & 4 wounded, several buried when trench blown in. Our Coy was relieved at 10 oclock to night by D. Coy 2nd Bn, we are all pleased to get out for a breather, very lucky to get out with such small losses, after a march of 5 miles we reached what is known as "China Wall" just outside "Ypres" were we rested for the night.
Oct 1st 1917. Woke about 10 o,clock this morning after a real good snore, had a good scrub down in a shell holes very refreshing. We moved off again about 3P.M and reached "Halifax Camp" at 6 o,clock. Enemy planes over to night bombing, some fell very close to our camp, several horses killed, and other damage done.
2nd "Fritz" planes over early this morning dropping bombs, several casualties. Anti-Aircraft guns very busy trying to bring them down, also Machine guns blazing away.
11th Oct. 33 Years of age to day & still going strong.
January 1st. 1918. In Camp at "Hautallaines about 5 miles from "Perrone". A little excitement came this morning when one of "Fritz" Aeroplanes was brought down near our Camp, both Pilot & Observer were marched off as prisoners. Paid a visit to Perrone this afternoon, a mass of ruins now.
3rd Another heavy fall of snow this morning. Weather pretty cool at present, The Canal-du-Nord is frozen hard, the boys get some sport out of it, skating & so on.
4th Turned out a bright sunny day, wonderful for this time of year. Heavy Artillery fireing near "Cambrai" this afternoon.
6th Sunday. Enemy planes over bombing "Perrone" this morning.
7th Bn making preparations for moveing off.
8th Enemy planes over again early this morning bombing. Bn left "Perrone" at 4P.M. this afternoon. More snow fell this evening. Cold ride in trucks.
9th Arrived at "Bailleul" about 11A.M. and marched out to billets near "Meteren". Snow still falling fast, pretty thick upon the ground now.
10th Bn moved off again at 6 o,clock this morning and arrived at "Spoil Bank" Ypres Canal at midday, we camped here for the night.
11th D.Coy 45th Bn went into front line trenches at 5.30P.M near the "Hollbeke" we relieved a company of the Royal Fusiliers
12th Spent very quiet night. Enemy machine guns inclined to get a bit busy towards daybreak. A little shelling by "Fritz" took place about midday. Our guns replied.
13th One of our planes bombed enemy Pill-Boxes on our front this afternoon. Enemy put over a few shells this evening. Enemy machine gun on "Game Copse" pretty troublesome to night, one of our boys killed. We were relieved by B.Coy 45th about 7 o,clock to night. The usual amount of mush to wade through.
14th Turned out a clear fine day. D.Coy on fatigue building dug-out to day. Enemy guns put over a few shells at midday. Started raining again tonight.
15th Raining heavy all day, boys get a drenching.
16th Still raining. Out on patrol with 3 of my best boys to night, crawling about in the slush, nothing exciting took place.
17th Building dug-outs and repairing trench. Had another snow fall to day.
18th Enemy shelling our trenches this morning, very little damage done. Great aerial activity to day, planes up in large numbers. Went out with a patrol from B.Coy to night intending to rush an enemy Pill-Box, great joke, one bloke out of the 8 got a bit excited when we came to "Fritz barbed wire and threw a bomb, it certainly got some one judging by the yells that went up, but instead of them sticking their ground and fighting on, they gradually popped off. It was lively for about 5 minutes, they played with a machine gun, but fired too high, none of our party got struck. Enemy shell our trenches again to night, one of our boys wounded.
19th On Fatigue this morning. Enemy Artillery very active. Aeroplanes up in large numbers. I was attached to A.Coy for duty in front line to night.
20th Sunday. We were releived by the 15th Bn at 6P.M to night. We were taken in light railway from "Spoil Bank" to "La-Clytte" were we billeted in Huts.
21st Boys enjoying a days rest.
24th Fine day. Major-Gen McLagan our Div Commander inspected our camp to day.
[January /February 1918]
28th D.Coy held our Xmas dinner to night, grand affair. (Better late than never.)
29th Fine day. Coy out on Fatigue to day at reserve line.. Enemy planes active. A little shelling takes place.
Feb 1st Enemy Artillery fire gas shells near Hollebeke many casualties in the 14th Bn.
2nd Enemy planes over early this morning bombing.
Feb 5th 1918. 45th Bn moved out from "La-Clytte" about 3.30P.M. this afternoon and entrained at Railway siding for "Spoil Bank" arriveing a couple of hours later. Our Coy then moved up into supports, passing the famous "Hill 60" or rather what remains of it, It is shell torn and pitted with huge mine craters. There has been some very sever fighting around these parts in the past, as the large number of little wooden crosses will testify. Our Coy releived D/Coy of the 214th Bn under Capt Jacka V.C. M.C., the last time we releived this same people were ding-dong times at "Battle of Polygon Wood". Had not been in half an hour when one of our Cpls was smacked in the shoulder by bullet. Fritz done a smart piece of work just after dark by creeping up and capturing a Cpl & 6 men belonging to A.Coy of our Bn. 6th Enemy Artillery indulge in a little shelling early this morning. Enemy guns cut loose again about 19.15A.M. sending over about 20 gas shells causing a great scramble in support lines, amusing to see the boys ducking about with their box-respirators on. We had about 15 gassed, several bad cases, one of the lads dying through the effects. The remainder were led to the rear, blinded for the time being. A great number lost their speech for several days.
7th Rain fell this morning adding a little more misery to the boys. Everything pretty quiet during the day. A patrol from our Coy struck trouble in "Belgian Wood" about 9 o,clock to night Lt Stevens killed & 2 of our boys wounded.
8th Fritz pretty busy this morning shelling a few "Pill-Boxes which are all occupied by our people. I made a tour of A. Coys post,s in "Belgian Wood" to night, some mud to wade through, but quite used to it by now. We are to releive these people to morrow night.
9th Everything quiet this morning. Enemy guns again lively this afternoon, a couple of our lads injured. Our Coy releived A. Coy at "Belgian Wood about 7 o,clock, the country around these parts is in an awfull mess Shell holes, mud etc
10th Sunday. Our Field guns and Heavy Trench Mortors opened fire on "Fritz" position known as "Game Copse" for about 15 minutes early this morning. Fritz replied with a few 5-9 shells, 2 of our Coy wounded. About 9 o,clock to night the 3rd Division on our right make a raid on Enemy positions near "Warneton" with Artillery preparation, which was successful. "Fritz" gave us the usual display of fire works, without a doubt it was a fine sight, flares of all descriptions & colours were flying sky-high.
11th Our guns again busy this morning, fireing at what is known as "Moat Farm" about 300 yards on our left front. "Fritz" gets spitefull and drops a few of his Trench mortor shells around our post, no damage done. His Artillery caused a few casualties near "Railway" trench in front of "Battle Wood".
12th More rain fell to night makeing the country a sea of mud again. "Fritz" guns pretty busty about 8 o,clock to night shelling some pill-boxes known as the "Clusters" a few fell close to our post, wounding one of my boys. His machine guns clacking away pretty busy trying to knock ration and other working parties, he appears to have a great number of machine guns on this sector.
13th Artillery on both sides very active during the day. We were releived about 7 o,clock to night by D/Coy 46th Bn, it was raining fairly heavy and an awful dark night, we had difficulty in finding our way back to support lines, a great many were lost untill the following morning. We had about 500 yds to go before we reached supports, and it took a small party of us just on 2 hours to get there (Going some) After a trudge along duck-boards for about 3 miles, we picked up some motor lorries at "Spoil Bank" and were conveyed to "Parret Camp", near Mount Kemmel arriveing early next morning pretty tired.
14th untill 22nd Bn doing fatigues near "White Chateau" "Holebeke" makeing reserve lines, strong points, wireing, and numerous other jobs, warding against intended Hun offensive.
23rd Bn on the move again, left "Parret Camp at 9 this morning, passed through "Kemmel", "La Clytte", "Loire", "Bailleul" and halted near "Meteren", were the Bn went into billets for a well earned rest and reorganisation. Just like old times being around these parts again, we camped around here after our arrival in France June 1916.
26th My boys to the number of about 150 gave me a splendid evening, prior to my leaving the Bn.
March 1st 1918. Left Bn at midday after bidding all my good old comrades farewell, no doubt the last for a good many of those brave lads I had got on so well with. God Bless the all. Left "Bailleul" by train about 4 o,clock and arrived at "Calais" 9P.M.
2nd No boats running to England, very rough in the Channel also very cold. Had a good tour around the town, very untidy looking place for so important a town.
3rd Sabbath. Weather still very rough, no boats sailing.
4th Left "Calais" at 9 o,clock this morning for "Dover" where we arrived at 11 o,clcok, and took a train for London arriving there at 2.30P.M. Reported to H.Q at 3P.M.
5thHad a tour round city &visited some of my boys in hospital.
6th Left Waterloo Station at 2 o,clock and arrived at Weymouth about 5.30P.M. Reported at Westham Camp. Met several of my old pals hopping about on one leg, some with an arm off, or an eye knocked out who are all returning to Australia.
7th Moved from Westham Camp to Overseas Camp Littlemor near village of "Preston", met some more of my boys here.
8th Beautiful day. A treat to be away from the noise of the guns in Flanders. But get a feeling that I should be with my pals out in France.
9th On Camp duties to day.
10th Sunday. Beautifull weather, went for a stroll over the hills, and down to the beach.
11th & 12th Expecting to leave any time for Troopship.
13th Caught the train at "Upwey Junction" at 9.30A.M. this morning and arrived at "Plymouth about 4P.M. where we embarked aboard the Troopship "Dunvegan Castle". One of the famous mystery Warships H.M.S. Glorious was lying in same dock, a magnificent vessel.
14th Moved out from docks this morning and anchored in stream with other ships of our convoy, no ship leaves United Kingdom seperately now, they go in convoys and are escorted.
15th Still lying at anchor.
16th Left Plymouth about 5P.M. on Coy with 7 other vessels, 2 torpedo-boat-Destroyers, and an Auxilary Cruiser as escort.
17th At sea. Splendid weather
18th Beautiful day.
19th Vessel rolling a good deal this morning, funny to see the Mess cans, buckets, & so on flying about. many of the boys down with sea sickness.
20th Sea much calmer.
21st, 22nd, 23rd, Fine days. Had a fine concert in Saloon to night.
24th Sunday. 25th, 26th 27th Fine weather.
28th Arrived at "Freetown" Sierra Leone about 9 o,clock this morning. Fairly warm here. The natives do a great trade selling their fruit etc to our boys.
29th Good Friday. Warm day., Vessel takeing water & coal aboard. We left "Sierra Leone" at 5.30P.M. H.M.S. Kent escorting us.
April 1st. Fine day. Our vessel and the Kennilworth Castle" do some gun practice at target towed by Warship. Fired several rounds from 6 inch gun & several from the Howitzers (Depth Charges.) Shooting pretty good.
April 12th 1918. The convoy arrived at "Cape Town" S. Africa about 9 o,clock this morning, went ashore shortly after arrival and were taken by train to Sea Point Camp near Lions head.
13 Touring the City, Cape Town right behind the times, considering the time white people have been there. Will perhaps wake up some day.
15 We went aboard Durham Castle this morning and left C-Town at midday, vessel tossed about a good deal during night.
17 Arrived at "Port Elizabeth" about 9A.M. Vessel discharging cargo the remainder of the day.
18 About 60 of the boys in Ship,s Hospital suffering some kind of poisoning after their midday meal (Supposed foul play)
19 Left "Port Elizabeth" at 7 o,clock to night.
20 Arrived at "East London" at 9 o,clock this morning, and steamed out again at 8 o,clock to night.
21 Sunday. Arrived of "Durban" at 10 o,clock to night and anchored out. Durban looked quite gay with its city lights flickering away, after the darkness of European City,s.
22 Vessel went into port early this morning, all Troops landed and taken by train to "Congella Camp" about 2 miles outside the City.
25 ANZAC DAY. Left Camp about 8 o,clock this morning for the Troopship "Field-Marshall" we anchored out in the harbour about 4 this afternoon (The "Field Marshall" is an old German liner that has been raised from the harbour at "Dar-es-Salaam" East Africa were the Germans had themselves sunk her during the early days of the War to prevent the British from using her. She has been fitted up in a Fashion to take us home)
26 Trouble right away. Colonel Hurcum, refuses to leave "Durban" untill ship is properly fitted up, and he is quite right. It reminds me of the Troopship "Drayton-Grange" that we were packed aboard in 1902 when going home from the South African War. They have a funny way with Troops when they are finished with them.
27. All hands given shore leave untill vessel is fitted up.
28. Sunday. We left "Durban" at 10.30 this morning and ran right into a Storm, the vessel done all manner of tricks. Majority down with sea-sickness.
29. Storm still rageing.
30. Ran out of Storm during the night. But vessel continues to roll a great deal, she has very little aboard to ballast her, with exception of coal & water.
7th May. Passed the islands of "St Paul & "New-Amsterdam" about 9.30 this morning.
14th Arrived at "Fremantle" in Dear old "Aussie" after 16 days steaming & rolling from "Durban". Just like a dream to be back in your old land again, after the Topsy Turvy of the last 3½ years. (But God is Good) Special trains took the boys to "Perth" were they were entertained by State Governor.
15 Left "Fremantle" at 7 o,clock this morning, off Cape Leuwin Light about midnight.
18. Started old tricks again this morning, rolling etc. Vessel went actually 3 days without rolling, ought to be placed on record. Will not be sorry when the time comes for getting off.
21st Arrived at Port Phillip Heads about 8 o,clock this morning, and berthed at Port Melbourne Railway Pier about 10.30A.M. All the boys anxious to get ashore, but received orders to remain on board ship until the morrow. H.M. Customs officers come on board ship this afternoon, & confiscated several Swords, Field Glasses & other impediments belonging to the Military Forces.
22. Everybody on the move early this morning makeing preparations for going ashore. Victorians were the first troops to leave. New South Wales were marched straight on board the train for Sydney and took our departure from Melbourne about 3P.M. We had a rousing Welcome from the Citizens as we passed through the City and Suburbs, also the Country Towns.
23rd Arrived at the Central Station Sydney about 11A.M. Great number of people to welcome the boys. We were taken in Motor Cars through the City and were given a rousing reception all along the route, right on to the Anzac Buffet were we met our relatives and Friends. My wife, Sister & Brother in law were very pleased to see me, as I was to see them after such a long absence. I also met a number of my old comrades who had returned earlier. My Wife & I left for Newcastle by the 2 o,clock train and arrived home at Cooks Hill about 7.30P.M. where I had another welcome from my three little girls. Home, Sweet, Home at last after buffeting about in Egypt, Dardanelles, Gibraltar, England, France, and Belgium for the past 3½ years.
24th Grand old Empire Day. Attended the Cooks Hill School celebrations in the morning.
Achi Baba page 13 – is a region about 5 miles SW of Gaba Tepe
Albert page 58 – is about 10kms east of Contay
Aymsbury page 64 – is Amesbury
Anafarta page 18 – there are two towns NE of Anzac Cove
ASC, AOC and RE page 49 – Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corp and Royal Engineers
HMT Arogan page 11- is HMT Aragon. It was originally a passenger liner built by Harland &Wolff, Ltd, Belfast, and was launched on 23 February, 1905
AMC is the Australian Medical Corps
Avigden page 52 – is probably Avignon about 30 miles north of Marseilles
Bailleul page 53 – is about 5 miles NW of Armentieres
Bapuame page 80 – is Bapaume about 20kms NE of Albert
Beaumont page 84 – is Beaumont-Hamel
Becourt page 79 – is probably Becordel–Becourt midway between Fricourt and Albert
Bellwarde Ridge page 98 – is Bellewaerde Ridge and is about 3kms east of Ieper/Ypres
Berteaucourt page 57 – is Berteaucourt–les–Dames, about 14 miles NNW of Amiens
Bresle page 79 – about 3 miles west of Albert
Bullford page 64 – is Bulford
Burgoo page 47 – Burgoo is a term used for many types of stew or porridge made from a mixture of ingredients
Burnafay Wood page 78 – is Bernafay Wood about 1 mile south of Longueval and 2 miles east of Mametz
Col Burnage page 14 – Granville Burnage (1858-1945), soldier and merchant, was born at Dungog, New South Wales. He was officer commanding on various troopships between Australia and England; he won commendation for his leadership when the Barunga, carrying over 800 troops, was torpedoed in July 1918
Buire-sur-L’Ancre page 67 – about 5kms SW of Albert
Cambrai page 102 – is about 25 kms NE of Peronne
R A Carruthers CB CMG, Brigadier General, page 9 - Deputy Assistant and Quartermaster General, Australian Corps, a position he held throughout the war, having being recalled from retirement as Secretary of the Bombay Yacht Club in 1914 by his old friend, Sir William Birdwood (GOC Fifth Army)
Cassell page 97 – is about 10kms NE of Le Nieppe and a similar distance NNW of Hazebrouck
Chickerill Rd page 47 – is Chickerell Road in Weymouth, about 5 kms WNW of the city centre
Chocolate Hill page 28 - is about 25 miles north of where Parsons was ie Chunuk Bair
Chunak Bair page 26 – is Chunuk Bair
Fort Chanar page 9 is probably the town now known as Canakkale
Contay page 58 – is about 5 miles east of Rubempre
Delville Wood (Bois Delville) page 69 – is a few hundred metres east of Longueval
Dere page 240 is Turkish for a gully, stream or creek
Dernancourt page 29 – is about 3 kms south of Albert and about 7 kms SW of Mametz
Doullens page 57 – is about 20 miles north of Amiens
Doulei page 90 – is Le Doulieu and is on the route between Neuf-Berquin and Steenwerk
Dranoute page 95 – is Dranouter about 3 kms west of Kemmelberg or Kemmel Hill Dudiston Loch page 46 – is Duddingston loch
Enfilading page 32 – firing along the length of a target eg from the side of an advancing front of soldiers
Flesselles page 68 – is about 10 kms north of Amiens and 25 kms west of Albert
Fleur-Baix page 57 is Fleurbaix about 3 ½ miles SE of Armentieres
Franvillers page 68 – is about 15 kms east of Flesselles
Fravriuel page 82 – is Favreuil, about 2 kms north of Bapaume
Fricourt page 79 – is about 1 km west of Mametz
Gaba Tepe page 7 is now called Kabatepe and is at the southern end of the landing area
Brig-General Glasfaurd page 57 – Brig-General Duncan Glasford, GOC 12th Australian Brigade 4th Australian Division. Died of Wounds 12 November 1916
Alexander Godley was born in Chatham, Kent, England, on 4 February 1867, the son of William Godley, a British Army captain of Irish heritage. Educated at Haileybury College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Alexander was commissioned in 1886 and served in the Irish Guards in the Boer War from 1899 to 1901
Gudecourt Wood (Bois Gueudecort) page 69 – is about 1 km south of Longueval
Sir Ian Hamilton, General, page 4 – Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton. Minister Herbert Asquith remarked that he had 'too much feather in his brain', whereas Charles Bean, war correspondent covering the Gallipoli campaign considered he had 'a breadth of mind which the army in general does not possess' He opposed conscription and was considered less ruthless than other successful generals
Heliopolis page 4 – is now a suburb of Cairo
Henencourt page 84 – is about a mile north of Bresle
Hill 60 page 28 – The Battle of Hill 60 was the last major assault of the Battle of Gallipoli. It was launched on 21 August 1915 to coincide with the attack on Scimitar Hill made from the Suvla front by the British IX Corps which was a failure Hill 60 was a low knoll at the northern end of the Sari Bair range which dominated the Suvla landing Capturing this hill along with Scimitar Hill would have allowed the Anzac Cove and Suvla landings to be securely linked
Holle beke page 103 – is about 5 miles SSE of Ypres
Horseferry Road page 46 – During WW1 the Australian Forces’ Administrative Headquarters was located on Horseferry Road
Island of Imbros page 14 – is a Turkish island about 205 kms west of Anzac Cove. The Turks call the island Gokceada
Capt Jacka page 106 – Albert Jacka VC MC and Bar (10 January 1893 – 17 January 1932) was the first Australian to be decorated with the VC during WW1 receiving the medal for his actions during the Gallipoli Campaign
Admiral Jellicoe page 45 - Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe (5 December 1859 – 20 November 1935) was a British Royal Navy Admiral who commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in WW1
Kantara page 49 – is El Qantara el Sharqiya which is just east of the Suez Canal and about 100 kms from Cairo
Kasso page 7 – is Kassos which is about 50 kms off the eastern tip of Crete
Kemmel Hill page 93 – is Kemmelberg which is about 1 mile west of Kemmel in Belgium
Kilid-Bahr page 16 – is now Kilitbahir It is on the other side of the ismus across the water from Canakkale
Kortepyp Camp page 90 – there is a road called Kortepijp Rd about 500 metres from the centre of Nieuwekerke village
KOSB page 29 – Kings Own Scottish Borderers
Krithia page 18 – is a small village about 4 miles from the southern tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula
Kum-Kale page 7 – see Seddul-Bahr below
La Bassee is a town about 12 miles south of Bailleul
La-Clytte page 104 – is Klijte, about 5 miles SW of Ypres There is a La Clytte Military Cemetery thare so it looks as though the village was called that by the Allied troops
La Creche page 88 – is about 25kms east of Hazebrouck and about 25kmms ESE of Bailleul, very near the Belgian border
La Motte page 95 – is La Motte-au-Bois which is about 4 miles south of Hazebrouck and about 10 miles WSW of Bailleul
Laviecourt page 84 – is Lavieville which is between the villages of Millencourt and Bresle
Le-Transloy and Beaulencourt page 80 – are a few kms south of Bapaume
Le Nieppe page 97 – is probably Le Nieppe, Ebblingham which is about 8kms WNW of Hazebrouck
Locre page 107 – is Loker about 2 miles west of Kemmel
Luggershall Station page 63 – is Ludgershall Station near Andover in Wiltshire
Maidos page 13 – is on the other side of the peninsualr from Gaba tepe It seems to be the same place as Eceabat
Martinpiuch page 81 – 2 kms NE of Poziers
Mataria page 48- is Matria, a suburb of Cairo
Mauretania page 45 – launched on 20 September 1906 and served as a troopship during the Gallipoli campaign. She avoided becoming prey for German U-boats because of her high speed and the seamanship of her crew. When combined forces from the British empire and France began to suffer heavy casualties, Mauretania was ordered to serve as a hospital ship The Mauretania returned to civilian service in September 1919
Mena Camp page 5 – was a large camp not far from the centre of Cairo and the Pyramids
Meterean page 53 – is Meteren just west of Bailleul and about 10 miles north of Sailly
Meaulte page 81 – is about 1 mile due south of Albert
Merris page 88 is about 5kms SW of Balleul
Mine Crater page 80 – On a line between Contalmaison and the British cemetry at Poziers and equidistant from each
Morbecque page 84 – is about 5 miles west of Merris and about 3 miles SSW of Hazebrouck
Mt Kemmel page 107 – Kemmelberg just outside the village of Kemmel, five miles SW of Ypres
Mudros page 43 – (Moudros) is a small port on the island of Lemnos
Neuf-Berquin page 89 – is about 10kms SE of Hazebrouck and 25-30 kms ESE of Renescure
Neuve-Eglise page 87 – is in Belgium across the France/Belgium border from Bailleul, where it is also called Nieuwekerke
Noot-Boon road page 53 – is the Noote Boom road to the tiny village of Noote Boom about 15kms SW of Bailleul
Nurieul page 83 – is Noreuil
HMT Osmanieh page 5 – launched 1906, 4041 tons The liner Osmanieh was taken over for service as a fleet auxiliary during the First World War On December 31st, 1917, she was carrying troops and medical staff to Alexandria when she struck a mine at the entrance to the harbour She sank very quickly taking with her Lt Cdr Mason, two other officers, 21 crew, one military officer, 166 other ranks and eight nurses
Pantalidia page 52 – is probably the Island of Pantelleria about 60 miles SW of Malta
Paris-Place page 66 – is Le Torquet-Paris-Plage
Colonel Percival page 6 – John Bailey Percival was Commanding Officer of the 11th Light Horse Regiment
Perham Down page 63 – is near Andover in Wiltshire
Perrim page 3 – is Perim a volcanic island with a surface area of 13 square kilometres, strategically located in the Strait of Mandeb at the southern entrance into the Red Sea off the SW Coast of Yemen
Perrone page 102 – is Peronne about 10 miles south of Bapaume on the River Somme
Pinkenba page 1 – is on the Brisbane River near to and east of Warwick Farm
Poziers page 60 – is about 8 kms NE of Albert
Ras-El-Tin page 10 was a royal Palace in Alexandria
Red Lodge near Hill 63 page 90 – Hill 63 is not far from Mesen (Messines) in Belgium, about 5kms ENE of Nieuwekerke
Renescure page 89 – is about 10kms west of Hazebrouck
Rewa page 43 – HMHS Rewa (His Majesty's Hospital ship) was a steamship originally built for the British India Steam Navigation Company but requisitioned for use as a hospital ship during WWI. On 4 January 1918, she was hit and sunk by a torpedo from a German submarine – U-55. The sinking of the ship caused outrage in Britain
Rubempre page 58 – is about 12 miles ENE of Amiens
Sailly page 54 – is Sailly-sur-la-Lys, about 5 miles south of Bailleul
Islands of St Paul (Ile Saint-Paul) and New Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam) page 111 – are in the Indian Ocean, approximately equidistant from Cape Town and Perth Ile Amsterdam is about 150 kms north of Ile Saint Paul
Sapping page 11 - A tactic used on the Western Front in particular, was to dig short trenches (saps) across no-man’s-land These were dug towards the enemy trenches and enabled soldiers to move forward without exposure to fire Several saps would be dug along a section of front line and then were then joined together at their far ends to create a new trench Saps were also used as listening posts Although sapping was slow and gruelling work, especially during summer months, it was a fairly safe way to make territorial gains
Sausage Gully page 60 – Thousands of Australian soldiers passed through Sausage Valley or Sausage Gully as the Australians called it, on their way to the fighting at Pozières and Mouquet Farm between 23 July and 5 September 1916. They came to know the place well as they marched up out of Albert and took one of two well–worn routes to the front.
Seang Bee page 1 - The HMAT A48 Seang Bee weighed 5,849 tons with an average cruise speed of 13 knots or 2407 kmph It was owned by the Lim Chin Tsong, Rangoon, and leased by the Commonwealth until 12 May 1917
Seang Choon page 1 – weighed 5,708 tons, speed 14 knots, and accommodation for 100-1st class passengers Built 1891 1900 Boer War troopship 1910 sold to Lim Chin Tsong, Rangoon renamed Seang Choon 1915 became British army troopship and took part in the Dardanelles campaign 10th July 1917 torpedoed and sunk by U87 off Fastnet on voyage Sydney to London Nineteen lives lost
Seddul-Bahr and Kum-Kale page 7 – was Sedd-el Bahr, now Seddulbahir and is on the north side of the entry to the Dardanelles and Kumkale is on the south side
Serepeum page 50 – is Serapeum on the Suez Canal just south of Ismailia
Smyrna page 8 is now called Izmir It is on the west coast of Turkey about 200kms south of the Dardanelles
Steenvoorde page 97 – is about 10 kms east of Cassell
Stratham Station page 64 – is Streatham Station about 7kms south of the city of London
SWBs Regiment page 31 – the South Wales Borderers
Taube page 54 – the Taube, was a pre-WW1 monoplane, with distinctive wings shaped like a bird’s and the first mass-produced military plane in Germany It was used for all common military aircraft applications, including for training, fighting, bombing and surveillance
Tom Tower page 45 - Tom Tower is a bell tower in Oxford, named after its bell, Great Tom which hangs over Tom Gate This is the main entrance to Christ Church College which leads into Tom Quad It was designed by Christopher Wren and built in 1681-2
Ushant page 44 – called Enez Eusa by the Bretons and Ouessant by the French It is an island in the English Channel near Brest, which marks the north-westernmost point of metropolitan France It belongs to Brittany It is the only place in Brittany with a separate name in English
HMT Vaderland page 11 - was launched in July 1900 as SS Vaderland fo Red Star Line service between Antwerp and New York. After the beginning of WW1, Vaderland was re-registered in Liverpool and converted to a troopship ferrying Canadian troops from Halifax to Liverpool. In September 1915, Southland was torpedoed by German submarine UB-14 in the Aegean sea and sank with the loss of 40 men
Venizellas page 7 - Eleftherios Venizelos was born in Crete in 1864 and died in France in 1936. In 1896 he participated prominently in Crete’s resistance against the Turks during the occupation. In 1905 Venizelos became Crete’s first independent prime minister and five years later he became the prime minister of Greece
Signaller Sid Wells page 56 – labourer from Goulburn NSW, died aged 26 and buried in the war cemetery on Rue David about 3½ miles SSW of Armentieres and about 1 mile SSE of Fleurbaix
Taube page 90 – this was a German aeroplane which was distinguished by its wings which were shaped like a birds
Vaulx page 83 – is Vaulx-Vraucourt
Vignacourt page 58 – about 8 miles ENE of Amiens
Warlencourt page 81 – is Walencourt-Eaucourt and is between Poziers and Bapaume
Wylie page 65 – is Wylye a small village near Warminster in Wiltshire
Wytschate page 93 – is Wijtschate, about 2 miles north of Mesen (Messines) in Belgium
Zeitoun page 48 – el-Zaytoun is a suburb of Cairo
[Transcribed by Miles Harvey and Betty Smith for the State Library of New South Wales]