Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Hector Brewer diary, August 21, 1914-December 31, 1915
MLMSS 1300/Item 1
Hector Brewer joined the 2nd Infantry Battalion, H Coy. His army record shows he was 19 years old and a "groom", and that he had been a member of the Citizen Forces for 13 months. After training at Randwick Racecourse, during which time he joined the Signallers, the battalion sailed aboard the SS Suffolk on 18 October for Cairo. After further training they shipped to Lemnos arriving on 8 April 1915.
The battalion took part in the first ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves, and was led by Lieutenant Colonel G. F. Braund, who was killed in action nine days later. On 6 August, the 1st Brigade led the charge at Lone Pine. Brewer’s Company suffered heavy losses. Among the dead was the commander of the 2nd Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel R. Scobie, killed during a Turkish counter-attack. The battalion served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December 1915. This diary ends with their arrival at Tel el Kabir in Egypt.]
Dear Hector With best love & wishes from Your Sister Flo. Knight
Private Hector Brewer
Returned with best love from your brother
7/7/16 Hector Brewer
[Collins’ Ruby Diary for 1915]
H. Brewer C. Coy [?]
2nd Batt. 1st Inf Bgde
Mena Camp Cairo Egypt
Notes about Cairo
2 Traffic (a) vehicles trams motors and trains
5 History of Cairo’s Surroundings
August 21st Passed the doctor to join the Exp. Force to help England at W. Maitland Drill Hall
Aug. 24 Left Maitland by Taree Mail & joined the 2nd Batt at Randwick Racecourse
3rd Left Randwick & came to Kensington Racecourse.
Sept 25th B. Coy went on board the S S Suffolk
Sept 26th Arrangements made to go on board cancelled. Great disappointment
Sun 18th Oct. Embarked on board the S S Suffolk A23 transport about 9AM. Steamed through the Heads about 4PM the same day. The sea was fairly rough. Food on board clean & enough to eat. Hammocks comfortable to sleep in
The mess orderlies do all the work so far. Routine on board as follows. 6AM Rise & stow away hammocks 8 AM breakfast. 11 AM beer issued. Price 3d. 12 PM dinner 5.30 PM tea, 9.30 everyone in bed & lights out.
Monday 19th Fine weather, calm sea. Many dolphins seen. Speed of ship about 9 knots per hour.
Tues 20 Passed Wilson’s Prom. Many rocks & islands passed
Wed 21st Entered the Bight whales on Starboard side. Been sweeping & scrubbing decks. Syrup jam & butter served out for dinner. Boxing singing and band at nighttime Large shark seen
Thurs. 22 ship rolling. Blowing from West. 2 big sharks seen. Passed Adelaide whales about 30’ long sharks 12’
Friday 23rd Expect to arrive at Albany on Sund.
Sunday 25th Arrived at Albany. Troopships assembling here. Cold wind & and rain
Monday 26th Raining cold. HMAS Melbourne in sight. Castor oil given me for a cold.
Nov 1st Whole fleet of about 40 transports weighed anchor & left Albany. Great sight. Cruiser on both sides of us.
No 3 strong headwind & big seas, fine
Nov 9th German Cruiser Emden sunk by HMAS Sydney off Cocos Islands
No 10 1230 miles off Columbo.
Nov 13 Father Neptune arrived on board & everyone ducked and shaved. I escaped
Nov 15 arrived in Colombo port, Fine weather
Nov 17th all transports left Colombo. Russian warship with us & British Cruiser Hampshire
Natives very dark skinned
Nov 25th Arrived in Gulf of Aden. Reached Aden
Nov 26th Left Aden. Fine weather
Dec 2nd arrived at entrance of Suez Canal.
Searchlights taken on board. Egypt on left or Port side & Arabia on Starboard
Mon 3rd reached Port Said about 60,000 Indian troops on banks of Canal
Friday 4th Dec. reached Alexandria
7 dec. Disembarked. First time ashore since leaving Sydney. Went by train to Cairo, about 100 miles south of Alexandria. From Cairo we went to Mena Camp in Electric Trams. Got there about 3 oclock in the morning. I was one of the guard to escort the prisoners from boat. Ammunition issued to each man
Camped alongside the Pyramids. About 20,000 troops here including Artillery Light Hors AMC and transports. Good soil along the banks of the Nile River. Everywhere else is sand. We are on the edge of the Lybian Desert. The renowned Sphinx is quite close. It is a large man’s face. It’s nose is knocked off, said to have been about during Napoleon’s time of fighting here.
Names Of The Various Troop Ships
New South Wales
Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania.
S.S Suffolk Star of England
Wiltshire Clan Macorquordale
Medic Port Lincoln
Afric Anglo Egyptian
Star of Victoria
New Zealand Ships
Athenic Hawks Bay
Arawa Star of India
Joined the Signalling Section of our
Am progressing favourably with the morse reading. Can read semaphore thoroughly. Can read the lights imperfectly as yet.
Have been route marching infantry training & trench digging. Xmas passed. great time settling
Received a bundle of welcome letters
Marched about 8 miles over the Desert & fired a part of our shooting test. I passed alright. Most of the other chaps did too. Answered Clare & Violets’ letters.
We marched over the desert to the rifle range & the remainder of the Batt fired their practice. We did not work hard & then marched back about three o’clock. Wrote to Flo. Every man issued with a field service dressing containing fine gauze, bandage wool & waterproof.
Church parade Methodist
Did a short march. Inspected by Brigadier Maclaren [H.N.Maclaurin ?]. Rifles inspected by Capt King Adecomte to the Brigadier. Capt. King commented on the splendid state of C Coy rifles & said they were the best he had seen in the Brigade. Mounted quarter guard
1st Inf. Bgde started a route march through Cairo along with their transport and a Battery of Artillery
Hard days work. Skirmishing. Band marched on at the Head of Batt. Men paid. Received a letter from Sydney dated 16/12/14. One of our scouts disrated for making an ass of himself. Batt in pretty good state of efficiency.
Fatigue at Ordnance Store. Left the store with a few useful articles of clothing.
Muster parade. Half holiday arranged. Football match arranged at Khaazaar en nil [Kasr–el–Nil] Barracks Cairo between team out of our Batt & the Terriers. We won by 6 goals to 1
Church parade Methodist
An attack carried out against another Company. We out performed them easily.
Mounted Canal Guard 8.45 A.M. Inspected by W.O. Lowe. Marched to our post. Natives to cook our meals, Engineering party practising bridge building.
Dismounted from Canal Guard. Had a holiday for the rest of the day. Very windy. Clouds of sand blowing everywhere.
Shooting practice at the range. I knocked my target over at 300 yards. First two shots went a bit high. Some very good shooting all round. The Colonel knocked his target at 400 yards & Major Scobie & a number of other officers got theirs at 300.
Outpost duty. Camped out all night & returned the next morning to camp.
Bombs dropped on the Turks about 15 miles the other side of Ismalia. Australian 2nd contingent at Alexandria. New Zealand 2nd Con already here
Returned from outpost duty. Half Holiday. Went to Cairo & saw a splendid programme of pictures at American Biograph Cinema
Most important battle of the new year won by British at Chiensky [?]. Lord Kitchener pays attention to it.
Church parade. Beautiful weather. Wrote several letters.
Hot day. Easy work under Capt. Watson of B. Coy.
Very cool weather. Long and fatiguing work. Men all knocked up.
Rifle Range shooting.
Shooting practice for the battalion. 7th & 8th Batt. gone to Ismaelia. Paid weekly wage of 68 piastres or 14/- English. Received photos of myself & a friend. Posted them to the various recipients. Our Battalion won the brigade shooting competition
Rifle Range. More shooting. Our company (C) won the shooting for today. Brigadier very pleased with the shooting generally received telegram from Arthur. 2nd contingent at Heliopolis. Received two photos from the Egyptian Inspector of Schools in Cairo.
All day holiday. Went to see Arthur in Heliopolis Camp found him in the Palace Hotel now a hospital. Beautiful place. Built to beat Monte Carlo. Has over 1500 grand rooms in it. W. Law one of our comrades died at Mena Hospital. First death in our regiment
Went to W. Laws funeral. Nearly all our Company turned up. The firing party fired three volleys over his grave.
Got Tom Wilson’s pass & went in to Heliopolis Hospital & seen Art. Eyes still bad. Operation necessary to remove clot of blood from behind eye. Left him about 8 PM. Heliopolis tram service splendid. Had tea in Cairo which 6 piastres (about 4d in English). Took taxicab back to camp. Cost 10 piastres or 2/- English) Reached camped about 10 P.M. & handed my pass in our Quarter guard tent.
Our Section (No 9) & 10 on fatigue (Quartermasters) also cleaning up & [indecipherable] lines. Had to cart bread, wood & vegetables two days supply on account of bivouac tomorrow. The late Pte. W. Laws clothes sold in messroom & bought by friends for about £24 for the purpose of sending them home to his mother. He was a fine strapping young fellow & was greatly missed. He died suddenly & supposed from Pneumonia
Marched out about 14 miles to bivouac. Great row because I did not get the ration of cheese for our tent. I was mess orderlies. Did a great mimic battle under the Brigadier’s supervision. Trouble about tea at night time. Two eggs, a pinch of butter & a smell of tea for tea. No11 Platoon supports. Got to sleep & had to get up and dig trenches. Stood to arms at 5 o’clock. Very light breakfast. Brigadier praises our work. Did a forced march back to camp on Wednesday morning
Found a number of reinforcements for our Batt. at the camp. Cookhouse blew as soon as we landed in camp. Stew for dinner as usual. Leave granted to those whose
eyes feet are not too sore to go on. Visited Arthur at Heliopolis hospital again. Eyes still bad. Doctor treating him for bad blood
Two of the Reinforcements in our tent. Saw the Regimental doctor this morning about sore foot. He exempted me from Parade today. Batt gone out in tunics & fighting order to shoot. Weather warm in the daytime & night very cold. Armourer Sergt. inspected all rifles of the men in camp. Mobilisation parade for the Bgde tomorrow culminating in a four days bivouac
Batt. formed up as usual at 8.15 A.M. The whole brigade marched out near the Sakara Pyramids. Our Batt had dinner, then took up a battle position for night. Fourth Batt. as enemy attacked us we dug trenches until about 10 oclock & I was sent down to join a sentry group about a quarter mile from the main body of our Coy. Night very cold & dark. We could hear the enemy’s patrols coming rattling over the stones on the hill to our right front.
About 4 oclock this morning we were attacked by the 4th Batt as enemy. After exchanging shots with a small party of the enemy, we retired on the [indecipherable] position. The enemy were now advancing in numbers up the slope, but with the fire from our position & the raking enfilade fire of the platoons entrenched on the opposite side of the waddy we repulsed them with great loss.
About day break the enemy was seen retreating in good orders. We had stew for breakfast. Then marched away. Had a couple of hours spell & did a magnificent charge against the fourth who were entrenched in front of us & to right & left of us.
Marched back to camp had a good wash. Holiday for rest of day
Had a good nights rest last night. Slept like a king. There was no dew owing to a slight breeze which was blowing. The breeze was chilly. Grand weather all day. The lads held a bit of a concert about 8.30. I think to learn some new songs for the march. Tea and one biscuit per man was issued at 9.15 P.M. Did a 10 mile march. The night was dark but warm. Two more deaths this week in our Batt.
About 4 AM this morning we attacked a position near the Sakara
Pyramids. I was so tired after the march that I could have fallen asleep on the march.. But I thought the ground was not level enough to walk over with rifle ammunition & equipment. We had breakfast at 8.30 AM had a good spell & then proceeded to carry another attack scheme. My Coy. (C) was fortunate enough to be the support of our Batt. Our capt expressed pleasure at the way in which our Coy worked. Of course we won the battle. we always did. Got back to camp about 1.30 P.M. Bread and butter & tin meat issued We sent the meat because there was only one small tin to be divided between about 40 men.
Orders to be ready to move off the bivouac ground at 8.30 A.M. Stew for breakfast. The whole brigade formed up to hear the Brigadier’s comments on the work done & that he would tell the G.O.C. that we were fit for war. He was sorry however that we could not leave yet as a case of smallpox in the Bgde. had resulted in a death. Small pox in Egypt is very severe. Marched home & were very pleased to be able to get a good wash & buy a luxury or two at the Canteen. [indecipherable] canteen has been kicked out. He was robbing the men. Got vaccinated
Had a good lay in. The Brigadier gave us a holiday for the rest of the week. Blankets taken up on the hill to be aired and dried as the dew (which is very heavy on a clear night) had wet them considerably when we were on the last night of the bivouac. Capt. King one of our staff officers looking up the price of things at the canteen for the benefit of the men. He is a great man to look after the men. Stew for dinner paid for the last fortnight’s wages of 136 piastres or 28/-
Mess orderlies had to scrub tables down as Lieut. Cook complained of the way in which they were usually left by mess orderlies. General leave granted. I took a tram into Cairo. From there I took a car to Heliopolis & saw Arthur in the Palace Hotel which is now the Base Hospital. His eye is still bad. He is afraid he will be sent back to Australia. He says he will not go back. Went to his camp to get a letter for him but could not. Left him about 8 PM. Got a motor car from Cairo to Mena Camp. Very cold night
Pen very bad. Damned nuisance. Bayonet drill. Straightening up lines. No leave granted today. Mounted Guard at 4.30 P.M.
Dismounted guard at 5P.M. Very glad to get off. Nearly all our chaps got to the camp picture shows.
Church parade as usual. Weather very warm
No parade until 2 PM. Marched about three miles & the C.O. told us we were off to Europe in a fortnight’s time Bivouacked all night. Did a few charge & dug a huge trench
Got back to camp about 9AM.
Commenting on the work done the night before a staff officer said our crowd could take care of ourselves. General leave for rest of day. Went and saw Arthur in Heliopolis Hospital. Eye getting better. He gave me 50 piastres (10/- English) to go & see him again with as I had got a bit low in funds. Left him about 6 PM. Felt a bit ill, New blankets issued to the Batt.
Went on sick parade with bad back. Feeling very unwell. Marked unfit for duty. Very ill all day could not eat or drink. Got very weak. Brought to hospital at 9 PM on stretcher by some pals. Temperature 102 °.
Feeling better. Temperature normal 98 °. Eat a little breakfast also some dinner
Woke up feeling better. Doctor Storey said I could get up. I did so but had to return to my bed with bad pains in my stomach.
Taken over to isolation Tent with measles. Feeling pretty crook
Measles out pretty thick. First time I have ever had them. Feeling pretty crook. Lots of chaps have been sent to other hospitals as they are clearing out this one.
Still feeling ill. Measles do get a hold of a chap. Taken up to Mena House in the afternoon. All the patients out of the hospital to be shifted also as the Imperial Authorities have taken it over
Temperature still high but measles almost disappeared . Passed dreary day. Sleep badly at night. No Appetite.
Going to Heliopolis or somewhere tomorrow with a lot of other patients
Had a bad night
Could not sleep scarcely all night. Orders to go to Heliopolis cancelled
Still pretty ill. Feel as week as a cat
Temperature still high. No rest at night time
Same old thing. Cannot sleep at night time. Get plenty of medicine. Some of is like Strichnine. Nurses very attentive
Temperature down to normal
Appetite very poor
Doctor has changed my medicine
Feeling a bit better. Doctor Kennedy said I could have soda water.
Still feeling better. Eat a piece of bread for the first time since the 27th Feb. Received some letters. They cheer a chap up a lot. The trouble is I cannot answer them Not getting so much medicine now.
Had a good dinner
Allowed out of bed. Went back again about 3 oclock. Arthur came to see me. Brought plenty of oranges.
Had a bath. First one since entering hospital Rained, Poured through the night. A record for Egypt. Nearly all the troops out on a bivouac. They will enjoy the wet weather I do not think
Feeling well except for a slight headache in the morning. Appetite coming on well. Very interested watching Artillerymen pull guns up and down a large sand hill for practice. They had some trouble with young horses coming down as they wanted to roll down the hill instead of coming down rationally.
Feeling better. Headache left me of a morning. Just coming on to my appetite. Wrote three letters yesterday, one to Hal one to Flo, & one to Mr. & Mrs McKie From the balcony I can see the pyramids. They are only a quarter of a mile up the old avenue on the large sand ridge. Many tourists go by here to see them
Complained to Sister attending our ward that we were not getting enough to eat at meal times. She promptly ordered more food for us and we got it.
Caps issued to troops. They look real smart in them. Tomorrow military sports are to be held at Mena House grounds. A competition is to be held in the 2nd Batt. in drilling to see which is the smartest platoon. Appetites still good.
Orderly told us to get all our clothes ready to be fumigated for tomorrow at 10 oclock. We have to make a list of all of our things. Great scrambling. Arthur came to see me this afternoon & brought an Egyptian friend who is studying for a lawyer. He gave us much information about Egyptian History most of which I had already read. Sister scooted them out of the ward as it is infectious.
Just finished writing up 1914 diary. Fine day
Not feeling so well today
About the same today. Some Territorial Regiments just arrived from England have pitched their camp alongside ours here. If they have the same training that we had to go through in this blighted sand then I pity them.
Losing appetite again. Sister says I am to go back on milk diet for a day or two.
Only milk diet allowed me today. Much about the same Acute stomach pains at night time.
Feeling tip-top except a little pain in the right leg which I judge to be
Rheumatism. I expect to be kicked out of here next Monday or Tuesday. Have had a good holiday so had better get back to work now.
Still feeling strong and on the mend. Arthur came to see me again. He is the best [indecipherable] in the Reg. Posted four letters
Nothing startling to write. Received two letters, one from Clare
Am expecting the doctor to ask me if I feel well enough to go out. Of course I shall say no as a chap might as well get thoroughly well before starting work again. The weather is getting very hot now and making itself felt. Hot winds blow & raise clouds of dust and sand.
Doing well. Doctor asked me If I was strong enough to go out. He is sending me out on Thursday. Oh well I have had a good spell in here although it has not been a holiday altogether. Went down to camp & saw all the chaps. They are only working about 4 ½ a day but do a lot of night work.
March – April 1915
Last night was very hot. Hope to go down to the lines & draw a few of the quidlets that are due to me by now. There are a large number of sick men in the camp & hospital from the various Regiments. The men are sick of this hanging around & have no enthusiasm what-ever. They want "fight", what they volunteered for & I am with them.
Thursday April 1
Left hospital today. Feel very week. Batt out on Divisional manoeuvres. They left at about 8 AM. & are to return about 4 PM
Sergeant Harvey our Platoon Commander says we are to move off tomorrow.. He did not say where. Arthur was out to see me again today He says his Regimental colours are chocolate and Navy Blue.
Met some very pleasant people at Cairo Station & they took me and a Corporal over to have some tea. They were looking for 2 nd Batt.
Preparations made to leave Camp. Arthur came out again. Fourth Batt has already left. Our Reg left at 5.30 P.M, leaving C Coy. to look after the few tents still standing & the black kit bags. Its a marvel that this last rumour should be true as it was not given out officially
The remaining two companies of our Reg. Left Mena Camp Pyramids Cairo about 10 PM last night. Trained at No 1 Platform Cairo station. Had an all night trip in train to Alexandria. Beautiful farms with irrigation all the way. Left Cairo at 3 AM & reached Port Alexandria at 9.5 A.M. Went straight on board the German Prize boat Derfflinger about 12000 tons displacement
The 3 rd Batt is on board as well as our Reg. Muster parade today. several men missing. Plenty of fatigue. Boxes of biscuits to carry on board. One of the waggons slightly damaged while hoisting it aboard. Great crowd assembled on wharf to see us leave. Left about 8 P.M and went straight out of port. As yet no one knows where are to land for cert.
Muster parade in full marching order. Raining. Bread issued. Baked on board. Quite a luxury now. Sea very rough. Chick Hughes Charlie Reilly, & another chap & myself made a bivouac on boat deck to sleep on. It was guard & slept so well that we nearly missed breakfast next morning. Ship only travelled 104 miles today.
Land in sight on both sides of the ship. Very strong cold wind blowing. The land we see is believed to be the Aegaen Archipeligo. Travelling very slowly still. Full marching order twice today & were issued with 200 rounds of ammunition per man as they expect that our landing will be opposed. Bought a good pair of boots from Cpl. Bramhall for 20 piasters (4/- English)
Am experiencing difficulty in changing Egyptian money. I should have changed at Alexandria
Fine day. Entered a well sheltered harbour on the southern coast of the Lemnos Islands. Many ships in this harbour including seven or eight warships & four or five torpedoe & patrol boats. We anchored about 12 P.M . The Queen Elisabeth with her big 15 in. guns is here also the Russian Flagship Askold. A warship has entered the harbour with the top of her stern mast shot off. We are evidently pretty close to the Dardanelles. Many troops are camped on the shore some being the third brigade.
Dull weather. Naval tankship came alongside to give us water. Full marching order parade at 2.40 P.M to practice getting into the boat with full equipment and 200 rounds of ammunition. We are well loaded up. No bully beef issued to us only jam & cheese. We get bread every dinner time. Have to rise at 8 bells or 6 AM.
Weather still dull
Lots of chaps have been ashore. They say that the Hospital tents are very full. Nearly all the patients have pneumonia they say. The town or village has a few shops but looks like a "has-been". The women all wear shawls. The price of all things being judged by the price of beer, they say that beer is 3 piastres per bottle. Many French soldiers are here. They have a long thin, three cornered bayonet & a long rifle.
Woke up about 7 P.M. Had a wash under the salt water tap. Hydroplane from one of the warships did a short flight over the water & then lighted on the water near the warship. Cold Southerly blowing. Had a church parade forrard. The Dean of Sydney (Dean Talbot) preached at the C. of E parade ground. Rained heavily last night. Some of our chaps went for a row round the various troopships. Weather fine.
Learnt The various knots (likely to be useful) out of an Engineering Manual. Very warm. Many of the men indulge in swimming over the ships side. Paid today £1-8 in English money as Egyptian money is useless here. Received letters from home. Some chaps got as many as fourteen. I am well satisfied with the five I got.
Wrote a short note to Doris [?] as I cannot put much in it. Did some signalling practice. Some of our chaps had practice in embarking and disembarking. Had a concert in our quarters superintended by Dean Tolbert. Three British Warships reported sunk in the Dardanelles waters.
We saw two submarines or rather their conning towers. Today both Batt left ship & went in boats to shore fore some exercise & a skirmish. We went through beautiful sweet smelling country rich in clover growth. The land seems to one vast cultivation right to the water’s edge. The people the few whom we saw were very clean & a skin almost white. They spoke very good English. Came back on board about 8.15 PM.
Did some signalling practice. Washed a few clothes. Airship or rather a balloon can be seen anchored to a warship. It looks very odd up in the air. All sorts of rumours of Turkish atrocities brought on board by marines. Think they are a bit far fetched but time will tell. We all put some Dubbin on our boots. We are still anchored in the harbour but expect to be off to the Dardanelles any time now. Got a hair cut & shave
Full marching order. Went ashore to practice landing with the third Batt. as advance guard to cover the landing of our Reg. Our Platoon (No 11) were fortunate in having told off as reserves. We sat down and had a good time buying & talking to the people of the Island, until it was time to go back to the boat. Painter broke while being towed by Naval cutter & we had to row in. Had a swim overboard. Water very cold.
Several boat loads of our Batt & the 3rd went for rowing practice. Beautiful calm day. Did more signalling practice. Many wild rumours going round about Naval & land fights about the Dardanelles. We have physical drill every morning for about half an hour.
Our section had to mount guard at 9.30 AM. Church Parade C. of E.. Weather dull but very calm. Projected boat trip to Queen Elizabeth with our Platoon Commander (Lieut Dawson) abandoned
Beautiful fine weather. Scarcely a ripple on the water. Had a good swim overboard. Water lovely. Another Aust Mail in. Had a grand little tour around the Queen Elizabeth & other warships. We went on board the Prince of Wales & were shown the works of the 12" guns. The charge is fired by a small cap or cartridge. A sailor put one in & I fired it. The sailors on the ships are real sports and very obliging
Physical drill. Fine day. Orders to go ashore in haversack and water bottle. Cool wind blowing
Very cold weather. Nothing exciting to recite We are still lying idly here with many transports & cruisers destroyers mine sweepers & ships of every description. I managed to change the rest of my Egyptian money to one of the firemen aboard
Weather still cool
Several fresh transports and destroyers have arrived. One of the destroyers shows signs of a recent encounter. Many Australian troops
are were on one destroyer. Evidently practicing getting on and off
No change in weather. Seaplane from one of the warships very busy. It has been flying about all day at a great pace. I with Nick Carter was mess orderly for the day.
Cool wind fine. Left Mudross Harbour about 11 AM having got under weigh about 6 AM. Anchored in a small inlet about ten miles out. Iron Rations issued to every body which consists of biscuits soup tablets, tea & sugar & a tin of bully beef. We expect to land early tomorrow morning. everbody in good spirits. A letter from the Brigadier read to us by the Col
Beautiful day Navy shelling the forts of the Peninsular (Galipoli). Arrived with other transports on the scene of operations.
3rd Bgde made the first attack on land about dawn & succeeded in pushing the Turks back over the first line of hills. Our Reg. landed about 9 AM and hopped straight into the job. Terrible fight all day ending in a retreat on our side to the first position
Fighting still very brisk
Indians landing with mountain batteries to help us as we had no guns to help us against the Turks shrapnel so far, Our losses are heavy. The enemies losses are unknown but they are being pushed back. Snipers are doing much damage to our men. They are fair shots. The Batts. & Bgds are all mixed up now. The N. Zealanders have fought with us all through.
Weather grand still with very cool nights. Navy still helping us. Our Coy. Com, Captain Concanon killed while leading his men in a bayonet charge. The Brigadier & Major Irving the Brigade Major have been shot dead. Our heroic Col. (Braund) saved a grave situation in the evening with his Reg. (or what was left of it) and one machine gun. He was cool and fearless.
One man shot dead & a N.Z. Officer badly wounded alongside me during the night. Heavy fighting or firing all night. The Turks waste much ammunition & use explosive bullets. We were relieved this morning by fresh N.Z’s about 6 AM. & and came down to the beach where we stayed all day & moved along further in the night. Here we were reorganised
Roll call Fine. Naval Bgde. Russian Jews N.Z’s & more Australians landing to our aid. We are to have a good spell before going back to the firing line. Bert Sanders & myself have a comfortable dugout to sleep in. Arthur wounded Tuesday. I hear many Royal Marine Light Infantry here
April May 1915
Roll call. Several missing men have turned up. Heavy artillery has been landed to deal with Mr. Turk & his shrapnel which is considerably superior to ours. We make a little pot of tea any time & have plenty of rations. Cable from Lord Kitchener encouraging us in our work.
Saturday May 1
Enemy poured shrapnel down to our camping place early this morning and off and on all day. Many narrow escapes. Our warships very quiet today. Orders to move from this position.
Fine Left beach position and came up the hills and entrenched in the firing line. Enemy trying to shift our guns with shrapnel. Hard work making comfortable dug outs. Plenty of food given us in the shape of bully beef bacon biscuits jam & tea. Are hoping for a mail with news from home.
Fine All C Coy taken out under Capt. Morsehead went out to look for snipers or anything of the enemy. We got back with two or three men wounded. Plenty to eat. Our Platoon on guard Fried some bacon & made cocoa with Pte Jones for dinner. Picked up a Turkish scabbard
Fine with cool wind.
Misfortune seems to be following our Reg. Our Col. (Braund]) was shot dead last night about 1.30 PM. With a bullet through the head, it is beleived by a stray bullet. Both the enemies guns & ours are very quiet. More reinforcements are coming for us today. Our Hydroplane is doing his tour of inspection over the battle field. Letters from home again. Received a beautiful mouth organ from Clare.
Cloudy. Moved into the firing line again on the right of our position. Splendid sheltered trenches. The Turks gave us no trouble except to give us a shot at the trench occasionally. It was cold towards dusk. Our artillery had a turn at them about 7 P.M. and shook them up a bit. We watch the enemy through periscopes.
We snipe at the Turkish trenches when we see a target. Heaps of dead Turks can be seen round all their trenches which are about 400, 700 & 1100 yds to our front. Our trenches are fairly safe now & loopholed. Nothing exciting happened today We left the fire trench for a rest about 6 PM having done 24 hours on watch. Had to haul up an 8 Pounder gun. It was hard work
Fine. So far we have had plenty of hard work & little or no rest right from the word go. Australia’s boys have stuck to it so far & will stick to it to the last. Our platoon went down to the beach for a swim but the enemies shells stopped us after we had got down. Several more chaps wounded with shrapnel. Navy bombarding on extreme right all night. On guard all night.
Dull Few drops of rain. Came off duty this morning about 5 AM. Our artillery stirred up the Turk again & they replied wounding some more of our fellows. We are waiting for more guns to come up before towelling them up. Our platoon resting today. Fifteen of our plat. ordered to go out and make a road for guns. I missed that job. Had the best night’ rest since landing
Dull Enemy very quiet with his artillery but rouses up with rifle fire at night time. We scarcely fire a shot. I think they are nervous fearing an attack from us. Our
patrol Bu. sends out patrols every night for reconnaissance. They returned one man short last night. Engineers also go out to throw grenades and guncotton into the Turkish Trenches
Went into fire trench last night at 6 P.M. Navy bombarding a troublesome gun of enemies. Weather brightening up again. Practically no rifle fire from the trenches of a day time
Hauled out at 6 AM from the dug-out to do [indecipherable] with two others. Went into the fire trench again at 6 P.M & watched all night
wrong date here
Fine and hot
Hauled out of dugout to go sapping with three others for three hours from 6 AM to 9 AM. And went into fire trench at 6 P M. In our front the Turks are entrenched on a large ridge. beyond this is a beautiful stretch of country. Had a fair nights rest.
Fine with lovely cool mornings. Came out of trench this morning at 6 AM. The routine for our platoon is 36 hours in the fire trench & 12 hours out or vice versa. When out of the trench we are available for fatigue of which we get any amount. I with 5 others & an N.C.O. are for guard tonight at 7 P.M. Short artillery duel otherwise fairly quiet.
Fine Came off quarter guard this morning 7 AM. More shelling. Enemy has another on our right. More casualties.
Fine. Went into fire trench again last night & stayed there till 6 PM tonight when we were shifted up to a supporting trench for a night’s rest. We had to draw water for the cook’s before turning in. Enemy very active of a night time. They have more machine guns very close to us & a battery of big guns on our right.
Fine Came back to reserve trench this morning about 5 AM. Enemy busy with new battery on our right. More arguing the point with them.
Fine. Some light horse chaps said to be in the trenches on our left. Turks very quiet but busy. Carried mail up from beach. Busy at night time getting rations for quarter master of our Batt. Very little sleep. Enemy bombarded our trenches furiously. We were nearly driven crazy trying to dodge the terrific shell fire
Fine Ordered into the sap as extra lookout The Turks attacked strongly about 3 AM. Their yell was thrilling as they charged our trenches. Our rifle fire was terrific. The machine guns on each flank did good work also. The Turks charged right up to the parapets. They retired about daylight leaving hundreds of dead and wounded.
Fine. We expected a final attack last night but did not get it. Their rifle fire was continuous. We took over 100 prisoners yesterday. Came out of trench
yesterday this morning, for a spell & went back again about 6 P.M. The Turks waved flags & parties got out of their trenches & stood up while another party came forward & held a parley with our General. Evidently in connexion with their wounded
Fine Turks fired continuously all night. A large body of men were waiting to fill the trenches in case we were attacked. Nothing of note happened. We have mainly machine guns in the trenches now. Our guns were firing nearly all night. Have had a good rest today.
Wet. Trenches very muddy
Enemy throwing large bombs but did no damage. Fairly quiet otherwise. The explosion from this bomb is something like that from our "Japanese Bomb".
Fine Beautiful peaceful day. Just an occasional crack from a sniper to break the silence. Officers from the enemy parleying for a truce to bury dead. In the afternoon the enemies guns got busy & wounded three of our chaps. I went to hospital today feeling done up, been going for a month with nerves strung.
Raining Slept well last night. Feel very weak. Had to leave hospital to make room for other patients
HMS Triumph torpedoed by a hostile submarine. Very quiet day. Wrong date
Fine. Great relief to see the sun come up on a clear day. Left hospital today to make room for other patients. HMS Triumph torpedoed by a hostile submarine. She turned over and sank in about 10 min. I with others of the Batt. saw the whole catastrophe. It was an awful sight. The submarine as far as we know has not been captured or sunk.
Fine. Our company has been relieved out of the trenches for 24 hours. We have abundance of reading matter through so many of our chaps who have been wounded not turning up for their papers. A French aeroplane dropped bombs on Turkish trenches, I could see the bombs falling. The machine then circled round & flew away. It was a very pretty sight
Fine. Our artillery began the day with a tremendous outburst the enemy not replying. Our aeroplane again dropped bombs on the enemie’s trenches. Finished the day up on fatigue
Fine. Our fatigue carrying water for the company. The Turks shelled us with 9.2 in shells and did no harm as usual. Our guns doing a bit for their living again, the enemy replying. We pelt bombs & flares of all sorts at one another of a night time. More reinforcements have reached us
Fine Lively work near the 4th Batt. trenches. A few Turkish prisoners taken. Many men wounded. Lively sniping between our chaps and the Turks. Came out of fire trench at 6 PM. Our aeroplanes very busy doing reconaiscance work. On guard tonight
Fine Cooked some bacon & fried some biscuits and had a good breakfast which we finished up on marmalade, (Pte Jones & I.)
Beautifully calm and peaceful. It seems a pity that war should ever reach these parts. An occasional shot from a sniper reminds us that we are at war. Today ended with our guns bombarding the Turks Trenches forcing them to shift out. The Turks lost heavily.
Fine hot day. Very quiet day. We kept enemy snipers quiet by continuously shooting at his loopholes. Many chaps returned who were wounded the first day (Sun 25th April.) Our platoon
are is acting as supports to the firing line to-night.
Fine. Our artillery roaring again Indian Batt. doing good work again. I with three others went down to the D.A.D.O.S. had a swim in the sea and brought up some bombs for the trench mortar. Cpl. Lyons was in charge of us. Had three good meals today & went into fire trench at 6.45 PM.
Fine. Navy bombarding Kaba Tepe Hill very heartily. Nothing else to write about. Came out of trench about 6 PM. On quartermasters fatigue until 11 PM bringing stores for our Reg. up from the beach. Our chaps took a trench on the left under heavy fire. Many Turks were captured.
Fine. On water fatigue. We have scarcely have any rest now. We have to go over in "Shrapnel Gully" for the water so named because of the deadly effect of the Turk’s shrapnel shells there. Great artillery duel this morning. Water fatigue again this afternoon. "A tot of rum issued to every man"
Fine. Our platoon in the firing line again. No news on account of our "Peninsular Press" not being published. quiet day
Fine Our platoon having a rest ahem!? We had to do all sorts of fatigues. I was mess orderly for the platoon & Orderly Room Orderly at the same time. Went back into fire trench in the evening. We always knock off work to carry bricks. I wrote one letter.
Fine. Our chaps attacked the Turks trenches on the left again and held them until 3 AM next day when they evacuated them. The attack was made to draw a large number of Turkish Rein. who were going to strengthen the right flank. Sergt Bramhall and two men went out on patrol and returned safely
[Page 90 ]
Fine. Had a good night’s rest last night without being disturbed except having to stand to arms from 3 to 4 A.M. the usual thing. We are very inactive so far as fighting goes and I am wondering what it is to end up with. Back to fire trench again tonight.
Fine. We exchanged shots a treat with the Turks last night. They have a very formidable barb-wire fence in front of part of their trench.
Left fire trench again this evening. Our guns kicking up a row again. Brown’s Battery especially. This life is getting very monotonous.
Fine Same old routine. Feeling a bit off. Was allowed off duty today. Another artillery duel. Flies here are in millions and they are awfully familiar. They crawl over our food in hundreds. Much sickness is reported among the various Regiments probably owing to these pests.
Fine. Saw the doctor this morning & he sent me to the clearing station & from there I was placed aboard the Fleet Sweeper "Newmarket" to be sent to Lemnos Island with other sick & wounded to recover.
Fine We left Gallipoli Peninsular about 3 AM this morning and were well in Muedross Harbour by 9AM. Landed on the Island about 12 PM and were fixed up in our respective tents at 2 PM. I have been placed on milk died. Enjoyed a good undisturbed night’s rest.
Fine windy. A Turkish aeroplane dropped bombs or tried to on the camp here yesterday but they dropped in the water. Am feeling better today. Many French, Algerian, Singalese and British troops are here. It is a relief to get away from shot and shell and see a little civilization again
Fine. Very windy. A hostile aeroplane again dropped some bombs here doing no damage fortunately and made a good escape although he was fired on by our warships. Am well looked after here. There are many patients here. Cholera has broken out
Very windy. I have been placed with the medical patients in P Ward (a large roomy tent). The doctor examines us regularly at 9 AM each morning. The orderly is very attentive to his duties
Fine On Light Duty. Nothing of interest to record
Fine Money scarce otherwise I would be enjoying myself entirely. The paymaster has not turned up so far though.
Fine. Church parade for the patients. My chum from the 3rd Batt went back to the Peninsular today with many more chaps who have recovered from their illness. Feeling a bit depressed. Expect to be back myself in a couple of days
Hot Gen Sir Ian Hamilton looked the hospital today. He seemed a very genial old chap sitting on the side of the beds inquiring as to the nature of each patients illness, myself being one of them. One point about him is that his teeth are his own
Very hot. I with many others came over here to the English Convalescent Hospital Tents. The red Cross staff here are slightly undermanned here at present but they do their work well.
Hot. The doctor here visits us about 10 AM each morning. am afraid the commissariat dept here will not come up to the Aust. Hospital but it may improve as it has only just started.
Hot. Sick and wounded men continue to arrive from the front. All who are fit are discharged to go back to the firing line from the hospitals.
Cool breeze. Many patients who are convalescent go in for a bathe as we are only a few yards from the water’s edge. The supply of food for patients has improved considerably during the last few days. I am on Milk Diet. Fancy that, after the life we have led at the trenches amongst flies & dust
Hot. We expect a little rain today, but it only ended up with wind thundering and lightning. It must be very monotonous for our lads in the trenches. The same process every day 24 hours in the fire trench & 24 out to do fatigues. But they are boys of the Bull-dog breed. We are looking forward to an issue of tobacco
Hot. A church service was held at the church tent this morning at 9 AM. Also a confirmation service at 6.30 AM. I attended neither I am ashamed to say.
Hot Many warships have moved out of the harbour here. Judging from the noise last night there is evidently a big bombardment going on at Cape Helles.
Hot. The heat is making itself felt here just now. It is extremely unpleasant in places where dead bodies of Turks lie within a few yards of our trenches, it being impossible to send burial parties to bury them as it would only mean more death.
Cool wind blowing Nothing eventful to record
Strong cool wind blowing. The sun shines warmly and not a cloud is to be seen. It is one of those weary beautiful days where one seems lifted into another world. The waves gently lap, lap against the shore and I lie under a shady tree where the music of the sea gradually wafts one into a peaceful sleep.
Dull. Cool wind blowing
For the want of something to write --
"To the Belgians"
O race that Caesar knew
That won stern Roman praise
What land not envies you
The laurel of these days
Fine Heavy shower of rain last night. We often get a thunderstorm here. None of those light showers so common in Australia but big drops of rain that wet one through in quick time. Had a nice ramble with a fellow patient, of the Kings Own Scottish Borders & named Walker
Fine Another shower of rain this morning. I am some others are to go to the Provost Marshall tomorrow
Fine Got some fresh clothing today from the Hospital stores. I with about 20 others came over here to the Provost Marshall’s camp for " light duty"
Fine Placed on duty on the Aust. Pier No1 to help with the Lighters when they came in full of water. There are six of us altogether and we get on well. So far no lighters have turned up as there is one in the way which is aground and cannot be pulled off by hand.
Fine Went down to pier about 6 AM and left it about 6.30 PM. Nothing doing all day. We were hauled out suddenly by the Corporal to go and pump water for the carts from 7 PM until 9 PM as the tanks had got a bit low. Just now the hospital is short of water but it will be remedied in a few days.
Fine and cool. I go in for a bathe every day. The water is shallow for ever so far out. Even a learner would be safe on his own at 300 yds out. Our food supply is good in our new quarters. The evening and nights are beautifully cool
Fine Windy. Went aboard HMS. Bacchante with some companions and was shown round the Engine Room by one of the sailors. They gave us tea and made us feel at home. They invited us over on Sunday when I could look over the guns and torpedoe tubes.
Windy. Horses, lorries and Ambulance wagons landed this morning.
Fine. Drew rations for the Camp. Attended a church service conducted by Rev. Mackenzie on the hill near the wind mills. Had to pull a barge inshore to be cleaned out ready for storing water.
Fine. Eight men of us went down and cleaned the barge out this morning. Drew rations again from the 29 Divisional Transport tent.
Dusty Hot wind
Nothing of notice to record
Still very dusty. Went aboard H.M.S. Venerable with some friends after pinching a boat from the wharf. Had tea on board & was given a few articles by one of the sailors. They are all jolly good sports.
Fine Several piers nearly completed. They are built mainly by Egyptian engineers
Fine Very dusty. Clouds of dust fly over the camp. The flies and heat are very trying. Have been acting brakes-man on a water cart to No1 Aust. Stn. Hospital.
Hot and Dusty still. A shower of rain just now would be very acceptable. This continuous fine hot weather together with the fly pest is extremely un comfortable
Blowy and hot. Got up a bit late this morning. Am usually up about 5.30 AM. Our bell tents are not very cool. So far we have been using mules in the carts brought either from England or India.
Dusty. Received a welcome letter from home. I have to feed the mules today as our driver has gone as brakesman.
Dusty. Fed the mules again today. They are stupid animals and require a good deal of patience while being handled. A number of fresh mules arrived tonight to allow the others to have a spell
Dusty. On the brakesmans job again today with a new driver. A little Lancashire lad too. He always believes in taking short cuts through his sentences. We started to cart water to No 1 Aust. Hospital about 6 AM & finished about 1.30 PM.
Mighty clouds of dust. Beautiful evenings
Dust Dust Dust
Nothing but dust
Getting quite unbearable
We draw rations in a motor lorry now. We don’t half "swank". I am off the water cart job now. Not sorry either
Dust Dust Dust
Service in store tent.
Hot More dust. joined the Provost Marshall’s working party under Cpl Donovan (Lancashire). Making horse troughs
Same old dust. Still building horse troughs. No hay issue. Pretty rotten
A number of our camp paraded before the doctor to see who was to go back to the Peninsular. I am fit alright, he said.
We have shifted from the old camp site to a cooler and better one where the dust never troubles us. We are on an Is. about a mile and half in circumference. Everything ready to leave which we took.
2.45 PM It’s crook leaving good tent mates again See names on back
Fine. Back at Anzac again. Embarked on sweeper about 3 PM. Left Lemnos Is. About 5 PM. & arrived here 2 AM this morning. Got back here in the trenches about 12 noon. Everyone given respirators and helmets. Major Scobie (now Lieut Col) is back and in charge of Batt.
July – August 1915
Warm. Cool breeze blowing from the South. Water fatigues for Hd. Qrs. In fire trench tonight. Heavy bom. by our howitzer guns. Two Turkish trenches taken on our right by 11th Batt. with a number of prisoners. My best friend, Joe Winterbottom gone to hospital sick
Sunday August 1
Hot Quiet day, so far 9 A.M. Artillery duel raging 12 p.m. Turkish gun on our right flank bombarding the beach. Both sides aeroplanes busy.
Fine Turkish aeroplane flew over our lines dropped some bombs and darts and then scooted off. Turkish Jack Johnstons came over for about an hour but did no damage except make a few large holes in ground.
Fine. Both sides aeroplanes scouting up the clear sky. Expect to see an air fight any time. The Taube never waits for fight though. She is very fast. Had a narrow shave from Jack Johnson this morning they are very large shells.
Turks have not fired any big shells today. The New Zealand Howitzer Battery is giving the Turks trenches particular attention today. We had a few casualties from shrapnel. They usually get one or two every day
Aeroplanes again. Ours was first up. After it was out of sight a Lowber [?] made his appearance at great height and flying rapidly as usual. Our guns are bombarding the Turks trenches again especially the "Chess Board and "Johnson’s Jolly". 2nd Bgde relieved us out of our trenches about 12 PM.
My first scratch
Wounded in right arm with shrapnel. Only a fine graze. Our guns opened up on the Turks trenches early in the morning. About 4.30 PM they opened an intensive bombardment and at 5.30 our Batt charged over the parapets, ran over the first and 2nd lines of their trenches, rooted the Turks out and began to work hard to make trenches so as to prevent a counter attack.
Fine We worked all last night and are still working. The Turkish losses are heavy. We are on the right wing and they are trying to bomb us out, but we are holding our own. (The New Zealanders have successfully pushed through the Chessboard"). The information was wrong as they did not get through.
Fine Firing still continues. (The New Zealanders have got the Turks on the run and driven them back about two miles which is quite a record for trench fighting.) Our Navy is firing high explosive shells into the Turks on the hill on the left. It is this hill that the N.Z’s have practically captured
Cool Flies not quite so troublesome. We are holding our new positions. I am pleased to say. Our losses are heavy. Out of 243 men in my company who charged over the parapets, only 36 came back , some of these being slightly wounded. We have captured many rifles, much ammunition and a large number of prisoners.
Fine. I have taken over the duties of Orderly to Lieut. Taylor. Turks counter attacked on hill
9 No. 971 but were repulsed with heavy losses. The rifle and machine gun fire was heavy. Our guns opened a heavy fire on the Turks also. The positions we have won are secure.
Fine. Had a good nights rest. Rather a quiet morning, but towards evening a terrific rifle and machine gun fire could be heard on our left flank. Our artillery roaring and echoing along all the ridges.
Beautiful morning. An occasional shot from rifle and canon is to be heard. B. Coy in our Batt. was only able to muster 15 men after the charge. We are having 48 hours rest after doing 48 in the fire trench..
Hot again. Turks heavily bombarded our trenches, but did no damage beyond burying a couple of chaps and raising an awful dust.. It is terribly fatiguing work in the trenches now we are all done up with our long stay in here and look forward to relief by the next Division.
Fine Quiet so far except for the snipers cracking now and again. Have just taught a dare devil Turk to keep his head down. Cannot say whether I knocked him or not. He was showing head and shoulders above the trench carrying sand bags for his parapet
Fine Lovely mornings, getting warm towards mid-day with cool evenings. The nights get chilly and we have to beware of colds. Our Batt. was relieved from trenches this afternoon by the 4th Batt.
Fine. All had a peaceful nights rest out here in support trenches. No "Standing to" in the morning about 4 AM when a chap feels that he wants to sleep most, and no sleeping in equipment so that we can make ourselves comfortable when turning in
Fine Today is the Anniversary of our Batt. the day when it began to be formed at Kensington Racecourse. We came into the trenches again at 12 noon. We are fairly well dug in now.
Fine. Nothing to record. The same old monotonous "lookouts" up on the parapets the same sniping the same guns banging and knocking our a parapets about "Drat ‘em" we get enough to do without always building up parapets.
Cloudy cool. Big drops of rain fell last night and have been threatening to fall all day. Borrowed a halfcrown off private Duffy to get a few luzuries off the "Canteen ship". The Major went down to try & get the articles for us but found that it contained nothing. No stores on board.
We are still holding on to the trenches which we captured on the 6th. The Turks are always throwing bombs at us, as they are only about 15 yds away in some places. They seldom do any damage though. Now and then they knock somebody over. Their quick – firers do more damage than any of their weapons.
Fine. Once more ready to go in the old trenches. The men had dinner there as it was nearly 12 noon. Turks bombed our trench a lot but did no damage. Great to do on the left. The 9th army Corps (British) took two lines trenches & the N.Z’s took one and they are holding them.
Fine . An English howitzer battery behind our lines is pumping high explosives into the Turks trenches and also shrapnel on to where they think the enemies’ guns are. The enemy replies with shrapnel from his quick firers, doing no damage.
Windy Threatening rain. Turks threw bombs a treat last night to no effect though. Our chaps have them thinking seriously when they throw a gun – cotton bomb on to the Turk’s trench. We left the trench again at 2 PM to go out for 48 hours rest.
Dusty. Have spent part of the 48 hours rest digging a dugout for Lieut. Taylor and am now pleased to say that I have now finished. Received three more welcome letters and a paper from home.
Dull. A heavy bombardment is going on at Cape Helles by our Warships. It is quiet in our position just now. We have had three Coy. [indecipherable] and our fourth is now having his innings. His name is Walker [indecipherable]
Cool. A heavy bombard preceded on attack by our chaps on the left. Results of the attack have not come through officially. The capture of a couple of howitzers by our lads is reported. The enemy shelled our trenches considerably about 5 PM
Cool. Cloudy. A couple of Taube aeroplanes were seen above our trenches yesterday evening. They did not stay long though.
Cool Some of our lads have just returned after being wounded. A good deal of firing is going on over at the left. They have not settled down after the attack, evidently expecting another one. Our lads won an important position although losing heavily.
Fine. Am now assisting the Company Q. M.S. as well as looking after Mr Taylor. I am not to go into the firing line by the Majors orders. We have had a number of luzuries given us by the Regimental fund as well as cigarettes and tobacco from the Victoria Racing Club
Warm day Had a good night’s rest. Rather a quiet day except for a few shells and bombs in the evening. One shell unfortunately killed two of our stretcher bearers, one being literally blown to pieces
Fine. German aeroplanes are busy overhead. One dropped several bombs on our gun positions. A lot of talk about a relief for us I Will be very disappointed if we do not get ours soon
Cool Wind Our first touch of winter is now on us. One of our transports has been torpedoed with troops on board. She got into Murdross Harbor Lemnos Island safely though. There were very few casualties.
Cool. We went into Lone Pine again at 12 PM and relieved the 4th Batt. The Turks got a "75" on to our Coy. H.Q. and wounded the telephone operator. I have had to take his place, being a Coy Signaller. I did a four hour watch on this instead of observing during the night.
Cool breeze from the North. Blows a lot of dust about. Turks are very quiet today. They usually open up with their small arms about 5.30 P.M. and also with bombs about 3 AM. We have been ordered to be prepared for an attack from them any time. I think myself that "Jackie "realises this to be too costly though.
Cool. Had some trouble to get some rations today on account of my imminent transferment to Head Quarters Signallers. Had a cool wash last in the sea and washed some clothes in the briny Repeated the process this morning. A sniper amused himself with pot shots at me and several others. Very quiet
Beautiful day. Our new soldiers have arrived to relieve us. They call themselves the "Dinkum Australians". they are the 21, 22, 23, and 24th Batt of the 6th Bgde. It is nice to see fresh strong faces again.
Fine. Men of the 23rd Batt. dropping into the work nicely. 1500 Turks coming from Achi Baba got cut up by our warships fire. Our observation balloons spotted them. Losses are unknown.
Fine We are out of the trenches for good and we go to Shrapnel Gully
until tonight. We instructed the new hands in their new duties and then handed over to them. We went to Rest Gully about 11.30 PM and then our Batt and the FIRST BN came on board HMS Partridge
Had a safe trip to Mudross Harbor. Lovely breeze. A number of warships are here. We landed about 2 PM. We had to walk about 2 ½ miles and cross the sea in shallow water for about 400 yds before finally arriving at our camp. We were lectured by our new Col. (Cass) and then dismissed to good tents.
The Col. read an address from the Gen. Officer Com. the Med. Exp Force thanking us for the work we had done and and commending us on the heroic and successful way we took Lone Pine on the right of our position.
Cool breeze Did nothing all day. Had a good rest today
Cool R.C. Church parade. C. of. E. Minister did not turn up. Had another issue of tobacco and fags. Had another ramble with Art Jagger
Cool We began Regimental duties yesterday. Our section had to help pull down some tents and pack them up as they were required by another Brigade. Did nothing else all day. Played "Nap" for cigarettes last night.
Cool. Waiting to hear what our orders for the day are. We overhauled our signalling gear today. It was in fairly good condition considering the working about it had
Rained heavily through the night. Our flags were wet through and we had to take the panniers[?] and put them in a tent. We are having an easy time up to now.
Fine Beautiful morning. Lovely fresh sweet air. Was up before reveille and went about half a mile to a spring and had a good wash in fresh water. A terrific downpour of rain with thunder and lightning completely flooded all our tents. We were just about to shift camp to higher ground.
Fine Windy Preparing to move tents and equipment to new camp site. Very windy. A regular tornado. We have field kitchens to do our cooking in now. A French General inspected the Batt. yesterday in fact all of the old Division.
Fine Breezy Dug trenches around our tent this morning to allow the water to drain away and not flood the tent like it did down on the old camp site. Played cards and won a packet of Major Wrapkins cigarettes.
Fine lovely morning. Had church parade every man shaved and with his best gear on and belt and bayonet. felt quite brand new again
Had another issue of clothing
Fine Cool breeze. We did some station[?] work with flags from 9 AM. A team of sailors played a team of Australians soccer but I do not know who won. The sailors were very fast.
Windy Had to replace a chap in the Brigade H.Q. who had gone sick and was exempted from duty. Had a couple of good rides on the bike. Roads are very bad, merely cart tracks here and there and full of ruts.
Still Windy Again I have been sent down here to Bgd. H.Q. as the other chap is still sick. It is not a very hard job as it happens. I have to take despatches around the ditch mostly to the Post Office. It is about 3 miles away.
Cool Wind. Our Section has been raised to full strength by green – horns out of the companies. I with the other older hands had some practice with the Heliograph.
Fine Windy. Bad place for wind here. Seems as if it will never go down. More Helio practice with Pte Townsend and Pte Bond. C. Coy of our Batt played B. Coy at Soccer. It finished one goal each. I played for C. Coy.
Fine More Helio We all had tunics issued to us. A person would not know whether we were English Tommies or Australians.
Beautiful day. A lovely little breeze blowing to prevent the sun’s rays being felt. All looking spick and span for Church Parade.
Cool breeze blowing. Had to take Pte. Hatchett’s place on Bde. HQ. as orderly so that he could have a little signalling practice. Had to take dispatches to Aust. And N.Z. Base Details Camp to the Cable Station Post Office and Camp Commandant in charge of Mudross West
HJ. Ash prophisies peace from May 12th .
( I say he is wrong)
Signalling practice again. Medical inspection after parade to see who were fit for the front again and who are not. I was marked V, some were marked Z. What letters mean time will show.
Fine nothing of note to record. More talk of a canteen being erected. If they would pay us a little more oftener, there would be some sense in it Splendid British success in France. Many prisoners including 200 officers and a large number of big guns and machine guns captured.
Bgde. orderly again. Cricket matches and two or three football games in progress.
Fine Heavy fog and dew last night. Tried to get into communication with the Sixth Bn. On the Heliograph, but were not successful.
Fine Saw the doctor this morning. Exempt from duty. Airship can be seen moving slowly in the air.
Fine On Bgde duty.
Fine Bgde. duty again
Fine Off duty today
Fine Bgde duty again Batt on a route march
Fine Flag practice
Fine Flag practice and a little bayonet fighting drill
Fine. Rained heavily last night. We were snug in our tents though although we had about 27 men in the tent including a guard and two prisoners. There is not much fear of the rain coming in now.
Fine Church parade at C. of E. Service. Had a little cricket practice on the oval sports Ground with W. Coy.
Fine Our old transport officer Capt. Rowlands has joined us now as a Coy. Commander. Major Stevens and several new men also arrived. Lieut Tedder has taken Capt. Rowland’s place in Egypt
Fine On Bgde. Orderly again. The Bgde was inspected by the Gen O.C. the First Line of Communication. A team out of our Batt Details played the 7th Bn. Details at cricket yesterday. They made 163 runs and we made 101 thus being badly beaten. I made 4 & was then badly stumped.
Fine Signal practice again. Our cricket team was beaten again by W. Coy yesterday.
Cool wind blowing. Bge duty. N.Z band playing in the Y.M.C.A. tent today. They play beautifully.
Breezy still. Batt. on a route march. N.Z. band playing in Y.M.C.A. tent again
Dull. Flag waving again. We took the lamps out last night for a little practice. The Div. canteen is in full swing. They have been tremendously busy since opening.
Dull. A little rain fell. C. of E. church service . Very poor sermon although a good text was used: "I have fought the good fight I have kept the faith." Flies are very troublesome still, though the weather is cool.
Windy Fine service in the YMCA tent by a Methodist preacher. Am Bgde Orderly again.
Cool winds blowing from the North. Too cool to be pleasant. Giving new hands some practice at reading semaphore and Morse.
Cold wind. Bob Hatchett on Bgde Orderly. War news very scarce.
Windy. Hard work pushing the bike against the wind. There seems to be plenty of despatches to send to different places. Batt. on a route march. Batt. did a night march also.
Cold, Windy. Route march again culminating in an attack. Pte Dalgleish and myself told off to go as signallers to the Col. and Major Stevens. We had plenty to do, sending, receiving and running with messages.
Cold Wind blowing still from the North. Batt. had a sham bayonet charge on to some trenches (dug for the purpose) using jam tins filled with cobbles for bombs. We finished up with a few men from each company throwing bombs on trenches with only the fuse & detonators in the jam tins. They did some accurate throwing.
Drizzling rain. No Church parade for C. of E. Major King went to hospital today. Had an easy time. On brigade today. Expecting to leave here any time now for Anzac. Brigade scheme on tomorrow.
Fine. We had to rise early this morning as there was a big brigade scheme conducted by the Brigadier (Smythe). The whole brigade cooperated in an attack. I was told to go off with the brigade signal staff. I went with Staff Capt. Anderson in rear of the 4th Bn. Who were in reserves.
Cool wind. Did a route march for about 3 hours & then returned to camp. Got paid 10/- and I sent a parcel of curios to Hal. Orders to move off tomorrow morning. Want to know where we are going.
Windy Reveille at 5 AM, breakfast at 6 AM, and moved off at 6.30 AM. We marched to the RE PIER waited about two hours embarked on a large steamer and then transferred to the Osmanich. a fine passenger ship now used for transporting stores, troops and wounded to their destination.
Dull. Still lying in harbour. Our Batt is situated in the 1st class dining saloon on the ship. The boys amuse themselves by playing card games such as; Nap banker, five hundred, euchure and whist.
Dull. Left Mudros about 1.30 PM. Arrived at Anzac about 9.20 and disembarked. We marched up here to the ‘right’ and camped in a gully near the 3rd Bgde. Reserves. We all lay down for a sleep as it was a long march from the pier to here.
Fine. Had breakfast and moved towards the trenches about 9.30 A.M. Beachy Bill obliged with a few shots, & was answered by our guns. I had to go on Bn. Orderly in the afternoon. Some of our sick and wounded returned & found us Among them was Joe Winterbottom my friend
Windy. Quiet day. A church service was conducted on the side of the ridge about 6 PM
Our chaps settled in the firing line. We had to shift out of a dug – out to the let the 3rd Bn Machine Gunners in. Arthur Valentine & I secured a good dugout on the opposite ridge. I am mess orderly for our section today
Cold wind. artillery duel this morning & evening. Bombardment going on at Cape Helles
Fine Grand day. Wrote a few letters. Had a look round the firing line. One man in B. Coy of our Bn. hit with a piece of a shell from a high explosive. He was taken to the Beach Hospital. Had a game of cards with some friends in the M. Gun Section.
Windy Our artillery fired a few shots this morning without getting a reply. Our H.Q. Sig. section are having an easy time.
More wind. We have a ‘phone in the trenches and I went on this morning from 0800 to 1230 noon. Artillery duels are the order of the day. Our L. Horse gained a further 30 yds forward last night
A strong N. Westerly off the sea. Turks have been very restless firing great quantities of Ammo at night time. They also opened up with some howitzers during the night. Our guns replied.
Beautiful day again. The sea is calm and beautiful. Fairly quiet day.
Dull. Did a little writing. Nothing of note occurred
Dull same old thing. If it gets no worse we will be satisfied
Fine Strong breeze blowing. One handkerchief issued per man. More soldiers gifts I suppose.
Fine Calm sea. Warship busy today shelling across the Peninsular. Second Bde. Light Horse did another stunt on the right & successfully occupied an old Turkish trench.
Showery Dull. Came over to see Charlie Etheridge in 18th Batt. Turkish shelling Monash and Rest Gullies. The 18th Bn is here at Quinn’s Post
Nothing of importance doing
Cool breeze blowing. We relieved the 9th Bn out of their old position. We got a good pozzy for the ‘phone. Violent artillery duel about 1600 to 1700.
Showery settled down in our dug – out for another artillery duel one man killed too. A fierce Naval bombardment at Achi Baba this afternoon which lasted about two hours.
Fierce winds blowing from the south
Strong wind all day very heavy storm & during night. Many chaps washed out of their dug outs. Day orderly at the Signal Office.
Fine Trenches drying nicely. Boys all busy making dugouts waterproof. My dugout escaped the wetness pretty well.
Cool wind blowing. Did nothing all day. Our anti-aircraft gun nearly hit an enemy aeroplane today.
Very cold wind blowing from south & changing rapidly to S West & North. We are in splendid trenches here. Our aeroplane did some daring reconnaissance work this morning. Some more fine shooting at an enemy aeroplane.
Wind still blowing from the north. On orderly duty today at the Signal Office
Nothing new to record
Bleak day. The Turks have a few new guns in position on our right here.
Cold wind. Turkish gun shelling beach. Beachy Bill I suppose, he is very busy lately
Cold. Trenches wet and slippery. Turks hit a trawler with a howitzer but did very little damage apparently.
Weather very cold. Wind blowing strongly from South. Expecting Turks to attack. Received a parcel of smokes from Aunt Annie per the "Sun"
Very cold and windy with heavy showers. Navy fired some heavy shells at some object down on Gaba Tepe Point. I go on the "phone tonight at 2100 until 0100 AAA. It began to snow about 8/30 P.M. It is very cold.
Snow everywhere. The first time I have seen snow. It is very slushy in the trenches. Everywhere it is white & the sides of the trenches look very imposing. It ceased to snow about 5/30 PM.
Snow still lies thick in some places. A cold wind is blowing from the North. My sheep skin vest and cap are very warm and just the identical for this weather. My cap is admired by the other chaps in fact I think I shall have to keep my eye on it when not wearing it. Turks bombarded Lone Pine heavily all day with quick firers & 92s
November – December 1915
Beautiful warm day after a cold frosty night. Very quiet generally except for the usual sniping. I and Frank Green (my dug – out neighbour) got to work on our dug – outs to make them more cosy as it was a fine day & I have improved mine greatly. Cardigan jackets, gum – boots & macintoshes have been issued to a number of men.
Wednesday Dec 1
Tonight was warm up to about 1200 when it began to feel decidedly frosty. I and a number of the others collected some snow which still lies in places on the trench sides and melted it down for shaving water. Some of it was clear enough to drink. We do four hours on the phone now and sixteen off.
Rather sharp morning but warm after about 10 oclock. One of our 8th Bn. Shot himself in the foot but whether by accident or design has not yet been decided. The Turks bombarded the Lonesome Pine position nearly all day last Tuesday and caused over 200 casualties on our side besides damaging the trenches.
Dull but Warm. Our artillery got very effectively on to some Turks in a Trench on our right front. The 18 pounders did considerable execution. I made a banjo out of telephone wire a few tin meat keys, pieces of deal and an old tin.
Dull Misty. Heavy bombardment going on by Naval and military at Cape Helles
Quiet Day Fine
Dull. Heavy firing at Suvla Bay and Cape Helles.
Fine day. Some chaps back today. Len Poupard who was badly wounded the first day has returned. Our trench works were a revelation to him as there were only bushes to be seen when we landed. The Navy is doing a tremendous amount of shooting from our waters. Received welcome letters from Matt and Clare
Weather changeable. The Navy is belting something at Achi Baba.
Dull. The Navy still firing heavily down at the Cape. Heavy firing has been going on there for about a week now. Also in Suvla Bay.
Fine A heavy Naval bombardment commencing about 11.30. Two cruisers a monitor and a couple of destroyers participated. They concentrated their fire on Gaba Tepe Point on [indecipherable] Ridge and the Olive Grove. Our artillery also joined in the fun. Beachy Bill still fires though. He leads a charmed life. Orders to move out & let the 4th Bn take our place.
Fine Moving orders cancelled. We stay here. The 4th Bn go in between the 5th & 7th Light Horse. Some of the 2nd Bgde. are going to Cape Helles again. A man killed by one of the enemies broom stick bombs yesterday in D company and another man shot through the head in A Comp. last night whilst on watch.
Fine. Enemy fired some heavy high explosive shells on our trenches today but no casualties resulted. The enemy search over our back trenches with large shrapnel bombs but seldom do any damage. They also sweep Allah and Cooee gullies at night as our patrols often go down them.
Dull A strong breeze sprang up from south early this morning. The Navy still bombard heavily at the cape. This is the eighth day but we cannot get any news as to the doings there. Our men put out more wire last night.
Dull Warm No more mail to be dispatched from here. Something mysterious is on foot. We are all making guesses as to what it is. Tomorrow may reveal something to clear up the mystery. A lot of work is being done to our old back trenches. New firing lines are being built. Work at saps has been stopped
Cold wind blowing from the East. At least we know what is to happen. It is awful to contemplate but what must be will be. We packed up our spare blankets and are ready to move at any minute. Nothing definite has been told the men yet but we know I think
Quiet Beachy shells the Beach nearly constantly at night but is doing very little damage
Dull with splashes of sunshine. Our aeroplanes doing a lot of scouting lately. Did my last shift on the "phone thank goodness for a time at least. Our men have been leaving in batches from the other Bn and the details
Fine. Orders to pack up ready to vacate the peninsular. It seems a pity that all such splendidly worked out plans should have gone astray. The difficulties were not in surmountable but they were not tackled in the right manner Grave discredit reflects on someone at present unknown.
We left the peninsular last night leaving 6 of our section behind for the last. Enough men have been left to man the firing line in case of emergency. We boarded the boat last night about 11 PM. and arrived here at Lemnos about daybreak. We had a long march to our camp.
Cleaning up Camp
Dull Other Bns out drilling. We are still cleaning up camp.
Rifle inspection for Battalion.
Cool Wind blowing from South. We marched out about half a mile and the Col. gave us a lecture. He told us that since the evacuation at Anzac the Turks bombarded our front heavily and then charged. They swarmed triumphantly down the gullies and Navy cut them up badly.
Raining We left camp again today Xmas Eve and went aboard the old Derflinger the ship that brought us to the Dardenelles before the landing on the 25th April. 1915. The first Bn is also on here besides a number of details from other units. Altogether about 3000 troops.
Fine We moved out of Mudross harbour about 8 AM and up to now have followed a zig zag course. Today is Xmas! Day. We have to wear life belts continually as we are in the danger zone. Our destination is not known exactly but Egypt seems our objective. We had plum duff for dinner and bully beef
Fine Parade in life belts.
Fine Arrived at Alexander about 10.30 AM and anchored. I
was am mess orderly and am kept pretty busy
Fine It rained heavily during last night and as I was sleeping on the boat deck I had to get up and move my bunk to a drier spot. Hitched up to the wharf about 11 AM. [indecipherable] scenes on wharf with natives.
Fine Left boat about 7 PM. And boarded train which had drawn up on wharf in readiness for us. Things were only middling amongst the men and there were hot scenes on the way to Telelkebir our destination. We had several long stops chief of which was Zagazig.
Fine Arrived at Tel el kebir about 5.30 AM and marched out to our camping ground. One of our Sigs. did not turn up and had evidently either got off or fell off the train.
Fine Our missing Sig. turned up safely.
Received fourteen letters and one paper for Xmas Mail
End of diary for 1915
1 ac – finish/bus
6 che chay
W Lever [indecipherable] 97 Spr
12/2 Field Co Engineers
For the heathen heart that
puts her trust
In reeking tube and
All valiant dust that
builds on dust
and guarding prays
not thee to guard
For boast and frantic
Thy mercy on thy people Lord
Florence Knight – 5 Oxford St
Newtown – Sydney
Miss C. Brewer – 26 Catherine St
Leichardt – Sydney.
Miss V. Brewer – 61 Boulevard
Dulwich Hill – Sydney
Mr. H Brewer – 26 Dulwich St
Dulwich Hill – Sydney
Mr F J Kemp – 10 Heath Hill
Mountfield – Sussex England
Miss Elsie Easton – 20 Rowley St
Kingston – Newtown Sydney
Mrs. W Kemp – Lugar House
Hawson St – Hamilton Newcastle
Mr FJ Bradley – I.C.S. High St W.M.
Mr. W McKie - [indecipherable] HomevilleW.M.
Mr. R. Stan Collard – Bolwarra E.M
Miss E B. Watson - [indecipherable]
Union St. – S. Lismore R.R.
If left for NSW Australia please forward
Arthur Boyle – 3 Section
3rd L. Horse – Bgde train
[W.M. = West Maitland, E.M. = East Maitland]
20 Castle St
Stoney Holme, Burnley, Lancashire
Or, 2224 A Coy 5 Bn
E. L. R Med. Ex. Force Gallipoli
Mr. H. Brewer – 186 N. Cant. Road Petersham Sydney.
Mrs H. Knight cf Mr. Bray Riverstone via Sydney NSW.
Drummer A.L. Brewer
876/5th inf AIF
Mosely Road School Hospital
Celtic Bay Rd. Brighton – Le – Sands Rockdale
F Knight [indecipherable]
c/o Mrs G Scott Castlereagh St
Riverstone Sydney NSW
Cash Account - January
Carried forward from 1914 6 14 - Total for Jan
Mena Camp 6 14 - 2 12 -
- - 13 14 -
- - 20 14 -
- - 27 14 -
total 9 10 -
Miss A. Bryant
Mr. O. Vidler
Received two pays at Anzac altogether totalling £ 1/12/6. Money was practically useless to the man in the firing line there.
Cash Account – September
carried forward 18 4 - total for Sept
Mudross 11 1 10 - 1 10 -
Total 19 14
Cash Account – October
Carried forward 19 14 - total for Oct.
Mudross 11 1 10
Mudross 1 1 - - 4 10 -
total 20 14
- - 13 2 - -
- - 21 1 - -
- - 26 - 10 -
total 24 4 -Carried over
Total 25 16 6
Total amount received during time I left Australia up to the end of 1915 £ 26.16.6
Cash Account for December
Carried over 25 16 6 total for Dec.
Sarpe 22nd - 10 - 1 - -
Tel el Kabir 30 - 10 -
Total for 1915 26 16 6
Carried forward from 1915 26 6 6
Tel el Kebir 7.1.16 10 3
21 Feb Roys Birthday
c/o Mrs N C Carr
[Transcribed by Eric Hetherington and Peter Mayo for the State Library of New South Wales]