Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Sydney B. Young war diary, 15 October 1916-14 April 1917
MLMSS 985/Item 3
Larkhill Camp, Wiltshire
p.13–17 4 days leave – London, visits relatives at Luton.
p.38 Sails for France
p.47 Bailleul (Merris)
p.55 Advice from Tommies
p.58 Soldiers philosophy
p.59 In the trenches for first time
p.86 Wounded by shell fragment
p.89 Kitchener's No 3 Hospital, Brighton, England
p.94 York Place Hospital, Brighton
p.101 No.1 Australian Auxillary Hospital, Harefield Park
p.108-138 14 days furlough. Travels to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford, Hampstead Heath on Easter Monday.
p.140- 155 Verses by Sydney Young]
S.B.Young D Co
36th Battn Band
Finder please return or to
Mrs K. Young
5th Avenue Campsie
From 15th October 1916
15th Church parade on Common presided over by Chaplain – General Rentoul who has just arrived from Australia with a message from Australia that the "Home fires are kept burning" for us
16th We voted to-day on the conscription question in Australia. Each man received a printed manifesto from W.M.Hughes stating the terms of the proposition. Leave has been granted to the brigade for 4 days, to be taken consecutively in batches of 20%. Men are allowed to visit relations in any town in England or
Scotland on production of their fares, but to go to London they must show £4. In most cases this is impossible. The idea is to keep the troops out of London as much as possible on account of the terrible lot of venereal cases that have been caused in London.
17th 1st Batch gone on leave to London.
18th Half holiday. Inter-battalion Rugby match against 33rd was won by the 36th 6-5. The band played a program and were well treated by the New Colonel and officers.
19th A man came through the hut selling papers and being the eligible age for enlistment was asked why he was not in kharki. He said he had presented himself but had been rejected for being "mentally deficient" "But I will be all right" he said "I am going home to practice up a bit. We do half-an-hour a day physical exercises under an imperial expert and it is doing us the world of good. Another story told is of an old hen that was standing in the road when a motor came along at 40 miles an
hour and the poor old hen had a severe handling. She slowly picked herself up and shook the dust from her feathers and said "Gee! that was some rooster"
21st Church parade.
22nd Went out for a walk to Salisbury, a delightful walk along by the River avon. Old fashioned little towns, Scotland, Woodford and several others we did not know the names of. The people, simple folk which look as if they had stepped out of a book nodded to us as we passed and wished us "good afternoon. We can just imagine
writers coming to a place like this for inspirations and characters for their works. The holly is looking lovely now covered with red berries which seem to say "Christmas is coming. Blackberries grow all along the side of the road covered with ripe berries. We were given at Salisbury a lot of Chestnuts and when we got back to camp we sat round the heating stove roasting them. We enjoyed them very much. They are something like a sweet potato to taste. They were also going to
give us some walnuts but none had fallen and it appears you cannot eat them until they fall to the ground. 12 of the band have gone on leave to London including the bandmaster and I am left in charge till Tuesday when they come back and we go on the Wednesday. We are stopping in the hut doing nothing (in the way of work) and expecting the Major to come round and roar out "Where has the Band got to. It is a great joke among the officers and men
Every time the battalion is on Parade, the Major after calling the Parade to attention he always finishes with roaring "Stand steady the band". At a concert the other night given mainly by bandsmen, the Major acted as chairman and gave a song. Every now and then some of the men would sing out "Stand Steady the Band" but the Major only smiled and took it in good part. Our doc. is a good old sport. Every time we play at the officer's mess he shouts us a drink and gives us boxes of 20 "Greys" (Cigs)
and says "from the O.C. stretcher bearers". Sometimes when he is a little merry he wants to conduct us and he gets in the centre and swings his stick while we play ("So Long Letty. His name is Capt McPherson. Major Lloyd is just what he looks, a deep thinking, dare-devil officer beloved by the Regiment and sometimes dubbed "Suicide Lloyd. He has been over at Gallipoli where he was thought a great deal of and men would follow him anywhere so report has it. At officers mess he was jumping over tables in a
manner which made one think he would crack his neck. The battalion has been issued with new Service rifles and are starting to put up their colours which so far they have had to buy at the shops up on the main street.
24th Had to march up to A.D.M.C. and undergo an examination on theoretical and practical stretcher bearing. I was in charge and had to drill the squads through Examination.
25th Easy day nothing doing rec'd about 14 letters
26th Paper boys come yelling round the huts singing out "All About it" at 6.30 am. They don't give any more information. There is a picture & Vaudeville show here where women about 50 dress up as flappers and if they don't sing a "rough" song they are counted out. I was to have gone on leave this morning but owing to a clerical error my name has been cut out till Monday. Hard Luck.
27th We get plenty of Stew but see no meat in it, which leads me to think that before long the cooks will
be making stew without using any meat at all.
30th Went on 4 days leave to London.
Arrived at Waterloo 11.30 am. I only had £1 to keep me for the 4 days so I had
to go very light. On every big station in
Waterloo London is a buffet for
soldiers where a cup of tea or coffee and cakes & bread & butter may be had
free So I went down and had some refreshments then made off for Buckingham Gate
Soldiers home where I booked my rooms and left my coat. I then went to the Anzac Club
where free dinners
are provided for Australian and New Zealand soldiers. I then went over to a table where an Australian lady was sitting looking after the Australians, by way of arranging for free passes to the various theatres. She must have been very wealthy as she was wearing a brooch with a diamond that must have been worth nearly £100. These ladies are grand, and too much cannot be said in praise of their efforts to do everything possible for the Australian's comfort and entertainment. I heard of
one who is very wealthy, with a beautiful home etc. to continually serve of a night at a
soldier's home for 3
night months, when the doctor, fearing a
breakdown ordered her away.
This shows the spirit of the better class of English women. I went to see if I could get a
pass for a matinee on the Monday afternoon. She gave me a pass for "Samples" at the
Comedy Theatre and I obtained a reserved dress circle seat which would have cost a
civilian 10/6. The play was only fair. It
was a revue and I am not very partial to revue. One thing in which the London theatres differ from the Australian is that here smoking is not only allowed but ash trays are provided on the seats in front of you. After it was over I went back to the Club and got another ticket for the Oxford which was playing "Back to Blighty" It was another revue and not much better that the other one. The Oxford however is a magnificent theatre yet I think that there must be some
a lot better even than this I then went to my rooms and spent a pleasant night between nice white sheets. (Private)
31st Down at 8 and had breakfast. I then got on the tube and went to St Pancras Station where I booked through to Luton. On the station I noticed the luggage trucks were hauled by a small box-like electric Engine. I arrived at Luton at 10.20 and quickly found my way to My Aunt Lizzies. Luton is a fine town of some 55,000 population & its chief industrys are the
(Private) hat trade and the manufacture of munitions. My uncle will is engaged in the manufacture of hand grenades and is turning out some 50,000 a week. I spent a very interesting morning, my uncle explaining the process of manufacture. I spent some time with my aunt and Cousin Will, who took me round and showed me the School and Church my dad used to go to, also the house he was born, and my grandmother died in. She asked me to ask dad did he re
member Barber's Lane. My cousin Frank has won the championship for grenade throwing in England & France his record being 69 7/8 yds from a trench. After dinner I left Luton to go on to Harlington to see my grandad. It is a very pretty place though small. There are 3 public houses though you would not think there were enough people to keep one going. Grandad was very glad to see me. He is very feeble as his health has gone down a lot this
last 2 years though until then he has been as straight as a lath and very active. He has considerable pain in his legs and can hardly walk around still he sits there in his chair never complaining, in a manner that makes one's heart go out to him. He has a nice garden but of course it is going to ruin now he cannot attend to it. He looks and speaks just the same as my dad only of course much older. His housekeeper is a real old freak, but a kind –
er and more considerate woman to an old man like him, it would be impossible to find. She treats him just like a little child and her life seems just the desire to look after him. I am glad he is well looked after for I am satisfied he could not be in better hands. I also saw my cousin Fanny and her children. I left Harlington at 20 to 7 for London. About 6 munition girls got in at the next station and the way they were smoking and talking
filled me with disgust I cannot but think that after the war it will be hard to get the modern girl back to the home. They earn £ 3 and even more a week and a larger number of them drink while the majority smoke. We passed Hendon Flying School by the Railway line. A few miles from Luton is Doddington Hall where the German officers are interned. They have tennis, polo, and other games and are treated in a manner that is
NOV I all out of proportion to their positions as prisoners of war. We got back to our rooms at 11.45 PM.
1st Nov On Wednesday morning I got on a bus at Marble Arch and went right through to the Bank Corner. Down Oxford St, Regent St, Piccadilly & Ludgate Circus Strand etc. The bank of England is a shoddy shop. Dingy and dirty and about 2 stories high. The Royal Exchange is a better class of building opposite the bank.
We saw the Old Bailey and spent the morning looking round. At dinner time I was given an invitation to a tea party at a rich lady's flat at Kensington. I took a taxi for which the lady paid and got very well treated. The best of cakes etc cigarettes were in abundance, and 2 professional entertainers were engaged so that we had a grand time. Among the guests was a lieutenant who had just won the Military Cross and everybody of course had much pleasure
of seeing how it looked on themselves. 2nd I was walking along by Hyde Park when the Life Guards marched past Headed by their Drum & Fife Band playing "The Grand Little Army" I followed them along and met the Grenadier Guards. A little Further The Irish Guards joined and several other regiments and the whole marched to Hyde park & lined a big square where I learned the King was going to Review the Household Battalion at 10 a.m. At 10 o'clock the King arrived with Queen Mary &
the Queen mother, Alexandra. The Parade came to the "Present" while the Band played the Royal Salute, and the King was met by General French and General Lloyd. General French is a little thick set man and has a very impulsive way of getting about. The Household Batt'n (who are to leave for France) in a fortnight's time) then marched by in column of Companies and I was very disappointed at the poor display they gave. The march past was the "National Emblem" and the
mass band, one of 100 players.
3rd Wet and muddy. Went on a route march and got wet through. It appears our artillery have failed and we are going to have "Pommy Artillery" and are leaving within the next 10 days.
4th We have been issued with new clothing throughout and are sending some to relations.
5th Inspections by company officers and colonel.
6th Floundering about in the mud, supposed to be on a route march. Came home with wet feet
and a bad cold.
7th Miserable breakfast on bloaters. Still wet & miserable. It is the worst country you could imagine for rain and cold biting winds.
9th Have started on our course of Bombing. We have been lectured at some length on Explosives, detonators, Fuses, Grenades etc. and have spent some time practising throwing It appears everybody has to go through this course. Slow Exps. Ballastite, Schulty Powder, & Guncotton Yarn for propellant purposes Bursts on point of least resistance (cartridges etc)
High Explosives : - Amerol (generally used for grenades) T.N.T. Bellite Tonite Guncotton Lyddite etc. Played at opening of "incidental's concert.
10th The P & O Mail Steamer "Arabia" has been sunk in the Mediterranean with out warning. She left Sydney Sep 30th and had on board many parcels for Xmas for troops. We have just got our mail, the one previous to the one that has been sunk and the boys have been expressing themselves very freely & eloquently
when they open their letter which says that a Xmas parcel is being forwarded by the next mail. One of the boys had 4 parcels coming by that boat and several 3.
11th Stretcher bearers examined and complimented by Colonel McGuire the Divisional M.O. who declares us to be the best he has examined so far. Have finished our bomb throwing each throwing1 live bomb.
13th Forced march 20 miles from 10.30 am. to 5 pm. There was about
7 miles of troops and artillery, it being a divisional stunt. Some of the band enthusiasts in A Co have shamed the officers and bought us 10 tins of polish for our instruments so we have made them look a bit decent again.
14th Went for 6 mile march in the afternoon. We are to have a march every afternoon now until we go.
15th I have sent mine & Wal's clothes to uncle so we can get them any time we should come over on furlough from France
16th We have been issued with Basil Vests lined with felt These are warmer and longer than the sheep skin vests. We have also been ordered to wear 2 pair of socks. This is to prevent what are called Trench feet. The weather is bitterly bleak and playing reveille is terribly cold work. We have a new major, Major Prince who comes from Brigade H'qrs staff to take the second in command in place of Major Cooke-Russell who has been sent to train backward battalions.
Since his advent we have had a much easier time, Major Prince being a better friend to the band than C.R. Last night there was a Zep. Scare and every light in the camp was extinguished. We think we saw a Zep but as there is nothing in the papers regarding it, it is improbable. We had to hand in all our surplus clothing and kit bags last night. I don't suppose we will ever see them again. Farewell concert in dining room at 8. Brigadier & 8 colonels present to present prizes won at Brigade Sports.
17th First fall of snow, very light just like frozen drops of rain. Weather very cold. Social evening in our hut for band members as a farewell evening also a recognition of "Martha" Jones' Birthday. Each man contributed 1/- towards the provender which was laid out à la banquet Several Songs and speeches were given throughout the evening by W.O. Flynn, Sergeant Bignall & members of the band. The whole broke up at 10 o'clock after spending a very enjoyable evening.
The success of the evening was due to the efforts of Bandsmen McDonald & Phillips to whom we would like to express our sincere thanks.
18th Had an altercation with a horse who spitefully kicked me in the knee making me feel very un(knee)sy.
19th Woke up and found the ground covered with snow which made me think of Father Christmas, about 4 inches deep. Made a snow kangaroo and had several snow fights It is all right on pictures but in reality ----
Colonel Simpson gave an address to the massed troops on the eve of our departure.
20th Have been issued with Gas helmets, 2 Blankets, Tear Shell goggles, and bullet proof steel helmets.
21st Parade with Marching order, Equipment with pack, 2 blankets, 150 rds ball, and rifle. Makes one feel like a packhorse. This is our last night. A 6 guinea pair of cymbals and several new marches including "The great little Army" "Colonel Bogey", and Blighty have been bought.
22nd At 5 am the Battalion
left Larkhill Camp and marched to Amesbury in the dark, through mud up to our ankles with full pack, blankets, 150 rounds of ammunition and rifle, the whole weighing nearly 120 lbs. We only had 2 spells of 2 or 3 minutes each so were pretty well done up when we got to the station. The train left at 10 to 8 and arrived at Southampton at 10.20, the latter part of the journey being by the sea. We rested in the station shed for the remainder of the day At the wharf beside the sheds lay the African Princess
which took the Canadian troops across, and the "Asturias", a big P & O boat, which when she came to Sydney was the biggest that ever came through Sydney Heads. She was top-heavy and had to have one deck removed. She is now utilised as a Hospital Ship and is to leave for East Africa. Our transport was a 5000 ton boat the "Caesarea" and on her the battalion sailed for France at 6 p.m. Out in the bay we could see the lights of the mammoth liner "Aquitania" one of the largest, in fact the
second largest vessel afloat. On the transport, no lights were shown and looking through the canvas we could see an avenue of lights and searchlights of battleships on each side. At 4 a.m. we pulled in to the wharf at Havre. On the other side of the wharf was a large hospital for french wounded. On the wharf and at various places round the harbour are very high iron stands on the top of which are very strong lights which throw a large circle of light. [sketch of light tower]
23rd We played a few marches which were appreciated by the inmates of the hospital. At 7 o'clock we took off our packs which were placed on the transport and we played the troops to a rest camp 7 miles from the wharf. Havre is a large seaport where there is a tremendous amount of shipping. We did not get a very emphatic reception but rather a respectful and quiet welcome that was more heartfelt than expressed.
This is accounted for by the fact that every day 8 transports leave every day from like Southampton to Havre and it stands to reason that enthusiasm however sincere could not be shown through all times. We saw some captured guns pass us on a train covered with mud. The houses in Havre are of very curious designs in the construction of Brickwork and tall gables. We passed the Casino which is used as a hospital for wounded and the Bourse in front of which is a market where a great number
of bales of wool were stacked. The French people are very obliging and polite. They speak English, a good many of them and expressed great interest in us. The Street lavatories here would never be tolerated in an English speaking country as they are open and except for a 3 foot iron screen is open for public scrutiny. After a spell in the rest camp, We entrained in horse trucks, 30 in each truck en route for the front. We past through Yvetot and several Pastoral
districts where the growing of Silver beet and dairying seemed the predominating Industry. The first part of the trip was through hilly country and we passed through many very long tunnels. The next town of importance was Rouen, in Normandy, the Birthplace of William the Conqueror. Several Manufacturing towns we saw next and at every crossroad along the line were blue uniformed French sentries on guard. Instead of the Mileage system of measuring the metric system is used here
and along side the line the distance from Paris or other big centres is denoted on posts in Kilometres, 1 5/8 of which make 1 mile. We skirted Paris in the night but the night was too dark to discern anything. Etaples & Boulogne we next past through, and several large camps and in one town saw a monument about 150 high. We saw a lot of grouse, crows, magpies, etc along the line. That night I will never forget. Huddled up in
the compartment, only fit for horses, which in fact it was built for, and which at the most should only have held 16, the 28 of us settled down to rest. One had to suit his figure to the accommodation, which was in some cases, round, square, or some other shape which science has sought in vain for a name for. With an entrenching tool in the small of your back, your comrades foot in your eye, and perhaps your head dangling over into space we vainly tried
to go to sleep, but could we? Well, hardly. All through that night the monotonous rattle of the wheels, as she slowly crawled and then stop suddenly and then a little further etc. till we yearned for morning. At last it came but with it as usual did not come breakfast in fact it was 3 o'clock before we were supplied with our days rations - iron rations – 5 biscuits and a tin of bully. Next day we past through Calais. It has several canals or water streets on which were many
barges and gondolas. We also saw some old windmills that looked as if they had stepped out of a story book. [sketch of windmill] Also in every village there is a church and every church seems the same design, in fact almost a replica of the last. The last big town we passed was St Omer and a few miles further on we arrived at our destination Balieul which is on the border of France & Belgium. We are only a few miles from Ypres & Armentieres. A number of
lorries were provided to transport our kits and we moved off in the dark to our billets about 5 miles further on. We could hear the distant booming of the guns and see the flashes of the light bombs as they lit up the sky momentarily and also the faint glare reflected from the field of action. Tired and weary after 30 hours travelling we plodded on in expectation of a comfortable billet but our guide lost his way and we were lost to the world for a couple of
hours. Our feelings were such as could not be expressed in words although some of the boys did their best and if the guide suffered a quarter he was condemned to, then -------- At last we found our way to our billets which were in farm houses, and our next trouble was our kits which we found at last dumped in the mud and we had to find them in the dark. However we got them, and I was walking out into what looked like a road but proved to be a river and I had a ducking &
got back to my billet to try and sleep till morning.
26th Sunday. Were awakened and told to get up & shave which I need hardly say we needed and washed in a river covered with green weed. Over here there seems to be a reversal to some of the English customs for instance, Vehicles have to keep to the right of the road (and they shake hands with the left hand) wrong) We always carry our gasbags, as gas could easily carry over to where we are billeted with a
favourable wind. 15 mls hour Played programme for Officer's Mess. Saw a German aeroplane bombarded. 30 shells were fired while the plane was in sight and it is rumoured that she was brought down. Another aeroplane was seen brought down, by several of the boys. Went up to the town of Merres, the nearest town and went over a convent that was bombarded by Germans 13/10/14. It is said they spent the night sleeping & drinking there and in the morning bombarded it. In the walls of the interior
are marks of what appears to be bullets etc. from a shrapnel shell.
27th Another fleet of German Aeroplanes of about 8 Bombarded, 1 of which was brought down
28th New gas helmets issued (Box Respirator) use explained and practiced manipulation. Also tested for 5 minutes in room of tear shell gas.
29th Left Merres in Motor transports 24 to a transport for Armentieres at 10 a.m. Arrived at Armentieres and billeted in a clothing factory at noon. It is an immense factory and we spent considerable
time looking over the looms etc. Armentieres is a large town and is practically deserted except for a few estaminets or cafes. Nearly all the churches are blown to bits and along the street the rows of handsome buildings and shops are speckled with shrapnel bullets and here and there a shell has dropped on a roof leaving a gaping hole and shattering the roofs. Hardly an unbroken window is left in place except in cases where they have been repaired, and business is proceeded with.
It looks gruesome to see this fine city with tramlines running through the streets
yet silent, deadly silent, yet bearing all the appearances of a triumph of
civilisation, and then we come to a corner and see a mass of wreckage where had stood
some stately building and we understand, "It is War – War".
30th According to accounts by tommies the position on the Western front is one of Stalemate The German, "Fritz as he is dubbed, never sends gas over unless we do first, nor rifle fire except as retaliation. We will never be able to proceed any further because if we
take a trench, as has happened before now, Fritz opens the floodgates and floods the trenches drowning the occupants, or mowing them down with machine guns if they attempt to escape So the result is "Stalemate". Just near us is a stone with an arrow pointing to a line in the centre of it which shows the frontier or Borderline between France & Belgium. [sketch of frontier marker] This Battalion ought to be called "The Blunder Battalion" as no sooner were we settled down in our Billets than they find out we are in wrong billets so we had to pack
and clear out to another factory ½ a mile distant.
1st Dec. Received a very large mail of letters & parcels just now, and as we all are broke with scarcely a cigarette, it came at an opportune moment. Our rations now are very bad or rather scanty, for we have not had a decent feed since we left Larkhill. One great relief to us is we do not have to wash our clothes now, as, coming out of the firing line we are sent back to the baths where we have a hot bath and a change of clothes supplied.
2nd Dec Paid this morning
in French money. British money is worth 16 2/3% more than French, that is £1 in British money is worth £1-3-4 or its equivalent here. There are canteens here for British troops where all goods are sold under British wholesale price. The reason for this is that by the courtesy of the French Government all goods for the troops here are allowed into the country duty free, consequently they are able to supply goods at a greatly reduced rate. In the Y.M.C.A. is a very good piece of philosophy
that I thought worthy of commandeering:-
"Either you are wayback outside the danger zone In which case you needn't worry, Or you are in the danger zone. You are in a safe place or you are not If you are you needn't worry If not you either get wounded or not If you aren't wounded you needn't worry If you are it's either dangerous or slight If its slight you needn't worry If its dangerous you either get well or die If you get well you needn't worry If you die you can't worry So why worry at all
3 4 5th Dec We are in the trenches. The march down we passed rows of houses with the contents turned upside down evidently the work of Germans, who according to all accounts did a lot of pillaging. Some of the houses look as if the rats had been at them. We are supplied with Gumboots and whale oil to rub our feet with to prevent trench feet. We, the stretcher bearers are told off 4 to each company and are allotted 2 dugouts in which we can stay until the call for SB's comes. We are right up in the front line immediately
in the rear of the front firing bays. We walk about as we like, anywhere we like for over here SB's are respected far more than camp. In the night we hear the whistle of the big shells as they pass over our heads and the whip like crack of our own and German snipers, and the rattle of machine guns like a motor bike. The first night in we had 2 gas alarms when we had to wear our helmets but no gas came. They cannot very well send gas as their trench
is in the shape of a horseshoe round us and the wind would carry the gas over to their own trenches on the opposite side. Yesterday we bombarded the German trenches for ½ an hour all troops being withdrawn to the communication trench. A deal of damage was done to his trenches. His reply was not very heavy as a lot of his men are withdrawn to the Somme and he cannot have a great deal of ammunition. However one of his Minniwerfers killed 2 and injured 3.
You can always see a minniwerfer shell coming. It weighs 100lbs and looks like a cigar in the air. The trench mortars you can also see coming & they look like an apple on a stick. The trenches here have to be built up with sand bags as the ground is very watery and any depth below 4? fills to that level with water. The trenches are all planked so that after all it is pretty comfy. The 2 dugouts next to ours have been blown in by a shell, but before we came
in. We have not had a real case yet, but then we have only been in 48 hours. The most risk we have run so far is of enemy snipers when we are passing in a trench where the parapet has been shot away. Several bullets have come pretty close and they whizy round our dugout but that is all so far
6th Each day we have put up a bombardment of the enemy lines but in most cases the enemy have not retaliated. In the morning Fritz comes over the top to mend his parapets.
We do not fire at him but put up a working party to repair our own and the one who finishes first has first shot and then there is a scatter to get back
Thurs 7th Dec A black day for us. Two of our band mates, stretcher bearers for "B" Co, Geo (Dodger) Reading and Ted McLaughlin have been killed, the second day in the trenches and C. Mickkleson (Snowy) badly crushed
It was after a bombardment and Fritz had sent over very few shells so the
boys thinking it was all over went back to their dugouts. They, however fired one more Minnie which fell near their dugout causing it to fall in on them. The two bodies were not recovered for 5 or 6 hours later We can hardly realise that we shall never see our 2 mates again.
8th Another death in our company Sergeant Low was killed by mistake by our own bullets. He was in charge of a patrol and came crawling back to "B" Co's parapets and the man on guard, thinking him a Ger-
man fired, killing him. The whole thing was a muddle and sadly mismanaged.
9th Sat. Made a small stretcher which is much more use to us in these narrow trenches. Supplied with waterproof capes. More "Strafe" as we call a bombardment. On our right are Dublin Fusiliers, New Zealanders, Scots Guards & French troops. Our dug out now is a circular recess which was used by the Germans for machine guns. It is 3? off
the floor and has 3 apertures for fire. These trenches were originally German but were captured from them. Tucker in the trenches is not so bad. It is brought to us and the menu is as follows.
7.30 am Bacon & Tea
11 am Pea soup & Dry rations (Bread, B,Beef, cheese & Jam)
1 pm Stew
3 pm Tea
8 pm Tea or cocoa
10th We seem to have the upper hand here as all along the lines has been a continuous & heavy bombardment the whole of the day.
The dugout we occupied up to the night before last has been hit by a Minnie and no dug out can be seen, in fact nothing but a hole about 20 ft across and 12 ft deep. Our SB squad was called out and we picked up one man -- But I will describe no more awful casualties, it would only make my diary a horror instead of an interesting book However, I thought my first sight of death would horrify me, but we take it as part of our work, and the scene of action, the whirring of the flying shells and shrapnel, chase all thoughts of the gruesomeness of our task
away, even to the searching of the body for identity discs, paybook, and personal effects. We spend a considerable amount of time telling one another of the narrow escapes we have had during the day "Old man" had one to-day & was within an ace of being blown up. The Germans method of making barbed wire entanglements is to strew the ground with the barbed wire and throw hand grenades in amongst it repairing any breaks at night time. There is a sniper post not far from us from which a machine gun is used with
such effect as to earn him the name of Parapet Joe. The grouping of his shots are so peculiar and rhythmical that the boys say that he can play any of our marches on it.
12th In billets again after a week in the trenches. Relieved by the 34th Batt. Went to see our boy's graves at Cite Bonjean cemetry Armentieres. Batt'n Pioneers making crosses & frames. Dogs are used here in many ways even to such an extent as to appear to us cruel. They are tied up under handcarts and the man
only uses the shafts for steering purposes. A 1 dog power contraption for churning butter. [sketch of dog-driven butter churn] The dog must keep working or the nails will stick in him.
18th Back to the trenches again. Evidence of the great care which must be taken to avoid accidents in the night is instanced in the death's of Sgt's Low & Finch & Pte Jerrard etc. Sgt's Lows end has already been detailed. Sgt Finch was called upon by a sentry to halt 3 times. Thinking it best to remain silent he advanced and either did not give the password
or gave it in an undertone too low for the sentry to hear anyway he was shot through the head. In the case of Pte Jerrard one of his mates was throwing a grenade when his hand catching in his overcoat caused him to drop it at his feet. It exploded, a piece hitting Pte Gerrard in the neck. He succumbed a few hours later. French soil, being cultivated is full of tetanus germs which cause lockjaw. One of our company men was standing near where a rifle Grenade landed and received 7 flesh wounds in various parts of his body.
We bandaged his wounds, he was taken to the Hospital but the next morning we heard that he died from tetanus. Sergeant Widdy of ‘C' Co has the honor of being the first of the 3rd Division here to distinguish himself. For taking hazardous risks to ascertain the whereabouts of a German Trench Mortar he was awarded the military medal the ribbon of which the Colonel pinned to his coat yesterday On the last day of our stay in the trenches a german minnie landed on one of our trench mortars and exploded nearly 100 detonated shells killing Lieutenant Walsh
and 4 others. They were terribly mangled and we -- But that is our work.
24th On the 24th we were relieved by the 42nd Batt while we billeted again at Armentieres I have not said anything about waking up and finding the rats trying on our gas masks, and the cats going about in herds for safety.
25th Xmas day. We got a parcel each from the comforts fund of cigs, Lollies Tinned Fruits etc. and also Had a plentiful supply of Pudding and ‘am. We got our instruments
out of pawn – I mean store and played a programme in billets for the men.
28th S.B. Squads went out with their companies, they to clean bricks to make gun emplacements, and the SB's ostensibly to repillage the already pillaged houses, but really in case of accidents. We found plenty of beautiful vases and statuettes of Christ, crucifixes etc. but, having no means of getting them away reluctantly had to leave them there. In nearly every house we found Encyclopaedias worth £ 2 to £ 3, Geography books, and others dealing with their religion (RC)
This at first makes one thing the people intelligent but on looking at the new and apparently unopened state of the books (except the religious species) makes one revert to the idea of simple ignorance of the French peasantry. They must however be very sincere in their faith judging by the pictures on the walls of every room. On one side of the Bridge by where we were working (?) was France and on the other Belgium so that we have been in Belgium. The people in Armentieres must love Bread & Butter,
Fried eggs & chips & coffee as this is practically the only meal that can be obtained here. We play a programme every afternoon now in billets at 2.30.
30th Concert in billets which was very decent. One joke I think worthy of recording: - (A Chemist left a new assistant in charge of his shop with instructions to do his best for any patients that might come along, and on his return asked how he got on. He Said "I only had one patient, old Mrs Jones with a bad cough. "What did you give her ??. "2 packets of Salts". The chemist was surprised &
said "Salts was no good for a cough. He Replied, "Mrs Jones little girl just came along and I asked her how Mrs Jones cough was. She said "She is afraid to cough". A new definition of a soldier is : - "A thing for holding beer"
Jan 4th This front is said to be a very quiet front yet a couple of nights ago we withdrew our men (39th) from the front line trenches during a "strafe" and a german raiding party took possession and surprised our men returning killing 7 and wounding
[sketch of soldiers enjoying ablutions]
Washing Under Difficulties !
27. We managed to get 8 germans that is known of. (‘We' does not in this instance mean our battalion but another battalion on what will be our front next spell in)
Jan 3rd The Germans planted a German flag out in No Man's Land. The next day our troops were continually firing at it but failed to bring it down That night a patrol went out to bring it in but not one of them came back, the flag being surrounded by wire bomb traps. What eventually came to the flag our C.S.M.
who told us the news, does not know.
Jan 18th Another Ruse of the Germans. We sent a patrol out into No Man's Land and the Germans sent up one of our Artillery Rockets, or a clever imitation. Our Artillery opened fire killing 1 and wounding 4 of our patrol.
Jan 19th My Birthday. We went into the trenches again on a new section, at Houplines. I went up to the front lines and found our new dug-out, then went back to the Subsidiary Line for our stretchers and
equipment. Frank (my mate) suggested going up Cambridge Avenue as a short route to the front lines. The trenches have been cut up something terrible by fritz's shells and the duck boards which line the bottom of the trench, where they are not blown up altogether they are covered with 12 inches of muddy yellow water completely hiding the duckboards so at times you would be walking along & tread into a part where the duckboards
have been blown up and go down into the water up to your middle. Lord knows how we were going to carry wounded out, I didn't. However we went along this short cut to the front lines and we knew "B" Co's sector was somewhere over to the left so we made in that direction. Being unfamiliar with the trenches though we got lost and found ourselves in front of one of our own trench mortars. We knew it was just behind us for it was
sending shells over our heads but exactly where it lay we didn't know. The Germans had been sending over a lot of shells during the morning and as they always make a target of where they think a trench mortar is placed, so they started to land them round this trench mortar. Minnies, shrapnel, and shells from Howitzers burst all round us. It was hell. We couldn't get out because the way we came in was blown
up and to continue on we would have been wading through 4 ft of water just where we were but further on it was probably over our heads so we just had to stop there. Presently a big shell burst a few yards away and splashed us over with mud. The next was a bit further away but the third sounded as if it was making straight for me I crouched down behind the bank and bang !! it exploded about 5 yards behind me and
I thought I had been hit by a football. A Party of men came along by a trench we had overlooked and showed us a way out. I staggered out of the trenches for I wouldn't let my mates carry me and after about a quarter of an hour came to the Regimental Aid Post. After that I travelled from Hospital to Hospital in Motor Ambulances. The next was the Advanced Dressing Station where they
gave me some cocoa and inoculated me with A.T.S. (Anti Tetanus Serum) Half an hour later I was taken to the 10th Brig. Field Hos Where they put a label on me and sent me on to the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station near Steenwerck. Here they Kept me 3 days, operated and took a piece of shell out of my back just clear of the spine. [sketch of piece of shell] I am keeping the lump as a souvenir, but a couple of inches to the left and
I would have been the Souvenir.
22nd Jan Was taken by train to Boulogne on the French coast and by Motor Amb. to Wimeraux 2½ miles out of Boulogne to Wimeraux No 8 Hosp the nurses are very good to the patients especially the Australian Nurses. Two days after I learnt I was for blighty so at 8 o'clock in the morning I was put on board the Hospital Ship "Brighton" which sailed at 10.30 and at 1 o'clock
was on board a train at Dover. From Dover we left for Brighton Passing through Canterbury, Gillingham & alongside the Medway till at 2 o'clock in the morning I found myself in a comfortable bed at "Kitchener's No 3 Aus Hosp Brighton
26th Jan I cannot sit up or lie on my back but am feeling O.K. Have had another A.T.S. inoc which makes 3. Fed very well but will be glad when I can get up.
13th Feb Wound healing very well. Am up and about now. Yesterday I had leave to go down to Brighton from 2 to 4 pm. Brighton is a big place, and along the beach there are scores of big residences lining the promenade. There is an electric railway along the beach the only one of its kind in England. The main feature is the pier which is ¼ mile long and on the end of the pier is a beautiful theatre of the best class I have seen, better in fact than any I have seen in
London. The pier must look beautiful in peace time for it is covered with electric lights. Slots machines and games abound in profusion all over the pier. There is also another Theatre & tea rooms where a first class programme is rendered by the Pier Orchestra. These are gratis to wounded soldiers. Opposite the pier is a large underground aquarium where the piscatorial displays are very interesting and educational. There is a concert in the hospital every other night
There is a very curious looking place of eastern design which used to be use by royalty but which is now used as a hospital for Indians. Going from this hospital a patient either goes to an auxiliary Hospital (where there are only about 20 patients at a time & a nurse to nearly every patient) or he goes to a convalescent Hospital (A.C,H.) The Somme is a veritable death-trap according to accounts and a man who has been there is extremely lucky if
he ever gets out. Starvation diet, no trenches or cover, nothing but shell holes filled with water and mud waist deep. Ration parties cannot bring tucker, stretcher bearers cannot bring men out so the ones who get wounded and cannot help themselves just die, in fact everywhere is strewed with corpses. I am to go before the Colonel for a A.C.H. but expect I won't get away for a week. The day after I was hit, Our Colonel, Adjutant
and one of our band boys were killed.
19th We have been shifted to York Place Hospital which is a Tommies Hospital and seems to be far better managed than Kitcheners Australian Hospital. There are 3 billiard tables, bagatelle, phonographs, a fine library and scores of minor games. Leave is granted from 2 to 5 pm. but unfortunately for us we cannot get an issue of hat, coat & boots, so have to stay in.
There is a concert 2 nights a week. It is a pitiful sight to see the men with an arm or leg off playing billiards. Yet the way they get about is wonderful.
21st We have a deaf old civvy doctor who goes about with an ear-trumpet and 2 sisters One a Canadian and the other Irish. They are good sorts and treat us top-hole. We are suppose to get 3/6 a week while in hospital but divil a bit have we got yet. So we are in a
state of perpetual pecuniary embarassment. The only thing is we have no stamps and therefore have to curtail our correspondence temporarily.
March 1st Our leave has been extended to 5.30 and we go out every day now we have our clothes. Today I went down to the theatre on palace Pier and saw a very interesting play called "Sappho" from Daudets book. The acting was not too good but it was an agreeable change to us.
recollection brings back to mind a young chap who funked going over the top he said to
the officer "I really haven't got the heart" The officer coolly pulled out his revolver and
speaking in a careless, easy manner
Said pulling out his watch said "There
is 30 seconds between you and the bullet in this revolver. Over there you have a
chance here you have none" He went.
Mar 7th Have just received word from my uncle that my letter to my
grandfather came a week too late as he died 3 weeks ago. He went very fast the last week or two. His hearing went, his sight went and his voice was so low as to be almost indistinguishable. Then came the end. Uncle was very thoughtful. He put a wreath on the coffin labelled "from James & family Australia". England bids fair to become almost in the grip of a famine. Potatoes are a great luxury, Sugar is not
purchasable without buying tea. There is talk of issuing tickets allowing ¾ lb of sugar per person per week
Mar 10th A very good idea to do without war has been put forward. Teams are to be picked from the nations and place on each side of a river and the ones who catch the most fish win. This would save a lot of bloodshed. I went to a Clara Butt Concert to-day. There were several artists at the highest pinnacle of
their art while Clara Butt herself is absolutely beyond the wildest attempts of this pencil to describe. Lights go out at 8 pm. in hospital consequently we have much fun after "lights out". Raiding parties to pull other wardmates from other wards out of bed etc. Last night they tied a button on a cotton and arranged another piece so they could keep tapping the glass partition. We retaliated with an electric torch giving them lighting affects so we
could keep them awake
Mar 15th You cannot buy sugar without tea now and it is said that shortly you won't be able to by a pound of meat without a grand piano.
Mar 19th Just a memory of Brighton. Intro. of "Sappho"
[Three lines of music not transcribed]
23rd Transferred to No 1 Aus Aux Hospital Harefield Park. Taken from York Place Hosp to Brighton
station in A.M.C. Motor Transports, and entrained to Denham per Victoria & Paddington. Arrived at Denham 12.6 and as usual in the Australian Military, no Transports were there to meet us so we had a 2½ miles cross country walk Through lanes line with hedges we went and reached the hospital where we had a medical examination, changed back into hospital blues, had a feed and were placed into Military Huts. After leaving York Place this seems a real wilderness. It is very cold here and
one minute the sun will be shining and the next it will be snowing. The food is very good, eggs for tea at 4d each seems an extravagance but we have them. There is a band there but according to the advertised programme it is only a 4th rate band. It is said that after the war, it will only take 1 transport to take the Australians back, 2 to take back the identification discs and 6 to take back the crime sheets. The orderlies here are being transferred to form
A.M.C. detail for the 6th Aus Division which is being formed in England.
24th What struck me as very funny was when a chap was issued a pair of boots one a 7, the other a nine. He took them back and complained and the Q.M. replied "2 boots are a pair in the army". He of course got them changed but the funny side of the situation struck me. Harefield house is a big, three-story, square house, covered with ivy
over the greater part and appears to have had a moat round it in days gone by, which is represented now by the inside wall only. There is a statue dated 1742 in the garden of one of the old inhabitants Any sign over about 150 years old is written in the style in vogue up to that period of substituting F's for S's. We went for a walk to Rickmansworth a fair sized village 2½ miles distance, had a look at a Church called St Mary's of the early 17's
Watford is 3½ miles further on and I am sure I have relations there of some sort, but I have forgotten names and particulars. Colonel Haywood is Commandant, Colonel Ryan being supervisor of the various Aus Hosp. There was a Cinema entertainment (The screen being about 7 x 6) during which the brothers (2) Montmomery were decorated with the M.M's. 15th Batt
28th There is an old church ½ a mile from Harefield Park House (which I have since
found out dates back to 1160, and was in the possession of the Countess of Derby, who was a patron of Milton and a favourite of Queen Elizabeth) In the church is a statue of the Countess of Derby the feet of which almost touch the altar. This shows the great respect they must have had for the Countess. In the Churchyard 16 or so Australians have been buried who have died at the hospital. I have been playing in the band here. It is about a 4th rater. 30
patients were wanted to go on the staff as orderlies in place of those drafted out and I had a chance of a good job, being a bandsman but, not for me.
Apr 2nd At 10.30 a.m. we left Harefield Hospital to go on 14 days furlough and arrived at our Military Headquarters at noon. I got my pass & free railway warrant to Glasgow after waiting about for 2½ hours while they were making out the books. We then went to the Pay Office and drew
what money was in our books and received an extra ration allowance of 24/6 i.e. 1/9 a day. I left Paddington Station at 11.30 p.m. for Glasgow. It is an 8 hour run in peace time but it took us 11 hours. The train was travelling 70 miles an hour in places and the rail-road is the Smoothest I have ever been on. The weather is extraordinary for an English April. Nothing but snow. However romantic the poems on April Showers may sound, if these
are the type I don't want anything to do with them.
3rd We got to Glasgow at 10 o'clock in the morning and I started out and found a Y.M.C.A. to make my headquarters. It is said that on the borders of Scotland sheep stealing still goes on as in days of old. I must say a word about the Scotch accent. I travelled up with a Scotchman who spoke so broad that I don't know now whether I said "Yes" &
"No" in the right places. He finally gave me up as bad job. Such words as Loch Balloch, Eccelfechen etc. No one only Scotchmen can pronounce and I think they must shove their tongues down their throats to say them. Glasgow is a commercial town and has one tube which runs round the City. The University, Infirmary & Cathedral are fine places but the most notable of all their buildings is
their Art Galleries. They have a great Collection of Reynolds pictures, but it was not the pictures which drew my attention but the sculptures. There is one called "Grief" and another "Motherless" which are simply wonderful. The buildings are practically all made of red stone which looks wonderfully well
4th Then I decided on a trip to Loch Lomand I got a Dalmuir Car and Changed and got one for Balloch
Balloch is on the shores of Loch Lomond. The trip takes 2½ hours and is right along the River Clyde all the way. There are a lot of Ship building yards where among other ships in building is a light Cruiser to do 45 miles an hour. I got out to Balloch about dinner-time and strolled through Loch Lomond Park and passed Balloch Castle, an old place in a very good state of repair, and stood on a hill. Loch Lomond
lay at my feet and on the other side of the Loch is Ben Lomond its snow capped summits show up beautifully in contrast to the blue waters of the Loch. Around the Loch are several castles. The sight was glorious especially as at that moment (for a wonder) the sun was shining. I had dinner and then left for Glasgow.
5th I then left for Edinburgh and got there at 12 o'clock. Now Edinborough is a beautiful and picturesque
town. There a lots of Castles and historical buildings but more of that later. The main Street is Princes St. and there is a very tall monument right against the station. Now Glasgow & Edinburgh, like Sydney & Melbourne are at daggers drawn. Glasgow a trifle the larger is a commercial town and Edinburgh though more beautiful & historical is "poor & proud" Well when people go from Glasgow to Edin-
borough, they tell them to be sure & see "Edinburgh Disgrace". This is the story: - "On a hill Edinburgh decided to build a palace. They put up 100 pillars of stone at a cost of £ 1000 each and a row of stone to hold them together, and found they had not enough money to go on with it. To put the finishing touch on it Glasgow offered to lend the money which was indignantly refused. So now the Glasgow people tell tourists not
to miss seeing "Edinburgh Disgrace" Edinburgh Castle the most historical castle in Scotland, the home of Mary Queen of Scots and many other old Scottish Kings. It is now partly used as a barracks. It stands in an impregnable position on a hill 400 feet high and approached only by a road on the East side which is called High St. Excepting for this road
over the parapets of the castle is a straight drop of 400 ft to the ground or rather the town below. The Castle has only been taken once and that by strategy. Charles Randolph with 31 men climbed up this hillside, (though heaven alone knows how they did it) surprised the guard and took possession. By the road entrance to get to the castle proper you have to go through 7 very massive gates. This
will give an idea as to the strength of it. Round it is a dry ditch and there appears to be a drawbridge. Mary Queen of Scots bedroom is hardly big enough to swing a cat in and the wooden chair she used to sit in is the awkwardest and most uncomfortable looking chair you could see. In the wall during repairs an oak coffin 18? long with a baby's
remains was found which if it had lived may have been a king The Coffin was replaced and built back in the wall by orders of the Brig. Gen'l in charge of Castle 1850. From the highest lookout the Panorama of the town below is a wonderfully interesting & beautiful sight. There is one little chapel that the more modern people used as a powder magazine when Queen Victoria was indignant and
rebuilt at her own cost. She put a coloured window in with her arms on and the words "in gratia" & "Neglectia" which will be a record for all time of the Scotsmen of that period. There is an old gun called "Mons Meg" which fires 22 inch granite Balls and was used for battering down walls. This was being taken to the Tower of London when through Sir Walter Scot's intervention
it was retained at Edinborough Castle We then left the Castle and went down High St and came to St Giles Cathedral. The a main feature of this Cathedral is the Chapel with the Orders (like carved wooden towers) of the Thistle, Pretty well all the Knights of the Thistle were connected with royalty and several seats set apart for the Kings are shown in Post Card. Next we saw the House where John Knox
was born and later where Mary Queen of Scots goldsmith lived. Next I went to Holyrood Palace and Saw the portrait gallery of the Old Scottish Kings some of whom did and some of whom did not exist. Nevertheless the light effect showed up the portraits wonderfully, and one could not help admiring the display. Next we went into Queen Mary & Lord Darnleys supper & bed rooms and here again their smallness surprised
me. In Mary's Supper room, Rizzio was murdered and on the top of the stairs where once was a stain of blood is now a brass plate to mark the spot. The guide will explain everything fully so there is no need to enter into detail here. We then went up on to Calton Hill where a monument of Nelson stands, and which has a spiral staircase leading to the top from which we were able to secure a fine view of the town. The other feature of
Edinburgh is the Forth Bridge, the largest in the world.
It is 10 miles from town and a big motor runs to it, at a cost of 1/6J return.
This is an amusing experience I had in
I had an address given to me of a lady who would be pleased to show me round. She
was a nurse & resided at the Westhouse Morningside. That is all I knew. Well I
got to Morningside and asked a kiddie where the West-
house was. He said "You want the asylum" This nearly paralysed me as even if I did I did not appreciate his saying so. So I said "Who are you getting at you little devil" Anyway a policeman directed me to it and I came to the lodge gates and found it really was an asylum. I was directed to a certain door, but somehow I bungled my instructions and knocked at the wrong door. Some body was walking to the door and I kept
knocking and just as I thought he, she or it, was going to open the door it walked away again. It was most uncanny especially as the curtain was pulled aside and I saw a face and --- well I went back to the lodge and got redirected. I went to a fine Scotch dance among the Aristocracy at the Grand Hotel and had a great time. Next day I came back to London and from Paddington Stat. I went to Oxford.
I had an invitation for Easter with a gentleman at Oxford and on arriving there found it was an Anglican C of E. Monastery. We stayed 2 days as guests but as no talking or smoking was allowed in the house and you had to walk on tip toe & whisper. I soon got full of this and I determined to get back to St Paul's for the Easter Day Service They took us round about Oxford to see the colleges and instead
as I expected to see one large University it consists of 24 Colleges scattered all over the town. We saw St. Magdalens Christchurch and all Souls etc. Most of these were built by Wolsey. We also had a look at the Thames and its tributaries where rowing takes place. It is a lovely place. Each College has an elaborate houseboat to which the boats are moored while the men change.
Being lent no meat is eaten at the monastery so as I did not care for macaroni stuff I was not sorry to get away. They gave me a letter to the Lord Bishop of London and after the service at St Pauls we went up into St Pauls vestry and were blessed. (I hope it does me some good)
9th Being Easter Monday or what it is better known here as Bank Holiday I thought I would take a trip out to "Appy" Ampstead Eath
It was the surprise of my life. Never in my life have I seen such riotous fun Everywhere we went some girl would shove what they call a tickler into my face or throw a ball on a piece of elastic at you. The girls are a fine type, some almost beautiful and it is said they save up all their money till Bank Holiday and then blue it up in a day Certainly the majority were expensively dressed, some wearing 3 & 4 guinea fur
coats. The dress that caught my eye was the typical Harriet. Dressed in what looked like black silk, and a black hat with an enormous & beautiful white ostrich feather. Some were wearing a pink feather. The costers have discarded the custom of pearl buttons but they cannot discard the "Git darn" accent quite so readily. The chief amusement there is cocoanut shies. Here & there you
will see an organ playing a jig or rag time and about 20 girls using the road as a ballroom. They go over to the pub and get a few in and come out and let themselves go. They dance without losing their dignity and I really think that those women are, inspite of their drinking & smoking, good, and the tide of immorality is comparatively low. If that is so, then good luck to them & May they spend many another
Happy bank Holiday on the Heath. Now when I was at Harefield I met a chap, he was 57, Held highest educational honours obtainable in Australia. I saw him in London and took him out to the heath with me. He got a few whiskies in and as the policemen were real good sorts we were chatting about the fair when my mate started quoting Greek Latin & Shakespeare to them and talking over their heads in a manner that made them open
their mouths & stare at him. A crowd of small boys who asked him to be directed somewhere stared the same fate. What do kiddies know about Damon & Pythian, Virgil & Aeneas
12th I thought I would see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace but I was absolutely disgusted. Fancy marching with the king's, and with our glorious Empires colours to the tune of two favourite German marches
"My Regiment" & "Action Front"
13th We went out to Hampton Court & saw over the Palace and grounds, the Houseboats etc. The 180 years old grape Vine. We saw the place where Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn The marvellous collection of paintings, the King & Queens Bed & Reception rooms. The Court is now devoted as apartments of the wives of notable men, granted rent free
by the King. I was guide through the maze and walked straight in and out as I had a plan of the maze marked and had no difficulty. We were then split up into 3 parties, one going to Mrs Scott's the wife of Captain Scott, the Arctic Explorer. I was attached to a party that went to the house of Lady White, Called "the Wilderness" Lady White is the widow of Field Marshal Sir George White
the "Hero of Ladysmith" Mrs White has lots of presents from Queen Victoria & Edward VIII also from Kaiser Bill of Germany. I saw his Field Marshal's Baton and his different Orders Swords & Trophies that had been presented him. I also saw his daughter and ----------- Thereby hangs a tale
14th I leave to-day for Brighton.
(To be continued)
I might just mention an extract from the daily paper re potatoes. "A waggon of potatoes had just come in done up in 1/- lots it was surrounded, and to give some idea of the struggle, after the fray, on the ground were lying several hats, fragments of blouses & skirts, & a pair of corsets." I agree with the writer. It was Som(m)e struggle.
The world was meant for sunshine
Sunshine was meant for roses
Roses were meant for men
Men were meant for women
And women were meant for Love
When a man gets too old to be wicked He begins to give good advice
A little of the cat which makes her spiteful
A little of the dog which makes her playful
A little of the monkey which makes her mischievous
A little of the baby which makes her loveable
A little of the man which makes her masterful
A little of the angel which makes her divine
mix these together and add a spice of the devil and you have a woman
13 -1 -17
"The Paradise of Fools"
I started on the road of Life with innocent intent
The world seemed fair and free from care along its paths I went.
The pride of mother, father, friends had shown my feet the way
And every hour was sunshine and my heart was light & gay
I met some friends who laughed & talked of things I'd not been taught
And longed to know their pleasure and to hear them call me "Sport"
And though they oft used words my dear old father ne"er would say
And though I knew ‘twas sinning as they spoke from day to day
My ears they grew accustomed and as use makes wrong seem right
I found that I was swearing & it gave me quite a fright
That night I vowed to drop my friends and seek the narrow path
But when the sun brought morning I forgot it with a laugh
They took me to a house and showed me how to play at cards
For pennies then for shillings, for the right I'd no regards
They gave me stuff to drink & though at first it tasted queer
I soon required no asking for to take a glass of beer.
It made me think I was a man and acted as men do,
Although I saw the shattered wrecks & well the cause I knew
Said" I "Ive power to check myself from sinking to their state
Although far stronger wills than mine had shared their cruel fate
They introduced me to a girl who'd drifted from the strait
And soon I learned of other things for youth which lay in wait
I sinned, for lust will spur us on and drive us in the mire
And out of youths make creatures mad with bestial desire
I soon got used to seeking for fresh victims for my lust
My conscience spake unheeded and my feelings said "I must
And while I drank and played the "Sport" like any drunken sod
I heard a gentle whisper – It was the voice of God.
I saw the spirit of my past so happy and so free
The spirit of the future held it's claw-like hand to me
And with a courage sent by him I staved the awful grip
The shackels burst asunder by the prayer which left my lip.
I looked back on the life I left and dearly paid the toll
Twas not the body that counted most but the cry of a tortured soul
And the death of a noble self-respect that once had been my pride
They were the things which counted most and what is Life beside
I'd though my will could master stern temptations wily snare
But she gripped me in her clutches sapped my brain & left me bare
Man's poor strength is puny feeble when he walks the trail of Vice
I, who braved my parent's teaching, ridiculed their good advice
Think, then when temptation offers In the person of a friend.
The devil uses traitrous weapons when he seeks to work your end
Do not let your better nature pander to the devil's tools
For the life that he would lead you is the "Paradise of Fools"
"The Realism" S Young
Its very well to talk about the glory of the war
And read about the trenches in your books
It kind of interests you, that's the picture or the sketch
Or a photograph you say "How fine it looks"
But stay behind that picture there is much that lies concealed
That escapes the passing glances of the few
Who scan with idle interest just to while away the hour
But say lads "What's it mean to me and you"
It does not show the tired minds that cry aloud for rest And eyes droop protesting Nature's claim
The anguish of the suffering and the weakness of the strong
And the thousand things that make the soldier's name.
You cannot know the bravery that leads the soldier forth
Defying shells and guns that sweep the space
And mow as with Time's sickle from the pride of Nature's youth
As toward the foe he boldly turns his face
And the tiny little dug-outs where the weary men are crammed
For the moment just to stay Exhaustion's grip
And the shells discordant screeching drown the rifle's noisy din
The ghastly roar, then moans from someone's lips
You can see the glowing missiles with their messages of death
As they rocket-like illume the earth below
Then as some poor devil's carried by you clench your teeth & cry "Great God when will it be my turn to go"
Then with bloody fury maddened, o'er the parapet you leap Blind to all but that poor creature's stony gaze And you strike, but that were madness let the awful memory sleep And behold another curtain I will raise
You see the rows of snowy beds where haggard weary forms
Of those Australia gazed upon with pride
Lie crippled maimed & helpless uncomplaining through it all Remembering those who perished at their side.
So don't look at that picture as if Fancy gave it birth There is suffering, grief & pain in every touch Sacrifice & deeds of bravery ‘neath the surface lie concealed Tis Holy, try to think of it as such.
"At Last" S Young
‘Tis the end, ‘tis the end of our wearisome waiting, And counting the days with a sigh of regret, And thinking of those who are suffering in silence But Providence mocks us and Whispers "Not Yet"
And beyond, far beyond where the sunbeams are peeping Our comrades are calling we cannot forget, And we look with a hope for a word to support them, But Providence frowns and still Answers "Not Yet"
So we wait and we watch what the news has to tell us,
The innocent moan, and we try not to fret,
Till our hearts in their sorrow cry out to avenge them,
And Providence ponders, but still Says "Not Yet"
And the souls that are trampled lie torn and lie bleeding
Call out in despair to the "One over all"
And his heart in it's pity gives ear to their pleading
They smile as he tells us "Come lad ‘Tis the call"
So we arm for we know that the God who withheld us
Now speeds us to fight in a cause that's divine
So we'll fight or we'll die for the peace that is coming
For wrongs that have past, God says "Vengeance is mine"
16/11/16 S young
Ode to a Hut (Hut 36 Camp 29 Larkhill)
"O hut in which ensconced have I
Full many a happy evening passed
And there defied the chilling breeze
But now, Alas, It is the last
I've laid and listened to the rage, Of angry winds and torrents pour And pitied those who braved the storm While we were snug inside your door
But now, O hut the call has come
And we must float out on the tide
Where duty wafts her braver sons
And Comrades call us to their side
So Farewell, may your cosy walls
Embrace and welcome once again
The ones to whom the call has come
They'll prove you have not served in vain
"Friend" L. Gard
He had no gift of charm to win his way
Into the hearts around
He had no dream heights where his thoughts might stray
He walked on common ground
But just because he eased the ruts of road
Where comrade feet must wend
Lifting, all cheerily, his own life load
He earned the name of "Friend"
O Whisky! Soul of plays & pranks
Accept a bardie's humble thanks!
When wanting thee What timeless cranks
Are my poor verses
Balieul = Bailleul p.47
Merres = Merris p.51]
[Transcribed by Peter Mayo for the State Library of New South Wales]