WW I Journal of John C Noakes

4th Battalion 1st AIF


Prologue: This is the diary of John Campbell Noakes (Service No. 2719) a World War 1 hero,  who left Australia as a private with 4th Battalion 1st AIF, returned four years later as an officer with two honours – Mention in Dispatches as a Lance Corporal in France in September 1917 and a Distinguished Service Medal as a Sergeant at Ypres in October 1917. This Journal was transcribed from his hand written diaries by his daughter Nancy Pearsal (nee Noakes). See Epilogue on Page 52






2/11/15.  Embarked about 11 am.  Sailed about 5 pm. The same day . Not seasick.


3/11/15.  Nothing out of the ordinary occurred during the day . but was pulled out of bed at 10 pm. To go on guard until 9 am 4/11/15.


4/11/15.  A bit seasick, well really squeamish before breakfast, but had a good breakfast and been all right since. We anchored outside Melbourne at 2.20 pm. But were not allowed ashore. A few men were put ashore at Melbourne, as we were overstrength . We upanchored at about 5.30 pm. Outside Port Phillip we struck a bit of a swell and the boat rolled more than usual.


5/11/15.  Still a good swell running. Passed Cape Bridgewater about 12 noon and Kangaroo Island shortly afterwards. Have not felt sick at all today . Bitterly cold all day  . We entered The Great Australian Bight about 10 pm.


6/11/15.  Fairly big seas running  and cold all day . Did our first bit of physical drill since coming aboard this morning . Our mess was issued with games after the drill .


7/11/15.  “Snowy” sent into hospital with pleurisy this morning . Sea almost calm . Church parade at 10 am. Nothing startling has happened all day.


8/11/15.  “Snowy” is very bad and is to be put ashore at Albany tomorrow . He has pneumonia now . Saw a few grampuses today. { A large spouting mammal akin to a dolphin , also known as the killer because of it`s ferocity}.


9/11/15 Reached Albany at about 6 am. “Snowy” went ashore at Albany and was downhearted at leaving us too . Don`t think we will see him again unless we come back to Australia alright , as he won`t get as far as the firing line now . Albany is a “bosker” little place . We weren`t allowed ashore – worse luck . Only stayed until dinner time when we upanchored and sailed away . We said goodbye to Australia there . I was up on the bow watching the spray when it came right over and drenched me right through { a clean washout}. Alec Steene also got the lot .


10/11/15.  Reading all morning and drill for 2 hours this afternoon . Nothing eventful happened after that.


11/11/15.  Lovely and calm . Spent the day on my back reading up on the bow . I was paid 10 shillings in the afternoon. Good concert tonight.


12/11/15  We are well out into the Indian Ocean now and its getting a bit on the warm side. Inspection by our O.C. of kit etc. I did my washing. We miss “Snowy”.


13/11/15  We had sports on board to day. Inspected by Col.  Wallack this morning . { Col. Wallack is in charge of us for the trip }.


14/11/15.  Sunday Church parade as usual in the morning and inoculated at 3 pm. { 2nd. Dose } the sea is very calm today , hardly a ripple.


15/11/15.  Had no sleep last night with my arm. And have been lying about all day with a “ bosker” headache due to the inoculation . We had a lecture by our O.C. today.


16/11/15.  Feel well this morning . We did some drill for about 2 hours {physical and rifle exercise} this afternoon. Bit of a swell this afternoon. Awnings put up on all decks today and wind shoots put down all hatchways.


17/11/15.  Physical drill at 6 am. And lecture at 11 am. The sea is choppy today. Drill again at 2.15 pm. Until 4 pm. Canteen has run out of lots of things now { fruit etc.}Getting terribly hot of a day now. Concert on again tonight.


18/11/15.  On guard {water} from 9 am. On No.7 deck. Sweltering heat down below. Fire alarm was sounded at 4.45 this afternoon and we all turned out straight away with life belts on { only practice though}. Sighted more porpoises today. The first since leaving Albany. Ships boxing tournament started tonight { Alvin is on guard duty today}


19/11/15.  Drill at 2 pm as usual until 4 pm. It has been raining on and off all day. Crossed the line today.


20/11/15 Sports started at 6 am. Drill at 11am. Sports again at 1.30 pm . I went in the obstacle race and won my heat and came second in the semi-final. I also went in the 50 yards, the potato race and the bun eating contest but had no luck. It was the finish of the first round of the boxing tournament tonight. We can only buy drinks at the canteen now.


21/11/15  Sunday. Final of the 880 yards this morning. It was won by Barnett. Church parade as usual at 10.30 am. I was paid 10 shillings at 2 pm by the O.C. The sea is very calm again today . Saw a light on the horizon, but it disappeared must have been a passing liner. I had my photo taken today with the mouth organ band.


22/11/15 Burial on board at 10 am today. Inoculated for the third time at 3 pm this afternoon. It was the finish of the heavy weight boxing last night. The photo taken with the mouth organ band was a failure.


23/11/15.  Reveille at 5.15 this morning. Another burial at  6.30am is { Edwards of the 20 th.}. End of the second round of the boxing tournament tonight . Tucker is getting worse lately and very little of it .


24/11/15.  Passed Cape Guardafui at 1 am . We entered the Gulf of Aden this morning . Drill at 6 am and lecture at 11 am as usual and again at 2.15 on semaphore . The boxing started at 5 pm . After tea it started again at 7.30 .    It was the final of the welter weight .


25/11/15.  We passed Aden at 3 am and Hell`s Gates about 9 am this morning . Arabia on one side and Africa on the other. I was on fatigue duty today and finished up at 1 pm . I wrote several letters which I hope to get posted this afternoon . We passed several boats today and entered the Red Sea about 12 noon . The sea was very choppy .


26/11/15.  We have been out of sight of land all day . It has been terribly hot . I went down the stoke hole this morning . Lecture by Capt. Long { Col. Wallack`s Aide-de-Camp} at 11 am on disembarkation next Monday at Suez . We were 800 miles from Suez at 12 noon today . I am sleeping on deck tonight .


27/11/15  The awnings were taken down today . 400 odd miles from Suez now (7 pm). We passed several ships today . Did all my washing today . I was paid 8 shillings today . There was a good concert on board tonight and prizes were given out to the winners of the tournaments.


28/11/15.  Sunday. No parade at 6 am today. Church parade as usual at 10.30 am. The land is very close on both sides of the boat . I was up on the bow reading for the greater part of the day. Packed up my kit this afternoon . We were all issued with insecticide and tobacco tonight. I went down the stoke hole tonight and gave 10 letters to one of the stokers to post in London for me  . I gave him 2 shillings and 2 tins of tobacco . Suez is now in sight . It is 10 pm and we will anchor outside tonight . Dropped anchor at 10.30 pm.


29/11/15.  We did not land today as we expected, owing to there not being enough water for the ship to go in . The natives have been sailing around us all day (dirty looking lot). The end of the voyage.




30/11/15.  We landed at about 2 am. (The first train left at 11 am.) . I was put on baggage guard to the officer`s things.

We got our black bags back again this morning ( Alvin has got “Snowy`s”). We put them all in the van. We got to Heliopolis about 9  pm tonight after a slow ride in terribly rough cars . We bought things off the natives about half way out . We marched up to our camp at the aerodrome and got here at about 10.30 pm .We are in tents but mates are all mixed up . We were issued with blankets at about 11 pm also biscuits . We turned in at about 1 am.


1/12/15.  Reveille at 5.30 am, coffee at 6 am , breakfast at 8.30 am (sardines and tinned mutton and hard biscuits). We assembled at 9.30 am and were read out the camp regulations and then dismissed for the rest of the day.( had to hand in our pay books first). Went into Heliopolis and took the train into Cairo. We passed the Heliopolis hospital , it`s a lovely building with beautiful grounds . We had dinner at the Belgium café and then roamed around the city , cracking the niggers with my cane to get them out of the way . They are the dirtiest race on the face of the earth. The natives are selling things all over the place. They got on my nerves. I am getting used to Egyptian money now .  We had tea at a French café. I had a ride all over the place with a mob of mates and saw some “bosker” buildings . Met Sandy and Don Potts and Cyril Brooks tonight. Caught a train back to camp at 9 pm..


2/12/15.  Drill from 6.30 till 8.30 am this morning and again on parade at 9.30 , but were only sorted out into 11 in a tent and all mates together. Went into Heliopolis to have a look around and finished up at a music hall for a few hours. Alvin and Alec were with me.                                                                                                          


3/12/15.  We shifted camp this morning and got to the new one at about 3 pm . We marched there and had a late dinner. We then pitched our tents. I have been crook all day ( cramps in the stomach ). I went to see the doctor but no doctor has arrived yet but a corporal gave me something.


4/12/15.  Saturday. I had no sleep last night with the pain but feel pretty right this morning. There was no early parade this morning. We went into Cairo after dinner and knocked around the town all afternoon and finished up at a picture show.


5/12/15  Sunday. There was no church parade this morning, we went into Cairo and went in a carriage to the zoo (7 of us.) and enjoyed the ride. We went across the Nile Bridge and the Suez Canal Bridge and landed back at camp at about “ lights out”. Snowy Campbell called over to see us today, but we were out so missed him. (He is trumpeter at the Detention Barracks)


6/12/15.  Monday. They have started giving us drill. It`s pretty hot now. 7 hours a day. 7 am to 9 am,11 am to 12.30 pm, 2.30 pm to 5 pm. As they want us to be in condition to be ready to be called out at any time to go to the firing line. I did not go out tonight but did a lot of writing instead. Alvin and I were appointed mess orderlies for the week.


7/12/15  Tuesday. Our company is on duty today but mess orderlies are exempt. So we missed it and did not go on parade at all. I went over and saw “Snowy” Campbell this morning at the detention barracks. Tonight Alvin and I had a game of cards with Sandy Potts and “Snowy”.


8/12/15.  Wednesday. I was on every parade today. They took us on a route march on the desert this morning, and lost us for a short time in the mist but we soon found the camp again. All our officers tell us that we will very soon (sooner than we expect) see all the fighting we can want, so that makes us happy.  They split up our platoon today and put some into No. 2 and No. 4 platoons, but Alvin and I are still in our old platoon. (No. 3) and in No. 4. Section under Corporal Bill Ryder. Have just had a game of chess with Alvin. (First game since our arrival in Egypt.)


9/12/15.  Thursday. We were issued with rifles this morning and also paid. (I was issued with an old mark 1 rifle with a new barrel, but a decent little rifle all the same. We were paid 50 Piastres. We were out on parade as usual this afternoon doing rifle exercises. (Have not been into Cairo since Sunday last )


10/12/15. Friday. I missed morning parade and got put on digging out a tent and put in the whole day at it. (orderly tent)


11/12/15. Saturday. I finished off the orderly tent this morning and played chess all afternoon with Alvin. Our company is on fatigue today but I missed it.


12/12/15. Sunday. 40 th day since leaving Sydney. I stayed in camp all day and played chess with Alvin. Church parade at 8.30 am this morning.


13/12/15.  Monday. On the orderly tent again today and nearly finished it off. We went into Cairo tonight and had a good time


14/12/15.  Tuesday.  Still on the orderly tent after breakfast. I went out on early morning parade. I posted 12 letters tonight in the Y.M.C.A. per Jim Burgess.


15/12/15.  Wednesday. Did not go on parade today but did some more plastering around the sergeants tent. I got 6 letters today from Australia.


16/12/15. Thursday. Out on parade this morning and I was picked for town picket tonight. We had to march to Zeitoun and report to the H.Qs. orderly room and then march back to Luna Park to the M.Ps. orderly room and from there to the station and went half way in the train to Cairo. We were stationed there keeping order on the platform. I finished up there at 10.30 pm Marched home from there and got to bed about midnight.


17/12/15. Friday. Got out of bed at 8.30. am. And did not go out on early morning parade, or after breakfast either. I was pinched by the C.O. for it, but don`t think anything will happen. There was no parade this afternoon but went out on a route march at 7 pm. (I am nearly broke now and only have a few Piastres left, but expect to be paid on Monday). Got back to camp at about “lights out”.


18/12/15. Saturday. I was up at 8 am this morning. There was no early morning parade. Inspection after breakfast by Capt. Dooley and our O.C. of kit and rifles. Alec Steene came over from the machine gun school this afternoon to see us.


19/12/15.  Sunday. Church parade at 8 am. I did my washing before dinner and wrote several letters this afternoon. It was the anniversary of the Sultan`s ascension to the throne today and cannons have been going off at intervals all day.


20/12/15.  Monday. We volunteered for guard duty for one week at the sporting club (No. 3 Auxiliary Heliopolis Hospital) and we had to march with full heavy packs to Zietoun (about 3 miles) just to report and then had to march back to our post. I wasn`t sorry when we got here either. This is a “home” here and the tucker is the best I`ve had since I left home. We have beds and mattresses to doss on. I have just come off a 2 hour guard ( 6pm to 8 pm) and go on again at midnight till 2 am. I was paid 50 piastres today and received one letter.


21/12/15. Tuesday. I was on guard from 6 am till 8 am, off till 12 noon and then on till 2 pm, off till 6 pm and on till 8pm, then off till 6 am. A batch of returned wounded came in last night from the peninsular and I have been chatting to several today. Things are pretty rough there at present in the way of tucker. A good few of the returned men have frost bitten feet. We had several prisoners put in our hands today but one of them hopped in a carriage and went and got boozed up in town, but turned up again at about 9 pm. The others had disappeared into town somewhere and returned about the same time and in the same condition.


22/12/15. Wednesday. On the same shift as yesterday. Got rid of the prisoners today and took in three more quiet ones. One dropped off into Cairo but turned up all right again in a merry mood. I have just been writing letters (9 pm) and am now turning in till my next shift at 6 am.


23/12/15. Thursday.  On guard again at 6 am and off again at 8 am. (on canteen guard today). On at 12 noon till 2pm, 6pm till 8 pm, midnight till 2 am. Put in the time trying to learn Arabic from a policeman and talking to one of the guards on the No. 1 Palace Hospital opposite (Reg Eldridge).


24/12/15.Friday.  On gate guard at 6 am off at 8am (one prisoner today only) on usual shift all day, finished up at 8pm.   Had a good fall of rain tonight.  Started as soon as I went on at 6pm.    (Xmas eve).


25/12/15 Saturday Xmas Day 53rd day away.   On guard at 6 am down at the bottom gate and jolly cold too.  All the mess huts are being decorated with branches of trees.   Fred turned up at about 11am.   He arrived on Tuesday last on the “Persic” and according to him they must have had pretty rough tucker all the way across.   He is camped at the aerodrome.   Fred stopped for dinner but I was on guard, but came off at 2pm and had a fairly decent spread.   The warrant officer turned up at about 3pm to inspect the guard but only 2 of us were here and the rest could not be found but nothing happened.   On again from 6pm to 8pm and finished up writing letters for the night.   There`s been some fun in Cairo tonight.


26/12/15. Sunday Boxing Day, On guard at 6am and off at 8am.  Met Harry Williams, chap from the Post Office at Tamworth today.   He has been over to the front and back.   Fred came over again today to the guard tent to see us and stayed for dinner.  Had tooth pulled this morning by hospital dentist and went over and got our Xmas Billy and mine was a Queensland one sent by Lauris Chapman of Euroggera Rd. Kelvin Grove Brisbane, together with her photo and I received a bosker selection. On guard all night tonight again on main gate.


27/12/15 Monday. Our last day on guard here. Today we finished up at 2pm.   Had our photo taken by our corporal (Reg Keirle) Received a Red Cross box from the hospital today, full of tobacco and cigarettes etc.  We marched to Zietoun at 3pm with full pack and back again to Abbussia where we were dismissed.   No tea tonight.  We won`t be recognised until tomorrow .


28/12/15. Tuesday. We were granted the day off today and six of us went out to the pyramids by train. We rode donkeys part the way up to Cheops (pronounced Chops), the biggest in Egypt. We then climbed to the top. We then went down and slid down inside to the tomb of King Cheops.  We went over to the Sphinx and got our photos taken on camels and finished up with a camel ride to the train.  Had tea at the British Soldiers Cafe in Cairo and wrote several letters when we got back.  Received 10 letters today, which makes 34 for a month since arriving here. There are at the pyramids some Americans busy digging in the old city ruins below the pyramids for antiquities.  There are 3 pyramids all together, the first is built of alabaster, the 2nd one is granite and the 3rd one is limestone.


29/12/15.  Wednesday Up at 5.30 breakfast at 6.30 and out on an all day route march about 7.3o and got back to camp about 4.30pm.   Received a letter from Snowy yesterday dated 20/11/15 and he was out of bed then and expected to be sent back to N.S.W.


30/12/15 Thursday.  On company drill this morning and off from 10am till 4pm. When we went out on an all night bivouac about 5 miles out.  I spent the night on sentry duty.


31/12/15 Friday.  We got back to camp about 8.30 this morning and had breakfast and had to put our full packs on again and march to the Kasr El Bridge barracks and we are to do 3-day town picket and remain at Barracks all day.  As soon as we got to the barracks we had to march about 2 miles on into Cairo on picket duty and remain there until midnight


1/1/16 Saturday New Years Day. (60 th day}  Had a good sleep in this morning and had breakfast about 10 am .  We fell in again at 2pm and marched into Cairo on picket duty again and remain there until about 10.30pm when they took us all into the soldiers home and gave us each a cup of tea and sandwich and marched back to barracks where  we got some more tea.


2/1/16 Sunday Breakfast at about 9.30.  Church parade 10.30 am and we had leave until 2pm but put in time writing letters (am just about full of writing letters now) on picket duty again at 1.30pm. till 11pm.  Just as we came in tonight the alarm sounded.


3/1/16 Monday. Breakfast at 7.30am and I pinched away with T Davies and trained it to Abbassia instead of marching back with the rest but nothing was said about it.  We had rain all this afternoon and all the night.  Paid 50 Pisastres 1.30pm.   Another mail today.  I got 5 letters.  Alvin and I walked over to Zietoun and found Sid Campbell tonight.


4/1/16 Tuesday.  Reported sick this morning to get something for my cold.  Very cold today too and raining on and off all day.  No parades after early morning parade today.  Only an inspection of rifles by our O.C at 2pm.  Another mail today and I got 3 more letters, which makes 42 letters to my credit since arriving here.  Went into Zietoun in a carriage

to try to trace photos taken of us at the pyramids, but drew a blank. Put in the night writing letters.


5/1/`6 Wednesday. Reported sick at 7am this morning and got something for my cold.  Did not go out after breakfast on parade.  Our Coy. on duty today but I managed to keep clear of it all very cold all day.  They tried to get me to go on guard at 7.30pm tonight but I refused as I was in bed and didn’t feel too well.


6/1/16 Thursday Up at 6am and went on early morning parade and did some bayonet drill, etc.   We started musketry after breakfast today and put in the whole day at the instruction.


7/1/16 Friday Up on musketry early this morning.   Very cold today.   Spent the whole day at musketry as usual.  Paid 50 Piastres this afternoon.  I was sent before the O.C (Mr Cleminger from Tamworth) this morning to be crimed for refusing to go out on guard on Wednesday night, but got off alright.  Fred came over tonight and we walked over to Abbassia Detention Barrack to see Snowy Campbell, then we walked aver to Heliopolis camp to see Sid Campbell.


8/1/16 Saturday.  Up at 6.30am breakfast at 7am and we went over to the aerodrome camp on a donkey cart together with Eric, Gordon and Mr Goodwin`s clothes etc.  Stayed in my tent for the rest of the afternoon, after I helped erect Mr Goodwin`s tent. (one of our officers).   Had no sleep all last night with a toothache and Alvin was rolling about all night with pain in his side.


9/1/16. Sunday. Up at 7 am this morning. Our Coy. is duty Coy. today , but our tent managed to dodge it all. I had a toothache all day. I must have a cold in my gums. Fred came over this morning to see us and to try to get us into his lot, (A.A.S Corps) but Alvin and I don`t want to go in it. I have been lying about the tent all day today. I went up to the doctor this morning for something for my cold. I wrote a couple of letters tonight.


10/1/16.  Monday We only kicked around the lines all day, putting up plaster borders etc. All the chaps in our tent volunteered to go into the 5/19 this morning. We went over to see Fred tonight. I had no sleep last night with my toothache.


11/1/16. Tuesday. (70 th. Day) I had no sleep again last night with my toothache. I paraded before the doctor this morning and then marched over to the Palace Hospital (No. 1) to get it extracted which I did after a pretty long wait. I did nothing for the rest of the day but lie about in the tent. I have not seen Fred all day.


12/1/16. Wednesday. 12 reinforcements of the 1 st. arrived last night and Gordon Morrison who came with them (a chap I know) looked me up this morning. We started to drill with “ C “ Coy. (5/19) this morning and shifted our tent into their lines. We went into Cairo tonight with Gordon and had a good time.


13/1/16. Thursday. We went out doing bayonet drill on early morning parade this morning. Our tent has been all split up into different platoons but the Sgt. is going to fix it so that all mates will be together if he can. I have been doing nothing all the afternoon but clean my rifle and sleep. I have had no mail for a fortnight now.


14/1/16. Friday. We went out on a bit of a route march this morning. We received orders to get our kit ready to move off at a minutes notice. I scaled away from afternoon parade and wrote a couple of letters. I received 5 letters myself tonight.


15/1/16. Saturday. Our Coy. is duty Coy. today, but I managed to miss everything ( by as usual working my nut ) Gordon came down to see me this afternoon. I have been writing letters all night.


16/1/16. Sunday. Slept in till about 8 am this morning then went to Church parade at 9 am and ducked away to my tent for the rest of the day. Fred came over tonight. I wrote a letter and turned in early.


17/1/16. Monday. I scaled off early morning parade, also the parade after breakfast and went up to the Y.M.C.A. in time to catch the mail going tomorrow. I also scaled afternoon parade to write letters. Some new reinforcements came in tonight.


18/1/16. Tuesday.  This morning I scaled parade to try to find any chaps I knew among the new reinforcements and struck Nipper Morton and Arthur Madden. I went out on parade this afternoon and went down and had a game of cards with Fred tonight


19/1/16. Wednesday. I scaled early morning parade but went out on parade after breakfast. Pinched off from parade after dinner and went down to see Fred and went into Cairo with him. (his lot were given the afternoon off owing to a cricket match being on). I made inquires at the Intermediate base depot about several parcels that had been sent but that we had not received. I got back to camp at about 9 pm.


20/1/16. Thursday. Up at 5 am had breakfast and then went off to Abbassia to finish my musketry. I went over on a wagon with the ammunition. At 100 yards 20 and 25, at 200 yards 16 and 15 = 76 out of 90. I pinched off as soon as I finished and came home on a train. I got paid 50 piastres tonight.


21/1/16. Friday. Up at 5.30 and marched off to Abassia Rifle Range Shot at 300 and 400 yards and pinched away to train it back when we finished our days shooting. A big batch of new reinforcements arrived tonight.and I roamed through the huts to see if there were any Tamworth chaps but couldn`t strike any in the dark.


22/1/16. Saturday. I did not turn out at 5.30 am this morning to go over with the musketry party but slept in till 6.30 and then had another look through the huts for Tamworth chaps but was unsuccessful in my search. Everybody in our tent is “ chatty” now. I stayed in all afternoon.


23/1/16. Sunday. Up at 7 am. Church parade at 10 am. I went up to the 13 Th 1st regt. A.L.Horse and found several Tamworth chaps (Jack Moran, Frank Martin and a couple of others). I did my washing this afternoon, but owing to it raining a bit could not dry it. I had my photo taken with Alvin and Fred today by Cpl. Keirle.


24/1/16. Monday. I scaled all parades before dinner today and was over at the canteen writing letters. We went out to the quarries where the stones for the pyramids were cut (at the back of the Citadel). We climbed up to an old fort on the top where we had a bosker view of Cairo and all around. We then visited Moses Mosque in which the natives still worship. We then finished up with a roam through the Egyptian Markets. I am to be crimed the day after tomorrow for scaling off parade this afternoon and also the route march.


25/1/16. Tuesday. The Sgt. Major (we don`t like him) called all the chaps out who weren`t on the route march yesterday. Alvin and I and four other chaps from our tent were called out. We were on fatigue all day today. I went up and saw Gordon Morrison tonight and got back to the tent about “first post”.


26/1/16.  Wednesday.  200 of us went out to Abbassia range this morning to do shooting and got back directly after dinner and as soon as we got back they called all the chaps to be crimed. I was given 3 days C.C. (confined to camp) and I had to run and report to the guard tent at 6 PM as soon as the “defaulters bugle” sounded and for every half-hour after until 9 pm.


27/1/16. Thursday. I was up at 6.30 am to answer the “defaulters bugle” and was put on fatigue for the early morning parade. Les Jones from Tamworth came over from the Maadi camp to see me tonight. I answered the bugle every half-hour as usual until 9 pm.


28/1/16. Friday. I scaled parades this morning to write letters and managed all right to answer my name first.  Went on parade this afternoon chased the bugle tonight for the last time.


29/1/16 Saturday.  Went on parades this morning.  Went over to the Pumping station at the back of our camp (aerodrome) and had a good look through it.  Then we had a roam through a big grove of date palms and pinched plenty of tomatoes, which grew on the edge of a canal.  We came across plenty of old time walls.


30/1/16 Sunday, Up at 8am this morning, had breakfast about 9am.  Church parade at 10am until 11am, then the order went around to fall in immediately with full marching order, which we did.  After keeping us out on parade ground in mass formation until about 12.30, they told us that there was some trouble in Cairo and that a battalion had been sent in to quell it, and that we were a reserve Bn. Then they dismissed us for dinner and fell us in again about 2.45pm with full pack as usual. (of course all provisions and ammunitions were stacked at the side of each coy.)


They dismissed us about 3.30.  I went up to the light horse lines tonight to see Frank Martin and Jack Moran in 

13 / 1 ST


31/1/16  Monday.  Nothing startling happened today only that we were paid and I went into Cairo with Alvin and went on big route march this afternoon.


1/2/16 Tuesday   On parade all day today, mail in this afternoon , went into Cairo tonight and wrote a few letters.


2/2/16 Wednesday. Scaled early morning parade.  We all went out on an all day march into the desert and got back about 4pm.


3/2/16 Thursday scaled off early morning parade and also off afternoon parade.  Waitered at officers mess tonight (it was a great evening and nurses etc were there.)   I had a good feed after and slept in my clothes tonight as we were instructed to do.


4/2/16 Friday Up at 6am this morning and handed in our ammunition.  About 158 out of the 4TH, 5TH, 6TH/19.   Went down to Tel-El-Kebir.this morning.  Alex Steen and Teddy Davies.went with them. (700 out of the Bn went altogether for inspection at 5pm by the Brigade Major this afternoon.) I managed to miss it  Slept in my clothes again last night.


5/2/16. Saturday. Our Coy. was Duty Coy. today, but I managed to scale it all. We had inspection at 11.30 this morning by our O.C. Mr. Cleminger. There was no parade this afternoon until 5 pm , when we were inspected by Capt. Dooley. It came on to rain about 6 pm and kept raining all through the night.


6/2/16.  Sunday. I was up at 8 am this morning. Church parade at 10 am .and wrote letters all day and night as the mail closes tomorrow night.


7/2/16. Monday. I was on both morning parades and on the route march this afternoon around Heliopolis. I went up to the 13/2 to find Arthur Madden, but he was out.


8/2/16. Tuesday.  I went into the barracks in Abbassia to look through all the cases of parcels for the 19 th. Bn. to find any for the 6/19 this morning. I found about 40 for our Coy. including one each for Alvin and myself. We came back in a carriage with sugar bags of parcels. I went into Cairo tonight with Alvin and posted a parcel home in the Y.M.C.A. (containing a table centre and some post cards).


9/2/16. Wednesday. The whole Bn. had a photo taken in mass formation in front of the Major Clifton in Heliopolis. We only did Coy. drill for the rest of the afternoon. I went down and had a game of cards with Fred tonight. We were also paid 50 Piastres tonight.


10/2/16. Thursday. (100th. Day). We were out in the desert doing field movements all day. We took rations with us. We had a pretty hard day too. I went up to see Jack Moran and Frank Martin (A.L.H.) in the 13/1st. lines tonight. I also saw Gordon in 12/1st. tonight.


11/2/16. Friday. We were out doing Bn. Drill all morning and were told that we were going down to Tel-El-Kebir on Monday together with the 7/19th. (Alvin and I were detailed off to go).  I pinched off parade this afternoon and went into Cairo and wrote several letters.  Got back to camp about 8.30pm and found that they called roll when they came off parade this afternoon, and the chaps who are to go to Tel-El-Kebir were called out. So I expect I’ll be crimed in the morning again – my usual stiff luck.


12/2/16 Saturday. Went over and saw Snowy at the Detention Barracks this afternoon, with Fred and Alvin after we had our Photos taken by a chap in Heliopolis.  Stayed with Snowy for tea.


13/2/16 Sunday. We were all given a New Testament by General Spence Browne’s wife and church parade this morning.  After parade we were all marched over and saw Snowy again this afternoon and met the 3 Pryers there.  Stayed for tea of course and went up and saw Owen Rowlands in the 13/1st A.L.H and Jack Martin, then over and saw Gordon Morrison and told them that we are to go down to Tel-El-Kebir in the morning.  Gordon is also going at 3am.


14/2/16 Monday.  Up at about 8am left for Tel-El-Kebir at about 2.15pm and arrived at Tel-El-Kebir about 10.15pm and we were put straight into the 4th Bn. No.10 Platoon “C”.  Alvin and I managed to get into the same section .


15/2/16 Tuesday Out on a route march at 9am and finished up at 12.30pm.  I looked up Bert and Roy Ellis in the 3oth Bn. and Boyd Bragg also.


16/2/16 Wednesday. Looked up some mates in the 1st Bn. and went to the pictures.


17/2/16 Thursday.  Had a pretty hard day today. Went and looked up Jim Lambert in the 2nd Bn. And also Gordon Morrison.


18/2/16 Friday.  Just drill all day.  Very tired.


19/2/16 Saturday.  Drill in the morning only. Spell all afternoon.


20/2/16 Sunday Inspection of line today by our Brigadier General (Col. Elliott) on fatigue for the rest of the day.


21/2/16 Monday.  The old Colonel of the 4th Bn. who has been away is now back (Col. McNaughton) and came out and inspected us drilling this afternoon.



22/2/16. Tuesday. We were out on Bn. drill all morning and we covered about 6 miles. Our feet were inspected this afternoon and the new reinforcements (us) were also inspected personally by the “Old Man”. I have been picked for guard duty tomorrow. It is to mount at 3 pm . I had a bath tonight, the first since we got here. I usually wash in a bucket.


23/2/16. Wednesday. (113th day since leaving Australia.) I did not go out on parade this morning because I had to wash a dixie just on fall in time. They had gone when I got back. It was drill again from 2.30 till 4.30. I went on guard at 5 pm till 8pm. I was allowed 10 mins. off  for tea. I was back on guard from midnight till 2 am.


24/2/16 Thursday . On guard from 6am until 8am and again at 12pm till 2pm. The new guard mounted at 5.30pm.  Packed my valise tonight with all the wearing apparel etc. that I want.  All the rest we have to pack in our white bags, to be termed Spare kits.


25/2/16 Friday Out on Bn drill at 7.45 this morning.  Also instruction on musketry.  Kit inspected by Col.. McNaughton D.S.O this afternoon and all we have now is what we have in our packs.  Played cards the rest of the night.


26/2/16 Saturday Out on parade at 7.45 again on Bn. drill and musketry again.  We came in at 2pm.  (6 hours straight off}  done nothing all afternoon but play cards.  Gordon came round to see me.  His Bn {1st} is  off to Serapeium in the morning. (P.s 25/2/16 A chap named Carter was court martialed and sentenced to 18 months on Saturday morning by the Col.)


27/2/16 Sunday . The 1st Bn. got away this morning.  Church parade at 9am.  Inspection of lines at 12 noon.


28/2/16 Monday.  Went 3 miles out on to the desert today and did some musketry practice (spent the whole day there). Had some fun with the native sellers.  Palmed off an old Turkish coin on to them as an Australian 1/-.


29/2/16 Tuesday out on musketry shooting again.  3rd Bn. got away this morning.   Slept out in the open tonight.


1/3/16 Wednesday.  Left Tel-El-Kebir about 10am.  Arrived at a siding off Serapeum, about 12 noon.  Had about a mile march through heavy sand to the canal where we crossed on pontoons, then had a mile or so march to our present camp (Canal is about 100yds wide where we crossed.)  Pitched tents at about 3pm.  Tea was supplied to us by the 3rd Bn. cooks.


2/3/16 Thursday.  Had tea and bully beef for breakfast.  On parade at 8.30am and drilled out on the desert until about 11.30.  Rice for dinner and bully beef and biscuit.  No parade this afternoon owing to sand blowing everywhere.  Could only manage to get ¼ bottle of water today to last until 4pm tomorrow.


3/3/16 Friday Tea and porridge and beef biscuits for breakfast.  Sand storm again so no parade after breakfast.  Swimming parade at 2pm in canal.  Got a bottle of water at 4pm.  Been blowing all day.


4/3/16 Saturday Route march about 6 miles in the sand this morning.  Full pack up.  Water still scarce.  Took a walk down to the canal tonight to get some but was stopped by guard so had a trip back with empty bottle but managed to get it filled in the 1st Bn. lines. Swimming parade in the canal again this afternoon.


5/3/16 Sunday.  Slept in till about 7.30.  Church parade at 9am.


6/3/16  Monday.  Bn. drill at 6.45 till 7.30.  Musketry this morning.  Swimming parade at 2pm.  Water scarce as usual.


7/3/16 Tuesday.  Route march at 9am till about 11.30am. then had some more musketry practice at the range (5 rounds) Swimming  parade as usual at 2pm.


8/3/16 Wednesday.  Shooting at 9am till 10am.  Route march till 1pm.  Paid at 2pm. (50 piastres).  Big mob came in from the trenches tonight.  Some of the 2nd Brig. had a good hunt for water tonight and managed to get some.



9/3/16. Thursday. They picked men out to represent the Coy. in Bn. sports on Saturday. I was picked out for the high jump. We had a ten mile march today as usual. When we got back we did some 100 yds.shooting . This was followed by the usual swim parade.


10/3/16. Friday. I put my boots in to be repaired this morning, and got them back at about 10 am. I got a job as typist at the Bn. Orderly Room today . It`s a sweet job.


11/3/16. Saturday. Went to the Orderly Room at 9 am and finished up at 11 am. The sports were on this afternoon. I was beaten in the high jump. I went back to the O.R. and did the orders at 6 pm and finished early.


12/3/16. Sunday. I was at the O.R. all day typing or rather, having an easy time.


13/3/16. Monday. I went to the O.R. at 9.15 am. We are pretty certain of going to France now, according to Staff Sgt. Murdoch .I finished the orders at 8 pm.


14/3/16. Tuesday. I am still at the O.R. I did not have as much typing to do today, so had an easy morning. I finished the orders early again tonight. (The Staff Sgt. has been drunk all day.)


15/3/16. Wednesday. I had plenty to do in the O.R. today, but managed all right. I got the orders out at about 9 pm tonight.


16/3/16. Thursday. I started in the O.R. at 8 am. I was inoculated at about 3.30 this afternoon. I got the orders out at about 8 pm.


17/3/16. Friday. I started in the O.R. at 8am and was kept going pretty well all day. It was terribly dusty today.


18/3/16. Saturday. I went to the O.R. at 8 am It is still blowing and very dusty. The typewriter is clogged up with fine sand.


19/3/16. Sunday. The Prince Of Wales (looks only a kid ) and Gen. Sir William Birdwood inspected all the troops on our side of the canal this morning. They formed us up in line when he came down.


20/3/16 Monday. Packed up some of our office stuff today.


21/3/16. Tuesday. I copied out more nominal rolls today (995 names) and then packed up some more stuff. I was promoted to L/Cpl. tonight in the Bn. Orders No. 219 dated 22/3/16.


22/3/16 Wednesday. I had breakfast at 8.30. I packed my kit and then finished packing up the rest of the things in the O.R. I am in the H.Qs. Coy. now. We left Serapeium about 4.30 pm and camped on the other side of the canal opposite the siding until 3 am.


23/3/16 Thursday. We got to Alexandria at about 12 noon and embarked at 2 pm on H.M.T.Simla. The 4th. Bn. Staff Sgt. was put on as ship orderly sgt., so I am now ship typist, and it`s a sweet cop. There is hardly anything to do. I also sleep in a room with the other Cpl. We sailed at about 9 pm.




24/3/16. Friday. I was up at 7 am and had breakfast with Alvin and had no dinner to speak of. Guards are all round the ship keeping a look out for tin fish (torpedoes). Men have been put on to the 4.7 gun at the stern of the ship under a Royal Marine gunner. I am in a mess at last (No. 49) with entire strangers.


25/3/16. Saturday. I was up again at 7 am and had breakfast at 7.30 am. There was hardly any typing to do today. We had dinner at 12 noon . It has been drizzling all day. I had my hair cut today.


26/3/16. Sunday. It is still raining. Church parade was at 10.45am by 4 chaplains, C of E. , Pres., Methodist and R.C. (I did not get the chance to attend.)


27/3/16. Monday. I was up at 6.30.this morning. We were standing just off Malta then. We went right in and close enough to be able to distinguish the town. The fort and the entrance to the harbour were easily discernable. We could also see the Valetta hospital where Australian wounded are being treated. We left Malta behind at about 8.30 am. The sea is very choppy today, and the wind is up a good deal. I finished typing the nominal rolls today. They are to be handed to the disembarkation officer on our arrival at Marseilles. I am having the time of my life this trip. I am having a very easy time. We passed close to Sicily at 12 midnight.


28/3/16. Tuesday. I was up at 7 am this morning. The sea is very calm. There is hardly a ripple. We are keeping very close into the land today. I think it is Sardinia. We are sure to reach Marseilles sometime tomorrow night. We have passed several tramp steamers and sailing schooners today. I did some washing this morning. I have not done much typing at all today.


29/3/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7 am this morning. We had a bit of a storm today but the sea soon calmed down. The land came into sight at about 4.15 pm (France). We sighted a cruiser and destroyer or two today. The mail was collected on board today and I managed to get about a dozen through. Marseilles was in full view at about 9.30 pm and we dropped anchor at 10 pm.


30/3/16. Thursday. I was up at 6.30.am and we disembarked at about 2.30 pm.  We were marched right through the town of Marseilles on to the train (3rd class) and moved off at about 4.30 pm. A wireless message received on board our boat before we got off, stated that a four masted steamer, which we passed off Sardinia was torpedoed four hours after we passed her, so we were a bit on the lucky side.


31/3/16. Friday.  I woke up just as we entered Lyon. We have passed through some beautiful country. It is to us anyhow after the sands of Egypt. Everywhere we go we get a bosker welcome. We next passed Malain, Les Tourner,Alesia, then Nuits sous Aviers.


1/4/16. Saturday. I woke up as we were coming into Juvisy, where we branched off onto a different line. Eventually we reached Varseilles where the Red Cross gave us eatables etc. The French people are real sports. We passed a lot of airship sheds and saw a train load of broken German aeroplanes.


2/4/16. Sunday. We disembarked after 60 hours in the train at Steenbecque and were billeted in a nearby village. We are only about 15 to 18 miles from the firing line and the booms of the artillery are very distinct. We have a bosker orderly room and are billeted in a room in the same house with bed and mattress. It was a very easy day again for me. This is a nice quaint village and the people are as usual very kind.


3/4/16. Monday. I was up at 7 am this morning and was kept busy all day.


4/4/16. Tuesday. I was up at 6.30 this morning. We get the best of care. We can still hear the firing in the distance. It was very cold all day today and there was no sun out. You could see the flashes from the trenches tonight. Very heavy firing is going on. Alvin came and saw me today. He is billeted on a farm about half a mile away.


5/4/16. Wednesday. I was up at 6.45 am and was kept busy all morning. There were 41 chaps up before the C.O. (Capt. Stacey) this afternoon. It looks as though I will have plenty of work to do.


6/4/16. Thursday. I was up at 6.45 am . There was not much doing today. I got the Bn. orders out early tonight. I have not seen Alvin for two days.


7/4/16. Friday. I was up at 6am. We fell in (every man in the Bn.) at 7.15 and marched about 3 miles and finished up at some trenches where we had to put our gas helmets on and walk through the trenches. The helmets fit O.K. I missed being paid today. The money is here so I will get it in the morning.


8/4/16. Saturday. I was up at 6 am . There was not much doing all day. I was paid today (40 francs) and bought several articles which I posted home (Mum, Adie, George and Eve). The bars have been open all day and tonight the chaps are pretty drunk. Some were blind paralytic, fights a treat were in progress, windows were smashed. Of course I myself was sober. I do not drink, as everyone knows by now. I refuse every drink offered me. I saw Alvin today and gave him 10 francs as he was only paid 20 francs.



9/4/16. Sunday. I was up at 7 am this morning. I received some mail today. about 15 letters . I was very glad to hear from home. No one knows just how much. The date on the latest letter was 6/2/16. I packed my kit today as we are moving to Outlersteene about 12 miles away. We have to march of course. I am just turning into my nice spring bed. Perhaps it will be the last spring bed for some time. Our major, I.G. Mackay came back today.


10/4/16. Monday. We left Staple at about 7 am this morning and passed through Hazebrouck, Borre, and several other little villages before we arrived at Outlersteene. We are billeted on a farm about 1 Km from the actual village. (12 miles altogether in just on 4 hours) The concussion from the guns in the trenches, shake the ground where we are. The fire observation balloons are easily seen. There were very few of the whole brigade left in the ranks when we finished up.

More than half of the 2nd Bn. fell out on route. Very few of the old fighting fourth fell out though. We are very close to the actual firing line now. Aeroplanes are up every few minutes dropping bombs. I felt pretty crook tonight so turned in early. The farm where we are billeted is called La Belle Gnoix.


11/4/16. Tuesday. I was up at about 7am. The ground is all sloppy.  It has been raining all night and it is still raining. There wasn`t much typing to do today at all. The guns were going a treat tonight. Just like rifle fire. Alvin and Reg came over last night to see me.


12/4/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7am and it is still raining and the ground is worse than ever. There were nine courts martial taking place today at the 3rd Bn. H.Qs. There was very little  typing to do today. I went for a roam into the village of Meteren today, and bought several cards and sent a handkerchief home. I turned in early.


13/4/16. Thursday. I was up at 7 am and it is still raining and is very cold. I have not seen Alvin for a few days. There was not much typing to do today.


14/4/16 Friday.  I was up at 7 am. There is plenty of typing to do today. I have not seen Alvin again today. The guns have been very quiet for the last two days. We went on a route march at 1 pm into Strazeela, where we had a bit of a snowstorm. I was right at the head of the column and got a full whack of it. We got back home at about 3 pm after marching about 8 miles.


15/4/16. Saturday. I was up at 6.45 am and had to type for my life until dinnertime. I went for a ride on the bike up to Strazeela and back through Outlersteene. The guns are very active again tonight, and a couple of aeroplanes are up too. 12 bags of mail came in tonight. I  hope I get some tomorrow.


16/4/16. Sunday. I was up at 7am and it is a bosker day. The first sun I`ve seen for a fortnight. I did all my washing this morning. There was great aeroplane activity all day. They were being shelled at a treat too. I did not see any hit though. A couple of German planes, (we think they were German, because when one of our own went up, they flew off. One was doing a loop the loop and did it very well too. I had a pretty busy afternoon, then went down and saw Alvin at his quarters and went for a walk to Noote Boon and turned in at about 9 pm. I received a parcel today which was sent by Adie.


17/4/16. Monday. I was up at 6.45 am. It is raining again and very cold. There was to be an inspection of the 4th Bn. by General Walker at 9 am , but owing to the bad weather it was cancelled. I have been busy packing up tonight and chucking out what I don`t want. We are moving off from here at 10 am tomorrow to go to Sailly about 8 miles away. I got the Bn. orders out early tonight and have kept a copy of it. I turned in at about 9 pm. (Alvin was on guard today and came over and saw me a couple of times during the day.)


18/4/16. Tuesday. I was up at 6.15 and finished packing up my kit. I had an early breakfast and took Alvin and Reg over a big piece of cheese and a tin of jam. Alvin and the rest of the guard were relieved at 8.30 am this morning. I was issued with goggles yesterday for protection against tear compelling shells. It is to be worn underneath the helmet. It is raining again today, a rotten day for a march with full pack etc., but after marching about 2 miles out of our way we got to the starting point and moved off again at 10.15 am. The C.Os. staff were at the head of the column. We passed through Outlersteene and Willeau where we had dinner in the mud and rain. There was an old church at Willeau, which was burnt by the Germans in October 1915 when they were here. The road from Willeau to Sailly was in a deplorable state, mud and slush. We arrived at Sailly at 2.30 pm after a twelve mile march. We are billeted in a town, which is a pretty big place. I have post cards of it in my wallet. I looked up Alvin tonight in his billet about 1000 yards away. I also saw Gordon Morrison today and was jolly glad to meet him. It is the first time I`ve seen him since our arrival in France.We are to move off at 9 am tomorrow to La Croix Les Cornex about 4 miles away.


19/4/16. Wednesday. We were up at 3 am and moved off at 4.30 am by platoons at two minute intervals until we got to La Croix Les Cornex where we went in single file. We arrived at our destination at about 6 am (a four mile march.). We took over this billet from the 23rd. Manchesters. (The Bantam Regiment) A terrible small lot of fellows. Some of our men are down in the third line of trenches, and the rest are in a shed while there is nothing doing. (about half a mile from where I am). I went down and saw Alvin this afternoon. (He has his shrapnel helmet now.) A few shells went over the fellows here today and one landed about 50 yards away. Everything will be O.K. as long as they don`t come any nearer. Flares were going up a treat tonight. I turned in early.

20/4/16. Thursday. I was up at 7.30 am. It is very cold and wet again today. There is pretty heavy firing close to here all day. The German guns got onto a billet of the 9th Bn. and caused 70 casualties. (25 killed and 45 wounded). There was plenty of aeroplane activity today. Flares were going up a treat again tonight.

21/4/16. Friday. I was up at 7.30 am. Our artillery is just behind us. The guns have been pretty active today, firing at aeroplanes of which there are a great number up during the day. Dinner was pretty poor today, very little to eat. It is raining again. This afternoon I received a letter from a French kid (Hubert Yenaose). I saw Alvin again today. I turned in late tonight.

22/4/16 Saturday up at 7am.  A miserable raining morning.  Guns quiet today.No  typing to do at all.  Paid 40 francs this afternoon.  Very heavy firing this afternoon over on the left  Turned in at about 8pm after boiling the billy on our fire and making a drop of tea.  A gun at our rear was blown out last night.

23/4/16 Sunday.  Up at 7.30am.  A lovely morning.  Aeroplanes are up again and scouting round also.  This afternoon there was great aeroplane activity, mostly ours, and they were shelled a terrible lot but none were brought down (sheer luck).  A high explosive shell burst about 100yds away and about 20yds from our Brigadier General, but he was not hit. Have not seen Alvin for 2 days I miss him very much, having up till lately been with him the whole time since we left Sydney on 2/11/15. This is the slowest Easter Sunday I`ve put in for a long time.

24/4/16 Monday.  Up at 7.30am (we slept alongside a fire.)  Our artillery busy firing at German Aeroplanes who are flying over our way today but they managed to get back all right.  Lovely day today.  Pretty heavy shelling.  Had to get in the trenches for protection .2 engineers and 1 pioneer Sgt were killed.  A German aeroplane was brought down over at Armentieres this morning.   Aeroplanes very active the whole day. Went  down to Brigade canteen at Fleurbaix this afternoon and met Lieut. Smyth who is now in the 24th Bn. I  had a good yarn to him.  The town itself was a mass of ruins, completely blown right out.  Turned in at about 11pm after getting about 8 letters away.     NB omitted from Easter Sunday’s notes.  One of the aviators, whilst over the German lines (a terrible game chap) was shot through the heart and killed immediately.  While the machine was going through the air towards the earth, the observer hopped over and righted the machine, which then came sailing over onto our lines again in safety.

25/4/16 Tuesday Anniversary of the landing at the Dardenelles.  Up at 7.45 and cleaned up.  A chap from “D” Co. was killed during the night and a chap was wounded by shrapnel at Alvin’s billet  . Things were pretty quiet in the afternoon.  Have not seen Alvin since Friday.  Posted 10 letters last night.

26/4/16 Wednesday.  Woke up at 7.15am to the sound of shell fire.  Did some washing early this morning.  Whilst doing it a high explosive shell burst about 100 yds away and some pieces of shrapnel whizzed down at my feet and buried in the ground.  That was as near to out as I have been yet.  The same gun smashed the house where B Coy. were billeted but no casualties.  Firing has been round all day and even now (4pm) they are flying over head landing somewhere about Bn.H.Qs.  400yds away.  Of course our guns are giving shell for shell.  I filled in two forms today for ANZAC Books to be sent home for us, the amount to be drawn from our deferred pay.  Received my steel helmet and jack knife today, also breech cover for my rifle.  Turned in pretty late tonight.

27/4/16 Thursday Up at 7.45am. Very little typing to do today at all.  Had a letter from Alec Steene this morning.  He is in the 19th Bn. I answered it straight away.  Also wrote to Ted Davies (“4” Coy. 19th. Bn.) Our Bn. on duty today, saw Alvin going past at about 9am and handed him sister’s letter.  Alvin looked really crook on it though) Alvin’s Coy. are just down the road now.  They changed with “D” Company last night.  I turned in about 11pm tonight. Was wakened up by the sound of heavy artillery firing. They were sending shells like hail stones then bells started ringing (gas alarm) so we all put our helmets on and had them on for about 1 hour 10mins.  It was great to see the whole sky lit up by the exploding of the guns. 


27/4/16. Thursday (cont.) A barn was set alight just a few hundred yards away by a shell and it soon burnt out. Our chaps did tear into the German trenches and must have done some damage over their way. The firing ceased at about 12.30 am with only occasional bursts later. I saw Alvin again tonight at his billet at about 8 pm.


28/4/16. Friday. I was up at 7.45 am and had breakfast as usual at 8 am as per usual. Things are terrible quiet this morning. It is a lovely day again. Nothing eventful happened the rest of the day. I went over and saw Alvin tonight and gave him some cigarettes. He has been crook the last few days and does not look too well at all. The machine guns are pretty lively tonight.


29/4/16. Saturday. I was up at 7.30 this morning. The Germans poured shells at a place a couple of hundred yards at our rear and fixed it up proper. A chap got his arm smashed in two places. (A machine gun Brigade Coy. chap). I saw Alvin again tonight down at his billet, about 200 hundred yards down the road.


30/4/16. Sunday. I was up at 7.30 am. The shells have been flying overhead a treat. Another one of our chaps got winged. (A six-month trip for him.)  The Chaplain had about 12 services at the different billets today. I saw Alvin again tonight. He still looks crook yet he won`t report to the doctor. He`s a sticker. There was pretty heavy firing in the trenches tonight but it did not last long. We had an alarm tonight at 10 pm. We had to fall in on the alarm (The Croix Blanche trenches only). It was only practice.


1/5/16 Monday. I was up at 7.15 am.  Things are jolly quiet. I saw Alvin at about 9 am going out on fatigue. (I don`t like the way Alvin looks at all.) I had plenty of typing to do today. They have been pouring shells into Fleurbaix and Sailly today. I saw in the paper that General Townsend had surrendered Kut-El -Amara to the Turks after 143 days defence. A sentry down the road has just sounded the alarm but I think it is a false alarm. I am turning in at 10 pm.


2/5/16. Tuesday. I was up at 7.15 this morning. Things are quiet in every way. I was kept busy all morning typing. There`s going to be a bombardment at 3 pm by our artillery, so we all have to get under cover. It is 5 pm and the bombardment has apparently been postponed, probably owing to so many knowing about it. There was great aeroplane activity this afternoon. Just before tea there were about a dozen up together (ours). I got out two orders tonight; one was a special one however. I had to do them on a small writing pad. I saw Alvin tonight and turned in at 10 pm.


3/5/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7.15. I did a bit of cleaning up. I packed up all the stuff in the office including the old  remington typewriter, so we are ready for the move into the trenches tonight at 9.35 pm (2135). We are going to relieve the 2nd Bn. so I might see Dave if I am lucky. Things are still very quiet. The  2nd Bn. orderly room Sgt. took over at 8.30 pm. We are about to move down into the trenches (9.30) We arrived in the orderly room dugout safely after a long walk down the communication trench and then a slippery walk down the trenches. Things are jolly quiet, just a few bullets fling over our heads. I turned in at about 11 pm.


4/5/16. Thursday.  There was a “stand to” at 3.30 am until 4.30 am . We had breakfast at 5.30. We had to make it ourselves. Things are anyhow today. I can`t do a thing right. We are 500 yards from the dinkum firing line in the O.R. dugout. I went down to C Coy. this morning and saw Alvin. He was on the parapet last night, doing a bit of sniping, so he says. Alvin and I both received letters from home this morning. Mine were from our old Mum, Adie, Arty, Sarah and Charlie. ( Alvin`s were from Mum, Adie, and Sarah.). There was to be a bombardment at 7.30 tonight but it never came off. We had to “stand to “ at 7 pm. I met Gordon Morrison in the trenches today but I didn`t have long to speak to him. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


5/5/16. Friday. We were up at 3 am then “stand to “ till 4 am, then at 7 am had breakfast. (cooked ourselves) I saw Alvin again this morning and gave him all my letters to read, and he gave me all his. It was pretty lively tonight on our left. There was a gas alarm too. I turned in at about 10 pm.


6/5/16. Saturday. I was up at “stand to “ and went to see Alvin this morning . I gave him some mail to read that I got this morning. One of our chaps got shot last night. (I believe by one of our own chaps too). Another chap got all his face cut up by the glass of his periscope, being spotted by a German sniper. I`ve been nearly out a few times, but it`s all in the game. Our pay arrived this afternoon. We will be paid tomorrow. I received several more letters tonight. I turned in at 11 pm.


7/5/16. Sunday. I was up at “stand to “. I was kept going pretty well at the typewriter all morning. The Germans started bombarding us this morning and blew the parapet down at D Coy. Capt. Judge (C.O. of D Coy.) was wounded.

7/5/16 Sunday ( cont.)  Our artillery did not reply until about 12 noon and when they did, firing 20 shells, 11 went over the German line and failed to explode, 3 fell between our firing line and the supports and a couple went on over our own parapet, while the rest went into no man`s land and bunged up the wire entanglement. I`m beginning to think that our Australian artillery aren`t very good gunners. I had a couple of narrow squeaks this morning with flying shrapnel, but a miss is as good as a mile. I received a couple more letters tonight, one from Snowy, and one from Adie and one from Ida Drew. I turned in at about 10 pm.


8/5/16. Monday. I did not get up at “stand to” this morning. They forgot to wake us. (Capt. Pearce went away to England on leave yesterday, and Capt. A.A.Mann is now acting Adjutant). Things were very quiet all day. I was kept going typing all morning, but have been writing letters all afternoon. I have not seen Alvin all day. I turned in at 10 pm.


9/5/16. Tuesday. I was up at 7.15 this morning and put breakfast on at 7.30. It has been raining a lot today, but I have a pair of Wellington boots so I am able to keep my feet dry. Everything has been quiet today. We were given a lecture on gas helmets this afternoon. I also saw Alvin this afternoon and showed him the letters from Ida, Adie and Snowy.The rain hasn`t stopped all day. I turned in at 10 pm after writing several letters.


10/5/16 Wednesday. I was up at 7.30.and had a late breakfast this morning. It is nice and fine today. Our aeroplanes have been pretty active all day. There was one of our chaps (supposed to be the “Mad Major”) who was flying low over the German lines and had the luck of all luck, shells bursting all round him, and machine guns going a treat. Their artillery put a few shells into a wood about 400 yards away, and ours replied, but that was about all the firing done all day. I`ve done no typing at all today, but have been writing letters. I have not seen Alvin today yet. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


11/5/16. Thursday. I was up at 7.15 this morning. It has been a bosker day. There has been no firing at all and no typing either. I had to type the orders at 7.30 pm and I got the H.Qs. mail at 9.30 pm. It was all parcels tonight. I did not see Alvin at all yesterday, but I sent a bag full of soap, sugar, bread and papers down to him. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


12/5/16. Friday. I was up at 7 am this morning. There has been no firing all day and no typing either. Yesterday, “The Mad Major” was up in his aeroplane in the afternoon and took some pretty fine risks, but never got potted. It has been raining all day and I have not seen Alvin. Everything is terrible slippery. We got no mail tonight. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


13/5/16. Saturday. I was up at 7 am. The mud  is worse than ever. I was kept busy all day typing.  There was no mail for me and I did not see Alvin today. I turned in at 9 pm.


14/5/16. Sunday. I was up at 7.15 this morning. The “F” on my typewriter went bung on me today. The rain cleared up during the day. I saw Alvin this afternoon and gave him some milk, letters and papers etc. He looks jolly crook to me and yet he says that he is all right. Our artillery poured a few salvos into the German trenches. They received information that the Germans are massing. I was nearly stopped by a machine gun at the H.Qs., but I, together with the rest of the chaps got down low and the shots skimmed over the top of us. There was no mail for me tonight. I turned in at 10 pm.


15/5/16. Monday. I was up at 7 am. The ground is really slushy. Two of our chaps got knocked last night. (That`s 18 to date). Our artillery smashed their parapet down in a few places yesterday. That livened things up a bit, but otherwise it was quiet. The “F” in my typewriter is missing now so I have to print it in when I finish the sheets. I have been writing all afternoon (about 10 letters) and received 6 last night , when the mail came in. I did not see Alvin at all yesterday. I turned in at 10 pm.


16/5/16. Tuesday. I was up at 7 am as usual this morning. Three more of our chaps were knocked last night. One had his brain blown out, another had his arm smashed to pulp and the other chap was shot in the rear. He was not running away but sitting down shaving. There were about 6 German aeroplanes up this morning over our lines, flying very high though. It has been a fine day with no sign of rain. There was a bit of an artillery duel this afternoon. It lasted about an hour. I got the orders out at 7 pm and got the mail at 9.15 pm. There wasn`t any for Alvin or me. I turned in at 10 pm.



17/5/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7am this morning. It is a fine day again, and very quiet this morning. One more of our chaps was killed. Five engineers also got hit in the communication trench. That is eight casualties all told today. 23 to date for the Bn. I have not seen Alvin today. I got the orders out early tonight and posted about 12 letters. I collected 3 bags of mail for H.Qs. tonight. It took some sorting, but I managed to get through it before turning in. I received a parcel for myself from home. It contained a towel, soap, toothpaste, comb and scissors. I turned in at 10.30 pm.


18/5/16/ Thursday. I got up at 7am. Capt. Pearce, the Adjt , came home this morning, but Capt. Mann has taken over his job as adjutant, so Capt. Pearce has been sent as O.C. to D Coy. One of our aeroplanes was reported as having been brought down over our lines, but there are so many contrary reports that I think it may be just a tale. I sent Alvin down a bag of papers today.and some tins of cocoa. It has been very hot today. There were a couple of casualties this morning (30 to date). I omitted to put a few on yesterday`s total. We are packing up today, prior to our departure out of the trenches. I heard from a private source that the 5th. Division tried to march from Tel-El-Kebir to Serupeum and got lost in the desert and had a great number of casualties through thirst. We are moving into Sailly when we leave here, and from there, after a short spell, to Ypres.I intend to get transferred back with Alvin as soon as we get out of here. I went down and saw Alvin tonight. I was kept going from 6 pm till 11.30pm typing tonight. There was no mail for me tonight. I turned in at midnight.


19/5/16. Friday. I was up at 6.45 am. It has been very hot all day. Fritz started shelling us here at about 11 am this morning until about 11.30 am and they put in about 15 or 20 just about 20 yards from us. The dirt was flying in our dugout a treat and pieces of shrapnel going everywhere. Two shells burst barely five yards away from the cookhouse and messed things up a treat. There were frying pans and pots everywhere. One shell fell right on top of a spot where I had buried a blind shell and left it bare without exploding. There was one casualty last night. The enemy threw a lot more shells onto our quarter this afternoon and made things fly for a while. Our communication trench was smashed in dozens of places. They also put about 30 H.E. shells into the road about 600 yards away. We have to go out tomorrow night. I have not seen Alvin today. There were no orders to type tonight. I received a few letters tonight. One from Adie ( No. 21). I turned in at 10 pm.


20/5/16. Saturday. I was up at 7.30 am. There was no firing at all today, until about 10 am when they started shelling again, but no one was hit. The 9th. Bn. got it hot last night and had a lot of casualties. They came down the Rue du Bois road in columns. We always move in single file when we move. It was very hot again today. I went and saw Alvin this morning and found him and Reg Eldridge fast asleep, but soon livened things up and woke them up. They are going to send a few more back this morning. I have been busy packing up this afternoon. I sent Alvin a few more things this afternoon by an orderly. The 11th Bn. orderly room clerk arrived to take over at 10 pm . We moved out along to the train line at 11.50 pm. As soon as we had gone about 100 yards they turned a machine gun on us. We all lay flat on the ground and the shots, just by luck went about 3 inches over our prone bodies. We got through all right and soon got on to the main road, which was also being swept by machine gun fire. After a 5 mile walk (only 7 of us) we got to sailly about 3 am. I just took my blanket off my pack and went into the land of dreams.


21/5/16. Sunday. I was up at 8 am and had time to look around the place. This is a bosker orderly room. We have four nice round tables. (I have a little beauty for the typewriter). The Y.M.C.A. canteen is right opposite and the post office is in the same building with the Q.M. store, so we are right amongst everything. I received my watch today. It was bought in England by Carl Piper and posted on to me here (1 pound one shilling). I went and saw Alvin this afternoon and walked around the town with him and Reg Eldridge for about 2 hours. I received a couple of letters today and typed the orders tonight before turning in at 11 pm.


22/5/16. Monday. I was up at 7 am. , washed etc. and made myself a clean little boy. I have had a rotten headache all morning and had a lie down in the postal orderly`s room upstairs. I did a little typing this afternoon. I saw Alvin and Reg again and went out for a few minutes with them. I gave Alvin my letters to read. I received more letters this afternoon. There were 22 bags of mail in today. I had a good long yarn to Jack McGowan at about 6 pm We were all paid this afternoon. I got the Bn. routine orders out at 9.30 pm and turned in at 11 pm.


23/5/16. Tuesday. I was up at 7am and going for my life all day, typing out courts martial proceedings etc. I received 8 more letters and a parcel from home today. That makes a total of about 60 in the last three weeks. I saw Alvin and gave him some letters to read. There were no orders to type tonight. There was very heavy firing on both flanks from 9 pm till 11.30 pm when I turned in.


24/5/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7 am, washed and swept out etc. I was kept going all morning with the typing. I received a couple more letters this morning. Everything is anyhow today; everyone is in a bad humour (including myself). I saw Alvin this afternoon and gave him a letter for himself and some of mine to read, and he did likewise. I got the orders out early tonight. I was writing letters from 8.30 till midnight and then I turned in.


25/5/16.  Thursday. I was up at 7.30 this morning and cleaned the place up. I had a rather easy day today. Nobody went crook at all. I saw Alvin passing on fatigue duty this morning. He is looking much better now. I received one letter today and posted a handkerchief home to both Gladys and Bessie and registered them. No orders tonight. I turned in at 10.30 pm.


26/5/16. Friday. I was up at 6.45 this morning and everybody is in a good humour, including myself. There was very little typing to do this morning. I got one of the signalers to cut my hair this afternoon and he made a good job of it. I got the orders out this afternoon at 5.30 (2 pages). The staff sgt (Murdoch) went on leave tonight to England and I am acting orderly room Cpl. now, so I can`t think of getting back to Alvin`s platoon until Murdoch gets back. I`ve written home and told them that I am getting back at last. There has been no heavy firing for a couple of days. I have not seen Alvin today at all. I turned in at 11 pm.


27/5/16. Saturday. I was up at 7 am and I have had a real good day today. I have had plenty of work but nobody growling at me. I received 5 more letters today and 2 photos of Ida Drew. I saw Alvin today and gave him 6 letters. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


28/5/16. Sunday. I was up at 7am and had a very easy day. The C.O. and Adjudant were out on inspection all day. I received another bundle of letters today and answered all of them. I sent home a handkerchief for Mum by registered post and also one to Snowy Gilmour`s sister. I saw Alvin today and gave him a bundle of letters. I always get his from the postal orderly direct. I turned in early tonight. There were no Bn. orders again tonight.


29/5/16. Monday. I was up at 7.15 am. I was kept going on the typewriter pretty well all morning. I saw Alvin again and we had a roam around Sailly. Everything has been quiet today. I got the orders out at 2100 tonight. (9pm) and turned in at 22.30 (10.30 pm).


30/5/16. Tuesday. I was up at 7 am and cleaned things up. I saw Alvin again this morning. The Y.M.C.A. sells tea at all times of the day. (only since we have been here). I finished up a court martial proceeding this morning. I was kept going at the typewriter pretty well all day. I had a roam round Sailly after tea. The 3rd Brigade, who relieved us, were heavily shelled from about 7 pm till 9 pm. A message came through from Brigade H.Qs. to be ready to turn out in 5 minutes time. Our artillery retaliated just after the Germans started, and things fairly hummed for a time. A message came round at 10.30 saying to resume normal conditions. I turned in at 11.30. (2300)


31/5/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7 am. The Adjutant has been away all day at a court martial case, and I have had a very lazy time. I went out for a wash at the divisional baths and of course changed my clothes. I was very busy typing from 3 pm to 8 pm special orders. Mr. Hughes, the Australian Prime Minister, is going to inspect the 1st Brigade tomorrow at 10.30 am. A message came round about 6 pm to say that we are to expect an alarm tonight, but up till now nothing has happened. (10.40). A memo re 30/5/16.  This was told by an officer of the 11th Brigade (who was in the trenches throughout the bombardment). The German artillery started onto our trenches and blew them about a lot. Then our artillery retaliated and got the German parapets nicely and blew them to pieces. The Germans then started an attack and some of them got into our trenches but they never went any further, but got cut up by our chaps. This        morning you could see dead Germans a treat in no man`s land. They lost far more than we did. I turned in at 10.45 pm.


1/6/16. Thursday. I was up at 7.15 am . The C.O. and Adjutant were away nearly all day and I had very little typing to do. I have been crook all  day with influenza. Everything seemed to go wrong this afternoon. I made a mix up of everything. I went for a ride down to Alvin`s billet and gave him a couple of letters. I did a little typing when I got back and turned in at 9.40 (2140). I feel jolly crook tonight.


2/6/16. Friday. I was up at 7.30 this morning and cleaned up etc. I have felt crook all day. There was plenty of typing to do. I went out at 11.00 and stayed away until 12.15 in the Y.M.C.A. playing draughts. I kept going all afternoon. I scored a cap today from the Q.M. I am waiting anxiously for Murdoch, the staff Sgt. to come back, as I am full of this job absolutely. I got the orders out at 8.30 tonight (No 276) a double page done. I had a good yarn to Jim Burgess from Brigade H.Qs.  and turned in at 9.30 pm.

3/6/16. Saturday. I was up at 7.35 this morning. Muller did all the cleaning up. Everything going on very smoothly today. No complaints anywhere and very little typing to do. I saw Alvin this afternoon and had a little yarn with him. Turned in at 10 pm.


4/6/16. Sunday. I was up at 7.45 am and cleaned things up. Karl Muller, the orderly room Cpl., went out this morning for a general roam round from 9 am till 12 noon. I remained in the orderly room in sole charge. The Adjutant was out going round the billets with the C.O. I went out for a trip to find Ted Davies and Alec Steene in the 19th Bn.. I found them and had a good old chat. I then went for a bike ride to Fleurbaix, and returned home on a different route. I arrived home at 5.15 and had tea etc. and got out the Bn. orders at 8 pm and turned in at 9.30 pm.


5/6/16. Monday. Up at 7.30 this morning. It has been raining a bit today and I have had very little to do all day. I made enquiries about Dave Campbell and Jim Lambert today and found that they are both in hospital. The Adjutant has been in bed all day with influenza. I saw Alvin this afternoon and went for a walk with him down as far as his billet. I went for a general roam round with one of the orderlies after tea for about an hour and a half. I got the orders out early and turned in at 10.30. pm. According to the London papers, There was a long naval battle off Jutland and as a result as far as could be at present estimated 18 German ships have been sunk and 14 of ours have also been sunk.


6/6/16. Tuesday. I was up at 6.15 this morning (a mistake). I fixed things up generally. Sgt. Murdoch was due back this morning but failed to put in an appearance. It has been raining all morning. I typed out a nominal roll of all the 6/19 reinforcements who joined this Bn. and who are now actually here (some were killed etc.), as they are going to get some comforts for us from the 19th Bn. Comforts Fund. They socked it into one another up Ypres way last night, and the Germans advanced 700 yards, but were driven back by the Canadian`s counter attack. Today is the 103rd day of the Verdun offensive. The fighting, according to the newspaper reports is fiercer than ever, but the French are more than holding the line. I went for a fair walk this afternoon with Alvin, Alec and Ted along the bank of the river. I received about 15 letters today addressed- care of the 4th Bn. My mail ought to come without any bother now. I received a couple of photos today. They are bosker. I turned in at 21.45.


7/6/16. Wednesday. The Adjutant was away all day on Court Martial cases. Sgt. Murdoch arrived back this morning. He has been appointed as Coy. Q.M. Sgt. of D Coy. I asked him to fix up my transfer back to C Coy. and I`ve to see Capt. Mann in the morning. There is a rumour that Lord Kitchener was drowned off the Orkney Island when on board H.M.S. Hampshire. All his staff was also drowned so the story goes. I got the orders out at 9.30. (2130). We received a message from the 9th Bn. saying that they expect a gas attack at 11pm. , then another message at 11.30 saying that everything was O.K. and to carry on . I turned in at 11.45.


8/6/16. Thursday. I was up this morning at 7.50 and finished the nominal roll of the 6/19 and 7/19 chaps who joined the 4th Bn. I went and had a bath at the Divisional Baths with Jim Burgess, and coming out I met Tom Greystone and George Brooks and both are looking pretty crook too. I had a bit of a yarn to them but had to hurry back to the orderly room. I made Alvin out a pass so that he could cross the Sailly Bridge this afternoon and see them both. I also made out one for Jack McGowan. It has been confirmed about Kitchener and all his staff. They were drowned while on a trip to Russia on a secret mission on board the Hampshire. They have cut the number of chaps that can take leave each day down to almost half as from today. (27 per Brigade per week) and the time is down from the time that they leave till the time that they get back. No orders tonight. I went for a long walk with one of the orderlies (Spencer) tonight. I quite enjoy these walks. I turned in at 11 pm.


9/6/16. Friday. I was up at 7.45 and there was very little typing to do all day.  I went for a ride to Estaires today on the bike passing through Nouveau Monde. I got through all right on my faked pass. After going all over the town, I eventually drifted out onto a road to Sailly. I had gone round in a circle. I ran into a poor little French kid and sent him flying, and sort of bit the dust myself. I sorted things out after a time and found that nobody was hurt. I got back without any further mishaps. I saw Alvin again today and had tea with him at the Y.M.C.A. hut. A good few aeroplanes were up this afternoon. A rumour went round this afternoon that the Crown Prince and 40,000 men had been captured at Verdun. I got the orders out at 8.30. The “F” turned up by post for the typewriter. I have written several letters tonight and turned in at 2345.


10/6/16. Saturday. I was up at 8 am. There was very little typing to do all day. I saw Alvin today and he gave me a letter from Sarah Stead to read. I finished packing up the orderly room at 7 pm We marched away at 9.30 pm and arrived at our new billet at 11.30 pm and turned in straight away.


11/6/16 Sunday. I was up at 8am this morning and had a good look round the place. We are right in the town and there`s a bosker orchard at the back (cherries and strawberries etc.). Alvin is about 2 miles away. The Padre went round all the billets today and held services. The old typewriter got smashed again today but I got it fixed up temporarily and got the orders out at 9 pm. I feel very crook tonight. The old head`s going a treat. I got paid 40 francs today. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


12/6/16. Monday. I got up at 8.15 this morning and had a feed of cherries. The typewriter got smashed again this morning. I sent it away to the armourer Sgt. I did not go and see Alvin today owing to the Cpl. here being drunk and I was practically doing everything. There were no orders tonight. I received 14 letters today (No. 20 from home) and I answered them all tonight before turning in at 12.15 or 0015.


13/6/16. Tuesday. I was up at 8.15 this morning. It is still raining. I did not see Alvin today at all. I received 15 letters today. There were 9 for Alvin. Everything is quiet on the front tonight. I turned out a 4-page order tonight and turned in at 11 pm.


14/6/16. Wednesday. I was up at 8.15 this morning. It is raining and cold again today. The typewriter is still out of action. I saw Alvin and Reg today,.and gave Alvin a bundle of letters. There were no orders tonight. I received a couple of letters tonight and posted about 15. I do not owe any letters now. All clocks on the British front were put forward 1 hour tonight at 11 pm., which made it 12 midnight. I turned in at 0010.


15/6/16. Thursday. I was up at 9.30 this morning and was kept going all day writing. It has been very cold today. I did not see Alvin today but Alec came over this afternoon. His Bn. is only a short distance from us now, but we are going into the trenches tomorrow. There were no orders tonight. I received a couple more letters tonight. I turned in at 11.10.


16/6/16 Friday. I was up at 9.30 this morning after a very interrupted sleep owing to drunken brawls going on. Fritz was shelling us a good deal today. I got the orders out at 6.30. and turned in at 11pm. I was awakened at 12 midnight owing to a heavy bombardment going on. I got up and dressed, but we had no occasion to stay up. (The Bn. H.Qs. informed us that the New Zealanders were making a raid on Fritz`s trenches.). I had just turned in again when the gas alarm was sounded. Bells going everywhere. Of course we all hopped out and got things ready, but I did not put my helmet on. Anyhow we found out from Brigade that it was lighter up on our left at Armentieres, so I turned in again. I had hardly dropped off when they sounded the alarm again, but nothing came our way so I turned in for good.


17/6/16. Saturday. I was up at 9am. Everything is going smoothly today. I did not have much to do all day. I have not seen Alvin for a couple of days now. There is a big gun at the rear of our billet that the enemy at the present moment is trying to find with H.E. shells. They are coming close to our little position. There were no orders tonight and no gas alarms either. I turned in at midnight.


18/6/16. Sunday. I was up at 8.30. It is a bosker day. Fritz has been shelling pretty well all day and also sending over a couple or so aerial torpedoes. They make some row. I wrote several letters today and posted them. I got the orders out early and turned in at 23.25. There was another gas alarm tonight but nothing came our way.


19/6/16. Monday. I was up at 8.45 and have had a pretty easy day, just a few odd things to do. I have not seen Alvin at all today. The artillery has been firing salvos at fair intervals. The report came in this afternoon that Zernowitz has fallen. The boys are changing over tonight so that will mean that Alvin will be billeted only about 100 yards from me. The boys were shelled a treat coming out tonight but no one was hit. There was a gas alarm again tonight, and on our own front too, but the wind changed.


20/6/16. Tuesday. I saw Alvin this morning and went and had a feed with him and Reg Eldridge. Fritz sent over a good few shells this afternoon, but they all went wide of here. I saw Tom Graystone again today. I am full up of this office work now. I turned in at midnight.


21/6/16. Wednesday. I had a good solid sleep last night, the first for a long time. There has been great aeroplane activity today. Our aeroplanes have been up in fours over the enemy lines. There was no gas alarm tonight. I turned in at midnight.


22/6/16 Thursday. Capt. Mann came back from leave this morning. Alvin and I both received parcels today from the 19th Bn. (They came with their comforts fund.)


22/6/16. Thursday (cont.) The Adjutant brought back a couple of parts for the typewriter today, and I put them on but she is still not working. I will fix it up in the morning. I gave Alvin his parcel tonight. We were both glad and thankful to dear Mum and Adie for sending us the things. They were just exactly what we needed. There were no orders tonight. We had a gas alarm at about midnight again, but I did not take any notice. I just turned over and risked it.


23/6/16. Friday. I saw Alvin this morning. There was not much doing all day. It rained a treat this morning and part of the afternoon. I had a bosker feed of berries this afternoon from out the back of the old garden. I met Tom Graystone and Norm Sutherland at the Brigade canteen this afternoon when I was in there with Alvin having a feed. We had the usual gas alarm tonight after a fairly heavy bombardment. I turned out this trip but it was only some sentry gone wrong.


24/6/16. Saturday. I finished packing up this morning. The typewriter is working again in a sort of a way. I saw Gordon Morrison this afternoon and had a good old yarn with him. He is looking splendid and I was glad to see him. (Gordon is a very nice decent chap to me). We left H.Qs. at 9.45 pm to march down to Wye Farm, our Bn. H.Qs., just at the entrance to the communication trench, and about half a mile from the firing line. I am in a dugout with the orderlies. I turned in at midnight.


25/6/16. Sunday. I was up at 8.30 this morning and did a little typing. I went down to the firing line to look for one of the boys to give him a periscope. The trenches are lined with poppies etc. and look very pretty indeed. We had a bombardment this afternoon. I have not seen Alvin at all today. The 2nd Division carried out a raid last night on the enemy lines and captured 4 prisoners. There was an artillery bombardment with our guns joining in and this lasted fully an hour. Our parapets were blown away in a few places and theirs were also. We suffered 12 casualties during the night.


26/6/16. Monday. There was a stand to at 3 am until 3.30 this morning. There is a dead artillery chap just out in the court yard. It is raining again today. There has been a bit of an artillery duel tonight. I turned in at 11 pm.


27/6/16 Tuesday. There was nothing much doing all day. Things are very quiet on our front. There was another artillery duel this afternoon and our trenches were blown about, but there was only one casualty. One of our raiding parties went out last night and no one was hurt.


28/6/16. Wednesday. I was up at 8.30 am. The O.R. Cpl. has been away today on a court martial case in Sailly and I was in charge of the orderly room of course and managed O.K. I went down and saw Alvin this afternoon. He was sound asleep but I soon wakened him up. I gave him 20 francs to keep him going.  There were no orders tonight. A heavy bombardment is now on. The concussion is up to putty. The 5th Brigade is making a raid now with the 1st Bn. and I am expecting to be called out at any minute. Shells are flying all round the place. I hope Alvin is all right. We have about 200 cylinders of gas down in our lines now ready to use on Fritz but we are not going to use it for a few days.


29/6/16. Thursday. The raid was carried out successfully last night. The 1st Bn. party went over first and got cut up, but the 5th Brigade met with very little opposition. They found dozens of dead Germans when they got over. We had only one casualty last night, a machine gun Cpl. A shell landed right at his feet and blew him to pieces. (Cpl. Woodford was his name.) The artillery opened up as per usual at midnight. There were no orders issued tonight. We had a gas alarm and I did turn out.


30/6/16 Friday. I was up at 7.30 am and did some typing which I had to take down to advanced H.Qs. to the Adjutant Fritz was shelling our trenches a treat this morning, especially Brewery Post. A Tommy Division just on our right had a “hop over” at 3 am this morning and drove the Germans out. The artillery bombardment, which was on at the time, was kept up until 8.30 am. Another one of our Cpls. was shot last night. (Cpl. Bitmead of “A” Coy.) I have been kept going on the typewriter on secret messages about our proposed raid tonight and also on the use of Rogers Gas Cylinders. Our raiding party consists of 30 men and 3 officers. The trench mortars are going to open up, then the artillery is doing likewise. At present the wind is blowing the wrong way so there is to be nothing doing tonight after all.


1/7/16. Saturday. I was up at 8.30 and have been typing out secret messages again all day. They are going to do what they intended to do last night tonight as long as the wind is O.K. There were no casualties last night. The French have had a great success at Verdun and the British are advancing on a front of 15 miles according to cablegrams. I have not seen Alvin for 2 days now. There was no gas attack on our part tonight again owing to the wind not being right, but we had a couple of gas alerts ourselves. I turned in at about midnight.


2/7/16. Sunday. I  was up at 8.30 am. It has been a bosker day. Very quiet all day. I went down and saw Alvin and stayed a long time. There was only a very short order tonight. The wind was not favourable for any Roger tonight, but we had a bit of a bombardment at about midnight as usual. Another chap got killed last night.


3/7/16. Monday. I was up at 8.30 this morning. Things were a bit on the lively side down in the trenches this morning. They dropped some rations at our dugout. I received 9 letters from home and Alvin also received some, but I could not get down to see him. It was not a very big order tonight. The 2nd Bn. suffered pretty badly up at Fleurbaix last night when Fritz started to shell them. He lobbed some in Alvin`s old billet, killing 8 and wounding 16. They also lobbed one right in front of our old H.Qs. I turned in at about midnight.


4/7/16. Tuesday. I was up bang on 9am this morning. There were no casualties again last night. It has been raining all day. I typed out our move order this morning. We are going to Sailly tomorrow night. I went down City road to Alvin`s dugout in “C” Coy. this afternoon and found him asleep as per usual. There were no orders tonight and everything has been quiet all day. There were no aeroplanes up today. I turned in at about 11.30. pm.


5/7/16. Wednesday. I was up at 8am this morning and was kept going pretty well all day. The 46th chaps were hanging round all day. They seem a very nervous lot of chaps. I ducked away at 9.50 am with Toby and George. I made the pace and very soon had them gasping. I was pretty well done myself. After getting through Fleurbaix, which has been blown about some, we ducked onto a waggon and got a ride as far as Bac St. Maur. We arrived at our billet in Sailly at 11.30 am after a 7 mile trip.


6/7/16. Thursday. I had a roam round Sailly today. I saw Alvin this morning. I received some more letters. It has been raining all day. There was a heavy bombardment on our right tonight and the usual gas alert. I turned in at midnight.


7/7/16. Friday. Lt. Col. Scott of the 5th Bn. came into the O.R.  today and shook hands with me. Apart from that nothing out of the ordinary happened. I saw Alvin and gave him a pair of trousers, which I got from the Salvage Coy. I got the orders out at 9.30 pm and turned in at midnight.


8/7/16. Saturday. I was up at the usual time and kept busy packing things up. I had a roam about the place. I got the orders out early tonight. We are to move to Oultersteene tomorrow. I turned in at 10 pm.


9/7/16 Sunday. I was up at 6am this  morning. I packed my kit and we got away at about 9 am. I had to look after our Sgt. Major and carry him by the arm as he was dead drunk, but I got him through to the place (about 10 miles.). We added about 6 miles to our trip by roaming around looking for a home. We eventually found one near Meteren. I turned in straight away in a barn and had a sleep. There is a tale going about that we are off again tomorrow.


10/7/16. Monday. I was up at 6.30 and had breakfast. There was nothing much doing all day. I went to the transport this afternoon to condense our boxes into one. The old typewriter is being left behind at Bailleul together with all the other stuff. I had another sleep this afternoon and also turned in early tonight.


11/7/16 Tuesday. I was up at 5 am and packed my kit up into marching order and we marched off to Bailleul at about 9 am. (A 3 mile march). We embarked on a train of cattle trucks and had 6 hours in the train finishing up at Doullens at about 5 pm. Then we marched about 12 miles through bosker country full of poppies and cornflowers, through about a dozen villages, finishing up at St. Quentin (a bosker big town) at 10 pm. I had a roam round the town and turned in at 11 pm.


12/7/16. Wednesday. We moved off again at 8.30.am.and marched about 5 miles to Vignacourt. We got there at about dinnertime. I am billeted in a barn again. I saw Gordon Morrison again today and went for a walk down the town with him. I turned in at 9 pm.


13/7/16. Thursday. I was up at 8.30 am. Courts-Martial were held at 9 am. (4 of our chaps were up.)  We moved off at 1 pm. I felt crook when I started and then my knee went, but we got to our destination 10 or 11 miles away, the town of Allonville. The 3rd Bn. left 45 mins. before we did and we had to halt 3 or 4 times to let them get a move on. We could have passed them easily, long before we got to our destination. I am in a stable for a home this time. I saw Gordon again tonight. I turned in at 10 pm.



14/7/16. Friday. I was up at 8 am this morning and have done absolutely nothing all day. I saw Alvin about 6 times today. A big mail came in today. Alvin and I scored about 18 letters between us. We both read the lot. We have been expecting the order to pack up at any time today, but turned in at 10 pm without hearing anything.


15/7/16. Saturday. I was up at 9am this morning and had a roam round the place. There is the whole of our Brigade and about 6 other Brigades of Tommies hereabouts. I saw Alvin several times today and I wrote several letters in our dugout. I turned in at 9 pm tonight as we are off sometime tomorrow for certain.


16/7/16. Sunday. I was up at 7am this morning and packed my things up. I had an early breakfast. (I am some cook now.) We marched out after dinner passing through several small villages. (about 8 miles.)  We finished up at Warloy. It is a fair sized town and full of Tommies. We are about 5 miles from Albert now and I feel sure that we will soon be at it. I have got a decent billet this time. There are some very nice mademoiselles here too. I turned in at 10 pm.


17/7/16. Monday. I was up at 8am and made my own breakfast. I have been writing letters all morning and got them posted. I saw Alvin this afternoon and we had a roam round the villages. There was nothing much doing for the rest of the day.


18/7/16. Tuesday. I was up at 8am this morning and have been sleeping pretty well all day. I had a trip down to where our transport is and got some things out of our orderly room box. I saw Alvin this afternoon and gave him some letters to read, sent by Snowy Gilmour, who is now in camp on Salisbury Plains, Wiltshire. He is training and has been there for the past month. I turned in at 9.30 pm.


19/7/16. Wednesday. I was up at 8am this morning. We have all been busy packing up our kits.  All packs and blankets were handed in this morning. All we are keeping is our waterproof and overcoats now with bare equipment in our haversacks and water bottles too. We have all been given a piece of pink and white cloth about 8 inches by six inches to sew onto our backs so as to give the artillery at our rear a chance to know how far we have advanced, so that they can shorten or extend their fire. We moved off from here this afternoon at about 5 pm and marched to Albert. We stayed in an open field for tea outside Albert. We then moved off again and went into the third line of trenches after going over the ground recently taken by the British in their advance. Before we got into our trenches there was a bombardment and there was shrapnel flying everywhere, but none of our chaps got knocked. I am in a dugout with the rest of H.Qs. It is about 30 feet deep and fitted out in royal style. This one was evidently fitted out as a workshop as is filled with pipes and tools etc. It hums too. There must be a dead Fritz about somewhere near. I turned in at about 1 am.


20/7/16. Thursday. I was up at 8am. The artillery has been going a treat all day, and terrible heavy guns among them too, but mostly 5.9 and 9.2. There are batteries all over the place. I went for water this morning and had to go about 2 miles to get it. The whole of the ground here is completely torn up by shells, some hellish big craters too. I went over to visit the mines of La Boisselle this afternoon and had a roam amongst the network of underground dugouts and found luxurious rooms with beds, spring mattresses, sheets, stoves and everything a chap could wish for. (high class). Fritz was doing well. I have been down to see Alvin a couple of times today.  He is quite well and happy. A German aeroplane was brought down in our lines this afternoon. I saw it dive down in a big circle, then went straight down. One of ours was also brought down. He also dived down, and then about 50 feet from the earth turned side on and fell on its wings. I turned in at midnight.


21/7/16. Friday. I was up at 8 am. Our temporary Sgt. was sent away from the orderly room this morning to a school of Instruction, and he was glad to go too. The artillery has been going all day. A good few of the 1st Brigade have been wounded today and have been sent off to Blighty land. The Berkshires tried to get across a 1000-yard stretch in front of our lines but got cut up a treat. They had 1500 casualties. They had got about half way over, when someone (must have been Fritz) sang out “Retire” and they carried out the instruction. I went down to see Alvin today. He is quite O.K. I was sent away myself, to act as I thought, to guide some stragglers at a post about 3000 yards from here, but when I got there I was told that I would have to stay here until our unit comes out.


22/7/16. Saturday. I was up at 7am. I had a good nights sleep, but I am terribly anxious about dear old Alvin and can`t find any information about him either. I asked to be allowed to go back to my Bn. today, but they would not let me. About 200 German prisoners passed through our hands this morning, a ragged lot they were too. I went over to the road where the wounded were coming up tonight and saw dozens of 4th Bn. chaps, but I could not get any information about Alvin, so I had to come back.                                                                                                                                                                  



22/7/16. Saturday (cont.) I cannot sleep tonight from worrying about Alvin, but will just have to hope for the best. Our chaps hopped over tonight.


23/7/16. Sunday. I can`t stay here any longer. I am sick of the inactivity and am nearly mad about no news of dear old Alvin, so I am going without permission. The C.O. eventually let me go so I reported back to the Bn. at about 3 pm. I was put on duty as Bn. runner and have been going ever since with messages under hellish shell fire. I can`t get any information about Alvin from the O.R. We have had about 300 casualties, mostly slightly wounded from shell fire. The Germans are using some very heavy shells. I slept in a sort of a way from about 10 pm, then we had to stand to until 1am.


24/7/16. Monday. Our chaps carried out a bombing raid on a long trench this morning and killed about 100 odd Germans and captured about 40. We did not have many killed during the raid. The men are all tired out and can hardly stand up. We are waiting for Fritz to come along again, but we are not afraid of him. Our H.Qs. are right up in the end of the firing line now, as we had to move up with the men. I found out this morning that Alvin`s equipment was found and his rifle all blood stained and someone told me that they saw him getting back to the trench, so I suppose that he has walked back to the dressing station. I won`t know until we get out anyway. His cobber, Reg Eldridge, has gone away. He was shot in the arm. I have been up to the front posts about a dozen times today, and have been buried about 6 times but managed to get out O.K. I got a slight wound in the shoulder this afternoon, but not bad enough to stop me. Dozens more of our chaps were buried and killed today. It`s hellish and it`s a wonder I do not go mad seeing such sights, but I am getting hardened to it now. There is no further news about old Alvin and I finished up on duty here at 9 pm and went down to the old H.Qs. and tried to get some sleep. I am completely tired out.


26/7/16. Wednesday. I was up at 7 am and had some breakfast. It is absolute hell here again today. I went up to the advanced H.Qs. and went round the whole line with the Major up to where we joined the Warickshires. We then came back under rotten shell fire, but I got through all right. I just got back when I had to go up top again. Two of us started out but the orderly who was with me got knocked a bit, so I had to go on by myself. By sheer luck I got through O.K.. When I got there I had to repeat the performance going back, but I got through O.K.. There was a lot of falling debris. I went down to “B” Coy again this afternoon as a guide to an officer, and got him through O.K. I then went down to the Bn. H.Qs. for a spell at 7.30 pm and had a sleep until 11 pm when I went from Bn. H.Qs. to the Brigade H.Qs., I made 3 different trips to the very front line again under pretty heavy shell fire and had to walk along the parapet as troops (incoming) were lined right up the trench.


27/7/16. Thursday. I have still been running about. The 24th and 22nd Bns. Who relieved the 4th and 8th respectively were eventually got into position, so the Major, 2 more orderlies and I went out on the main Bapaune Road and chanced to luck getting to Albert. I was tired out when we got there and found that we were camped on the other side of town in some trenches there. I heard from an ambulance man that he is pretty sure that Alvin went through their hands slightly wounded. but I do not believe him. I feel sure that he has been killed. We moved off from our trenches at about 5 pm and had a 10 mile march to some big woods where we were camped in some Canadian huts. I am nearly broken hearted with worry about poor Alvin. It is cruel not knowing what has happened to him, but will trust in God to make things right. We put the night in here but could not get any sleep. I was cold and worried.


28/7/16. Friday. I was up at 8am and saw Tom Graystone and Gordon Morrison this morning. They are both O.K.. Our casualties to date are 77 killed, 380 wounded and about 60 missing. They have put down Alvin as wounded, but no one knows what has happened to him. General Birdwood was amongst us all day today, talking to us. The cinematographer was walking behind him taking pictures of us. There is still no news about poor Alvin. We marched off at 7.15 pm to march 20 kilometres and camped for the night in some stables at 1 am.


29/7/16. Saturday. I could not sleep again last night. I can`t think of anything but Alvin – Surely to God I will soon learn the truth. We marched off at 9 am and marched until 1 pm., about 15 kilometres, (and about 6 kilometres from our starting point). We have been going in a triangle. I have no interest in anything now. We spent the night in a little village. I saw Gordon tonight.


30/7/16 Sunday. We left here at 9 am. I am wheeling the bike today. (The Adjutant told me that I could). We had a 12 mile march to a place called Halloy, where I am billeted in a loft of some sort with the bombers. There is still no news of Alvin. I turned in at 11pm.


31/7/16. Monday. We are still in Halloy. I have been busy all day on the casualty reports etc. I turned in late tonight.    



1/8/16 Tuesday. I was up at 8.30 this morning. I am still working on the casualty report. It`s a rotten complicated job. I heard from Reg Eldridge today. He is in No. 1 Canadian General Hospital and doing well. He got hit in the shoulder, very slightly thankfully. I saw Gordon Morrison again today, and he, like myself, is very downhearted. I turned in early tonight.


2/8/16. Wednesday. I was up at 8.30 this morning. A chap named Johnstone has been helping us in the O.R. lately, and he is on another casualty report. I have been riding about on the bike a lot today. I received a letter from dear old Alvin today. (The best letter that I have ever received in my life). He was wounded in the left upper arm by a piece of shrapnel, and then he fell and broke it. He is now in the V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Depot) in Waldon, Kent, England. He is feeling well. I am glad that he is alive. I never thought that I would miss him as much as I have. I received about 30 letters today for both of us, and have sent them all over to Alvin by registered post. I turned in at about 10 pm.


3/8/16. Thursday. I was up at 8 am and had my usual wash in the stream and went up to the orderly room at about 10 am. I have been all over the place on the bike. I am as happy as I can be again. I saw Gordon again tonight.


4/8/16. Friday. It is Alvin`s birthday today, and he likely to be spending it in England. It`s his 21st too. I hope he spends the next in Sydney.  Another batch of mail for Alvin and I today. They were mostly birthday cards. We aren`t doing too bad for mail now.


5/8/16. Saturday.  It is my birthday today. One year since I joined up. I had a pretty decent dinner on the strength of it. It was cooked by the pioneer’s cook. (a Tamworth chap). There was not much doing today. I turned in late tonight. We had sports here today and another runner and I won then three-legged race easily. (worth 5 francs.)


6/8/16.Sunday. We expect to move out tomorrow from here and go into the trenches again, but nothing is definite.


There were no entries made in the notebook after this brief statement

The next entry was made on 12/8/16.


12/8/16 Saturday. It has been pretty quiet today. I have had very little to do all day. 100 reinforcements came last night, including a few of our hands who were wounded at Pozieres. I was paid 35 francs today, so I am financial again.


13/8/16. Sunday. I was up at 6.30 this morning. There was a Brigade Parade at 8.30 am. They presented decorations to the men who had won them, since the beginning of our term in France. Sgt. Costin was promoted to 2nd Lt. I have spent the rest of the day packing up my kit.


14/8/16. Monday. I have been just knocking about doing odd jobs in the orderly room and getting things together, as we had to be ready to move off at 9 am this morning. I went ahead on the bike to Badercourt Wood, where we camped for the night in the same Canadian huts we were in before on our way out on 28/7/16.


15/8/16. Tuesday. We were up at 7 am and we moved off at 9 am on a 6-mile march. (9 kilometres). I wheeled the bike the whole way, and a slippery push it was too. We rested at some trenches just outside of Albert and stayed until 5 pm. I then went up to Pozieres with a couple more orderlies and reported to the Adjutant in the support line. He immediately put me on as runner for “B” Coy. I had to go up with the runner of the 51st Bn. (whom we relieved). We got up O.K.     Then I had to wait until our Coy. changed over, then at midnight, I had to go back to the Bn. H.Qs. (about 2 miles back) with a message saying that all was complete. While I was doing this the Germans were shelling heavily, and there was no trench left to guide me. I just had to go ahead and chance to luck. When I got back, I just curled up in a corner and was out to it. Just on 3 am the C.O. called me to take him to “B” Coy. I roamed about a bit trying to find the track. It took some finding. We got back just on daylight.


16/8/16. Wednesday. I was on the go this morning taking messages to “B” Coy., and acting as guide all day. They are cutting our chaps to pieces with their artillery. Capt. McDonald was killed today. I was called out at 6pm to guide the police and pioneers (8 in all), carrying stretchers to “B” Coy. The Germans started a bombardment just as we got a move on, but we stuck to it. We crossed the sunken road in daylight. It is supposed to be used only at night. It saved us about a mile walk through the communication trench. I don`t know how we all got through, but we did, and found “B” Coy. with Lt. Costin in charge, and only 20 fit men left.



16/8/16. Wednesday. (cont.)  We started off back carrying the 3 wounded men, myself in the lead. Fritz had put up a fire barrage which we had to go through. A high explosive shell landed about 4 yards away from me, getting me in the hip and in the head. A chap just behind me also got hit. Any way we all got through to the dressing station and were dressed and labelled. I had to stay there until morning before going to the ambulance. Fritz made three attacks on our chaps tonight. We could hear the rifle fire. It was very close from the sound, but each attack was repulsed.


17/8/16. Thursday. I walked through a maze of trenches to Albert, where we found the 2nd Field Ambulance and were carried in an ambulance to the casualty clearing station where we put in the night.


18/8/16. Friday. I was on a stretcher all day and we embarked on a train for Boulogne at 6 pm and got there at about 11pm. I was bunged into No. 13 General Hospital with Bert Hill, and after a wash got into a bosker clean bed.


19/8/16. Saturday. I was woken up by the night sister for a wash at 4 am. Nothing happened after this for the rest of the day. I was inspected by the Dr. and my wounds dressed.


20/8/16. Sunday. Just the usual dressing etc.


21/8/16 – 22/8/16. It was just the same performance, except that on the 22nd I had to go and have an X-Ray. They found the place where the shell was.


23/8/16. I underwent my operation today at 2 pm. They opened my side up about 3 inches and they got the shell out. I came to at about 3 pm and was sick of course and sore, but was feeling glad that it was over.


24/8/16. I was inspected by the Dr. and he said that I was fit to go to England tomorrow. I am quite happy now.


25/8/16. We embarked at about 10 am and arrived in England at about 2 pm. I was put on a train to Guilford. That is where I am now.


26/8/16. I am still kept to my bed, but I was able to write a few letters today. I am not feeling too bad now.


27/8/16. I am in the War Hospital Warren Road Guilford and they treat us O.K.


10/9/16. I was allowed out of bed today.


18/9/16. Today I was allowed to go outside the hospital and went for a walk down to the town. I received a letter from Cpl. Karl Muller, an orderly from the Bn. today. He tells me that I have been recommended for something in the way of an award in dispatches, sent in on 10/9/16. Of course it is all rot.


My name was in the Bn. Orders in the congratulatory paragraph together with about a dozen other names for putting in exceptionally fine work during our recent operations in Pozieres 23-24th July 1916. I don`t know why they put my name down on the list, as I did nothing to talk about.


11/10/16 . I was discharged from the hospital today, and reported to 130 Horseferry Road. From there I was sent out to Harefield. No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital Park Road Harefield in Middlesex. I was examined by the doctor on 12/10/16 and sent to Perham Down on 13/10/16. This is No. 1 Command Depot on Salisbury Plain. From there I was sent on furlough on 15/10/16 and have to report back to camp at 3 pm on 30/10/16. I spent Sunday and Monday in London, and then went up to Leeds, Yorkshire and stayed until 23/10/16. From there I went to Walmer to meet Alvin.


30/10/16 Monday. I reported back to No. 1 Command Depot Perham Downs at 5 pm after completing 15 days furlough. It is a rotten place, all muck and slush, and a very cold wind blowing across the downs.


31/10/16. Tuesday. We were classified this morning, and I was marked “A” class (active service straight away.). I was put into No. 1 Coy. by Capt. Mackay, the M.O.


1/11/16. Wednesday. There was a parade at 6.45 am but we were dismissed almost directly. Breakfast was at 7.30 and we fell in again at 8.45 am. I was put in charge of a fatigue party until about 11 am. Dinner was at 12.30 and we fell in again at 1.45 and dismissed at 5 pm. I went to the Y.M.C.A. with Dan Jones, a Bn. runner. I was sent to 1st N.S.W. Training Bn. this afternoon and am in hut 34.



2/11/16. Thursday. It has been raining all day. We have been out doing rifle exercises all morning, and drilled the same number of hours as usual.


3/11/16/ Friday. It has not rained this morning. We were out doing drill this morning and this afternoon as usual. I was on guard duty tonight. It was a very easy cop, there was nothing to do, only report to the Bn. orderly room every 2 hours. I finished at 9.30 pm.


4/11/16 Saturday. It was a rotten cold day again. We drilled in the morning only. I went into the village this afternoon and bought some cards to send home. I got back to my hut at 6.30 pm. I had a hot shower and turned in.


5/11/16. Sunday. It has been the same sort of day as yesterday, but more windy. I attended Church parade at 11 am in the Y.M.C.A., but couldn`t hear a word of the service as I was too far back. I wrote several letters this afternoon. I met Reg Keirle tonight (an old 6/19 cobber who joined the 19th Bn.)


6/11/16. Monday. We started drill at 8 am this morning, and continued until 12 noon. We had dinner at 12.30. We fell in at 1.30 and continued drill until 5 pm. It was pretty solid. Alvin was to come back from furlough today, but I could not find him tonight


7/11/16 Tuesday. I am in charge of a bombing party of 6 men now. We had to report to the instructor at 9.30 am. The course is for 4 days I think. I saw Alvin this morning. I managed to get away from the bombing party at 10 am. He was just going in to be classified. I met him again at 4.30 and he tells me that he is “B.I.A.” (3 months light duty). They called for volunteers to go to Wareham Camp Wiltshire, and Alvin hopped out. He is to leave tomorrow morning. Alvin and myself went across to Tidworth tonight and had a few hours there. It is one mass of barracks with schools of instruction.


8/11/16. Wednesday. Alvin went today to Wareham. It was drill all day as usual.


9/11/16. Thursday. I heard from Alvin today. He is on a staff job at Coy. H.Qs. at Wareham camp. It is Arty`s birthday today. I think he is 17.  It was just drill all day.


6/12/16. Since the last entry it has been drill every day. We packed up our kits this afternoon as we are leaving tomorrow.


7/12/16. We evacuated Perham Downs camp today. ( The whole 1st Division Training Bn.). We marched 12 miles to Lark Hill and found it a much muddier hole than Perham Downs. It is 3 miles from the nearest railway at Amesbury.


12/12/16. 180 men including myself, left her tonight on a draft bound for France. We entrained at Amesbury and got to Folkstone at about 3 am.


13/12/16. We left Folkstone at about 9 am and embarked for Boulogne, and arrived there at about dinner time. We marched to a rest camp away up on a hill, 3 miles through the town, and were camped in tents for the night.


14/12/16. We left Boulogne at about 9 am for Etaples and got there at about 2 pm. This is a jolly big camp. Tommies and all are here. We are not allowed into the town without a permit and I didn`t try to get one. I felt too cold and tired.


15/12/16. 150 0f us (myself too of course) were picked again for a draft to the Bn. and we are to go in the morning. We have been getting equipped all day with gas helmets and steel helmets etc. I have met a few good cobbers today. They were wounded at the same time as I was, but who are still “swinging the lead” at Etaples.


16/12/16. We left Etaples at 7.30 this morning and got to Albert at about 8 pm. We then marched to a sort of rest camp (tents) out of the town a bit, and turned in. I was a bit luckier than dozens of others. I`d had the savvy to bring a blanket, and it came in jolly handy too.


17/12/16. We spent the whole morning in Albert, and had a good look through the shell-torn place. There is a statue of the Madonna and child, leaning right out downwards on top of the big cathedral (or it was once). You think as you walk underneath, that it will fall on you any minute.


17/12/16. (cont.)  We went through a gas test with our new box respirators (or “gasperators” as we call them) this afternoon. I met our old Padre from the Bn. in Albert, and a few other chaps from the Bn. The mud around the tents is about a foot deep. Just a taste of what it will be like in the trenches.


18/12/16. We left here at about 9 am to join the Bn. and came up to them in Mamtez Wood (or Sydney as the camp is called), and I was shaking hands for about an hour with cobbers and officers. They were all glad to see me back. I was put, or went into “C” Coy. and I am in Alvin`s old platoon- No. 10. I`ll be a soldier now, so that they can`t say at home that I had a good safe job, like I was supposed to have had before. At 12 noon we left “Sydney” and went about 4 miles further up to some camp – Bernafay, and we were in huts for the night.


19/12/16. We left camp at 8 am and marched about 5 miles further up, through Delville Wood (or Devil`s Wood as it was called, owing to it being a very difficult place to take), and just a little (300 yards) to the right of Flers. We are in little bits of dugouts, neither rain nor shell proof. We expect to be here about 4 days in supports. The 2nd and 3rd Bns. Are in and on their left, the 3rd Brigade is holding the line. There is very little shelling going on. It is quite a picnic after Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, but bad enough all the same. The mud is up to our waists. We have to pull each other out occasionally, when we sink really deep.


20/12/16. A chap named Selby is sharing my dugout with me. He is a very decent lad. A few shells socked into us today, but no harm was done. A couple of damaged tanks (armoured cars) are just a couple of hundred yards away. They are very queer things too. All the machinery is inside, and driven by a caterpillar system on the outside. They have 4 machine guns. I have been on fatigue today, getting wood from Flers.


21/12/16. I was on fatigue again this morning from 8 am, but only for a short while. It has been raining for most of the day and making the mud a bit worse. There has been very little tucker today, but I don`t mind.


22/12/16. I somehow managed to escape fatigue all day- just lucky. I made my dugout a little less full of holes, and a bit more rain proof. We have to rub whale oil into our feet every night to prevent “trench feet”. My feet are terrible sore now, owing to always being in the mud. but I hope to escape the complaint.


23/12/16. I went down to H.Qs.  and hummed some candles and butter. I also got a letter from Ida Drew. She is a great chum and no mistake. I am corporal of the guard tonight, but simply borrowed a watch and let them relieve each other during the night, and turned into my dugout, quite content.


24/12/16. Tonight will be Christmas Eve. What a way to spend it, just luck I suppose. I am like everyone else in the A.I.F. now in France. We are just fed up with everything. I was on fatigue from 3pm till 9 pm, carrying up big logs to the 3rd Bn H.Qs. The mud is indescribable, and up to our waists.


25/12/16. It is Christmas Day and raining as usual. It is bitterly cold. I have been on 2 fatigues today. I have dysentery jolly bad now, from drinking water from shell holes. It is all there is to drink unless I go over to Flers and get some from the wells, but we just can`t go about, as we like. I had a tinned Christmas pudding for dinner, and jolly rich too. I received one home letter today from Mum.


26/12/16. Boxing Day. The trench as per usual is a big bog. There was a bit of frost on the ground this morning and it is bitterly cold. The rations are very short today, and I am losing weight a treat now. I have been in charge of only one fatigue party today, but it lasted until about 9 pm.


27/12/16. I have been on a salvage fatigue from early this morning until dinnertime. I then went up with my platoon Sgt. to reconnoitre the trenches that we are going to take over, when we go into close supports. I went and made a thorough inspection of three tanks on the way up. They are about 20 to 35 feet long. The caterpillar system is driven from the inside by a 6-cylinder motor. There are 2 machine guns on each side and a 6 pounder at the front and at the rear. Ammunition shelves are in every available space, with sliding loopholes all over the body.


28/112/16. I was extremely lucky today and somehow missed all fatigues. I am jolly crook with the dysentery now. I got some castor oil today to ease the pain a bit. I was told to go to the N.C.O. School at Tiran Court tonight.


29/12/16. I reported to the Bn. H.Qs. at 0930 instead of at 0830 and then followed on out of the trenches to Albert, about 10 miles away, and reported to the Q.Ms. store and was fitted with new underclothing etc.


29/12/16. (cont.)  After being fitted with my new underclothes, I had a roam around the town. I also had a hot bath. Tonight I am sleeping in the Q.M`s store.


30/12/16. I was paid 80 francs (2 pounds, 17 shillings and sixpence) by our officer today. I am about 5 pounds overdrawn again now. I gave Albert a good look over again today.


31/12/16. We embarked on the bus to take us to the 1st Division school at Tirancourt at 10.30 this morning, and after going right through Amiens, we finished up at La-Chaussey. We then marched to our destination, about 1 km away. I went into Picquigney this afternoon and had a bonza feed.


1/1/17. New Years Day. We started the course today, but on account of it being New Years Day, we got the afternoon off and I went again into Picquigney and had another feed.


2/1/17-12/1/17. Since I have been on this course, I have been through squad drill, platoon drill, Coy. drill, bombing, judging distance, musketry practice and every kind of training.


13/1/17. We have had a very easy time today. We had a game of football this morning. The C.O. told us on Coy. Parade that our leave to Amiens tomorrow has been cancelled, on account of chaps not returning on time last Sunday.  I stayed in the billet tonight and wrote a few letters home.


14/1/17. There was no ceremonial parade this morning, but our leave has been granted after all to Amiens. I caught the 11.18 train from Picquigney, and got there about dinnertime. I had a bonza dinner for a few francs at a restaurant, and then went and saw Amiens Cathedral, which ranks next to Rhiems as being the most historic in the world. The arches, galleries, aisles etc are great, and the paintings by some of the old masters are magnificent. All the valuables inside are protected by sandbags. The structure itself is in the Gothic style. After a couple of hours in there, and listening to the choir boys singing, we came out and roamed around the town. I had my photo taken too, (a profile- just as a trial to see how it goes. We had tea and then went to le Gare (the station) and caught our train back home at 7.15 instead of 6.15.          (late).


15/1/17. Drill again today. It was hard after eating the iced and custard cakes yesterday. I have a rotten cold on the chest today and my hip is jolly sore also. I can hardly walk. A chap from the Bn., who only came here yesterday, tells us that the Bn. had 80 casualties in the trenches this last trip. Sgt. Garvey was killed and the R.S.M. (Stewart) was wounded.


16/1/17. There was a fall of snow today- about 4 inches thick on the ground. We had some fun snowballing. We have been on Coy. drill this morning, and judging distance this afternoon.


17/1/17. The snow is still lying thick on the ground. Frost set in last night. We had our half-holiday today and some of the lads played football in the snow. - Not me. It has been intensely cold all day. I went into Picquigney tonight.


18/1/17. It was drill as usual today but our instructor did not turn up, thank goodness. He is not up to much, a very poor instructor (7th Bn. chap). So we are under No. 8 Syndicate instructor now for a few days I suppose. The snow has turned into ice now on account of the severe frosts. It has been Coy. drill; bayonet fighting etc. all day. I wrote some letters tonight.


19/1/17. It has been jolly cold all day. I have had my overcoat on. We have had a fairly easy day on account of the rain. I went into Picquigney tonight.


20/1/17. It is cold again. We did our drill as usual. I was out before the squad today and drilled them a bit. I haven`t had any mail for a week now.


21/1/17. Sunday. I was granted leave to go to Amiens today, but I have no money, so I stayed in the billet all day. I went for a little walk to La Chausse in the morning.


22/1/17. The ground is still covered with ice and snow. We drilled all day on artillery formation and Coy. in attack.


23/1/17. Very cold as usual. We drilled all day.


24/1/17. It is very cold again today, but the sun is trying to shine. Today the temperature is 25 degrees below zero. We had a holiday this afternoon and I went for a skate on the ice.


25/1/17. It was not quite so cold this morning. The sun was trying to come out. We went out on a route march and then drilled. I was paid 40 francs tonight. I went into Picquigney and had a feed.


26/1/17. Friday. It was drill as usual this morning. I went skating on the ice this afternoon, and had a fine old time too. I went into Picquigney tonight and had a feed.


27/1/17. Saturday. We had a lecture this morning by Major Harris. We left Tirancourt at about 4 pm this afternoon in a motor ammunition waggon. We got to Albert at about 8 pm. I stayed at the Q.M. store all night after having a good feed.


28/1/17. Sunday. We stayed all day in Albert. I purchased some tinned food etc. for the trenches. I secured a nice new cape from the store as well as some gloves and other clothes.


29/1/17. Monday. We left for the Bn. at 10 am and joined them at a camp at Basintin, (just at the top of Mametz Wood). I was put in charge of No. 7 section of No. 10 platoon. I got 50 letters today and a parcel (or rather my cobbers in the “O” Room got it and the contents too.)


30/1/17. Tuesday. We went for a bit of a route march this morning. In the afternoon I wrote some letters home. Karl Muller went to the Divisional School today. That is the one that I have just left.


31/1/17. Wednesday. There was nothing doing this morning. I just cleaned up my hut and fixed up my equipment. We left for the support huts at 4 pm. I found them pretty decent little huts too. They are very warm. I slept like a top all night. We are in High Wood.


1/2/17 Thursday. I got up at about 8 am, had breakfast and have done very little all morning. I got a rotten crack on the head today from a falling steel helmet. There were a few shells thrown over today, but no damage was done. We left for the close support trenches at 5 pm and we are in decent dugouts although it is pretty crowded. I received a couple of “Sydney Mails” tonight. These are the first papers that I have received since we left Egypt. I was on fatigue tonight for an hour.


2/2/17. Friday. We were on “stand to” at 6 am till 7 am. I am Coy. orderly corporal today and have been doing nothing all day, except sleep in the dugout. We had stew tonight. It was the first hot meal for a while. I went to sleep at about midnight.


3/2/17. Saturday. “Stand to” at 6 am this morning. I had some Maconochie rations for breakfast, also some coffee and milk. Things are pretty quiet here; there is no shelling at all. I have been sleeping all day. I took the sick parade list up today for “C” Coy. Only 4 chaps reported. Everything has been quiet all day.


4/2/16. Sunday. “Stand to” at the same time as usual. I had breakfast and slept until 4 pm. I had some tea and packed up my gear and left the trenches for close supports at 6 pm. We went about 3 miles out of our way to find it. We are in Eaucourt L`Abraye and down in cellars, about 60 feet down. We are safe as houses here. The 27th Bn. carried out an attack last night and took a trench.


5/2/17. Monday. I was supposed to “stand to” at 6 am, but I was sleeping with the signalers and I was overlooked. We are not allowed outside in the daytime on account of our position being so open. Machine guns and rifles sweep the track down to H.Qs. all the time. I took the sick parade list down to H.Qs. tonight and coming back, nearly got popped off by machine gun fire, but Fritz had no luck. I have to sleep with all my gear on tonight as we are expecting Fritz to attack us. I turned in at 2145. 


6/2/17. Tuesday.  We were ordered to “stand to” at 6am this morning till 7 am. I turned in again until dinnertime. There was nothing doing all day. A few German aeroplanes overhead flying low. I am still orderly corporal, so had to take the sick parade list over again tonight. There were a few machine gun bullets flying. There was a bit of an artillery duel on our right tonight. It was pretty severe while it lasted.


7/2/17. Wednesday. It was “stand to” again at 6 am. I tried to sleep for the rest of the day. They have been shelling our position a bit today. I took the sick parade list across again tonight and got back O.K.


8/2/17. Thursday. There was no “stand to” this morning. I wrote home today and also a letter to Alvin. I received one letter today. Fritz shelled us a treat this afternoon, and it continued well into the night. I took the sick parade list over to H.Qs. at 6.30 tonight, and then followed on with “C” Coy. to the front line, as we took over from “A” Coy. tonight. We are in deep dugouts about 150 yards or so from Fritz. There are 50 in a dugout, meant to hold about 20 comfortably. Our own artillery nearly blew out all our posts today.


9/2/17. Friday. Breakfast was brought up from H.Qs. at 2 am in “hot food” containers (tea and bacon), and I, as orderly corporal had to serve it out. Fritz has been chucking over “pineapple bombs” pretty frequently during the day. All our men who are on duty are in the outposts for 24 hours, and then have a 48-hour break. They come in frozen. One of our chaps had to be carried in. A couple of our chaps were wounded tonight. Tea was brought up at 10 pm tonight (stew) and some mail. I scored a couple of letters.


10/2/17. Saturday. Breakfast was brought up at 3 am and then I was warned to be ready to go on outpost duty at 6 am, but as soon as I got ready they changed it to tomorrow morning. I had some salmon for dinner and then slept until 8 pm when the stew was brought up. Things were pretty quiet all day, but tonight there is a raid by the 2nd Division on our left. The raid was a success and there were very few casualties. I have been warned to be ready to go in charge of an outpost tomorrow at 6 am. Our own Bn. raided tonight, but they could not get past the barbed wire, so they had to come back. It was a failure and there were 7 casualties.


11/2/17. Sunday. Breakfast at 3 am. I took over No. 25 Post at 6 am. (3 men and myself). I put 1 man on observing until daylight, and the rest I let go to sleep (if they could). We could not move during the day, as we have practically no cover, and Fritz snipers are only about 50 yards away. It is hellish cold and my feet are paining a treat, enough to make you cry. Fritz chucked over some “pineapples” and shells this morning, but the nearest was about 5 yards away. We were relieved by the 12th Bn. corporal and his men tonight. The whole Bn. is being relieved at 9 pm. I soon got my men and myself away and out of the line. We had no meals during the day, so soon knocked up. We were all following down the line when a big shell came right over my nut and burst in front of us. 3 men were wounded but none were killed. I could not keep up with the Bn., so with 2 other chaps went and slept in some canvas huts in High Wood- beat to the world.


12/2/17. Monday. I was up at 9 am and we got on the go. After walking about 5 miles we got to our camp at Fricourt Farm. Some reinforcements joined us today.


13/2/17. Tuesday. I was up at 5.30 this morning and had breakfast at 6 am. I started off on fatigue at 7 am and got there at 9 am. It was about 5 miles away on icy roads. We knocked off digging the trench for cables at 3 pm and got home at 5 pm. I wrote a few letters tonight. I was warned for same fatigue tomorrow. I received Adie`s parcel tonight. It had been sent on the 6th Dec. 1916. I was paid 20 francs tonight.


14/2/17. Wednesday. It is 12 months today since I joined the 4th Bn. at Tel-El-Kebir in Egypt. Reveille was at 5 am and breakfast at 5.30. It was the same fatigue as yesterday. The roads are in a terrible state. I finished up very tired tonight. I have been warned that it is the same fatigue tomorrow.


15/2/17. Thursday. We were up again at 5 am this morning. We had the same fatigue as yesterday. It was very cold and windy all day. I received a letter from Alvin tonight with 10 shillings enclosed. I was put on as orderly corporal again from 5 pm tonight.


16/2/17. Friday. I was up at 5.30 am and turned the mess orderly out to get the breakfast. I superintended several little jobs about the lines today. I turned in at 8 pm.



17/2/17. I got the mess orderly out at 6 am this morning. The fatigue party was a bit late getting away this morning. I wrote a couple of letters today, and I received one from Guildford.


18/2/17. There was an intense bombardment all last night and early this morning. Three Divisions of Tommies hopped over on our front, but I do not know the details yet. I am still “Ordinary Scorpion” (Ord. Cpl.)  Capt. Mann returned to the Bn. tonight.


19/2/17. It has been the same procedure today as yesterday. Alec Steens came across tonight and saw me. We had a good old confab. He is looking real well. (He was wounded on 27/7/16 in the left forearm.) I received a parcel for Alvin today, containing a belt and towel.


20/2/17. Tuesday. I was up at 5.30 am and turned out the mess orderly. At 8 am I took the sick parade list down to the quack (19 this morning). It has been raining a bit today. I received a parcel from a girl in Guildford and a bonza one it was too. A cake, pudding and everything a chap could wish for.


21/2/17. The same procedure today as yesterday. I had a pretty easy day. I have been very crook this afternoon. I can hardly stand up. I received photos from Amiens today. They weren`t too bad.


22/2/17. I packed up my gear this morning before 8 am. We moved off towards Albert at 10.30 and got to the billets at 1.30 pm. I then saw to the dinner for the men. I saw Ted Davies down at Belieuve Farm Reinforcement Camp tonight. He is looking real well.


23/2/17. Reveille at 6.30 am and breakfast was at 7 am. I took the sick parade list down at 8 am. I scaled parades all day. I met Ted again. I wrote several letters today and turned in at 2100.


24/2/17. I was up at 6.45 this morning. I was late rousing the mess orderly and late getting down with the sick parade list. The quack gave me a bit of a lecture. I did not go out on parade again this morning, but got down in a cellar and wrote several letters and sent away all my photos. I also wrote some more this afternoon. I got a shock coming across Ted again today. He is camped just a mile up the road.


25/2/17. I was up at 7 am and had breakfast at 7.15. I took the sick parade list down at 7.30. We got orders to pack up at 8.30. We left Albert at 10.30. and had a 5 or 6 mile march up to “Bendigo Camp” at Bazentin-Le-Grand. We are billeted in huts. The reason for us being bunged away so suddenly is that last night a raiding party of ours went over and found the trenches absolutely deserted and no sign of Fritz at all. They came back and reported. Patrols then went out and by 3 pm our troops had advanced a mile and are 1 and a half miles from Bapuame. They still havn`t located Fritz. He has evacuated on a 3 Div. Front. We can`t understand it at all. He has blown up all his ammunition dumps in Bapuame.


26/2/17. I was up at 7 am and had breakfast at 8 am. The latest reports are that Fritz has evacuated the Butte de Warlencourt and our chaps are in occupation. Fritz has been shelling it pretty severely all day. We (3rd Brigade) are just this side of Le Barque now, and tonight the 3rd Brigade is “hopping over”. We are standing by, ready to go up any minute. All the billets in Bapuame have been blown up by Fritz, and the tower of the town hall also. I am in section No. 5 now under Cpl. Smith (late 6/A.L.H.).


27/2/17. Our advance guard went up to the line this morning at 0400. We spent the day getting ready to move up and left for the support line at 4 pm. After a 5 mile march we got to Guerd Trench (The German old reserve line) before the evacuation, and we are in deep dugouts. I slept on the stairs of one all night. Fritz is sending over pretty heavy stuff tonight.


28/2/17. I found a blown in dugout today so 5 of us occupied it. The ground around here has been absolutely churned up by shell fire and is covered with dead bodies of our poor lads, especially 5th Brigade chaps- hundreds of them. We have been out burying them all day, and a very unpleasant job it was too. I turned in at 8 pm.


1/3/17. I was up at 8 am.and made some coffee and milk etc. and then repeated yesterday`s programme. Fritz shelled the village of Le Barque heavily today. I received a few home letters today. We have to be ready to go up to relieve B Coy. in the front line tonight or early in the morning. I have my gear ready.



2/3/17. We moved up into the line at 3 am and took over from “B” Coy. Our outposts went on ahead and we stayed in the trenches on the outskirts of the village. We had just settled down when Fritz started shelling us a treat.  He put up a very heavy barrage. The shells were falling all around us, but the barrage only lasted half an hour. Then Fritz came over and bombed our Coy. H.Qs. Lt. Lane, Charlie Nuttal and L/C.Tyson were killed. Several others were wounded. Then our boys opened up on them and cut them to pieces. (There were about 200 men of the Prussian Grenadier Guards, and picked men too, judging by their size). As soon as we got the alarm, we in the supports all got ready and hopped over the top, advancing towards Fritz in a beautiful line. Only our right flank was able to get a pot at him. Fritz got through the 3rd Bn outpost line, but not through our Coy. He also got through our “D” Coy and took a couple of posts prisoner. These were later taken back by the 3rd Bn. for us. I was sent out to an outpost myself when the rest of our boys retired, and remained there until 4 pm when I came in. I am sleeping in a cellar in the village tonight with George King.


3/3/17. I got up at 8 am and got some breakfast. I then had a good old chat and read some letters. I went on to an outpost at 6.30 pm. Five of my men were brand spanking new and had never been in the line before. To keep myself awake, I observed and dug the trench alternatively. The officer of the line was worrying me all night with dopey questions. Fritz was very quiet.


4/3/17. We got the order to “stand to” at 5 am until daylight. I then arranged the shifts for the men and then tried to get to sleep in the mud in the trench. The nearest trench to me is 50 yards on my right and on my left there is a machine gun post about 100 yards away. Fritz sent a few “Silent Percies”, (a 9.2 shell) over during the day, but we spent most of the day in potting off hares and partridges (funny army this), and then crawling out and getting them. It was hellish cold all day. A couple of chaps on the next post to me were wounded this morning. We got relieved from the post at 6.30 pm. As soon as I got back to the cellar I went straight to sleep.


5/3/17. I slept in until 9 am this morning. Then I put on my boots and went for a roam through the village. We were relieved by the 23rd Bn. chaps at 10 pm and we had a good trip out along the duckboards. There was no shelling at all. As soon as we got to Bazentin Camp No. 2  we turned in to some huts for the night. “D” Coy. had 30 casualties and “C” Coy. had 18 casualties this trip. “A” and “B” Coys. Only had a few each. It snowed today.


6/3/17. I slept in till 9 am this morning. We left here at 11 am for our same old camp at Fricourt Farm. Our Bn. band played us all the way along too- some band. I am in the same hut as before.


7/3/17. I did nothing all day except clean up and write letters. I received a batch of home mail today. They called in our “iron rations” today. It snowed a bit today.


8/3/17. I slept in till 8.30, then at 12 noon went down to Fricourt for a bath. I got permission to go and find Fred this afternoon, and after a bit of roaming around I found him camped 3 miles away at Becordal. I was jolly glad to see him. I had tea there and it was some tea too. I got back to camp at 8.30 pm and turned in.


9/3/17.  I was on parade at 8.30 this morning and we drilled until 12.30 pm. I was on parade again at 1.30 and drilled again until 4.30 pm  this afternoon. After this drill I wrote several letters. I also met Reg Eldridge tonight. He is back again. I turned in early tonight.


10/3/17. I was up at 6.30 am and on parade at 8.30. I was put in a musketry instruction class today with a few more N.C.Os. We did not have too bad a time. I met Reg again tonight. I got paid 10 francs tonight.


11/3/17. Church Parade was at 10.30 this morning. I then went down to Becordal and saw Fred. I had tea there too and got back to the huts at 8.30 pm.


12/3/17. I was on the same musketry course today and had a pretty easy time. It rained pretty well all day. I got some mail from home today. Reg joined us up today and is in my section. No. 5.


13/3/17.  The same old musketry all day. It is still showery. I wrote several letters today. We were given a bonza feed tonight. Jelly and custard and fruit a treat.


14/3/17. It was musketry training again today. It was very cold and wet again. It is getting very monotonous now. Another fine old feed again tonight. I wrote several more letters before turning in.


15/3/17. Today we have followed the same routine as for the preceding days. It has been cold and wet too. We were inspected by the C.O. and the Adjt  this morning. Half of the Coy. were sent up to L`Abbaye on fatigue, and are to remain there for a few days. They will be building a tramway up to the line.


16/3/17. It is our last day on the course and I am glad of it. We have been doing the same old work for the last few days. I scored 35 on the range today. I did some pretty good shooting too. I went to bed early tonight. Irles and Toupart Wood fell last night. They are on the left of Bapaume.


17/3/17. I was on parade with my Coy. today, and I was called out to drill my platoon in musketry. I did not have to do it for long as we had to all close in for a Bn. parade. We had some practice in “Coy. Attack” this afternoon. I received my watch today from Will, and a letter from Alvin as well as a letter from home. Bapaume and Le Trans Loy were taken by the Australian 2nd and 4th Divisions last night and this morning. According to rumours that we have heard, the Czar has been assassinated and his 15 year old son is on the throne, with Duke Nicholas acting as regent.


18/3/17. It was very cold out on parade this morning. We had bayonet drill nearly all the time. This afternoon we drilled “Coy. in Attack”. I received some English mail tonight as well as a parcel from B.Smith (a North Sydney correspondent).


19/3/17. Some snow fell during the night and it rained during the parade this morning, but we had to stick to it. Our cavalry are reported to be giving it to Fritz now, and to be 5 or 6 miles in front of Bapaume. Le pain has been 4 to a loaf for the last few days.


20/3/17. The British and French have started an advance on an 84 mile front. 240 villages (some full of civilians, who welcomed the troops) have been taken. They have gone 10 miles deep too. The Australians are pressing further ahead in front of Bapaume and are still doing well. They are keeping well on to Fritz`s heels. We had the same parades as usual today.


21/3/17. We were on parade at 9 am this morning. We did bayonet fighting in a rotten cold wind until 12.30. We were warned to be prepared to move in full marching order at 9.15 in the morning. The general advance still continues. Fritz is burning villages as he retires. A good few more have been taken. Fritz is holding up our advance at Arras, but our boys will soon break through.


22/3/17. We were up at 7 am and left Fricourt Farm behind at 9.15. (for the last time I hope). We got to Albert at 11.15 and to Ribemont at 1 pm. We are in a big billet. I had a bit of a bath tonight.


23/3/17. We went out doing  “Coy. in attack” today from 9am till 12.30.pm. and then again from 2 pm till 4.30 pm. After that I had a roam around the town with Reg. I turned in at 8.30 pm.


24/3/17. We were on the job early this morning doing the same drill as we did yesterday. We were up amongst some old trenches and barbed wire made by the French in 1914, in case the Germans had continued their advance. Our band always plays us out and back from the Bn. parade of the day.


25/3/17. It was “Bn. in attack” drill today. We had rather an easy day altogether. The country round here is full of hares. I would like to pot some.  I received a letter from Alvin tonight. He has thrown in his job at Wareham and is coming back here. I`m very sorry to hear of it too, as one of us over here is enough at a time.


26/3/17. It has been raining all day, so there was no parade except for a bit of gas helmet drill. I was paid 10 francs today. I also filled in a form for a series of books called “Australia in the Great War”. They are to be sent to Mum.


27/3/17. It was “Brigade in attack” drill today. After being sent out on a patrol and roaming about, we closed in and marched back home for dinner. We fell in again at 12 noon and carried out another “Brigade Attack”. We had to cover about 3 miles. Red flags represented machine guns, and blue flags represented enemy firing. The white flags represented enemy retiring. We finished up at a small village. We could see the Basilica at Albert in the distance. After a route march we got home at about 5 pm.


28/3/17. We had some musketry drill this morning. We then watched a demonstration by “D” Coy. of “A Coy. in attack”. They used dinkum rifle grenades and managed to show up well. We drilled the outpost scheme this afternoon. I then went into Heilly and had a bath. I got back at 5.30. I received another letter from Alvin tonight.


29/3/17. Today is the anniversary of our landing at Marseilles. I was up at 6 am and had breakfast at 6.30. We fell in at 7.45 and marched to Albert. Today was to be a divisional stunt. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades all being out. Shortly after we had sent out our advanced guards and had got into artillery formation ourselves, it commenced to rain. Jolly heavy and hailstones with it. The heaviest that I have seen in France yet. Shortly after it had ceased we got the order to “close”. We then marched home passing Bernacourt, Corre-Sous-Buirre on the way. We got home at 2 pm. We had the rest of the afternoon off. It has been rumoured that our Brigadier General Smyth is missing and that he was supposed to be in the town hall at Bapaume when it was blown up. I don`t think that the rumour is right.


30/3/17. I was detailed off for a musketry course of 2 days today under a “Tommy” Sgt. Instructor. I spent the morning having a lecture on parts of the rifle etc. and did some musketry positions this afternoon. It has been raining all day.


31/3/17. We had a lecture all morning and tonight a lecture on how to use the range finder. That was the finish of the course. It was the final of the Bn. Boxing Tournament tonight. It was won by Snowy Hill.


1/4/17.It was April Fools Day today. I was up at 7.30 am. Church Parade was at 9.30. We were issued with some extra rations today. They included some chocolate, biscuits and cake. We also had steak rissoles etc. for dinner. We are celebrating the anniversary of our arrival in Flanders. I wrote several letters today. It has been raining all day.  I am O.C. of Rifle Grenadiers for a month now. Cpl. King (O.C.) is going to a school for a month. We were issued with colour bands today. Machine Gunners are black, Bombers are purple , Runners are red, Riflemen are pink and Signallers are blue.


2/4/17. We had a very easy day today. We just had a bit of gas drill and rifle inspection. We are to move up towards the line tomorrow. There was no mail today.


3/4/17. We marched from here to Monthuban, approximately 10 miles away, passing through Corre-Sous-Buirre, Dernacourt, Meaulte, Becordal and Fricourt. We got to our destination at about 2 pm. We are in huts once more. We were issued with red orders tonight, to be ready to move up again tomorrow morning.


4/4/17. We had breakfast at 6 am and fell in at 7.30. We moved off with full packs at 8.30 and got to our destination at 3.30 pm. We passed through Trones Wood and through mud between Le Trans Loy and Bapuame and Bolincourt and finished up at Fermicourt. 12 miles altogether. I soon found a good cellar to sleep in and chanced it having an 8-day clock fuse in it. The church in the village was blown up the day before we got there and 75 were buried in it. I turned in early tonight.


5/4/17. We moved off again at 3 pm with full packs and moving in artillery formation, we got to Velu at about 5 pm.. We are in behind a wall in self-made covers. We are in supports now. Reg and I have made a pretty decent dugout. It is better than most of the others. We got our rations tonight O.K. The line is supposed to be about 2 miles away. We were shelled a bit tonight, just as I turned in. Garn Denning called up to see me tonight and I was jolly glad to see him. He is looking well. I gave him a few letters to post for me. The 3rd Bn. went into the line tonight.


6/4/17. We were shelled a bit through the night, but the nearest was about 40 yards away. I was up at 7.30. It has been a lovely day with plenty of aeroplanes about. I was up on a digging fatigue from 12 midnight until 3 am. I feel hellish crook today.


7/4/17. I stayed in the dugout all day. I feel real crook. My section was issued with rifle grenades tonight. We are to go up into supports for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd as they are making an advance tonight. My platoon officer told the O.C. that I was crook. He sent me to the quack, who made me exempt from going up to the line. I went out to it in front of him.


8/4/17. I am on my pat now, except that the fatigue party is left. I remained in my dugout all day, still feeling deadly. I was put on pack guard tonight by the Sgt. Major until the boys come back out of the line. I am glad, as it would just about have killed me if I had been up there in the snow. We drew our rations from the band tonight – a half a loaf of bread. I am in a decent sleeping position now. The Brigade took all their objectives this morning but the casualties are pretty heavy.


9/4/17. It has been very quiet here in the village all day. Plenty of snow has fallen during the day, and a hellish cold wind has been blowing. I received a lovely batch of home letters today, including some photos etc.


10/4/17. It has been snowing all day and I still feel pretty crook.


11/4/17. Everything has been very quiet. I have just been guarding the packs. I am beginning to wish that I was up doing my bit with the Coy. (A silly idea, but a fact).


12/4/17. It has been raining and snowing again today. I received some more mail today. Some men came down from the Coy. today. They have been having a rotten time up there. Some reinforcements joined us today.


13/4/17. I put in another very quiet day again. I hardly left the fire.


14/4/17. There were plenty of aeroplanes up today. I saw a few of the enemy brought down and also some of our own.


15/4/17. I was up at 7 am. At 8.30 several wounded 4th Bn. chaps came in for their packs. It appears that Fritz came over in thousands, the biggest mass attack that he has made for over a year. He swept over our outposts and either killed or captured our lads. As they attacked, our boys simply mowed them down. 2000 dead were counted in front of our lines. Our “B” Coy got cut up the worst, as Fritz forced the 11th Bn. right back and then came in behind our Coy. Although he cut us up, he got chopped about awful himself. The attack that Fritz made was on a very wide front. We got a special message of congratulations from General Haig, and it is reckoned as the greatest thing that the Australians have done yet. Our boys will do me. The best in the whole world – and proved it too.


16/4/17. My platoon, led by our Lt. Bennett, charged the Fritz on their pat yesterday. They got mixed up in a proper hand to hand stouch. Lt. Bennett was wounded and several of my section were either killed or wounded too. The total number of casualties for the Bn. is 221. About a dozen of those killed were original men. There are very few left now. Lt. Don Leitch, who came away from Australia with the 6/19th, was also wounded. My mate Reg is O.K. so I learn.


17/4/17. All the positions that Fritz managed to take on the 15/4/17 have been taken back, and some more as well.


18/4/17. It is raining again today. I went up to see the postal orderly at 11.30. After getting a bundle of papers (Sydney Mails etc.), I changed my mind about going through a big bundle of new mail to try to find any letters for myself. Instead I left at 11.42 and had just got back to the pack store at 11.45, when I heard a heavy explosion, and on making for the sound, found that the place that I had just left had been blown up by a mine explosion. The 3 postmen, the tailor, the Q.M. and 4 others had all been killed and buried underneath the ruins. About a dozen others were wounded by falling debris, including a chap from the Bn. Orderly Room.


19/4/17. I was up at 9 am. I had a snack. One of the signallers came down to me and told me that I had to hand over my guard duty and report to the Bn. Orderly Room, which I did, and soon found myself up to my eyes in work.


20/4/17 – 24/4/17. I am still in the “O” room. I had a couple of trips up to the advanced Bn “O” room at Beaumetz. There is plenty of tucker here. We were relieved by the 9th West Yorkshire Regiment on the 24/4/17 and we then marched back to Bapuame. We are in a room, which has remained intact.


25/4/17. Anzac Day. This is my second Anzac Day in France. We got some special tucker today in the shape of ale and biscuits. (Of course I gave my beer away). I went up and saw my chum Reg today. He has had a very rough time in the line this last time. I received a letter from Alvin today, written prior to his embarking for France at Folkstone, so he is sure to be in France now.


26/4/17. This is the finest day that we have this year. The sun is shining brightly. I received a nice batch of letters from home too. The Bn. went up to Vaulx-Vraucourt tonight to support some Australian Brigade, which is now in the line. (not the “O” room though).


27/4/17. The boys came back this morning at 11 am. I have been pretty busy all day on casualty lists etc. A few shells came over today and landed just at the back of us here. A good few men and horses were killed.


28/4/17. I was up at 9 am and got on with the work. There is plenty to do. 10 times more than there used to be. I received a letter from Alvin today. He is now in France and will be up with the next draft.


29/4/17. I got orders to pack up and move up to the line today. Then it changed to only one of us going up. The “O” room Sgt. and myself remained behind.


30/4/17. I was up at 9am this morning. It is a bonnie day again. Our band has been practicing all day, and they are starting to play bonza now.


At this point the daily diary comes to an abrupt end in the middle of a page in the notebook. No explanation is given as to the reason for not continuing, and there were plenty of blank pages remaining in the book.


At some point of time between 30/4/17 and 4/10/17 Cpl. J.C.Noakes was promoted to the rank of Sgt. The diary notes did not recommence until 1/1/18.


The following notes for the remainder of 1917 are taken from a brief history contained in an official 1918 4th Bn. diary


3/5/17. Attack on Bullecourt by 2nd Aust. Div. The 4th Bn. moved forward and relieved the 17th Bn. in support near Bullecourt.


4/5/17. 4th Bn. supported the 2nd Bn. in a successful bombing attack, resulting in the capture of several hundred yards of trench.


5/5/17. The 4th Bn. relieved the 11th Bn. and became support of the 1st Brigade.


6/5/17. “A” and “C” Coys of the 4th Bn were ordered forward at 6.30 am to repel a German counter attack on the Brigade on our right. Later the 4th Bn relieved the 1st Bn.


7/5/17. At 3.45 am a further successful attack was made on the Bullecourt trenches, and more ground was gained. The 4th Bn. was relieved by the 5th Bn and marched to Noreuil.


9/5/17. The 4th Bn marched from Noreuil to shelters in Bancourt.


15/5/17. The 4th Bn moved from Bancourt to camp near Bazentin-Le-Petit.


22/5/17. The 4th Bn. marched from Bazentin to billets in Buire.


30/5/17. Reopening of the Sgt`s mess. The first time since arrival in France.


1/6/17. Adoption of the Regimental March “Cupid in the Briny”


2/6/17. The 4th Bn Sports and Horse race.


20/6/17. The 4th Bn Bagpipe Band was reformed.


28/6/17.The 4th Bn marched from Buire to a camp S.W. of Mailly- Maillet.


30/6/17. The 1st Brigade ceremonial parade and inspection by General Birdwood followed by an address by Mr. Holman, the premier of N.S.W.


6/7/17. The 4th Bn marched from Mailly-Maillet to billets in Buire.


13/7/17. The 4th Bn marched from Buire to camp near Bray.


24/7/17. The 4th Bn marched from Bray to billets in Buire.


27/7/17. The 4th Bn entrained at Edge Hill and detrained at Bavinchove and marched to billets near Zuytpeene.


31/7/17. The commencement of the 3rd battle at Ypres by a successful allied advance.


9/8/17. The 4th Bn marched from Zuytpeene to billets near La Motte.


17/8/17. The 3rd anniversary of the formation of the 4th Bn. A sports and swimming carnival was held in La Motte.


13/9/17. The 4th Bn marched from La Motte to billets north of Meteren.


14/9/17. The 4th Bn marched from Meteren to Cornwell Camp near Ouderdom.


16/9/17. The 4th Bn marched from Cornwell Camp to a camp just north of Dickebusch.


17/9/17. A platoon from each Coy. made shelters for supports between Zillebeke and Hooge.


19/9/17. The 4th Bn  marched from Dickebusch to a camp N.E. of Café Belge.


20/9/17. At 5.40 am the 1st Australian Div. Took part in the successful renewal of the advance in the Ypres battle. At 6.40 am the 4th Bn  marched from Café Belge to support shelters near the Half Way House.


21/9/17. The 4th Bn relieved the 5th and 6th Bns in support near Polygon Wood.


22/9/17. The 4th Bn was relieved in support by the 56th Bn and the 11th West Yorkshire Reg., and  marched to Zillebeke.


23/9/17. The 4th Bn marched to a camp S.W. of Dickebusch.


24/9/17. The 4th Bn marched to Cornwell Camp near Ouderdom.


25/9/17. The 4th Bn moved in buses to billets between Abeele and Steenvorte.


1/10/17. The 4th Bn moved in buses to Dickebusch and then marched to bivouacs and shelters near Café Belge.


2/10/17. Late at night the 4th Bn marched from Café Belge and took over shelters and trenches from the 12th Bn on Westhoek Ridge. 


4/10/17. At 3 am the 4th Bn moved from Westhoek Ridge to assembly positions just west of Molenarenshoek. At 6 am the 1st Brigade took part in the general advance and the 4th Bn captured the final objective on Broodseinde Ridge.


During this advance and capture of Broodseinde Ridge, Sgt. J.C.Noakes “ displayed conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When moving forward in the rear of the attacking troops to establish a Bn H.Qs. it became evident that a group of enemy dugouts had been passed over. He cleared these with the aid of a Bn runner, rushed a “Pill Box” and captured 28 occupants. Later he captured a party of the enemy with two machine guns”.

“His Majesty  the King has been pleased to award the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the above mentioned N.C.O. Sgt. J.C.Noakes.


5/10/17. Late at night the 4th Bn was relieved in the front line by the 12th Bn and marched to bivouacs near the Half Way House at Birr cross roads.


6/10/17. The 4th Bn were concentrated in camp near Café Belge.


8/10/17. The 4th Bn marched from Café Belge to Anzac Ridge, relieving the 3rd Bn in reserve.


9/10/17. The 4th Bn  was relieved by the 60th Bn and marched to camp near Café Belge.


11/10/17. The 4th Bn marched to Ypres, thence by train to Hopoure, thence marched to Dallington Camp at Wippenhoek.


13/10/17. The 4th Bn marched from Wippenhoek to billets between Abeele and Steenvoorde.


26/10/17. The 4th Bn. moved in buses from Abeele to a camp just south of Ypres.


30/10/17. The 4th Bn marched to a camp just east of Ypres.


1/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to Westhoek Ridge and relieved the 10th Bn. in reserve.


5/11/17. The 4th Bn. relieved the 12th Bn. in the front line east of Zonnebeke.


6/11/17. The Canadians attacked at 6 am and captured Paschendaele.


8/11/17. The 4th Bn. was relieved by the 1st Bn. in the front line and moved to Anzac Ridge in support.


10/11/17. The 4th Bn. was relieved by the 2/6th Lancashire Fusiliers and moved to Westhoek Ridge in reserve.


11/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to Vancover Camp S.W. of Ypres.


13/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Berthen.


14/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Zuptpeene.


15/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Wardrecques.


18/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Blequin.


19/11/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Tingry.


25/11/17. A photographer from Boulogne photographed the 4th Bn.


8/12/17. The 4th Bn. had an athletic sports competition.


12/12/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Courset and Sacriquier.


15/12/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Vaudringhem.


16/12/17. The 4th Bn. marched to billets in Wavrans.


17/12/17. The 4th Bn. marched to Wizernes, thence by train to De Kennebak siding, thence marched to Lindenhoek camp near Kemmel.


20/12/17. “A” and “B” Coys  moved to Scott Farm.


23/12/17. “C” and “D” Coys  moved to Irish House.


24/12/17. The Bn. H.Qs. moved to Irish House. “C” Coy moved to Oustrverne Wood, and “D” Coy moved to Wytschaete.


26/12/17. The Bn. H.Qs. moved to near Scott Farm.


30/12/17. The 4th Bn. relieved the 5th Bn. in the front line covering part of Messines Ridge. The Bn. H.Qs. moved to Lumm Farm.


At this point the daily diary resumes.


1/1/18. I saw the New Year in. It is a fine day. Nothing startling has occurred. There wasn`t any home mail again today. It is 3 weeks now since I last had any home letters. It was pay day today and I was paid 50 francs.


2/1/18. It has been a bonnie day again. It has been very quiet.


3/1/18. There has been a bit of shelling at regular intervals in the vicinity of a “Pill Box” about 200 yards away. I received a packet from Miss Beeson today.


4/1/18. It has been extremely quiet all day. There has been no shelling in our sector at all. There has been very little work to do in the “O” Room.


5/1/18. Nothing eventful happened today.


6/1/18. A thaw has set in and the ground is very sloppy now. Fritz has been very quiet all day. The Coys changed over tonight. The H.Qs. was shelled here tonight at about 9 pm, but no one was hit.


7/1/18. I have been pretty sick today. It is another attack of trench fever I think. I turned in at about 9 pm. In the latest A.I.F. order, giving the New Years Honours, it shows me “ Mentioned in Sir Douglass Haig`s Dispatches”.


8/1/18. I was up at 11.30 am and felt pretty seedy at first but soon got O.K. again. I went across to the canteen at Derry House this afternoon.


9/1/18. It has been thawing all day. We had a few shells whipped into us here today.


10/1/18. It has been a very quiet day. There has been plenty of work to do in the “O” room. I received a few home papers today.


11/1/18. Things were fairly lively in our vicinity today, but apart from a few close ones to our “Pill Box”, they never worried us. I received 2 home letters today.


12/1/18.  The Adjutant came back from “Blighty” leave today and his assistant went on leave. Beaucoup work now. I have the typewriter in good working order now. I received some more home mail today.


13/1/18. Some snow fell during the night. I received some more home mail today dated 4/11/17.


14/1/18. It has been very quiet again today.


15/1/18. It has been raining all day and the ground is very boggy. Our Bn. was relieved before 7 am today by the 5th Bn. We had a rotten trip to our new location at Goderis Farm. The “Pill Box” had been letting water in a treat. I have had another attack of trench fever, but stuck it out and carried on.


16/1/18. I have been feeling pretty crook again today, but after a good feed I felt a lot better. We took over the H.Qs. tonight at Scott Farm from our “B” Coy. “B” Coy moved to Spy Farm.


17/1/18. It has been quiet all day.


18/1/18. I received some home mail today.


19/1/18-21/1/18. It has been very quiet.


22/1/18. Our Bn. relieved the 2nd Bn. in the line at about 6 pm. The Bn. H.Qs. is in Prince Rupert`s dugouts. There is carpet on the floor and tapestries on the wall. It is supposed to have been once occupied by Prince Rupert. “D” Coy is in the line.


23/1/18. This front is far quieter than the last. Very little shelling has been going on. I have plenty of typing to do, “Defence Schemes” etc. Alvin went on U.K. leave with Reg Eldridge today.


24/1/18. It has been a very quiet day. “C” Coy relieved “D” Coy at 7.30 tonight.


25/1/18. Another quiet day. “D” Coy relieved “C” Coy in the front line tonight.


26/1/18. The Adjutant, Intelligence officer, 2 runners and myself went out into “no mans land” at 5pm to examine our barbed wire and went from our left post front to our right post front. We found the wire to be in fair condition. We spotted quite a few Germans. We did not fire on them nor they on us. It was a bright moonlight night too. We returned to our lines at 8 pm.

27/1/18. It was another very quiet day today. I received some mail today.


28/1/18. It has been quiet again. The advance parties from the 54th Bn. are here now and are taking over stores etc. I

went on patrol with the Adjutant and Capt. Woodman tonight again at 9 pm. We arrived back at 1 am in the morning.


29/1/18. It was quiet as usual today. There was very little work to do. I have written several letters to fill in the time.


30/1/18. We were relieved by the 54th Bn. tonight. We marched to Wulverhem, where we spent the night in dugouts.


31/1/18. Motor buses picked us up about a quarter of a mile from camp and took us to Outtersteene. We marched from there to a place near Merris and Meteren. We have a very decent billet and bed. I feel very crook tonight. I think it`s another attack of the fever.


1/2/18. There was plenty of work to do today and it kept me going until 2 am.


2/2/18. I have been going my hardest all day to clear up the work.


3/2/18. I applied for a movement order today for myself to go to Rouen to inspect the Bn. records.


4/2/18. Beaucoup work to do today.


5/2/18. I had a game of football today and got my shirt ripped to pieces. I enjoyed the game. I packed up my kit today. The pass came for me tonight.


6/2/18. I had breakfast at 6.15 am and left to walk to Hazebrouck at 6.30. I was picked up by a motor ambulance at Merris. I left Hazebrouck at 8.53 by train and arrived at Calais at 11.15. I caught the train from Calais to Amiens at 12.10 and arrived at Amiens at 6.15 pm. I spent the night in the Y.M.C.A.


7/2/18. I was up at 5.45 and caught the train at 6.33 am and arrived at Rouen at 12.09 pm. I caught the train for the Australian section 3rd Eschelon at 12.25. I picked up Sgt. Johnstone near the markets. We had dinner at the soldier’s home and fixed up for a bed in the Hotel de Bourgoyne. I reported with Sgt. Johnstone to Eschelon and spent an hour inspecting the records. We had tea and went out for a walk, then turned in early.


8/2/18. I was up at 10am and went to Eschelon at 11 am. I had dinner in the Soldiers Club and went to Tivoli after tea. I turned in at 11 pm.


9/2/18. I went to Eschelon at 11 am. It was a half-holiday for staff on Saturday, so I made a few purchases and went to the Sgt`s mess to a concert. I arrived back at the hotel at about 1 am.


10/2/18. I went to Eschelon at 11 am. I had a go at doing a few more conduct sheets but wasn`t in the humour. I went up the River Seine in a paddle steamer for about 12 miles in the afternoon. It was a bonnie trip and I arrived back at the hotel at 6 pm.


11/2/18. I spent the day on 122`s and went for a roam round Rouen until about 8 pm. and then went to the “Follies”. I arrived back at the hotel at midnight.


12/2/18. I worked on the 122`s all day. It is a monotonous job. I went for a roam round Rouen until about 10 pm.


13/2/18. I have nearly finished the 122`s. I went to a concert with Johno tonight and enjoyed it immensely. There were some very good items.


14/2/18. I had a quiet day. I finished my 122`s and turned in early.


15/2/18. I had to stamp the 122`s with the office stamp and fixed up my billeting  papers.


16/2/18. I left Rouen for home at 4.40 pm by train. I arrived at Amiens at 9.53 pm and spent the night in the Y.M.C.A. I went to the Soldiers Home for dinner and then went to the Gare du Nord. (Railway station)


17/2/18. I caught the train at 4.30 am for Calais. I changed trains and caught the 1.20 pm train to Hazebrouck. I reached the Bn. at about 6.45 pm. The explanation given to the Adjutant as to why I was away so long was accepted.


18/2/18. Beaucoup work to do today, but I am not in the humour to do it. I had a game of football with the H.Qs. team v`s the “B” Coy team. We were beaten 33 to nil.


19/2/18. I am not in the humour for work today. I had a go at football again. “A” and “B” Coys v`s “C” and “D” Coys. I potted the only score for our side. They beat us 8 to 2.


20/2/18 – 24/2/18. They have been very quiet days but there has been plenty of work to do.


25/2/18. Another quiet day. Alvin received a parcel from home.


26/2/18. It has been a busy day. Alvin and I both received Christmas parcels from home.


27/2/18. We left Merris for the forward area and got to Parret Camp. It is a good camp too – Nissan huts. As usual on arrival at a new camp, I had plenty of orders to type.


28/2/18. We moved from the camp today and got to Ridgewood Camp at 11.30 am. We are in reserve to the front line.


1/3/18 – 19/3/18. This has been a very quiet time with not much happening.


20/3/18. We left Ridgewood Camp for the support Bn H.Qs. at 10 am and went by light rail to Spoil Bank. We disembarked and proceeded by duckboard track over Hill 60 to Larchwood Tunnels and we are down about 40 feet below the surface. It is lighted by electricity and the tunnels extend a great distance. They were dug by the Canadians. I turned in at midnight.


21/3/18. We were awakened at 3 am by the gas sentry, who informed us that a gas shell bombardment was on. We put our helmets on. The bombardment kept up until 9 am. Fritz hopped over on the right Brigade front, but came a thud. I had a busy day getting out “defence schemes”  etc. I finished at about 1 am. Fritz commenced an offensive on the Somme and has taken Hagricourt and Bullecourt. There was no other action near us.


23/3/18 – 1/4/18. It has been quiet on our front.


2/4/18. We left our camp at 12 noon today. The band played us all the way. We marched to Hoograat and are encamped in a bonnie “O” room. Apparently this place was once a Corps H.Qs.


3/4/18. There was very little doing all day. We received orders that we are to entrain and proceed to join the 3rd Army on a date to be made known later.


4/4/18. The orders were received that we are to move to St. Roche.


5/4/18. We arrived at St. Roche by train and marched through St. Roche and Amiens to Raineville, which is about 10 kilometres on the other side. We arrived at about 5 pm. I am billeted in a barn.


9/4/18. We moved by route march to Beaucourt – Sur – Huille.


11/4/18. We marched to billets in the Hospice in Amiens. The German aeroplanes have been very active and a lot of bombs have been dropped. The town has been shelled fairly heavily.


12/4/18. We moved from our billets at 3am and marched to St. Roche siding. We entrained after a long delay and moved out at 9 am, arriving at Hazebrouck via Doullens and St. Pol at 6 pm. At 8 pm we received orders to detrain and march to Borre. From there we marched to a position east of Strazeele, arriving at 1 am. We took up outpost positions covering Strazeele. The 3rd Bn. was on our right but the situation was obscure. Patrols that were sent out reported that the line was held by British Regiments. Our Bn. was dug in by dawn. During the afternoon the Germans advanced and our line was driven back. At dawn the British Regiments were withdrawn. The 4th Bn. held the front line with the 3rd Brigade.


14/4/18. There were continual attacks on our line by the Germans. The attacks were all driven off but there were a lot of casualties.


15/4/18. There was no further advance attempted by the enemy today.


16/4/18. Our “C” Coy advanced 200 yards against very strong opposition at 7.30 pm tonight.


17/4/18. The enemy put a very heavy barrage on Strazeele village at 9 am and it continued until about 12.30 pm. The Germans then attacked our front but did not get to our trenches. They suffered heavy casualties in their attempt.


20/4/18. The village of Strazeele was burnt to the ground today. We had to evacuate the cellar where our H.Qs. had been set up, and move to a house about 700 yards from the village towards Rouge Croix. The Bn. has had 56 killed and 200 wounded since 12/4/18.


22/4/18. It has been a quiet day, bright and sunny. The Bn. was relieved at 10 am today by the 5th and 6th Bns. We are camped in huts. There is plenty of work to do.


23/4/18. There is still a lot of work to do. I appeared before the C.O. today. He has selected me for nomination as an officer and took my particulars. We have been bombed all night, and I worked until 4 am typing recommendations for awards.


24/4/18. I was paraded before the Brigadier today. He is satisfied that I am fit to be an officer and he is sending me to an Officer Training Course in England. I worked all day until 1 am.


25/4/18. Anzac Day. It is the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. It has been a quiet day as regards shelling, but a busy one for me in the “O” room.


28/4/18. The 4th Bn. relieved the 12th Bn. in reserve in the Meteren area today. We are in support trenches near Fletra. I saw Alvin back in the horse lines today. Sgt. Mackie was killed going up. L/Cpl. Aubrey and Cpl. Southcott went up with the Adjutant. (Both of them are from the “O” room).


29/4/18. There is plenty of work to do where I am. L/Cpl. Aubrey was wounded today; Cpl. Southcott has been left to do the work.


30/4/18. Cpl. Southcott was wounded today. I have taken Pte. Agland (“C” Coy assistant clerk) into the “O” room and am teaching him to do the returns.


1/5/18. We received orders to move to the same location as the Q.M. Store. It is 2 kilometres away. We left the billet at 2 pm and got to our new location at 4 pm. I am in a barn with the P.O. men and the Pay Sgt. Cpl Kable, the “D” Coy clerk, was sent up to take over the duties of Cpl. Southcott tonight.


3/5/18. The 4th Bn. relieved the 3rd Bn. in the front line south of Meteren. “B”, “C” and “D” Coys are in the front line with “A” Coy in support.


5/5/18. An N.C.O. and 3 men of the 4th Bn. entered no mans land in broad daylight and captured a German post of 4 Germans.


9/5/18. The 4th Bn. was relieved by the 15th Bn. of the West Yorkshire Regiment. We marched to Caestre and proceeded by buses to a tented camp near Sercus.


12/5/18. I have been very busy all day getting the correspondence squared. I was warned by the Adjutant at midnight that I would have to leave for the O.T.C. in the morning.


13/5/18. I left the Bn. at 6.30 am together with Sgt. Wills. We were billeted in a barn and have to wait for our movement order.


14/5/18. We went in a motor lorry to see Major General Walker at the Div. H.Qs. today.


20/5/18. I left for Calais at 12.15 pm from Ebbingham station and went on to Boulogne. I stayed the night in the Sgt`s and W.O`s hostel.


21/5/18. I had a roam round Boulogne this morning, and embarked for Dover at 4 pm. I arrived in London at 8 pm and spent the night in the War Chest Club.


22/5/18. I spent the day being fitted up with my gear and I received a leave pass until 7th June. I stayed the night in the Shaftsbury Hotel. I went to see “The Maid of the Mountains” at a theatre tonight.


23/5/18. I left Marylebone station for Sheffield at 12.15 pm. I changed from the northern line to the midland line and went on to Leeds arriving at 7.05 pm.


24/5/18. I spent the day in Leeds.


25/5/18. Another day in Leeds.


26/5/18. I went up to Edinburgh today and stayed at the Overseas Club.


27/5/18 – 2/6/18. I spent this time in Edinburgh.


3/6/18. I left Edinburgh for Glasgow and then later for London.


4/6/18. I went to Guildford this morning.


5/6/18. I went to the hospital at Guildford where I had been treated after I was wounded, and saw the Sister.


6/6/18. I spent the day buying a few things and left for London at 8 pm.


7/6/18. I reported to “D” Coy, No. 4 Officer Cadet Bn. at Wadham College Oxford.


27/6/18. I had my medal presented today by G.O.C. Southern Command. It was some show.


28/1/19. I completed my training and sat for my final exams.


30/1/19. I was commissioned today, dated back to 1/1/19 and was sent on 11 days leave.


10/2/19. I reported after my leave and was sent to O.T.Bn. Longbridge Deverill.


26/2/19. I left the O.T.Bn. at Longbridge Deverill at 12.05 pm for Southampton and embarked on the S.S. Courtfield at 8 pm.


27/2/19. I arrived at Harfleur Camp at Le Havre at 10 am.


28/2/19-2/3/19. This time was spent in Le Havre.


4/3/19. I left Le Havre to join my Bn. at 5 pm.


26/3/19. I arrived in Cologne in Germany at 10 pm.


27/3/19. I am billeted in the Terminus Hotel with other Lts. We spent the next 3 days sightseeing.


31/3/19. We played the 2nd Army Rugby team and defeated them 21 to 6.


1/4/19. I went to Bonn today with Lt. Malone.


2/4/19. We played the R.A.F. Rugby team today and defeated them 41 points to nil. I scored 3 tries.


3/4/19. Went into Bonn again today and had another look round. It is a great city.


8/4/19. I went to Brussels today and saw an opera. Not bad . I was saluted by a Yankie soldier today. (For the very first time. It was quite a shock).


9/4/19. I visited the Palais du Justice, the museum and the art gallery this morning, and this afternoon went to Waterloo. I returned to Charleroi tonight.


10/4/19. I went into Charleroi this afternoon. I met fully a dozen old Wadham College lads.


12/4/19. This morning I had breakfast at Madame Dresdin`s and went into Charleroi for lunch. I went to the Bn. H.Qs. to obtain a billet in Couillet. I left the billet in Charleroi and moved over. It is a bonnie billet. Je suis content. I have Arthur Knight as my batman and have been appointed 4th Bn. Sports Officer.


13/4/19. I held a sports meeting at 12 noon. It has been raining heavily all day. I attended my first parade this afternoon. Jack Leeds came to see me tonight.


15/4/19. It has been raining again today. I went into Chatelet and some people that I knew. No sport today.


16/4/19. No sport again today. It rained again. I made myself scarce.


17/4/19. No sports again today. I made myself scarce again.


18/4/19. I attended Church Parade this morning. It is Good Friday. I did some visiting in the afternoon.


19/4/19. I did nothing all day except dodge parades. I attended the Boxing Tournament tonight. The 4th Bn. was represented in 2 fights, and won them both. Butt won the middleweight and Cox won the lightweight.


20/4/19. I stayed in my billet all day and wrote letters. I received some mail from home today.


21/4/19. I went out with Jack Leeds today.


22/4/19. The Brigade Sports were held today. They were a great success. The 4th Bn. won the greatest number of events. I came 2nd in the officer race. I had an attack of trench fever last night.


23/4/19. I have been sick again today. I got up at about 11 am. Jack Leeds came over today. We had plenty of music this afternoon. Marguerite and Jack played the piano for about 3 hours. I went to bed early tonight.


24/4/19. I had breakfast at 10 am and went to Charleroi for dinner. I went to Chatelet after dinner to view the sports ground.


25/4/19. The 1st Division Anzac Day Sports were held today. I was a steward and had a fair amount of work to do. The 4th Bn. won the obstacle race. I took the people at my billet to see “The Sentimental Bloke” tonight. It was a pretty good show.


26/4/19. I slept in till about 9 am this morning. I went to see the boxing tonight. There were some pretty good bouts.


27/4/19. I went to Church Parade this morning. I did nothing for the rest of the day.


29/4/19. I played with the 1st Brigade Rugby team today. We played and easily defeated the Corps Workshop team by 13 to nil. I scored the first try. We played in the pouring rain.


4/5/19. I have been Coy. Orderly today. There wasn`t much doing. I went to Chatelet and said goodbye to some friends there.


8/5/19. I was up at 5 am and left for Charleroi at 6.15 am with “Fatty” Martin. The people at my billet cried when I left. I felt pretty rotten.


10/5/19. Arrived at Harfleur Camp at 3 pm. I camped in the Reception Camp. I met Reg Dell tonight.


11/5/19. I shifted to the Draft Camp today. I went to Rouen at 11 am and arrived there at 4pm. I met Billy Cameron today. I went to the Tivoli tonight and arrived back at camp at midnight.


13/5/19. I had breakfast in bed at 11 am this morning. I had dinner at the hotel. I was paid 50 francs by the Pay Office today. I left for Le Havre at 4 pm.


15/5/19. I left by bus for the boat at 1.30 pm and boarded the S.S. Lavina at 3pm. We arrived at Southampton at 10 pm.


16/5/19. I went on duty at 5.30 am until 7.30 am. We disembarked at 8.15 am. I had breakfast at the station and entrained. I detrained at Godford and marched to the camp at Heytesbury.


17/5/19. I am Bn. Orderly Officer today.


21/5/19. I proceeded on 15 days leave and arrived at Oxford tonight.


22/5/19. I had lunch at Bailliol College and left for Guildford at 4.30 pm and arrived there at 8 pm.


24/5/19. I left for London at 7.30 am and left for Leeds at 10.10 am, arriving at 2.40 pm.


26/5/19. I went to Harrogate today. It is a fine city.


29/5/19. I arrived at Barhead and was met by Joyce. We went for a walk over the Braes.


30/5/19. Today I went for a walk over the Braes with Elsie.


31/5/19. Joyce and I went to the Kings Theatre in Glasgow tonight. It was a bon night.


2/6/19. I mowed the green at “The Bank” today. I played tennis this afternoon with George Kirkwood, Willie, Rita, Mac and Joyce. Some tennis player me??


3/6/19. I just spent the day at home with Joyce, and caught the 8.45 pm train for London. Joyce and Annie saw me off. I am sorry to leave “The Bank” as I have had an awfully good time there.


4/6/19. I arrived at Euston station at 7 am. I went out and saw Sister Orchard`s friends at Finsbury Park. I had a nice time there too. I caught the 7.30 pm train home.


5/6/19. There was a muster parade today.


9/6/19. There was a company cricket match today. We won by a few runs.


10/6/19-12/6/19. We played cricket most of the time.


13/6/19. I went across to Hardcott with Bill Jarvis today. I went into Salisbury after that and had tea with Mrs Turner. She is Bessie`s friend.


14/6/19. I left Heytesbury at 8.05 am for Bristol and spent an hour there. Left at 11 am for Devonport, passing through Exeter and Tauton, and then went on to Plymouth.


15/6/19. I went for a bit of a steamer trip and had a good time too. I caught the midnight train for Bristol and arrived there at 3.30 am. I left again for Heytesbury at 6 am. I arrived home at 8 am in time for breakfast.


20/6/19. I went on 4 days special leave today. Head work managed the trick. (urgent business???). I caught the 11.30 pm train for Glasgow.


21/6/19. I arrived at Glasgow at 8.41 am and then boarded another train to take me to Paisley where I saw Mrs. Clarke. I had breakfast there. I arrived at “The Bank” at dinner time. They were all very glad to see me. I had a great afternoon. I went for a walk with Joyce.


22/6/19. I went to church with the Howie clan today.


23/6/19. Frank Clearwater came over to see me today. I had another attack of trench fever tonight. I felt as though I was going to die. Joyce sat up with me all night nursing me.


24/6/19. The wire came today approving the extension of my leave by 3 days. I am still suffering from trench fever and feel rotten. The Howie clan is terribly good to me.


25/6/19. I spent the day kicking about the house. I still feel rotten and weak. Frank left this morning and I spent the rest of the day with Joyce and the family.


26/6/19. I left “The Bank” at 8 am. It made me very unhappy to leave. Joyce came into Glasgow to see me off. I felt rotten. I arrived at Leeds at 3 pm and had a great time there.


27/6/19. I left for London by the 11 am train and arrived at 4 pm. I caught the 7.15 train from Paddington back to camp. When I got back I was warned to move out tomorrow to the 45 quota.


28/6/19. 6 of us moved out at 12 noon today and joined the 45 quota. We leave for home on the S.S. Wiltshire on the 4/7/19. I am most awfully happy too. I want to go home badly now.


4/7/19. We caught the train at 3 am arriving at Birmingham at 8 am. We had breakfast there. We arrived at Liverpool docks at 11 am and embarked at 3 pm. We pulled out into the harbour at 6 pm.


5/7/19. We up anchored and sailed at 5 am. I have trench fever again today and feel rotten. There are about 900 on board all told. 6 sisters, 71 officers and the rest are diggers and crew.


I am on my way home.





After the war, he left his home town of Tamworth and became a timber buyer, visiting many timber mills on the North Coast of N.S.W. It was on a visit to Dorrigo that he met Ivy May Briggs, the only daughter of George and Emma Briggs. They were married in April 1923, and made their home in Wauchope, where they became the proud parents of two sons, John Richard and Robert Campbell.


In local sporting activities, Jack played football for Wauchope from 1921 to 1924. He played cricket with the Hastings District Association, and were premiers for the seasons 1922 to 1928.


He played against Sir Donald Bradman when a Sydney team visited the town.


As a representative tennis player, he played against Australian Davis Cup stars, Jack Crawford and John Bromwich.


After leaving Wauchope, Jack and Ivy moved to Taree and remained there until 1937. During their stay in Taree, another son was born in 1931, John Campbell.


It was late on New Years Eve in 1933 that Jack and Ivy were blessed with the birth of their fourth child – a daughter. Ivy May, the only daughter of George and Emma Briggs, had given birth to her only daughter. There was much rejoicing, and it was decided that she was to be named Nancy May. She was duly baptized in Grafton Cathedral, but regrettably, Jack was not able to attend, due to pressure of work.


Years later, when Nancy May applied for a birth certificate, she discovered that there was no such person registered under that name. However, there was a Nancy Joyce.


Many questions remain unanswered.


When Jack registered her birth in January 1934, was he still thinking, after 15 years, of Joyce Howie, who had nursed him all through the night of 23/6/19 as he suffered from an attack of trench fever? Was he still thinking about “The heather on the Hill”? Was his heart still in Scotland with that sweet bonnie lassie “ by yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes”?


Alas we will never know.


In 1936, Jack and Ivy received a letter from Joyce, congratulating them on having “ three wee scouts and a little lady”.


Did she ever know that “ the little lady”, 13000 miles away, had been named after her?


Alas we will never know.


After leaving Taree in 1937 Jack and Ivy moved to Sydney, where Jack joined the staff of W.D. and H.O. Wills, with which firm he remained until his retirement in 1961.


He was President of the 4th Bn. association for three years and Pensions Officer at Oatley R.S.L. until he passed away at his residence at 13 Park Ave. Oatley West on July 30th 1969, aged 73, leaving a widow, 3 sons and 1 daughter and 13 grandchildren.



Jack Noakes did not drink or smoke while serving over seas.