Three Australian officers at Gallipoli, identified from left to right: Lieutenant Roy Kernot of the 1st Division Engineers; Lieutenant Edward Stanley Whitehead of the 3rd Field Company Engineers and Lieutenant Louis Willyama Avery (later MM) of the 1st Division Engineers. The three friends were all associated with the Silverton Tramway Company in Broken Hill and survived the war. image courtesy Australian War Memorial P00244.001
Avery, Louis Willyama – June 1917
Only one Engineer required for Commission & he was selected from another Company. Bad luck. Will keep hoping.
General Walker inspected the Divisional Engineers today. 3 Companies. What for this untimely interest.
Marched out at 7.30 a.m. for Bray-sur-Somme. We are not used hot days, & today we felt it. Our billets are wooden huts. Enjoyed a swim in the Somme River. Could not beg, borrow or steal costumes so did not let that worry us. In any case the French M’selles do not worry about that detail.
Pontoon drill all day. Must expect to cross some rivers later on.
Obtained leave for Amiens. Spent a most interesting day. The hot bath being the most enjoyable part of it.
We held an acquatic sports meeting today. I had a squad in the bridge building competition which our Company won. Our prize was a case of beer. We bridged The Somme with four pontoons, forming 5 spars of ducking in 7 minutes 30 seconds & dismantled it in 4 minutes 45 seconds. We were not so lucky in the swimming races but won the pontoon race. It was a great days sport.
Went to Amiens on leave today. Most uninteresting & scarcely worth the effort.
General Walker brought a Royal Engineer General along to inspect the Company erecting a 75 foot bridge today at express speed. The time averaged 1¼ minutes per bay, & the General complimented us upon our good work. He was at one time Commandant at Royal Engineer Head Quarters at Chatham. He considered 1½ minutes per bay as a good performance by picked men. It was very funny when the fall in was sounded for the General to address the Company. Many of the boys were in swimming, at the time, but not to be deterred some fell in naked, others in a hat & shirt & others fully dressed. He was delighted at the strange sight, remarking that it showed good discipline. We feed on this sort of thing.
Bridging in the morning, swimming during the afternoon, & a concert by the Combined Engineers in the evening.
During the past week we have been practicing pontooning & swimming quite a lot. Had leave to Amiens today. Still find it uninteresting. But it does provide a change to break the monotony & we enjoy a good meal & a hot bath. Our bicycles have been recalled by Ordnance.
The Portugese, (or we call them the pork & beans) have been given a position in the front line under British control. Dont think they will do much to help win the war.
The British have now taken over the front in Belgium right to the coast. It is expected that big things may take place on this front soon.
Divisional Engineers Regatta Day, on the River Somme. It was a good days sport for those taking part & the spectators. We won the Section pontoon race. I also rowed in the Interstate race for South Australia who came second, being beaten by N.S.W. A number of English Doctors & nurses were the guests of our Colonel. The betting was in favour of N.S.W. & it was clear that we were not intended to win, though we offered ?1 per man to win. The winner of the sweep collected ?25 & a days leave in Paris.