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 – May 1917
Inoculated again today. Felt sick early & took to the blankets. Had a most unpleasant night being sick 4 times. 5 men were awarded the Military Medal for their good work in front of Hermies. That is very satisfactory.
Have been engaged on filling in old German trenches, cleaning harness and sports meetings. The Australians have captured Bullecourt from the Prussian Guards & repulsed every counter attack. Our losses were very heavy.
Reveille at 5.30 a.m. The Company marched out at 7.30 for Ovillers, where we arrived at 5 p.m. hot, dusty & tired. Had a good bath.
Reveille 6 a.m. & moved further back passing through Albert to Harnoncourt. Rain made things most unpleasant. Sampled some good wine but did not care for it much. It was far too lively. We are billeted in a barn where the rats & other vermin are plentiful. My loaf of bread disappeared during the night.
Went by train on leave to Amiens. It took an hour to cover 3 miles. Had breakfast at the Railway Station: Had a look over the Cathedral, which is a magnificent building & is supposed to be the best in France since the destruction of Rheims Cathedral. After lunch we discovered a place where a hot bath could be had. So we cleaned ourselves & went for a walk along the River Somme. Returned to the Company at 8 p.m.
We are going through a course of Vickers Machine Gun instruction so that every man will be able to handle one if necessary. At 8.30 p.m. I was summoned to the officers mess. I was officially informed that my recommendation for a commission in the Engineers had gone through. I was asked whether I would accept a Commission in the Infantry if all did not turn out as expected. I replied definitely no, but would consider Pioneers. This looks more hopeful now.
Rats have been annoying us beyond endurance so we made a raid on their haunts. First of all we used water & got 3. Then we launched a gas attack by burning cordite in their holes. It makes them sick & out they come for fresh air. We got 6 more this way.
After rats again today. Got 3 more.