Churchill-Smith, James – August 1917
… Lecture at Doulien at 6 p.m. by an Artillery Major on “Heavy Artillery” – fairly interesting…Northern offensive going well in spite of rain.
… Interview with C. E. W. Bean at B. H. Qrs in afternoon re Noreuil & Messines. C. O. left for London leave. Received letter from Mona.
Battn left Steinwerk at 3.15 p.m. for Lindenhock near Camille [Camile]. Coy. Commdrs. left Steenwerk at 10.30 a.m. arriving at Cammile about 12 noon; then to front line Battn. Hdqrs – things fairly quiet – returned to Camp…Men in Dug-outs, shelters.
… Turnips growing everywhere near camp, so men will have them for dinner tomorrow. Fatigues at night for about 300 men…Fixed up my dug-out with photos, pictures &c, so place is quite homely.
… Went to Mount Cammell in afternoon with Tom & Jim Loudon – can get an excellent view of the battlefront from the sea to about Arras [Northern France] from on top; it is a great sight & well worth seeing.
Enemy planes over during early morning dropping bombs – fortunately did not wake up, slept undisturbed – “tres bien”…Wrote dear Mum, Kate & Paul Guillemin. Oscar over for a chat at night. Our Artillery very busy at night.
… Went to right sector model with Tom in afternoon; evidently there is to be a stunt here, but don’t think we’ll be in it…Tonight is 1st Anniversary of this Battalion’s first stunt in France, viz Mouquet Farm – God bless & comfort the parents of those who so nobly fell.
… Tonight, 12 mos ago, was hellish for our Battn, & is only time we have not made a success of a stunt – what we were asked to do was absolutely ridiculous as our men were too tired & casualties had been heavy. Poor little Vic Dridan was wounded. (& finally died) Thank God I’m still alive.
… Relieved from Post 81 this time last year (about 10 p.m.) – shall I ever forget the relief on my nerves.
Battn left Camp near Lindenhock at 9.30 a.m. & arrived at Camps near Dranoutre at about 11 a.m. This Camp not as good as last…Enemy put a few shells by railway siding close by at about 11 p.m. Got lovely view of country & village of Loire from here – really beautiful.
… Out for ride with Tom, Doc. & Charlie Moule in afternoon; accident coming home – Doc’s horse bolted & crashed into another horse coming towards him – Doc’s right ear hurt & horse had to be shot. Heavy artillery firing during early morning, believe we took 1500 prisoners in a stunt.
… Two German aeroplanes brought down during morning, one by our A. A. guns in flames. . …Orders out re move tomorrow.
Battn left camp at near Dranoutre at 10.45 a.m. & arrived at Aldershot Camp near Nieuve [Neuve ] Eglise at about 12.20 p.m; left there at 6 p.m. and arrived at Red Lodge Camp in Ploegsteert Wood at about 8.30 p.m. Men in long deep tunnels & place very comfortable – electric light laid on.
Enemy commenced shelling Ploegsteert Wood with Gas & ordinary shells at 12.15 a.m. and finished at 2.15 a.m. Ted & I waited 1 ½ hrs outside wood to miss the gas, only to find when arriving at Camp that they had their dug-outs closed & didn’t notice any gas.
… Men at work during day improving their “posies”. – made Coy. Hdqrs. more comfortable and got an extension phone on to my place.
2 years since I left South Australia and everything is still O.K. – thank God. Nice morning, but plenty of rain during afternoon & night making every track & trench sloppy & muddy. Recd plenty of newspapers & letters from dear Mum (2), Dad, Kate (2), Girlie, Lettie Larsson, F. Gill, W. L. Ware, Miss Lewis, Myrtle Galliford.
Rotten day for trench life; rain & mud – “cursing & swearing”. C. O., Brigadier, Tom & others up during the day. Received letters from Tom English & Mona, also lots of papers from home, & Albert Crapp. Wet night.
… Enemy trench-mortar busy from 7 a.m. to about 9 a.m. round about our front line firing from Warneton – put our Artillery on to it and it shut up. Enemy artillery very busy on our left and on our front line from about 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – our artillery putting in plenty of retaliation with good results.