Churchill-Smith, James – January 1917
1 Jan 1917
… Battalion Sports held during morning, “B” Coy. being very successful. Charlie Baring’s team won horse-wrestling match. Football in the afternoon –… “B” Coy played very well & won easily. Wrote dear Mum & Kate.
… Move orders out at night. Received letters & papers from dear Mum, Kate (3), Father, Dolly Gurner, & Lieut T. Smith.
Battalion … route marched to Cardonette … Went to Amiens on horseback in late afternoon …
… marched to Buire; … Rain at intervals. …
… at Baths during morning & had one myself – very enjoyable. …
… marched to Fricourt arriving about midday. Impromptu dance &c in Officers hut at night, followed by songs, yarns &c – very enjoyable. Back trouble on again – very severe.
Left Fricourt on horseback with C. O., Capts Seager and Armitage for front line area. Went to the front line Battn. Hdqrs (11th Battn.), and then to Smoke Trench where my. Coy. is to go when we take over…
Battalion left Bazentin (Hobart Camp) at 12 noon … I had a lovely buster trying to jump the trench; owing to mud, I slipped & fell backwards flat on my back into mud in trench – very narrow squeak did not hurt back. Bed early. Accommodation very bad.
… Our trench shelled during afternoon, about 2 o’c pm, for about ¼ of an hour. – No casualties…
… Everything quiet except Artillery; only a few shots near our trench, Took ill during night and was sick – bilious owing to drinking tea made from shell-hole water. Very heavy fall of snow during night, and very cold for the men on duty.
… Relieved by “B” Coy. at 6 p.m., and Coy. arrived safely back at Smoke Trench afterwards. All very tired, but enjoyed hot bully beef stew and tea. Bed early.
Slept well, and did not get up until 1.30 p.m… Lieut. Hoggarth & Waine with 20 men on fatigue improving Smoke Trench at night. Our Artillery lively about 2 p.m…
Dull day with heavy fog all the morning and afternoon. Coy. left Smoke Trench at 5 p.m. and relieved ‘B’ Coy. in front line.… Quiet night. Feeling A.1. …
Major Loutit up inspecting during early morning. … Big working party again seen, but find they are Tommies; we thought they were Germans. Wind favorable for gas, so ordered “Gas Alert”, Night quiet. …
… Quiet day until near dusk, when I observed parties of Germans coming over front ridge about 1600 yds away. 12th Bgde. Artillery opened up, and I set our Lewis Machine guns going when Germans got closer. … Relieved by ‘B’ Coy. at 5.30 p.m. and Company returned safely to Smoke Trench.
… Snow on ground looks lovely (about 4 “deep); … Enjoyed plodding through it with Gum Boots on. Had snowball fight with Lieut. McLean. … Coy. left Smoke Trench at about 5 p.m. and took over Gap Trench; completed relief by 7 p.m.
… Received a Xmas Card from dear Kate, and letters … also parcel of pencils…
… snow melting gradually…
… Not feeling too good – perhaps due to cold &c – thinking a good bit of home.
Fine day, and not so cold as usual; very bright sun and clear sky. A few enemy aeroplanes up. Our Artillery active during morning. Wrote W. L. Ware & Rene Hamilton. Received letter of congratulation from Staff of Bagots (very nice), also one from Cyril Hamilton from Sydney.
… Orders out re move tomorrow. Fine night but very cold, Received this diary from home, so spent night in writing it up.
… Company commenced to leave Gap Trench at 3:30 p.m. – all arrived at Perth Camp at about 5.30 pm. … Hear that 29th Div. hopped over last night and took 4 lines of trenches & 900 prisoners.
… Received Xmas Box today from Comforts Fund, Port Pirie branch…
Capt. of the Day today, – … Rough night, Capt. Seager excelled himself…