Churchill-Smith, James – July 1917
Received letter from Mona with photos, which are very nice. Cricket today – 51st v Brigade Hdqrs; Gen. Holmes present.
Nice fine day. Parade 8 to 11 a.m. Passed Gen. Holmes & Holman (Premier of N.S.W.) in Motor Car – heard about an hour later that the Gen. was killed & Holman shaken up. I am very sorry about our Div. Comm. – a good chap gone. German long range gun firing at one of back balloons at about 7 p.m. …A few enemy aeroplanes over at night dropping bombs & firing their machine guns.
…The King, Prince of Wales & Sir Douglas Hay motored through to Nieuve Eglise* passing along road about 2.45 p.m.; men lined streets and cheered.
Went up to Support line of trenches during morning with other O’s C – Jim Loudon – nice place & seems comfortable, very little shelling. Had tooth filled in afternoon.
…Big dump blown up at 11 p.m. – S. A. A., Artillery shells &c &c – aeroplanes dropped bombs on it. 4th Bgde Hdqrs knocked out by a shell today; Gen Brand, Harry Thomson, Mjr Johnston & others wounded, one killed.
Fine hot day. Enemy plane brought down 3 of our balloons in flames. Ted Price out checking stores in area during day.
…“Friday the 13th and I moved up in front of 13 Platoon” – where’s the bad luck? Arrived Supports about 11 a.m. Coy. in good posies– I’m with Doc. Powell. Enemy shelling both in rear of our lines and at our. aeroplanes very persistent. Word through that it seems enemy is contemplating an attack on the front.
…Day quiet until 8.40 p.m. when enemy barraged left of our front line. Tom English, Ted Price and all the men of Coy. on fatigue from 10 p.m. to 3.30 a.m. ….Fritz bombarded our line twice during day.
…Wrote dear Mum, Kate, & Lionel Scott. Cards at Hdqrs, at night. Officers from New Zealanders up during day. Fritz bombarded our line at about 10.50 p.m. Enemy aeroplane brought down one of our balloons in flames in afternoon. Small stunt on at 10 p.m. by 51st for capture of small enemy strong point.
Enemy shelled back area with gas shells from about 12.15 a.m. to about 2.15 a.m. On Court Martial during morning at Brigade Hdqrs. with Tom & Cory.
Very nice day. Inspection Parade during morning. – men at Baths. at Ponte de Trieppe in afternoon. Orders out for move tomorrow.
Battn. left De Seule Camp at 9 a.m. and arrived at near Steenwerk & Le Kerlem at about 11 a.m. – fairly hot marching. Went to Hazebroucks in afternoon with Doc. Powell, returning at about 11.30 p.m. Enemy planes dropped bombs over Hazebrouck, Bailleul & Steenwerk at about 11 p.m. – our searchlights everywhere & anti-aircraft guns firing.
…Parades 8 to 11.30 a.m. & 2 to 3.30 p.m. Find all billets very fair – put all my photos on mantel-piece and pictures on walls of my room, which makes place – quite homely.…Received card from Paul, glad he’s passed his B.A.
…Parade 9 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. – night operations & bayonet fighting with Gas helmets on.
Morning parade cancelled. Battn. formed up at 12.15 p.m. and marched to Bgde. Parade ground for inspection by the 2nd Army Commander, Gen. Plumer; after inspection he spoke to all Officers on “Discipline”, and gave a very good speech. March Past followed. Officers lecture 6 p.m.
Kit inspection & Platoon attack on Stronghold demonstration in the morning. Washing &c in afternoon. …Officers lecture by C. O. at 7.30 p.m. Wrote dear Kate. Received papers from home & Mrs Bond.
Very dull about 9 a.m. followed by a very heavy thunderstorm – raining on and off all day up to about 4 p.m.
Long route march in morning. Cool day. …sent an “Anzac Bulletin” to dear Dad. Dull day with rain during late afternoon.