Churchill-Smith, James – June 1918
Nucleus reserve (inc C.O.) remained at old Camp; rest of Bn. marched out at 7.45 a.m. halting at Daours from about 10 a.m. to 9 pm. Coys moved off at 9 p.m. A, B, D & C with 50 yds interval between posts, and 20 mins between Coys. “D” Coy relieved “C” Coy 31st Bn – Coy Hdqrs very nice & comfortable. Coy in front of Hamel; trenches &c good. Coy Hdqrs is a glorious cellar, nicely fitted up with tables, beds, kerosine lamps, flowers &c &c.
Relief complete at about 2 a.m. Around posts with Charlie Willcox at 3 a.m. returning at about 4 a.m…
Lovely warm day again. Front very quiet. Enemy plane brought down about 4 a.m. 1 American Sgt & 2 Ptes attached to my Coy for experience… Wrote Mattie Adney, Dorothy Treweneck, Mabel Browne, Mab Surman, & Ida Wood. Our patrols busy around Hamel at night – one went within 5 yds of a German sentry, but fortunately there were no casualties.
Nice day; rather cooler than yesterday. Wrote Madame Malfait & sent two Anzac bulletins to dear Dad. Brigadier round about 4 p.m…
Nice fine day. Occasional shelling around our Hdqrs during day, also shelling around VAIRE, Sent patrols out at 10 a.m. to find position for Trench Mortar for stunt in morning.
Two of our patrols out at 1 a.m. to Hamel for purpose of bombarding a couple of Machine Gun positions found in Hun lines; patrol supported by 12 men of “B” Coy & a Trench Mortar. Received papers from Adelaide.
Hear the Germans are 43 miles from Paris, so Charlie Willcox and I are thinking of changing our names to “Muecke” and “Schmidt” – think we’d better start learning German too !!! “Gut – Tag”. Heavy & continuous gas bombardment by our artillery on HAMEL.
Nice fine day. Have a nasty rash on legs very painful. Heavy gas bombardment & H.E. by enemy on front line…
… Part 51st, 27th Bn & others advanced about 700 yds at 9.45 p.m. on our left – all objectives taken.
… Received instructions re. Bn. advance for tomorrow night Hear All Divisions of British Army have to do two things, either raids or advances.
Night marching in No Mans Land from 11 p.m. to 12 mid, to find point P3 central – rather interesting especially as No Mans Land is composed of crops, some higher than I am.
Brigadier Glasgow up during morning with a U.S.A. General, also Tom up in afternoon with U.S.A. Major, whom I took round the posts at night – very funny…
Nice day again. Enemy plane brought down during morning, also large dump exploded in rear of enemy lines. Relieved at night by “B” Coy, 45th Bn.
Arrived at Daours, where Bn. is bivouacked, at about 3 a.m…
Nice warm day. Had lovely hot bath in afternoon at Daours with Tom. One of my men found a very fine souvenir, which we are sending on to the Ausn War Museum – it is a German bomb, which had been dropped from an aeroplane & didn’t explode – the work in it is excellent…
Men of Bn. inoculated who hadn’t been done during last 12 mos. Inoculated afternoon. Bed feeling unwell. Wrote dear dad.
Up about 2 a.m… Reconnoitred route at 2.30 pm. to Reserve Line (Aubigny Line) which we have to occupy in case of enemy break through – took Officers & N.C.O’s round about7 p.m. Bed early – inoculation playing up…
Wet day. Attended Court Martial at Duds camp Querrien, in morning in case Haines – case dismissed. Went to Transport lines & Duds Camp with Tom at 5 p.m – dinner with Duds. Bishop Long round during afternoon to talk to Officers & men about new A.I.F educational scheme. A few trains moving up along Amiens-Corbie railway line near Daours at night; a sign, I should think, of a coming attack by us.
Windy day. A. B. & C Coys on fatigue, “D” Coy on parade. Wrote dear Mum & Bunny Mc, also dear Kate…
On fatigue with A, B & D Coys, burying cable, during morning. Meeting of O’s C. Coys at night re contemplated move to front line…
Dull day. Went forward to front line during morning with Willcox to have a look at 13th Bn, sector. Officers & N.C.O’s classes during afternoon.
Up late, feeling very unwell… Orders out for going into line tomorrow night.
Nice day. Feeling very unwell, Temp. 101.6° – in bed till about 2.30 p.m. Bn. moved up about night & relieved 13th Bn. on front near Villers-Brettoneux…; relief very haphazard, 13th very casual…
Up about 2 p.m – feeling a little better… 2 killed, 1 wounded in “A” Coy at night (ration party.) One of our planes brought down in flames in German lines. Plenty of planes on both sides up at night – a few interesting episodes.
Up about 1 p.m. – feeling fair. Tom & Doc, round during afternoon. Plenty of planes up again at near sundown – exciting scenes at times…
…Feeling much better today.