World War I Diary of Private M W Harrigan

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World War I Diary of Private M W Harrigan

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David Harrigan

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THIS IS THE DAIRY OF

MELVILLE WALTER HARRIGAN

3814

20th Battalion A. I. F.


No of rifle 21003

Bayonet 28604

Rifle 51788

Private M W Harrigan 3814

Dorrigo, NSW Australia



3 January 1916 Monday
Left Dorrigo for a tour around the world, and do a bit of big game shooting.


4 January 1916 Tuesday
3814 Pte M W Harrigan
9th Reinforcements
20th Battalian
5th Brigade A.I.F.

Intermediate Base Depot
EGYPT


5 January 1916 Wednesday
Dr. P. Gosling 254
1st A.A.S.C.

Pte R. S. Vincent
4th London General Hospital
Grove Lane Extension
Denmark Hill
London G. E.

Pte O. Anderson
A Coy
1st Pioneer Battn
France

Miss A Harrigan
Carrolls Creek
Via Tenterfield


6 January 1916 Thursday
4132
Pte O. E. Anderson
Gatswood Hall
Hospital
Ashtons in Makerfield
Lancashire
England


7 January 1916 Friday
3789 W.A. Ellis
56th Batln

No 190
Pte A. L. Sawtell
Batt Bombers
33rd Battalion
9th Brigade




20 January 1916 Thursday
We left camp at 5 a.m. today and marched to Woollamooloo Bay where the Runic was ready for us, there were thousands of people marched through the streets with us.

We embarked 6.30 a.m. and left the wharf about nine. We stopped out in the harbour until half past three in the afternoon, we went out through the heads at four o’clock, it was the first time that I was through them and perhaps the last. To look at all the men you wouldn’t think it was troubling them much. So the day is over that we have been looking forward to so long, now we are looking forward to the day we get the other side. Melville Harrigan.


21 January 1916 Friday
We are beginning to get settled down in our new home. The sea has been lovely today although some of the men have been sick, one of the boys said he felt alright from the hips down to his toes. Everybody seems sleepy, we didn’t get enough before we came on board. We have plenty of good tucker and a good bed. We haven’t done any drill yet, it would be alright if we had books to read, they reckon there are some here if they can only find them.
3814


22 January 1916 Saturday
We are still going strong, the pond is as calm as a river. This morning it is alright lying out on deck in the sun. You begin to fancy you are a millionaire instead of a soldier. We are in sight of land again. We did a bit of drill before dinner and fell in after dinner, but the flies were that thick we had to knock off. No week end leave so we can’t go to town.


23 January 1916 Sunday
Our first Sunday at sea, it didn’t seem like Sunday until church time. We had church on deck, there was a good crowd there. We had plum duff for dinner so things are looking up. We are still having good weather, the sea is rolling a bit this afternoon, but it takes a good bit to make the boat roll. There is a press gang going round today, making them get their hair clipped. I’m glad I got mine off before I went on board. 3814


24 January 1916 Monday
Nothing doing today. I have been orderly so I haven’t been on deck.


25 January 1916 Tuesday
The sea is pretty rough today, there are a good lot sick. The ship is rolling about a good bit, everything is bumping into you. Everyone you try to pass you run right into him.


26 January 1916 Wednesday
Nothing new today, the boat is a bit steadier than yesterday, it can stand it too. 3814


27 January 1916 Thursday
Sighted land today after four days out of sight, you would thnk it was four months by the way they all rushed out to see it.


28 January 1916 Friday
Same old thing, sea all round us, it is getting good again.


29 January 1916 Saturday
Sighted Freemantle at daylight, we pulled up at the wharf at nine and had two hours leave. We left again at three, saw the last bit of Australia at five o’clock, it will be a while before we see it again. Concert on deck at night, admission free. 3814


30 January 1916 Sunday
We still have fine weather and a calm sea.
Pay day




9 February 1916 Wednesday
We arrived at Columbo about eight o’clock. We went for a route march in the afternoon through Ceylon to see the sights, arrived back at the boat just at dark.


10 February 1916 Thursday
No leave today, one lot took a boat and tried to get on shore but were brought back with an armed guard, we left Colombo about five o’clock in the afternoon.




13 February 1916 Sunday
Pay day




18 February 1916 Friday
We arrived at Aden about ten o’clock last night, we were told the 8th of the 20th (battalion) had a weeks fighting at Aden when they were coming over. Bill Bucler was among that lot. We are in the red sea today passing Africa on one side and Arabia on the other.




22 February 1916 Tuesday
Arrived at Port Suez at eight o’clock this morning, we were all ready for disembarkation, but orders came from shore to say we had to go to Alaxandria.


23 February 1916 Wednesday
We left Port Suez for Alexandria at seven o’clock this evening, it was a bit dark to have a look around, passed three cruisers in the canal.


24 February 1916 Thursday
Arrived at Port Said at one o’clock today.


25 February 1916 Friday
Went for a route march through Port Said, left again at six o’clock for Alexandria, made the usual noise.


26 February 1916 Saturday
We arrived at Alexandria this morning at ten o’clock, but had to wait all day and then we didn’t get off. Was on guard until twelve o’clock at night on the wharf.


27 February 1916 Sunday
We were landed at two o’clock this morning and arrived at Heliopolis at ten o’clock. We met Peter Gosling when we were going through the camp.


28 February 1916 Monday
No drill today, only we have to clean up the lines, met Jack Lombard today.


29 February 1916 Tuesday
More fatigue work today, our company went for a route march this afternoon, but I happened to miss it. We went to Heliopolis tonight to the Music Hall, had a good time.


1 March 1916 Wednesday
We were inspected by the Brigadier this morning and this afternoon we had some more fatigue cleaning rifles.


2 March 1916 Thursday
We went to Cairo for the first time today. I didn’t go much on it, most of the streets smell too much like a pig sty.




4 March 1916 Saturday
We went to Cairo this afternoon and went to the zoo, it is a bosker place.
Pay day


5 March 1916 Sunday
Church parade this morning, we went to the pyramids this afternoon, we climbed up on top, it is good exercise climbing up there.


6 March 1916 Monday
Drill this morning. We went for a route march this afternoon.


7 March 1916 Shrove Tuesday
More fatigue work today, building mud walls, about fifty of us doing about half a dozen men’s work.


8 March 1916 Wednesday
I was on guard last night, so I had until dinner time off today. This afternoon we had to shift to some more huts.


9 March 1916 Thursday
We went for a route march before dinner to have a look at some trenches, we had orders to have everything ready to leave camp in an hours notice. More bad luck today Mick was sick and went to the doctor and had to go to the hospital tonight.


10 March 1916 Friday
We have had a good day today, we were on fatigue until dinner time, but most of us felt a bit tired, it was a good job we had a good sergeant or some of us would have been a few bob out of pocket.
We fell in after dinner but were dismissed for the day, so we had nothing to do but sleep all the afternoon, this doesn’t seem much like war.


11 March 1916 Saturday
Some more fatigue today until dinner time, if they give us much more, we will never be able to drill again, they might just as well give us a holiday as put us on fatigue.
We went to Cairo after dinner and had a look at the Museum, it is better than the Sydney museum. MH


12 March 1916 Sunday 1 in Lent
Church parade at ten o’clock, we went to the hospital to see Mick, and found him nearly alright, had dinner at the Empire Club, and put in afternoon reading and writing.


13 March 1916 Monday
Some drill before dinner, and we were picked out after to go to whatever camp we had to go to.
Mail day the first letter.


14 March 1916 Tuesday
We were out of bed at four o’clock this morning and had breakfast before daylight. We left just daylight for the railway station, it was about nine before we left, we arrived at Ismailia about one and had dinner at the station. It was after dark when we had tea.
We had to leave Mick behind after all.


15 March 1916 Wednesday
There were seventy of us picked out to join the original 20th Battalion. Roy and Frank and I were all out of our lot. We were drafted into C. Coy. They are the best lot I have seen yet in the 20th here.


16 March 1916 Thursday
We were inspected this morning by the Colonel and after dinner we went for swim in a lake along side of the canal.


17 March 1916 Friday
We left camp at six o’clock tonight for Alexandria, we had to sit out on the sand for three hours waiting for our train.


18 March 1916 Saturday
We had a pretty cold trip down in the train, they were all open carriages. We arrived at Alexandria about eight, it started to rain just as we got off the train and we were all wet through before we could get on the boat. Our boat isn’t very big, I’ll bet there will be a lot sick.


19 March 1916 Sunday 2 in Lent
Church parade this morning. We never left the wharf until five o’clock this afternoon. We all have to wear our life belts wherever we go.


20 March 1916 Monday
Well, we are out at sea again, nearly everybody is sick, so we had nothing to do but lay about and sleep.


21 March 1916 Tuesday
Too sick to write. No news.
Met Bert Dale today, he is in the 19th Battalion.


22 March 1916 Wednesday
Ditto


23 March 1916 Thursday
Things are a bit better today.
There was a transport sank where are now, yesterday by a submarine, so we just missed it.


24 March 1916 Friday
Same as usual.


25 March 1916 Saturday
Arrived at Marseilles today at ten o’clock, landed at one, and left at five in the afternoon for goodness knows where.


26 March 1916 Sunday 3 in Lent
Still going in the train and likely to for awhile by the look of things.


27 March 1916 Monday
Still going our hardest, we ought to get somewhere soon.


28 March 1916 Tuesday
We arrived somewhere at last, arrived at Steenbecque six o’clock today and have been half frozen. Had a look around the village where we are to camp.


29 March 1916 Wednesday
We can hear the guns going a treat today, so there must be a war on here, it is pretty cold today.


30 March 1916 Thursday
It is getting a bit warmer, it is more like Australia.
Pay day.


31 March 1916 Friday
We went out to try our gas helmets today. And we were inspected by Lord Kitchener at Aire, seven miles from Steenbecque, that is where we are camped.


1 April 1916 Saturday
Nothing much today.


2 April 1916 Sunday
Church parade this morning, we had it in the street. We can hear a heavy bombardment today. They are making things hum.
Steenbecque


3 April 1916 Monday
We went for route march after dinner.
Steenbecque


4 April 1916 Tuesday
Things quiet.


5 April 1916 Wednesday
Ditto


6 April 1916 Thursday
Route march before dinner about eight miles, with full pack up, holiday this afternoon to get ready for a start tomorrow for the trenches.


7 April 1916 Friday
We left Steenbecque about ten o’clock this morning, we were reviewed by General Joffre, we marched about thirteen miles in the day, with about fifty lbs (pounds) up, so it was quite far enough. We have a good camp tonight, so here’s luck.


8 April 1916 Saturday
We went about eight miles today, we are camped about two miles from Arm. (Might be short for Armentieres)


9 April 1916 Sunday
We have had a holiday today. We could see them shooting at aeroplanes, but there was no accidents, no one was hurt.


10 April 1916 Monday
Another holiday today. We are to leave here at seven o’clock tonight.
Mr M Harrigan
Bois. Grenier
Command Post
France


11 April 1916 Tuesday
Command Post
We arrived here, somewhere in France, about eleven o’clock last night. We are camped in a deserted farm house, there are twelve of us camped in the stables, it is about ten feet by twenty with a brick floor, and a few holes in the roof, made by shells. It is raining, and pretty cold, but we got an oil drum, and made a fire in it, so we are pretty comfortable. The Germans are shelling pretty close today, about two hundred yards away.


12 April 1916 Wednesday
Another wet day, we never got out of bed until after eight o’clock, we have nothing to do, it is to be hoped that the rain stops. We are in reserve here in case they break through.


13 April 1916 Thursday
We haven’t left here yet, still having a good time, nothing to do and plenty to eat. It is still raining.
Pay day.


14 April 1916 Friday
We shifted camp this afternoon after tea. The section that I am in, fourteen of us, have to guard the ammunition just behind the firing line. We had plenty of trenches to go through to get here, it is a pretty good job here if it wasn’t so cold, we had a fall of snow for a few minutes today.
M W Harrigan
Emma Post
France


15 April 1916 Saturday
Well we have had our first night in the trenches. I was on guard from eight till ten and from four to six, it was pretty cold on the feet, everything so wet. Chillingworth and I have a bosker little dugout to ourselves. Things were quiet here last night, a few machine guns and rifles going at times. Our new home is called Emma post. We have had nothing to do all day, I have to go on guard from ten till twelve tonight, and all hands have to be out at four o’clock tomorrow morning for (stand to).


16 April 1916 Palm Sunday
We had a fine night last night, everything was quiet, a machine gun started placing bullets pretty close to my head, it made me duck a bit. There was a bit of excitement here this morning watching them shooting at one of our aeroplanes, it came down real low across the German lines, there was shells flying all around it and machine guns and rifles were going their hardest, but they didn’t get him.
The shells were whistling through the air this afternoon, but they kept well away from us. I have had another day off, I am on guard again tonight.


17 April 1916 Monday
We have another wet day, it started to rain last night while I was on guard, they forgot all about me last night when they were relieving the post and I had four hours in the rain, but I didn’t have to go on the last one, I never got out of bed until twelve o’clock today, so I can’t growl about been over worked. It isn’t so good up in the front line of trenches, so they say. I have to go on again tonight, from six to eight and then the night off.


18 April 1916 Tuesday
It is still raining, I woke up this morning with my feet in a pool of water, my blankets are wet through so I will have a pretty good camp tonight. I never got out of bed till ten, and then I had to go to Moat Farm for our rations, you want to be a bit of a bush man to find your way in these trenches. We should have been relieved at twelve o’clock today, to go back to our old billets, but they are not coming until half past eight tonight. There will be some spills tonight when we are going back to camp as the trenches are as slippery as ice.


19 April 1916 Wednesday
It was nine last night when we left and the rain poured down all the way back. We got here about ten o’clock, and found we were all on duty, my luck was in as I was picked for mess orderly so I could go to bed, we had a pretty hard camp.


20 April 1916 Thursday
We get some lively times here now and again, when we took the breakfast up to one lot, they started to shell us, and they did the same thing at dinner time. One bullet went a couple of feet away from me, so we kept out of sight after that.


21 April 1916 Good Friday
We had a few shells flying this morning, the aeroplanes were having a fight over head today and a piece of shell fell pretty close to where I was, it was the biggest fright I have had yet, you could hear it coming for a good while before it landed.




22 April 1916 Saturday
We went out for a hot bath today, it was about three miles out near Armentieres, we got wet through going out but the bath went alright. We left again just dark for the trenches, we had a lovely trip in, we had full pack up, and rifle in one hand and fire wood in the other. I was nothing but mud when I got in there, some of them slipped over the sides of the boards and it took a couple to pull them out.


23 April 1916 Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday. I will never forget this Easter if I live for a thousand years, we got into our dugouts about ten o’clock last night. Frank and I have one, we were just in and we had to go to the White City for tucker. We had to wait until nearly one this morning before we could get it, it was two when we got back. We were on guard until daylight and then at half past five we had to go out and start shoveling dirt until eight and an hour for breakfast, then work until dinner time. We were on guard after dinner, I would give a pound for a good sleep, fine weather at last.


24 April 1916 Easter Monday
We are still having fine weather, we had to go out for rations at eight o’clock last night and wait until one before we could get them, so it was about two before we could get to bed, we only had two hours sleep and we had to get up to stand to, we have been on guard today but that isn’t too bad.


25 April 1916 Easter Tuesday
We had to go out for rations last night again, left here at eight and arrived back at one this morning, it makes a fellow sick of the game waiting about, we didn’t get much sleep as we have to start work at five and go to seven and from eight to twelve, if all the fighting is like this I won’t be sorry when the war is over.


26 April 1916 Wednesday
It only took us about two hours to get the rations last night, so we had a bit of a sleep, we had some pick and shovel work from five until seven and from eight to twelve, but I am getting sick of it and didn’t do much, I am satisfied with a fair thing.


27 April 1916 Thursday
We came back to our old billet last night, we have nothing to do today, only sleep.


28 April 1916 Friday
There was a big bombardment last night about nine, every gun in the place was going, we had to get ready in case we were wanted, but nothing came of it.


29 April 1916 Saturday
Nothing doing today.


30 April 1916 Low Sunday
We went to the Canteen Farm last night to church, about a mile away. It has been quiet all day.


1 May 1916 Monday
Our section shifted back to our old joint this afternoon at Emma post. Frank is with us this time, so we have a pretty easy time for another four days.


2 May 1916 Tuesday
There has been a few shells flying about today, they have been whistling about our heads by the dozen, the flying machines have been busy too, none of them were hit, the Germans wasted enough shells over them.


3 May 1916 Wednesday
More shells this afternoon, they are beginning to wake up a bit, one fellow had his steel helmet knocked off with a bit of shrapnel.


4 May 1916 Thursday
Shells, Shells, and more shells, we have struck a pretty warm corner, but there is no damage done yet.


5 May 1916 Friday
This is our last day at Emma Post, we have to go into the front trenches tonight, and things are pretty warm up there, we can see a lot of shells exploding up there.


6 May1916 Saturday
We had just arrived in the trenches last night when they started bombarding us. We were in hell properly for two hours, I never thought they could come in so fast. We had three killed and one wounded out of thirteen, Corporal Mole; privates Dunn, Merriman were killed and sergeant Thring wounded. We were on post all night, it was awful to hear the wounded, the saps1 were all wrecked and it was morning before they got the last out. They only shelled about two hundred yards front, it was enough, as we had 120 casualties in the 20th Battalion.


7 May 1916 Sunday
We were relieved last night about nine, we weren’t sorry to get out of it for a while, as some of the men were just about done. We got back to the billet about ten and nearly all of them had to turn out at six this morning to go and build up the parapets, they worked until one. I had the luck to miss it, and had a good sleep in, we have to go out at eight tonight to build trenches.




8 May 1916 Monday
We went out last night at eight and worked until half past two this morning, it was after daylight when we got to bed and we woke up about twelve wet through so we had to shift camp.


9 May 1916 Tuesday
We went to the trenches again last night to build up the parapets that were blown about, we got back just daylight.


10 May 1916 Wednesday
Nothing to do last night, but we had to turn out at six this morning on fatigue, we have about a mile and half walk morning and night. We get there at eight and leave at four in the afternoon, it is better working in daylight.


11 May 1916 Thursday
More pick and shovel work today, we will soon be experts at it.


12 May 1916 Friday
We are still bagging France, we will soon have it all in sand bags.


13 May 1916 Saturday
Nothing exciting today, we are having a pretty good time.


14 May 1916 Sunday
I was in hopes of a holiday today, but it didn’t come off, so we had some work instead. We went to church this evening when we knocked off.


15 May 1916 Monday
Still on the sand bags.


16 May 1916 Tuesday
This is our last day on fatigue, we are to go into the trenches tonight. I hope they don’t give us as warm a time as they did last time.


17 May 1916 Wednesday
We arrived in the trenches about nine last night, things are pretty quiet today. We have a pretty good post, it is a bombing post, so if the Germans come our way we will be able to give them some hurry up. Our post is the closest to the Germans, it is about eighty yards.



18 May 1916 Thursday
Things have been quiet again today, they sent three bombs over last night about nine o’clock, they landed about twenty yards away, but didn’t do any damage.


19 May 1916 Friday
We are having a good holiday in here this time, they sent over another three bombs last night again. Things have been quiet today, our Artillery put a few shells into the German trenches.


20 May 1916 Saturday
Another quiet day, they are going to give us a good time this time.


21 May 1916 Sunday
We had a bit of excitement last night. Frank and I were on post from nine to eleven, and a couple of Germans came right up to our trenches. They lied (lay?) down about twenty yards away. We had two men out on a listening post, they were only about ten yards from the Germans. We had a patrol out and we had orders not to shoot, so we were in a fix. We reported to one of the officers, but they disappeared, so we lost our first Huns.


22 May 1916 Monday
We were relieved last night about nine, we had just got out of the salient2 when they started to shell it and they shelled the sap1 that we had to go out, but we went out another way, so we beat them. They must have known that we were changing, and they put the shells in when they thought we would be all in there, we were in five days and never had a casualty, a bit different to last time.


23 May 1916 Tuesday
We have five days to do here at the White City. We had a bit to do last night and we were building up parapets again today.


24 May 1916 Wednesday
We were carrying things up the firing line last night. I did three loads, and finished about twelve o’clock, we have had a pretty easy time today.


25 May 1916 Thursday
Our Artillery gave them a bit of hurry up this morning at Stand To, but things have been quiet all day.


26 May 1916 Friday
Things were a bit lively again this morning, our artillery did a bit more work, they have been doing a bit of shooting all day.
We are to go out tonight if all is well.


27 May 1916 Saturday
(Written in ink. Distinctly different.)
Store
15th Sept 1922
½ Doz eggs
16th September
½ Doz eggs



6 June 1916 Tuesday
Fatigue


7 June 1916 Wednesday
We are going into the trenches tonight, our artillery bombarded the Germans last night. Mick was hit in the head with a bit of shell and was sent to the hospital, we only heard about it at dinner time today. We have had a good time out here, we have only done about six or seven hours fatigue work a day.



12 June 1916 Whitsun Monday
We have had things pretty quiet here the first two days, thing were a bit lively here yesterday afternoon, and again last night, I was up all night. They had a bit of a bombardment here again this afternoon, but the Germans came off second best as usual, we only had one hit with a bomb. The 6th Battalion are out for raid tonight so we will get a pretty rough time when they start bombarding. It has been wet here all day, so things are getting muddy.
(Emshee)


13 June 1916 Whitsun Tuesday
Nobody was hurt last night, the 6th B (Battalion) went over, they got six prisoners and a couple of guns, one German shot, the officer, but didn’t kill him, but the German didn’t last long.




15 June 1916 Thursday
We shifted to Moat Farm last night, we have to carry rations up to the firing line at night, but have nothing to do in the day. We have had three wet days it is lovely at night in the mud.






19 June 1916 Monday
Our Artillery bombarded the German trenches last night for three quarter of an hour, things were pretty lively for awhile, they are going a treat this afternoon.
We expected to go back to our billets tonight but we just got word that we have to relieve B Coy (Company) in the trenches tonight.




1 July 1916 Saturday
We are out of the trenches for awhile. We left Command Post about one o’clock this morning and came through Erquinghem, we are about five miles from Command Post.
The British started advancing on the Somme this morning.




8 July 1916 Saturday
We have had a pretty easy time the last week, only a little bit of drill sometimes, we have to leave here tomorrow, we don’t know where we are going to.


9 July 1916 Sunday
We are on the road again, we came twelve miles today and the packs were getting pretty heavy.


10 July 1916 Monday
Another twelve miles today there was a lot dropped out with sore feet, the roads are awful hard.


11 July 1916 Tuesday
We came about six miles before dinner today to St Omer, we have to get in the train here, so we are going to have a bit of a trip.


12 July 1916 Wednesday
We had eight hours in the train last night, we passed through Calais, Boulogne, and arrived at Amiens about twelve o’clock, it was about one o’clock when we got marching again and we marched until daylight, and had a couple of hours for breakfast, and then started again, we came about ten miles before dinner, so we were not very tired when we arrived.


13 July 1916 Thursday
We are camped alongside the river Somme, it is about thirty miles to the firing line, so we are getting close to some big fighting, the trains go through here with the wounded, and boat loads go down the river.



14 July 1916 Friday
We have the whole Battalion in one shed so it is pretty big, there are three rows of beds up the wall, the frame is built and wire netting put over it, so it is like a spring mattress.


15 July 1916 Saturday
On guard today, some of the Coy (Company) have notice to leave at anytime, we don’t know what we going to do.


16 July 1916 Sunday
We left here about twelve o’clock, we didn’t have time to have dinner before we went. We marched thirteen miles by five o’clock, and we felt fit for some dinner when we got there.





23 July 1916 Sunday
Arrived at Albert last night about eleven, we had to camp out on the grass all night, and it was pretty cold. The guns were going a treat all night. Our 1st division advanced, they have some prisoners here today.


24 July 1916 Monday
We went to the trenches last night carrying ammunition, things were pretty lively, shrapnel flying everywhere, but we all got out of it with a whole skin.


25 July 1916 Tuesday
We are right in the thick of it now, we got to bed about twelve o’clock last night.
We all have to sleep out in the open. I got in a big shell hole, it gets pretty cold without blankets my word the ground is ploughed up about here with shells, there is one hole here made by a mine, it is about three hundred feet across and about one hundred and fifty feet deep. We have just got orders that we are to go in the trenches tonight and we have a line of trenches to take at midnight by our company.


26 July 1916 Wednesday
Well we had a pretty warm time last night, or this morning, as our guide got bushed (lost) and we never got in the trenches until half an hour before daylight, the platoon that I was in had to carry picks and shovels to fix up the trenches. Our fellows got about half way over and the Germans saw them, and then things began to hum.
The machine guns started, and the artillery opened up, we had shells fly every where, one got into the trenches, but they run out of bombs, and all hands had to come back, we lost seventy eight men and two officers.


27 July 1916 Thursday
A party went out last night to see if they could find any of our men, they got five of them. The 17th Battn (Battalion) and the Welsh Fusiliers took the trenches last night, they had to have a lot more men than we did to do it. We were carrying up to the firing line last night until about three o’clock, and then we had to get out again at daylight to carry bombs up to the trenches, it was eleven o’clock before we had breakfast, so we were pretty hungry. We had to go back again and carry until about one and things were pretty lively to (too?).




5 August 1916 Saturday
Took two lines of trenches last night, things were pretty lively for awhile. They have been shelling us heavy this afternoon, hope to get relieved tonight. Frank and I are with the 18th Battn (Battalion), got mixed up last night.


6 August 1916 Sunday
We were relieved last night about eleven, we had a pretty warm time too. Got back to the cook house about one this morning and found all the rest had gone. The Brigade was inspected by General Birdwood. I didn’t go, as I was asleep.




20 August 1916 Sunday
We are back at Albert again, after a fortnight marching about and drilling, it is worse than in the trenches, we are to go in tonight.




28 August 1916 Monday
Out of the trenches again, we came out last night, we had two days wet and the trenches were lovely, it was hard work getting out last night in the dark, but we had two drinks of tea at the canteens so that helped.


29 August 1916 Tuesday
Came to Worloy today, about eight miles.




31 August 1916 Thursday
Left Worloy this afternoon at one and came to Beauval for tea, about fourteen miles, a nice afternoon’s walk.




5 September 1916 Tuesday
We have had enough of the big push and are going North again, leaving here today.


6 September 1916 Wednesday
Arrived at Poperhinge this morning, it is a big town here, one of the biggest we have been in yet.




9 September 1916 Saturday
Leaving for the trenches tonight. We are going to the Ypres salient2.


10 September 1916 Sunday
We came to Ypres by train, and marched about two miles to the reserve trenches where we have to do seven days in the trenches. We are in for twenty eight days.





6 October 1916 Friday
We are getting relieved tonight. I have been to Ypres today and have to act as guide tonight.


7 October 1916 Saturday
Arrived at Steenforte, we are camped about two miles out of the town.




10 October 1916 Tuesday
Going to a bombing school today. About two miles from Poperhinge.




15 October 1916 Sunday
Joined the Battalion up this afternoon at Reningshelst.




17 October 1916 Tuesday
Left Reningshelst this morning arrived at Steensforte.


18 October 1916 Wednesday
Another march today about fifteen miles, passed through arrived at .



1: sap: Making of trenches to cover assailants’ approach to besieged place.
2: salient: Salient angle or part in fortification or line of attack or defence. Oxford dictionary.




The following are references to Charles Bean’s History of World War 1 where they correspond to the diary.

Friday 31 March 1916 Page 78
Friday 7 April 1916 Page 113 6 & 7 Brigade
Monday 10 April 1916 Map 4 between Pages 104; 105 & 112
Sunday 23 April 1916 Map 4
Saturday 6 May 1916 Footnote Page 886
24 June to 1 July Page 307 Preparatory bombardment leading into Somme offensive
Saturday 1 July 1916 Pages 209 or 281

Between 27 July & 5 August See Pages 658 – 659