10th Battalion patch. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial
10th Battalion Diary – December 1916
Franvillers, 1st Dec
Moved by March to DERNANCOURT
Carried out 5 hours training. … The cold was so intense that sheep skin jackets had to be worn.
Moved by march to Internment Camp in FRICOURT.
Moved by march to Camp in BERNAFAY WOOD. Another Medical Officer joined the Battn for duty. Capt. Malcom F. Scott our previous Medical Officer sick
Bernafay, 5th Dec
Moved to close support. FLERS. Sector with Bn Head Qtrs. The Battn is divided. 2 Coys in Camp … ‘A’ & ‘B’ Coys in trenches near Bn Hd Qtrs. … The state of the ground is very bad, between shell holes and the rain it is very hard work getting over very short distance.
Fatigues were continued. I would like to add here that the Australian Comforts Fund and the Y.M.C.A. establishments are greatly appreciated by the troops. It would appear that hot drinks may be obtained at almost any hour, and seeing that the present Area is very close to the front line it is beyond our expectations, that any Fund or association should do this work voluntarily.
Fatigues were continued.
Flers, 12th Dec
The Bn moved forward into the line relieving the 9th Bn. The ground was in a very bad condition, mud and water. The line is being held by two Coys. … In moving up 2 men were wounded otherwise the relief was completed without incident. A & B in the line, C & D Coys in Support.
Front Line Flers Sector, 13th Dec
The Battalion was unfortunate today. The enemy must have seen one of our men carrying tea to a detached post just at daybreak, some 3 hours later he shelled the post with H.E.[High Explosive] shells killing 3 Other Ranks. The N.C.O. in charge of the post managed to withdraw with 3 other men before further casualties could be inflicted. 2 Other Ranks were also killed by snipers
A patrol went out during the night to find out whether a trench reported unoccupied by the enemy was really unoccupied. The patrol reports that “No Mans Land” is in very muddy condition. Sawing of timber and hammering was heard in the enemy trench indicating that dugouts were being constructed. The patrol had to retire on account of our artillery barrage.
… Cold and exposure is beginning to tell on the Bn… 4 men were evacuated suffering from exposure.
C & D Coys in the line. 16 men were evacuated suffering from exposure. It has now been possible with the aid of Primus Stoves & Tommy Cookers to give each man a hot meal & 3 hot drinks during the 24 hours. Work was continued on the Front Line but the difficulty is to get a good supply of material into the line. .
Front Line Flers Sector Dec 17th
An intercompany relief took place during the night. The ground was hard therefore the relief was much easier than previous nights. 2 Other Ranks were wounded otherwise there was nothing of note happened. A rest place for exhausted men has been established with good results. A & B Coys in the line.
An entire platoon relief was carried out during the night without incident. During the day the enemy shelled the front line rather an unusual thing one shell was within a few feet of Coy Hd Qtrs, killing a couple of men outright…
An intercompany relief took place during the night without incident placing C & D Coys in the line. This might be the last inter Company relief. The result of giving hot drinks etc. in the front line is beginning to show only one man being evacuated suffering from exposure…
Work was continued in the line and a fair amount of material carried up. 50 coils of German barbed wire was salvaged from ‘No Mans Land’ during the night. 2 Other Ranks were wounded during the day
BAZENTIN HOUSE CAMP near LONGUEVAL, 22nd Dec
The Battn was relieved during the night by the 9th Bn without incident and moved back to Reserve at BAZENTIN HOUSE. The accommodation is very mixed shelters, trucks & tents. The total casualties in the line were 1 Officer wounded 7 Other Ranks killed 9 Other Ranks wounded 1 Officer and 26 Other Ranks evacuated sick. The Battn has now settled down to Fatigue Work again.
Fatigue work was continued, some 200 men being employed on the Decauville Railway the balance of 100 or so carrying material to front line. work was carried on in the camp building huts and making the place more comfortable. Major R.A. Rafferty, 12th Bn assumed Command of the Battn temporarily.
Fatigue work was continued. The Battn received its share of Christmas parcels the majority of which came from NEW SOUTH WALES. Capt Heming evacuated sick.
Christmas Day the fatigue of 200 was cancelled, and in consequence more work was carried out in the Camp. The majority of the Battn are now in huts.