Churchill-Smith, James – March 1917
Nice day…‘D’ Coy at Baths during morning, rifle ranges in afternoon…
… Went with Seager & a few men to 3rd Squadron, Royal Flying Corps Aeradrome for lecture in morning
Dull day. Lieut. Harry Thomson over during afternoon.
Football:- ‘A’ Coy ? ‘D’ Coy; ‘D’ Coy 2 goals 3 behinds; ‘A’ Coy 2 goals 3 behinds – a good game.
Battn. Route march in morning. Received letters from dear Mum (2), Kate (3), Father, Sid, Claude Gosling & Jeanne Loutit (2), also papers from Mum, W. L. Ware, & Emy J. Heavy fall of snow in early morning … Very sorry to hear of Rowley Bond’s death – rotten luck; they all have my deepest sympathy…
Rotten drilling today owing to thaw – mud & slush galore. Ranges during morning. – Coy. attack practice during afternoon…
Battalion attack practice during morning. Snow-falls at intervals during day, Cold wind blowing…
Dull day. Advanced Guards & Outposts during morning – very good, & men enjoyed it.
Football in afternoon ‘B’ Coy. 6 goals 10 behinds.
‘D’ Coy. 3 “ 7 “ – ground very muddy.
Lecture 4 p.m. on “Pigeon Service”. Wrote dear Mum, Kate, Mona, & E. B. Oliver, also sent spoon to Kate & small parcel of tricks…
Coy. attack practice – open warfare – & Bayonet fighting during morning – very successful. Lecture by Brig. Gen. White at night. 1st Annual Dinner of formation of Battn. at night – very successful.
Range taking during morning, rifle ranges in afternoon. French Mortar demonstration at 2.30 p.m. followed by lecture by Capt. Morris. Sergeants celebrated 1st Annual Dinner at night. …
Brigade open warfare attack during morning; Maj. Gen Holmes present.
Received wine from Paul Guillemin. Wrote dear Mum, Kate, Father, J. Turner, W. Tothill, C. S. M. Osborn, & Miss Boehm, also Paul Guillemin. Jim Graham over at night.
… Hurt myself running during afternoon…News of capture of Bapaume, Peronne &c received today. Bapaume first entered by 8th Bgde (32nd Bttn. S. Aus. included.)
… Dined at night at Battn Hdqrs. Still good news of further advances.
… Officers & men received more Xmas boxes…
On leave in Amiens with Charlie Moule all day. Had enjoyable time. Saw Cathedral & Art Gallery, both lovely places. Returned by motor lorry at 7.45 p.m. Wrote dear Mum & Kate, & sent Mum some photos of Amiens Cathedral, and Kate a miniature Military Cross…
Battn. left Buire … arrived at Camp at Fricourt… Light snow fall…
… Accident during Trench Mortar Battery practice (13th Bgde) – 1 killed 3 wounded. …
Battalion Church Parade at 11 a.m. At Mouquet Farm during afternoon with Capts Seager & Armitage; saw where Post 81 was (where I won my M. C. [Military Cross]), and also Park Lane (where I won my Bar). One can realise when looking at Mouquet Farm what a well fortified place it was, what good observation they could get from there.
… Left Le Sars on horseback with other Coy. Commanders. and met C. O. other side of Bapaume – then proceeded to 20th B. H. Qrs re relief. 50th Battn. relieved 20th at midnight our A, C & D in line, B in reserve. Germans have got back quickly, but on their way have destroyed everything possible even fruit trees in gardens…
… Lieut Waine’s picquet on left of sector were heavily shelled during the afternoon – casualties 1 killed (Lt/Cpl Gates), 1 injured (by fall of earth), [7 overwritten by 6] wounded.
… Attack postponed from 1st April to 2nd April owing to Tommies on left not being ready. Schmeltz, Bgde interpreter, killed at Lagnicourt, very sorry; he was a dear old chap.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith