Three Australian officers at Gallipoli, identified from left to right: Lieutenant Roy Kernot of the 1st Division Engineers; Lieutenant Edward Stanley Whitehead of the 3rd Field Company Engineers and Lieutenant Louis Willyama Avery (later MM) of the 1st Division Engineers. The three friends were all associated with the Silverton Tramway Company in Broken Hill and survived the war. image courtesy Australian War Memorial P00244.001
Avery, Louis Willyama – January 1917
Spent the day deepening my shelter another 12 inches. At 3 p.m. I was detailed to go to Brigade Hd.Qrs. to meet a party of 50 Infantrymen from the 27th Battalion to carry Engineer stores & material to the front line. The officer in charge of the party was none other than Pip Pellew who was at St. Peters College with me.
Each night for the past week I have been in charge of Infantry parties carrying material to the front line… Shelling is always fairly lively. Fritz woke me up at 4 this morning after returning from the line at midnight. He selected our camp for his target. Several salvoes were very close, mud & stone thudding down on our roofs. We signalled a miss. Later he turned his attention to something else, probably writing our Company off his list as destroyed. No one was hit, but some of the shelters will require repairs.
Fritz once again threw his ironmongery at us in the early hours, mud falling on my poor old malthoid roof. I asked Tom Prince if he was awake, Yes Lou. Well Tom how about getting under our beds. We laughed & bang, bang, bang, bang. We pulled the blankets over our heads until the Hymn of Hate subsided. Very heavy fall of snow today & we looked like snow men returning to camp from the line.
Our Artillery is making a terrific bombardment on Jerries front line. We cannot keep anything on our shelves due to the vibrations. This activity means that something is brewing. Returning from the line tonight it was so dark that we were practically blind. I fell into 3 shell holes full of mud & water & fell off the duckboards dozens of times. To be cold is pretty bad, but to be cold & wet is beyond description. It took us twice as long to cover the 4 miles home.
Woke up feeling very cold. To get out of our shelter we had to burrow through thick snow piled up against the side of the hut. It is about 12 inches deep everywhere…
Have never felt so cold. Clothes hanging outside on a line go as hard as a board in a few minutes. Ice on the shell holes is at least 3 inches thick. The inside of my hut is lined with frost in spite of my brazier. Potatoes as hard as a rock & cannot be peeled. Boots are also frozen. To have a wash you chop the ice & melt it in a tin over the brazier…
Had to go to Brigade Hd. Qrs. this morning to collect 25 Infantrymen. The walk helped to warm me up, but icicles formed on my eyelashes & moustache …Approaching the front line in daylight, we advanced 3 men at a time with 100 yards intervals, as the snow would show us up to the Huns. However, he left us alone or perhaps did not think we were worth shooting.
We were roused out at 6.30 a.m. & have orders to move out at 8.45 a.m. I lit my fire for the last time, burning off everything not required. Cleaned up the hut ready for its next owner, who ever he may be. Hope he will enjoy its comfort as much as I did…