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 – November 1916
Attended the Court Martial of my escaped prisoner. He pleaded guilty & I was not required. Am now free to go up to the line. This camp is the b…. limit & the sooner I join my Company the better.
Have been warned for draft & have been posted to the 3rd Field Company. Cheers. Now I am happy. Issued with a steel helmet, tear gas goggles, iodine & a field dressing.
Issued with 3 days rations & 120 rounds of ammunition. Left Etaples at 3 p.m. passing through Abbeville. During the night the train was stationary at sidings for long periods. We did not have blankets & it was freezing cold. Sleep was almost impossible. There were 8 of us in a small compartment.
Arrived at Amiens at 1 p.m. After a brief stop we proceeded to Albert, waiting 2½ hours before we arrived at the remains of a railway station. Saw the famous statue of Mary & the Child hanging from the Cathedral tower which is almost shot away. Remarkable how it stays put. There is a saying that when the statue falls the war will end, Perhaps. Most of the houses are destroyed. Not far off we can hear terrific cannonade. This is the Somme Battle close up not as described in the news rags. Spent the night in a rest billet. German planes raided Albert during the night as they know it is a rail head.
After sleeping on a stone floor in an old school without blankets, (was it cold) we proceeded to an Ordnance Store & were issued with 1 blanket. At 1.30 p.m. we set off for the Company along a road deep in mud & congested with traffic. After plodding along for 6 miles. We entered a camp by the side of the road sleeping that night on a bed of mud.
After a tramp of 2 miles through deep mud we found the good old 3rd Field Company. They were in dugout shelters near Trones Wood. It was great to join up with so many of our old pals again.
Out scrounging for material to make a shelter for myself.
Started making my shelter. Dug down 2 feet & built a frame work 9 feet x 6 feet x 5 feet high. Which I covered with malthoid. Made 2 beds, one for my Broken Hill pal whom I expect in a day or so. Found an oil drum which was made into a stove.
Finished making my hut which is waterproof but not shell proof. Will have to take a risk. Issued with a sheepskin vest. We have to rub our feet with whale oil to prevent trench feet. Our feet are continually wet & we get our uniforms covered in mud every time we venture out.
Have 2 blankets now, but woke up perishingly cold. The ground is frozen solid … The shell holes are frozen. Started work today laying a light gauge railway. The sun was out for a part of the short hours of daylight & I saw the first aerial dog fights I have seen.
Woke up to find the ground covered with snow. Had the stove working tonight after returning from work. I had to wring the water out of my socks & dry them by the fire.
We were annoyed on arriving at our job to discover that Fritz had landed a shell on part of the railway we layed yesterday. Damn him. Soon filled in the shell crater & put in new rails.
My Broken Hill pal Tom Prince arrived today & now I have my lodger. Had my first shave for a week tonight. Received a lovely parcel from Scotland, but discovered that rum & chocolates do not mix & was sick. The rum issue is to protect us from the cold.