Churchill-Smith, James – February 1917
About 4 a.m. Germans counter-attacked Strong Post (taken last night by 15th Battn)… Casualties 15th, about 30 killed & 120 wounded (- unofficial). Understand our Artillery; did not respond to “S. O. S.” sent up. Ammunition & bombs ran out, I believe. Germans shelling heavily during day causing casualties to our Working Parties…
Nice day – not so cold. Received parcels from dear Kate & Bagots Staff, also papers…
Nice day – enemy aeroplanes up. On fatigue at night from 4 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.– lovely moonlight night & very nice out. One of ours & one German aeroplane brought down today…
Nice day. Enemy aeroplanes up… Enemy shell at about 11 p.m. blew up a ½ hut at Camp in our rear & occupied by 14th Bttn – 4 killed.
Left for Transport lines at Meaulte at 11.30 a.m. & paid men of Transport: returned to Camp at about 3.30 p.m…
Dull day with a light fall of snow. … Gas Alarm & alert for about 2 hours…
Dull day. Ground muddy. Enjoyable night by the fire. Bed 2 a.m…
Nice day – ground frozen. Recommended Lt Hoggarth, Sgt McGorm & Sgt James for honors. Wrote dear Kate, Mattie Adney & Marjorie Tuck.
Enemy aeroplane blew up Ammunition dump close by – loud explosions. Packed up valise &c ready for moving. “D” Coy left for front line & Smoke Trench at 5 p. m. & relieved ‘B’ Coy, 51st Battn. (Major Bert Rowe, O. C.) Quiet night.
… mist all day, so took opportunity of inspecting part of “No Man’s Land”…Men had bad time in water all night.
Up about midday. Part of Company on fatigue during day, and a part at night. Padre Walden here for, afternoon tea, & Dr Powell to lunch…
Padre (R. C.) called during morning. Coy. left for front line & relieved ‘B’ Coy at about 8 p. m. Raining during day-time. Patrolled front by Bayonet Trench with Dick Wilton & Jose to see ‘lying’ position of my company in the coming stunt. in 3 or 4 days time, – position not too good as plenty of enemy wire about.
… Informed the coming stunt is off and Division is to be relieved. Heavy fog up till about midday. Big fire in Bapaume.
… Relieved by ‘B’ Coy at about 8 p.m. and left for Hobart Camp – heavy mist & very difficult to keep on duckboards. Lt Jose & I arrived at Hobart about 10.30 p.m.
Dull day. heavy enemy shelling from about midday till dark on front area & line. Fixed up Stores &c & handed over to 52nd Battn & Coy. left at 2 p.m. for Bendigo Camp… Seager’s Coy. had few casualties – about 4 killed 2 wounded, ‘A’ Coy 3 wounded – bad luck especially as it was the last day.
Battn. left Bendigo Camp at 9 a.m. and arrived at Becourt at about 12 noon – men fairly tired…
Battn. left Becourt at 9.30 am. and arrived at Buire about 1 a.m. – long march, but men stuck it well … Billets fair; but nice to be out of front area… Hear another Ausn. mail sunk – damn the Germans.
Fine day with nice sun shining. Had hot bath during morning – very nice.
Nice day. Reorganised Coy. into 4 Platoons…
Diary of James Churchill-Smith