Churchill-Smith, James – July 1916
Nice warm day. Instructions received that I am to go to a Senior Officers School commencing on 3rd July at Wisques; packed up ready to leave here tonight. Wrote dear Mum & Kate Left Billet about 10 pm. & arrived at Bac–Saint–Mour (Charlie Moule’s billet) Slept there night.
Recd two letters from dear Kate and one from Father. Left by Motor Bus & caught train at Station … Walked around City & took cab to Wisques (about 3 miles out… News through of great Allied offensive.
Recd news of great British advance – hope it continues. First parade 9 30 am, few words by Mjr Stewart. Afternoon parade 2.15 pm to 4 p.m…
…Rifle exercises. Lecture “Morale, Esprit de Corps. & Discipline” … also told a good deal about our Armies & how they have advanced lately: ”in one week 60,000 tons of metal were sent over to German lines.”…
… Lecture on “wiring” at 10 a.m. followed by a demonstration by Royal Engineers… Wrote dear Mum & Kate. Strained my right testicule at Bayonet fighting during afternoon…
Felt rather unwell on early morning parade owing to the strain of marching. Saw M.O. who has put me “exempt from marches”…Cinema on at Y.M.C.A. at 8.30 p.m.– saw one by Charlie Chapman [sic] (very funny); thought how Kate would have enjoyed it. Informed that offensive should have taken place a month ago, but delayed owing to having to supply Italy with guns.
… Complaint still a little troublesome.
… left again for Battn … Sorry to leave the school … Saw M.O. re complaint…
Up at 10 o’c am Resting all day. Feeling fair.
Arrived Candes …and route marched to Billet at Pernois …. – very tired. Slept during afternoon after a sponge bath and a clean change. Good sleep at night – nice bed…
Fathers Birthday. I wish him very many Happy Returns of the Day…
Received letters from dear Mum, Aunt Nell, W.L.Ware, Estelle Hall, & Dolly Gurner, Lettie Lasson – all addressed “Captain” except Dollys, which was addressed “Private.”…
Fine day. Route march during afternoon… Pte T.Osborn informs me that Kate told E.Lawrence that I am to return in October – expect Kate told her that for something for E. Lawrence to talk about. Wrote “Pridham’s” wife re his health.
Route march during morning…
Route march 9 a.m to 11.45 a.m. Very nice day… Washing day for men.
Route march 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Slept all afternoon…
Church Parade 10 a.m. finishing with march past Gen Cox & Gen. Glasgow. Entertained Battn. Hdqrs. Staff with champagne after Church Parade.
Battn. attack during morning – Brigadier & C.O. very pleased. Men worked very well.
News through of 10th Battn casualties:–
Killed:– Capt Chas Hooper Lt Hillier
Wounded:– Lt Inglis ( face – serious ) Stewart, Melville *believe recommended for V.C., Boyce, Thomas Mjr Giles (shell shock), Lt McCann, & Walker. Sorry re Inglis & Stewart, saw them last at Sailly June 27. Feel very sorry especially for Hillier’s folk and Hooper’s wife & children. Hope wounded soon better…
Picquet duty all day. Real Australian day – fairly hot. Wrote dear Mum, Kate & Father…
Recd lovely parcel from darling Kate…Sorry no letter from dear Kate yet, mail is evidently held up somewhere – hope I receive a letter from her before we move…
Diary of James Churchill-Smith