Churchill-Smith, James – July 1918
… Feeling very much better today. One of our planes brought down behind VAIRE WOOD in flames. Talk of big stunt on 4th July; believe there are a few Yanks in rear of us. Lt Fraser wounded on patrol at night – one man killed…
Arrived at our sector of Aubigny line … Recd letters from dear Kate, Dad, Pat Mc., Girlie, Jeanne, Joyce J., W. L. Ware & Roy Hurcombe.
4th Bgde & others hopped over at 3 am. from Bouzencourt to Villers Brettoneux. Barrage looked well from Aubigny line especially the phosphorous shells. Over 1200 prisoners taken & several M.G.’s. Wrote dear Kate, dad, Joyce J., Girlie, Pat Mc. & Eugene Scott.
Fine warm day. Recd letters from dear Mum (3), Dad (3), Kate (2), Sid (2), W. L. Ware, Iris Galliford, Maudie Harris, Girlie, & F.Gill. Transferred from “D” Coy to Bn. Hqrs…
Not much sleep last night – feeling very tired. Over at 45th Bn. Hqrs. with Tom re stunt during afternoon. Heavy shelling of front & support lines during day by enemy – a few casualties.
Barrage opened up at 12.15 a.m. … 50th were to go out at 12 mid. But were late & suffered a few casualties through enemy barrage. Enemy fire on front line at about 10.30 p.m. in reply to our barrage…
… Up round line during early morning. Battn. sector much quieter today.
Round line during early morning … Patrol came upon a German Post & “Scuppered” it – 2 Germans killed, 1 wounded, 1 prisoner. Dunhill wounded on left cheek by a piece of one of our Mills Grenades…
Dull day with occasional rain. Occasional enemy shelling near Bn. Hdqrs. during late afternoon & night – fair amount of gas shells about 9.30 p.m. onwards –very unpleasant. Relieved by 40th Bn. at night. Total casualties during tour :- 6 killed , 16 wounded, 13 gassed, 15 Hospital = 50.
Relief complete by 1.15 a.m. – Bn. Hqrs arrived at Mills, Daours at about 3 a.m. Coys. to Aubigny line. Must record the very excellent meal Lt Craven provided for us upon our arrival at Daours – 6 courses, and very acceptable. Had lovely swim in Canal after an excellent sleep.
Battn. left Daours at 6 a.m. arriving at Camon at about 9 a.m. Made arrangements with Y.M.C.A. in afternoon re entertainments &c for men – Committee appointed &c…
Dull day with light occasional rain. Church Parade 10 a.m. Col…Formed Sports & Entertainment Committee for benefit of men.
Dull day. On Court of Enquiry at 13th Ausn Light Horse Regt Hdqrs during day – …. Impromptu Concert at Y.M.C.A at night – very good.
Heavy thunderstorm during morning…
Awakened at 12 mid. by hearing “Fire” Call on the bugle – the billet two doors down from mine was well alight – got it under hand by 1 a.m. & out by 2 a.m. Court of Enquiry at 11.30 a.m. on 2 “Missing” men. Hot morning, cooler in afternoon. … Boxing at Y.M.C.A. at night
Warm day. Rowing on canal during most of day. Reported to Brigade Hdqrs about 6 p.m.as Bgde Major Trainee &c.
Lovely swim first thing this morning. Warm day, but rather windy, rain in afternoon…
Church Parade 49th Bn. 11 a.m with Brig & Staff. 50th Bn swimming carnival at Baths in afternoon. Guest night Mess…
Dull day with rain during morning. Went to Abbeville by motor lorry with Jim London, Sims, Joe Waine & Doc, in morning, returning at midnight – most glorious time. Met Sister Nicholls & others at 3rd A.G.H. and dined with them at Hotel de France. Recd letter from Paul G. & plenty of papers from W. L. Ware & home.
Changeable day – occasional sunshine and rain. … Preliminary orders out re 13th Bgde relieving 14th Bgde in front line.
Wrote to dear Kate, Estella Hall, & Madame Malfait Went to Heilly to 14th Bgde Hdqrs re relief during morning. “Smart Set” at night – very nice. Relief of 14th Bgde cancelled.
Dull day. Pongo Clarke to dinner….bombing by enemy planes in vicinity of Hdqrs (Rivery) about midnight…
… General Staff up looking over new sector during morning – we are taking over from the French in a few days time on right of Villers Brettoneux….
Fine warm day. Rash very bad. Conference of C.O’s during afternoon.
Fine day. Rash still bad – hope I can get it better in time to do the line tour. …Bgde nucleus reserve took up its quarters at Hospice, Rivery, during afternoon.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith