Churchill-Smith, James – May 1917
Courts-Martial all day with Major Christie 51st& Capt H. G. S. Smith (49th.) C. O. & few Officers of 51st over after Mess. Officers revolver shooting after Mess. Hot day like Australia.
Bgde Church Parade in morning – 5th Army Padre took the sermon. Court of Inquiry on 2 boat accidents in afternoon; self President, Kay & Noblet members. Went for lovely horse ride with Henry Powell after Mess.
Wet day, but very nice. …Rifle meeting in afternoon – Coy match won by 49th; our chaps marched best of all but did badly in their shooting.
Fine day. Div. Rifle meeting all day. Received 3 letters from dear Mum, Kate (from Lincoln), F. Gill, W. L. Ware, Pattie McManus, Aunt Nell. Have developed a nice cold again.
Left Boulonge at 11.45 a.m. with another leave boat & 2 Hospital ships – escorted by three destroyers, one airship overhead. Lovely day – enjoyable trip. Arrived Folkestone 1.30 & left by 2 p.m. train arriving at London at about 4 p.m.
Strolled around with Tom during morning. Lunch with Tom, Hayward and Keith Smith. Got new suit, met Mona, and dined at Troc., then to Gaiety “Theodore & C “ – very nice. Wrote dear Mum.
Lunch with Mona & Tom English. “Zig Zag” in afternoon with Tom – very enjoyable. “Palladine” at night – fair. Harry Seager & Jim Loudon arrived on leave.
…Dinner & Theatre with Mona at night…can’t say this holiday is “Cheep”, but for all that it is very enjoyable.
…Tea at Monas with Tom & 4 of her sisters – then 2 of them & Tom & I to Richmond: row on river, – very enjoyable. Heavy showers about 11 p.m. & we got wet, so had to dry clothes at Mona’s – missed last train: meant to walk home, but the enjoyable time made up for any inconvenience.
…arrived at Folkestone at 10 a.m. & left about 11.30 a.m. arriving at Boulogne at 1.30 p.m. At Boulogne all afternoon & night, but what a difference to dear old London – do hope I shall get more leave there later on. Bed early.
Fine day & fairly warm. Route march in morning. Received letters from Lil & Mollie McManus & proofs from “Histed”. Wrote dear Mum & “Histed”, & W. L. Ware. Jolly sorry to hear of Doug. Johnston’s death through pneumonia; he was a real good chap & a fine soldier.
Nice fine day. No Church Parade as Padre was late. Capts. Seager & Jim Loudon arrived back from leave. Wrote Mrs Ware, Sgt Ayres & Lionel Scott. Received letter from Mona.
Lovely sunny day – this is the weather for us, real Australian. Court of Inquiry in morning (Tom & Noblet) on men posted as “missing” from stunts on Mouquet Farm, Aug 12 – 16 & Septr 2nd. Court Martial in afternoon (Mjrs Arrell, Capt Smith, &c). Officers handed in surplus kit & men handed in Felt hats for dumping today. Wrote Mona.
Those who are stopping out of coming stunt moved off at 9 a.m. (Mjr Loutit, Lieut L. B. Smith from Hdqrs; Lieut T. Smith from “D” Coy.) Remainder of Battn. left at 1.30 p.m. and arrived at near Neuve Eglisse at about 5 p.m. – camped in tents & shelters. Enemy aeroplane brought one of our observation balloons down in flames at 9.15 p.m. An enemy battery shelled about our camp area fairly heavily just before midnight.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith