Churchill Smith, James – May 1918
“May Day”; think I’ll be Queen of the May. Parades 9.30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Organised nucleus into 2 Platoons & a Hdqrs – Lewis Gun & Gas drill afterwards. Greene & others left for Bn. Enemy shelled 4th Div. D.A.D.O.S. Workshops at Camon causing about 6 Warrant Officer casualties. Bridge at night at Divisional Hdqrs.
Glorious warm day. Greene, Lynch & Sims arrived from Bn. to join Duds. German planes bombing Amiens at night causing a fire.
Wrote Mona, Mab Surman, Pte Swift, & Mrs. Swift, “Observer” Office, Roy Hurcombe & Paul G. Sent “Observer” & Anzac Bulletins to dear dad. Nice day & a nice night. Had a short ride in a tank – really enjoyable
Nucleus Reserves left Allondale at 8 a.m. arriving at Flesselles about 11 a.m., & leaving there after lunch at 1 a.m., arriving at St Leger about 3.30 p.m. Great trouble over allotment of billets, but eventually fixed up alright.
Nice day. Parades as usual. Good news of another advance by the Australians.
Some of nucleus moved out of St Leger at 9 a.m. leaving 5 Off. & 25 O.R. per Bn. behind – I’m in charge of those remaining. – moved them into billets closer together. Went to Berteaucourt in afternoon. 3rd Anniversary of my enlisting and going into Mitcham Camp; have had a lot of experience & luck since then, may it all continue “Oh! What a life”.
Left Camp near Vaux at 9.a.m. arriving at Camp near Lamotte at about 12.30 p.m. joining up balance of nucleus. All in a wood in trench shelters and tents. Recd letters from dear Mum, Mrs. Ware, Brownie, Sgt. Sampson, Lilian Lawes, Robertson, & Pte Walton, & this diary from dear Dad.
Reorganised Coy into 2 Platoons. Very hot day. Had tooth – filling completed. Concentrated Artillery shoot about 5 a.m.
Extremely hot morning, but cool change in afternoon. Resting all day. Completed writing up of this diary. Lt Wakelin (C) awarded Croix de Guerre also man of “A” Coy.
Lovely warm day. Voluntary Church Parade at 10.30 a.m. Gen Birdwood gave out ribbons to Off. N.C.Os. & men of Bgde. for Croix de Guerre, M.M. & D.C.M. Enemy aeroplane brought down about 6.30 p m. near Villers Brettoneux. Received letters from Brownie, Ida, & Mab, also snaps taken at Codford. Enemy planes over bombing at night.
Nice fine day, but cooler than yesterday. Good work on parade ground. Battn moved to wood halfway between Bussy & Querrien; Coys independently “D” at 7 p.m. Camped in tents & trench shelters. Military Medals for Villers Brettoneux. Bar for Heinceslater, M.M. to Brakenridge, Slattery, Strong, Newell, & Routledge.
Dull windy day with occasional showers. Went to look over sector near Prieux and Laineville in case of a call out, as we are at present Corps Reserve. Received letter from Lily, much damaged by having beeng in sea water through enemy action.
Nice day, slight wind. Bgde swimming Sports in afternoon at Querrien. Results 51st, 29 points, 50th 25 points About 60 casualties by enemy shelling in Querrien during morning; slight shelling again at night. Recd nice mail – letters from dear Mum (2), Kate, Dad, Sid (2),Ted Price, Mrs Bond, Jeanne Lontit, Dorothy Trewenick, Joyce & Emy, & F.Gill.
Nice fine day. Church Parade at 10 a.m. Bridge in afternoon & evening. Enemy planes bombed Querrein at about 11.30 p.m Gen. Birdwood gone to 5th Army (?) Gen Monash has Corps.
Nice day; lovely night. Lt McBryde left on special leave to London. Did Canteen Audit during day. Enemy planes over at night. Cabled Dad. News of new enemy attack near Rheims – expect we’ll soon go there.
Nice fine day. Route march during afternoon. Wrote Bank of Adelaide & “Histed” – transferred ?30 to my a/c at Bank. Band instruments arrived from 47th Bn – first tune at night.
…20 of our planes made towards the Hun. back area about 7 pm. – some town is going to get it tonight. Heavy artillery fire down South evidently near Rheims. Tom English arrived & took over “B” Coy.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith