Churchill Smith, James – November 1915
… Book & Paper Post in, but none for me; expect they’ve been sent to Zeitoun…
…Tinned poultry for dinner – very nice…
10th Battn given smaller frontage of trenches to man; had to shift out of “dug–out” near Lady Galway Road to another “dug–out” further to left so that we are with our men. 2 of us in one “dug–out” – Lt Harry Armitage & self…
On duty 6 pm to 10 p.m. – most enjoyable watch I’ve ever done, time went too quickly.
In trench once when Turks had 2 shots, each of which went very close – rather exciting, but good sport. Think Turks have deserted their front trench, except for a few snipers during day & night; evidently first is well mined – we must be careful if we attack at all…
Wrote letters yesterday to dear Mother, Kate, Father… Looked over top of parapet in Support Trenches and a “Jacko” had a pop at me – but missed – he was too slow… 5 pm Received large parcel of chocs. & cigarettes from dear mother – feel as happy as a kid with a new toy… Light Horse, I understand, opened up new trenches on our right, with the result that a fair amount of fire took place between Turks & ourselves, seemed to extend up long way other side of Lonesome Pine – my christening or baptism of fire, abt. 8.45 to 10 pm. Our casualties – 3 wounded (1 seriously, piece of bomb in stomach.)…
… Changed into khaki short trousers & long stockings in afternoon, so as to give the fleas & lice a chance…
Received box of chocs. from dear Kate – God bless her…
… Slept all morning. Tidied up “dug–out” during afternoon…
… Cut finger opening tinned ham – but ham very nice eating, quite a change…
… Things still very quiet Volunteered to go out with one man as a patrol to search for suitable spot to conceal 6 men to catch Turks patrols; only got about 15 yds out and had to return owing to flares & machine guns fire.
Went out at 1.25 am. with Corp. Cole… (as per Nov 11th ); had safe trip, passed dead Turk on the way out and coming back picked up one stick and one jam–tin bomb neither of which had exploded; brought both in with me…
Kitchener here today; men on Beach fatigue gave him a hearty welcome …
… Packed during early evening to go away.
Owing to rough weather unable to embark troops, so going away has been postponed for a few days. … Had first shot with a Machine Gun…
… 9th & 11th Battns. left last night for Lemnos.
… 2nd Brigade arrived to relieve us at 2 p.m. Brigade (10th & 12th Bns) bivouaced at rear old 9th Bn. line. Very windy day, most horrible sand blowing all over the place.
Heavy rain at 7.30 p.m.; majority of Officers & men got washed out of their dug–outs. I got washed out so slept in our old line – had fairly good rest, but cold.
… Beachy Bill very busy all last night and during today; few men killed and wounded on beach. Our Artillery replying to Turks; very furious artillery bombardment all the time. – like Hell let loose… Orders to be ready to move off at 4 pm – hope we get away tonight – sooner be in the trenches than bivouacing on the side of a hill.
Cold morning; word through that we leave here for Lemnos tonight… Left Bivouac 7.45 pm – arrived beach 9 p.m
Left by barge for Steamer taking us to Lemnos at 3.15 am – arrived at Steamer at 4.15 am – 1 mile out… Hot meal (soup & currie) boat ) biscuits & tea …
Arrived at Camp about 12 noon … Made up bed in tent Slept well, in pyjamas…
… Received 2 letters from dear Mum. Find that 8/10th men heard I had been drowned being in a steamer that was torpedoed just after I left Alexandria.
… Walked into one of nearest villages; small places but fairly clean; funny never see any young Greek girls of ages between about 16 & 22 about, am told they are locked away.
Very cold windy, wintry day; fingers & feet numb… Light snow falling at intervals. (my first experience of snow. )…
Just reported “Orange Prince” sunk 1 hour out of Lemnos with 577 bags of Ausn. mail on board – farewell to some letters from home to me… Thinking very much of home & Kate – hope I get back at end of war to Mum, Dad, Sid & Kate safely. God Bless them all.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith