Churchill-Smith, James – November 1916
Up late on account of cold, & felt much better. Went for 1 hrs. ride after afternoon parade – horse clipped and looks well. Brigadier inspected Mchn. Gun Coy & Transport in afternoon on account of their bad turn-out at G.O.C’.s inspection. Packed valise at night.
Battn left Bussus at 9 a.m. and arrived at Brucamps at 11 am…
Battn. left Brucamps at 8.30 a.m. and arrived at Vignecourt at about 1 p.m. Very nice billets. Dull day & place very muddy. Am staying with a very homely family – Mother, Father & daughter.
Battn parade at 9 a.m. on a nice parade ground. “D” Coy at Baths 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ; other Coys. followed. Paid men during afternoon.
Church Parade at 10 a.m…. Men shortened coats for trenches.
Battn. left Billets & marched to end of Vignecourt town & embarked in Motor Busses … Cold very bad. Men of Coy in tents, also Officers. I’m in a stable.
Coy parade in morning but very wet. Men miserable owing to so much rain & mud…
Recd birthday parcel from dear Kate also nice one from Bondies. Recd nice parcel with Thermos Flask from dear Mum, also letters from dear Mum, Kate (2), Father, Aunt Nell…
About 4 or 5 of Fritz’ aeroplanes over during early morning… believe one brought down.
Sent Xmas Cards to dear Mum, Kate, Father & Sid also Pat Mc Manus, W.T.Turner, T Hawson, Iris Galliford, Girlie Bagot, Aunt Ada, Aunt Nell, Paul Guillemin, Miss Hilson, Mrs Bond, Mattie, Aunt Bren, Emy & Joyce Johnston, Claude Gosling, A.C.Crapp, Rene Hamilton, Jeanne Loutit, W.Tothill, L. Larsson, E. Hall, F.Gill, W.L.Ware, G.W.Bayly, and Lily McManus…
Nice fine day; heavy bombardments about 5 a.m. & 7 p.m. Short “Jerkins” issued to all men today…
Heavy bombardment at night. Enemy plane over dropping bombs late at night. – believed killed few at Hospital.
Brigade practice stunt during morning, 49th & 50th Battns… Mud around Fricourt & further on very deep; often sink knee-deep in it.
Battn. left Fricourt Huts at 9 am. arriving near Flers at about 9 pm. ‘C’ Coy in front line, others in Support living in trenches… Very cold night & men feel not having their blankets.
Rested all day but feel very cold…
In front line all day. Plenty of visitors. Cpl Henderson killed on Patrol.
In front line all day. Plenty of enemy planes over and many scraps. Relieved by ‘A’ Coy at night. Ground frozen…
Snow during early morning, also light rain. Men suffered with feet whilst on front line digging fatigue last night. Ice on every pool of water, not feeling too good so am in bed as much as possible.
In bed all day up to 3 p.m. Cold bad, and back not too good. Relieved by ‘D’ Coy, 49th at sundown & my Coy. moved to trenches in rear of Flers (Gap Trench), Plenty of mud about.
In bed all day owing to being unwell…Coy. improving & salvaging trench during day.
… One of our planes brought down by Germans near my lines at 1.15 pm. – Pilot & Observer both wounded; a very sad sight to see a plane falling…
In bed all day feeling very unwell. Cold very bad & coughing makes me “Reach”. Wet day & plenty of mud.
… 51st Bn. relieved us at 3 p.m. & completed by 5.45 pm. Felt very weak after making move – not feeling at all well.
Dull day, very cold. Feet freezing…