Churchill-Smith, James – November 1917
Dull day. In train all day. Arrived Caestre [Castre in France] at 12 midnight & left for 1st Anzac Camp. Wet night
Bed about 2 a.m. & up at 10 a.m. transferred from 1st Anzac Camp to 4th Div. Camp in morning, at Croix – Rouge, near where we were billetted upon first arrival in France. Wet day & Camp very muddy…
… Walked to Strazeele in morning, and Fletre in the afternoon. Feeling A.1., but wish I could get back to the Battalion. Base here is rotten; blankets “lousy” & everything uncomfortable…
Dull day with a little sunshine. Walked to Caestre in morning and Strazeele in afternoon. Getting more sick of this Base – hope I soon get away to the Battalion. Hot bath in late afternoon.
…Left Camp at Caestre at 1.15 p.m. and took Motor Lorry to Hazebrouck, then one to Morbecque & finally caught one doing our Bgde Canteen work. Arrived at 49th Hdqrs about 7.30 p.m. & rode horse to Matringhem where I met my own horse. Reported Battn about 10 p.m. Find Murray Fowler is back and is appointed 2nd in Command – feel very disappointed. One’s service here evidently does not count.
Dull day with rain. Wrote dear Sid. Interviewed C. O. re position of 2nd in Comm. but not much satisfaction; services and ability recognised but the fact of a man being one senior finalises the matter.
Dull day with rain. Football in afternoon A v C Coy – A won.
‘D’ Coy 4.7,
‘B’ Coy 2.4.
Hancock’s at dinner at night. Received letter from Tom English and an exceptionally nice one from Mrs Ware – God bless her.
…Very nice Battalion Church Parade in the morning; enjoyed it very much. Received letters from dear Mum, Kate, Dad (2), Claude Gosling, Mrs Bath, & Joyce Johnston (very interesting one). Wrote dear Mum, Kate (2), Dad, Joyce Johnston, Mona, Mrs Ware, Mrs Bond, and Tom Loutit, and sent 4 Anzac Bulletins to dear Dad.
…Coy. left Seulis at 12.45 pm: and Battalion Lugy at 1.30 p.m. arriving at Loires at about 3.30 p.m. Men carrying full kit and two blankets, but march short. Lt Leary returned from school. Wrote Miss Moule & sent £3.13.6.
…Route march in morning. Signed sheets for sending Anzac Bulletins to Mum, Kate, Sid, Girlie, Mattie Bond & Joyce Johnston. Went to Fruges in afternoon for cushion covers for Murray & self. Sent cushion cover to dear Mum, and wrote Mum & F. Gill. Brigadier back from leave.
Nice day for marching – slight sunshine, but no rain. Battn. left Loires at 9 a.m. and arrived at Ruisseauville at 12 noon. Billets fairly good.
… Battalion left Ruisseauville at 9.30 a.m. arriving at Wambercourt at about 11.30 a.m. Men’s billets good, Officers fair. Bed early. Received letters from John Hill and Mattie Adney.
Battalion left Wambercourt at 9.30 a.m. arriving at Fortefontaine at about (12 noon) 1 p.m. Long march with a couple of fairly steep hills. Billets very good. At Hdqrs. to mess at night. Went down to creek at 11 p.m. and had a cold bath – very enjoyable.
…Battalion resting all day. Visited ruins of an old monastery near Battn. Hdqrs. in afternoon; place very old and very interesting – saw remains of old underground tunnel. Bed early.
Battalion left Fortefontaine at 9 a.m. arriving at Fontaine-sur-maye at about 11.30 a.m. Billets very good. Went to Crecy in afternoon & visited scene of battle & also place where battle was watched by the Black Prince. Then “Bow & Arrows” – now “9.2 Howitzers”… Sorry to hear Ted is returning to Aus. owing to deafness.
…Heavy mist all day. Battn. left Hautvillers at 8.20 a.m., halting outside Quesnoy for lunch, and arriving at Franleu at about 2.30 p.m.
Battalion left Franleu at 8.30 a.m. arriving at Meneshes at about 11.30 a.m. Billets fair – Officers good…
…Round looking at country for Parade grounds with C. O. in morning. Men settling down & cleaning up during day. Received plenty of papers from home and others.
Windy day with sunshine. Battalion church Parade at 11 a.m. Received 3 parcels from dear Mum, also 2 letters (1 Reg), & 2 from Kate, one from Mona, Max Gore & Mrs Haines.
Fair day. Coy. gave dinner at night – very successful; should say the best dinner ever given in this Battalion. Received letter from Oscar Baring.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith