Churchill-Smith, James – November 1918
Dull day with light sprinkle during morning. Whole Ausn. Corps searching country between 9 a.m. & 1 p.m. for absentees; 50th Bn scouring Bovelles sub-area. Left Bn at Ferrieres at 1 p.m., catching train from Amiens for Boulogne at about 4.45 p.m.
Arrived Boulogne 12.30 a.m. – slept at Hotel Bouvre. Caught leave boat at 10.30 a.m. arriving Folkestone about 12.15 p.m.& London at about 3 p.m. Dinner at A.I.F Club with Bill Stewart, Bill McCann & others. Staying at Jermyn Court Hotel.
Met Bill Sims at Regents & Tom at A.I.F. Club. “Tails Up” in afternoon, and “Big Boys in Broadway” at night – both very good…
… News of Peace through – great excitement, but only a rumor. Alhambra at night, “Big Boys on Broadway,” with Tom Bill Sims. Met George Robey at Cavour & after show in his dressing room.
Dull day with light showers during the morning. “Box of Tricks” in afternoon with Tom & Simmo, & “The Lilac Domino” at night with Simmo. Called on The Countess of Harrowby in morning, & arranged for a few days in Scotland. Wrote dear Mum.
Arrived Edinburgh about 8 a.m. & took rooms at Caledonian Hotel…
Left Edinburgh by 9.50 a.m. train arriving at Nairn at 5.15 p.m. very interesting journey up amongst the mountains, Snow on some mountain tops. Light rain during afternoon. Arrived at Mrs Blanes at about 5.30 p.m had tea, changed, & dinner at 8 p.m. Very nice place. Word through of Armistice being signed – great rejoicing – lit bonfire at Mrs Blanes – school children present.
Round village during morning and watched fishing boats arriving back from mornings fishing –good catches – very interesting. Golf in afternoon – Simmo & I V Lt Osman & Miss Stevens. Simmo & I won by 2 holes – very enjoyable. A few of Mrs Blane’s friends to dinner – dancing & parlor games followed – very enjoyable…
Arrived at Euston Station at about 10 a.m. – train 2 hrs. late. Booked rooms at Regents Palace hotel. Met Tom. Dinner at night with George Robey, Simmo & Tom, after which had front row centre seats for “Bing Boys” – glorious time Saw George afterwards. Crowds very merry in streets at night owing to Armistice…
Left Charing Cross station by Staff train at 11.35 a.m. arriving at Folkestone at about 1.45 p.m. Boat left at 2.30 p.m. arriving at Boulogne at about 4.15 p.m. Fairly cold rough trip…
…Arrived Bde Hdqrs at 5.30 a.m. & slept till 8 a.m. Took over position of Bde Major as Capt Louch is away on leave. Round Bns. during morning & to 50th in afternoon.
… Orders out at night for tomorrows move. Wrote dear Mum, Kate, , Mrs. Blane, Countess Harrowby, Pat Mc.Manus, Joyce Johnston, Gladys Chambers, also sent several Xmas Cards around…
… Gen MacLagan, 4th Div Commdr, left on leave; Gen. Leane, G.O.C. 12th Bde to Div; Lt Col Witham C.O. 49th Bnto 12th Bde; &I went to 49th as Tempy. in Command.
Bn left Sains at 10 a.m. arriving at Sivry (just over Belgian Border) at about 3.45 p.m. – midday meal on road. Wrote Bunny. Dull day, but not so cold as yesterday. Evidence all along the route of a hasty disorganised general retreat. Transport, guns ammunition &c on the roadsides. Sivry was evacuated by the Huns after the Armistice was signed.
Dull day with light mist. Bn. resting all day, and men cleaning up generally. Understand we are not going to Germany as Huns are carrying out Armistice terms to the letter, and we therefore do not want too many Divisions in occupation. Wrote Rafferty & Calver, & Simpson & Edwards. also dear Kate.
… Conferences of C.O’s at Bde Hdqrs at 4 p.m. re Demobilisation.
Dull day. Gen. Herring called in morning. Football (Rugby) in afternoon – 49th V Pioneer Bn. Result 49th 15 points, Pioneers 3 – a lovely game, though I didn’t understand it. Recd letters from dear Mum, Kate (2), Dad, Girlie, Emy, Joyce, & Aunt Nell, & Peggy.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith