Churchill-Smith, James October 1915
October 3 1915
Church parade 7 a.m. Motored with other Officers to see demonstration of how bombs are fired. Left Camp 3 pm…on train and went to Zoo. Very nice place, large – saw hippo & rhino, also mother & 2 young cub lions. Enjoyed myself very much all day…
October 4 1915
Received first letter from Mum & Kate – very pleased…Practiced charging trenches with bombs &c. …
October 9 1915
… Kit inspection in morning. Went to Pyramids with Lts Hubbe, Owen & Walker, had a look at Sphynx & also where mummy’s were (all been taken away). Only went inside opening of big pyramid, but had a good time especially on the donkey I rode around on. National Hotel to dinner, around Wazza at night & home about 11.30 p.m.
October 11 1915
…C.O. told us we will soon be leaving for the front. – hurrah. Short Lecture to NCO.’s at night.
October 12 1915
Attack formation in morning. Route march 4 to 8 pm … Sent postcards to dear & Father…
October 13 1915
… Received “World News” from Kate – dear thoughtful girl.
October 15 1915
21 years of age today; don’t feel much older, but wish I was in Adelaide so that Kate, Mum & few friends could celebrate. Wonder where I shall be on 15th Oct. 1916? No celebrations here; only one or two friendly drinks. Bet Mum & Kate are thinking of me today may God bless & keep them.– now a man, I expect, but still a boy to them.
October 17 1915
… Detailed to leave for front on Tuesday morning next, very pleased…
October 18 1915
… Man from 9/8th ( A Coy 1st Iny Battn ) cut his throat with a razor last night; found out in desert this morning…
October 19 1915
… Train for Alexandria left Helmish siding at 9.30 am… Glad to leave Egypt, but sorry my men aren’t with me, especially Evans, my batman, – good boy. Arrived Alexandria and embarked on “Franconia”. Met Noel, who left by earlier train… At night very pretty sight to see lights all around especially the blueish–green lights, all round the Hospital ship with big white light showing Red Cross. Noel & I lay in cabin talking of old times; how strange we are together again; hope we both return safely to Australia again.
October 21 1915
… Good chance of being torpedoed tonight as we are getting into the dangerous area…
October 23 1915
Arrived Lemnos 7 a.m… Beautiful big Harbour, well protected; place full of Transports, Hospital Ships, Warships, Destroyers, submarines &c … Orders are that we re–embark for Anzac tomorrow so will probably land at the Dardanelles tomorrow night; if 3rd Brigade comes out on 26th, we shall only have a day in the trenches.
Concert in Lounge at night by the Officers.
October 24 1915
After breakfast issued out rations to men. Got kit &c on board & left for the Dardanelles… landed on jetty at 8.20 pm. Proceeded to Shrapnel Gully Reinforcement Camp and stayed there for night. Very little fighting tonight things very quiet
October 25 1915
Reported to 10th Battn. headquarters about 7.30 am… Went into firing line shown round by Lt Armitage… Saw dead Turk… looked through a loop hole and a Turkish Sniper had a shot at me, but he was too late and fired badly…
October 26 1915
Big bombardment on right by warship firing broadsides. Beachy Bill opened up (4 guns) but warship stopped him… On duty in firing line from 11 pm to 2 am; things very quiet; a little sniping going on occasionally. Heavy bombardment about 5 p.m.by warships at Helles.
Jack Sinclair here as Sergeant; very strange this meeting together of old school pals – Reg Norman, Noel, Jack Sinclair, Roy Fordham.
October 27 1915
… Heavy bombardment by Beachy Bill about 11.45 a.m. for ½ hr… Censored my Platoons’ letters. On duty 8 pm to 11 pm, – things very quiet except for occasional snipers’ crack and a burst from a machine gun. Feeling A.1. and don’t think I shall ever get hurt here.
October 28 1915
Reported that through Beachy Bill’s bombardment yesterday we shall only get ½ water ration & food ration for a few days – damn “Beachy Bill” Wrote Kate again sent her £1 as Xmas present… Fleas & lice in all dug–outs, trenches &c – caught lice on my clothes tonight, been biting me all over arms.
October 30 1915
Resting all day. Nice warm, Aus/n day, Hydroplane (ours) flying all over the place. Being temp. transferred to “C” Coy, report tomorrow morning – sorry to be leaving Noel, although I shall be close to him. Things very quiet. Slept in pyjamas, but very restless owing to presence of fleas & lice…