Churchill-Smith, James – October 1916
… received congratulatory card from Gen Cox (through C.O.) on “gallant conduct in reconnaissance” near Mouquet Farm on Sep. 3–4…
Part Battn put through Gas & fitted with new Box respirators by Div. Gas Officer… lecture… on “Lewis Guns” – very good.
Received Personal letter from Gen.Birdwood congratulating me upon being awarded a Military Cross.
Football afternoon :– “A” Coy 5 goals 7 behinds “D” Coy. 3 goals 9 behinds…
… Recd very big & nice parcel from dear Mum … All arrangements made for leaving tomorrow – very sorry to go; best time I’ve had since I’ve been in France…
…arriv[ed] at Poperingay … Route marched:– C & D Coys to Dickybusch (about 6 miles out) & A & B Coys 2 miles further on. Feet tired. No blankets but slept well in great–coat.
… Our artillery opened up at 4.30 p.m. and bombarded enemy lines until 5.15 p.m. – but Germans did not reply. A nice lake quite close to our billets with plenty of ducks about, unfortunately “Duck shooting is prohibited”. Recd nice \congratulatory/ letter from Gen.Cox.
Dull day… Took Summary of Evidence five cases of drunkenness
Coy. Foot inspection in afternoon…
… Court–martials (prosecutor) in morning.
“I’m 22 today”, but unfortunately cannot celebrate owing to being unable to purchase anything.
… It is now beginning to get wintry here & we Australians feel the cold very much. I’m not feeling too good, a touch of influenza I think. Played bridge with Thomson, Edwards & Waine at night.
Spent the day in bed owing to head no feeling too good…
Recd nice letter from Gen Birdwood congratulating me upon being awarded a Bar to my Military Cross. Cabled Father :– “Awarded Military Cross August, now “awarded Bar to same. Well. Love
… Heavy shelling by our A.A. gunners at an enemy aeroplane during morning, Heavy artillery shelling by our gunners at nightfall.
… An aeroplane fight in morning, Fritz got away safely, also two Fritz planes up & heavily fired at by our AA gunners – no result. Men issued with warm gloves.
Foot & rifle inspection in morning, then Battn. all had hot bath…
Battn. left Reninghelst and arrived at new billets at Hopoutre…
Arrived Saint Rigner … & marched to billets near village square arriving at about 6.30 a.m. Had short sleep – dinner 12 noon. Left St Rigner at 2 p.m. and arrived at Bussus (Picardy district) at about 4 p.m. Billets very good. Myself very comfortable.
Coy. practice attack during morning, and Battn. attack during afternoon… Capt Clark to dinner at night. Hot bath before bed. Am getting a bad cold.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith