Churchill-Smith, James – September 1918
Cool day. Marked out forming up position of Bgde in afternoon for G.O.C. 4th Div. inspection tomorrow. Orders out at night for move tomorrow…
Brigade embussed near cemetery Rivery at 9.30 a.m. leaving at 11.20 a.m. and arriving at destination, near Biaches at about 5 p.m. Dusty journey. Had nice swim in canal after arrival. Bedearly. Recd letter from Sid.
Dull day with occasional showers. 2nd Bn. on our left, 50th & 51st Bus advanced their line during day to railway line on right & 300 yds past line on left. 50th took 1 Sgt 6 men prisoners – Poles and Alsatians. One prisoner says they are “fed up” & gave themselves up deliberately.
Further advance by both Bns.during night & several (about 50) prisoners taken. Our casualties very light. Wrote dear Kate. Lt Hawker, 50th Bn. did a very valuable patrol in front running into 2 parties of Huns.
Round to 50th & 51st Bns during afternoon with the General. Got “strafed” by a Hun machine gun. 50th Hdqrs, in a railway cutting, shelled regularly by the Huns. “S.O.S.” up on 50th front at about 8 p.m. Huns pushed in a couple of posts – a few casualties on our side. 50th Hdqrs “standing to”. Two enemy bombing planes brought down at night by one of our planes.
Sent 2 Off 10 men off to Australia on Transport duty. Went to Nucleus in morning. Enemy shelled our Hdqrs at night, but had no luck.
49th & 51st Bns with Tommies on the right advanced their lines during daylight – about 30 prisoners of 55th I.R. taken all told, all of whom were very pleased to be our prisoners. They say there are plenty of their fellows only waiting an opportunity to give themselves up to us.
Believe French & Serbs have broken through at Salonika & taken 3000 prisoners. Nice day but cooler than yesterday owing to early morning thunderstorms. Went round Bn. Transport lines & then on to Div. with the General. Had tea at Div – Gen Rawlinson present. Lt Col. Whitham returned from Aldershot to command 49th Bn. Enemy planes very active day and night (one brought down at night) – evidently Huns have wind of coming stunt. Plenty of Transport on roads at night & new batteries of of guns arriving.
Very cloudy day, though no rain until night time. Zero hour for attack on 3rd, 4th & a French Army Front about 4.20 a.m. (5.20?) – all objectives taken but exploitation of blue line not properly carried out, so blue line attacked with artillery barrage at 11 p.m. Prisoners from Div. front 67 Off 1689 O.R. & a few guns. 50th & 51st Bns moved to old front line at about 7 p.m. – 49th moved tonear Bgde Hdqrs 8 a.m. Enemy planes active – one balloon brought down. Bombing at night until rain fell. Total prisoners \to about/ (3 p.m.) Corps front, (1st & 4th Div front) – 114 Off. 2642 men, 23 guns! Result 11 p.m attack – 13 Off 329 OR prisoners & several MG’s.
Dull day with occasional showers. Saw Tom in morning wounded right breast & right arm, but feeling O.K. He was hit yesterday with all his Bn Staff but carried on, his Bn. did remarkably well capturing 12 5.9 guns & 2 77 cms, and about 400 prisoners.
Fine day. Brigade Interpreter arrived at night. 50th Bn, brought down a Hun plane by Lewis Gun fire on night 20th – all very pleased.
Bgde. arrived during afternoon. Capt Louch & Col. Christie left on leave to England. Gen MacLagan, & Brand; Major Reg Norman, & several others did not come out, but were left behind to assist the Yanks who are going in on our front. Good news through of push by Gen. Allenby – 25,000 prisoners taken, 120 guns – Nazareth taken…
A year ago tonight I was wounded – how I look back during the past 12 mos. & think of the many dear lads who have passed away after fighting hard – God bless their loved ones. Round Bns during afternoon with the General. C.O’s Conference at 10 a.m. Rcd letter from Rufus. Palestine front – 40000 prisoners; Tiberas captured after stiff fighting & troops have reached Es Samrar.
Fine day. Played tennis in afternoon on Chateau Court – quite enjoyable. Gen. & Conwell to Div. during afternoon. Good news through of French & American push on 60 kilo front, 10000 prisoners. Rumor has it that Bulgaria asked for an Armistice, but that it was refused. Serles & others doing O.K. on that front – British entered Bulgarian territory & captured Kosturino, 10 miles N.E. of Lake Doiran & are advancing towards Strumitsa.
Good news through of advances on practically all fronts.
Diary of James Churchill-Smith