Information and images courtesy of Peter Garwood.
Born: 2nd November 1893, High Street, Bildeston, Suffolk.
Departed London – 29th October 1909 on board ‘Otway’ of the Orient Line. Travelled 3rd Class. Occupation – Farmer. Master of ‘Otway’ F.S. Symonds.
Destination – Sydney, Australia.
Enlisted: Sydney Australia 1914.
Spencer returned to England from Australia in 1938 and lived in London during the second world war serving as an ARP warden. He died in September 1969 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire England.
His War diaries had been in safe keeping all this time. His nephew Peter transcribed them in 2014. Many names and places were hard to transcribe. Pages not opened since the days they had been written. Sand and mud left between the pages from 100+ years ago, but the diary gives a good idea of army life with day to day duties in the trenches, as well as descriptions of major battles.
EADT article on Spencer.
Spencer Freeman Squirrell
Great War Diary 1914 – 1918
28/6/14 Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria assassinated.
26/7/14 Austria demands removal of officers from Serbian Army. Turks regulars landed and looted Greek House on Long Island, Smyrna.
27/7/14 King George V reviews British Navy – 200 Warships Spithead.
28/7/14 Sir Edward Grey said – if present European dispute were confined to Austria and Serbia – Great Britain would not interfere – but, the moment another power became involved the position would be critical – for the question would be one for the peace of Europe. It appeared to him that Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy should work together at St. Petersburg simultaneously to secure the suspension of operations. Germany replied – She has no objection to other powers attempting to secure concessions in Europe – and, as Austria is Germany’s ally, she (Germany) could not interfere with Austria’s freedom of action.
2/8/14 The Kaiser in a speech said – This is a dark day for Germany for the sword is being forced into our hands – if at the last hours my efforts fail to bring our adversaries to see things in the proper light – we with God’s help will wield the sword in such a way that we can sheath it with honour. We will show our adversaries what it means to attack Germany.
Anxiously awaiting news – and reading cables – many arguments as to whether England would be drawn into the fray.
Another cable saying England declared war. Much excitement – rise in prices of oils and flour already.
Australian Garrison Artillery, 86 inf. ASC and AMC mobilised.
German mailboat Seralitz held at Sydney. SS Padze at Melbourne.
Wheat 3/10 to 4/- bushel.
Albany Footballers could not play at Katanning as majority of team called into barracks.
7/8/14 Expeditionary force of 20,000 Australians accepted by British government. 30 have volunteered at Katanning under Lieut Presse (in after years to become “Senator” and one of my greatest friends).
11/8/14 W.A. Quota will probably be 1000.
12/8/14 There are now 50 volunteers from Katanning.
15/8/14 Very little war news.
19/8/14 Of the 67 volunteers who mustered at the Mechanics Institute on Sunday morning 16 were selected by Expeditionary Force. There were –
J.B. Joy, Melville Presses (brother to HV Presse), H.A. Haslam, W. Wood, E? Rogerson, TL Bucheel, PG Green, A Edmonds, GF Mason, V Charles, Smith and SF Squirrell.
I first joined 10th Light Horse, but as 11th Bn would go first I transferred.
31/8/14 Blackboy Camp, A/B Coy’s entrain at Helena Vale for Osborne Park – full kit, remainder general training, feet and teeth inspection.
Concert YMCA Tent at night.
23/8/14 Arrived at Helena Vale siding – Major JS Denton marches us to camp at Blackboy Hill.
1 to 9/9/14 Osborne Ranges – later received shirts and inoculated (typhoid).
Training at Blackboy Camp. Leave granted. Several go home to say au revoir. I did not go. Presented with a wallet by Katanning – with my name, dated and KATg on it.
6/9/14 Church parade. Leave.
7/9/14 Sir John Forrest visits camp.
March on Paris stopped.
8/9/14 (war news – Enemy moving away from Paris).
9/9/14 Osborn Park Coy attack and ….? work (Capt. Everett, Major Denton).
10/9/14 Rumours of leaving Blackboy Camp for embarkation. No leave. Maj Gen Sir H Barron inspects troops.
11/9/14 Training – Battle of Red Hill; – left camp at daylight – witnessed battery Artillery in action – shelling distant hill – had skirmishing – returned at dusk.
before parade rise 6.15 a.m. – have mug hot black coffee (dosed with salts ) – parade 6.45 a.m. – 1/2 mile at double march – sometimes 3 to 4 miles – return to breakfast 7.30 a.m. – then tidy tents, clean rifles, tidy kits etc. (Lt. DHM Donald (the greyhound) used to take us for a gallop to the ….?).
11/9/14 Attack on Red Hill –
Left camp daylight.
Forenoon artillery shelled distant Hill. Enemy marching from …..? their advance party entrenched on Red Hill. Main defending army at Midland. Advance guard under Maj. D Brockman endeavoured locate enemy.
A.D.E.F.G Coys and 8th Battery (B Brown)
Main body under Lt. Col L Johnson.
Crossed country towards Newcastle Road.
Scouts in front.
B & C Coys drive enemy’s outpost back on Red Hill. Attack pushed forward – position held until reinforcements arrive. Messenger went to deliver message to Maj Brockman – when he was handed a whole check by Capt Brennan – who said – You cannot say it, you are dead. The messenger smiled – dropped down and had a good rest.
An officer was directing his men, when a white slip was handed to him “Shot through the chest”. Said the doctor “Fall down”. He just had enough strength to tell his sub to carry on then rested. Kettle drums were used – as machine guns. (I had one of the kettle drums). Victory in sight – Red Hill was taken. Troops returned to camp at dusk.
23/9/14 11 pm Bugle alarm – intended for 11 Btn aroused 16 btn and Artillery Bn. Paraded and dismissed after explanation.
F Coy aroused again at 2 a.m. under Capt Linne – Went to hills Transport Wagon (under Priestley) left at 4 .a.m with breakfast.
F Coy had to attack H Coy (Reilly) which was bivouaced.
Attack at dawn.
Intercept G Co at Smith’s Mill under (Cpt. Croly) – each Company claimed success.
Euripides 15 Port Lincoln 7
Orvicho 12 Star of India
Medu (?) 12 Marere 7
Bernima 11 limerick 7
Argylshire 11 Karroo 6
Ascanius 10 Kabuna 4
Shropshire 10 Telamon 5
Hawkes bay 11 Hymetters 4
Rangatera 10 Grantala 4
Gulong 8 Aorangi 4
Omrah 8 Saldanha 5
Perie 8 Wiltshire 10
Star of England 9 Cevic 8
26/9/14 Govt presents Lt. Col. L. Johnston Charger (Police horse Vincent) 5 yrs age 15 hands in height – bred by J. Clark at Onslow – and Speculation, white horse presented by Bert Holmes to Maj. S. Brockman. Speculation (thanks to an application of ….? is now khaki).
30/10/14 Marching orders.
Entrain for (?) Fremantle – at Helena by noon. All except A and B Coys were on Ascanius. All A & B embarked on Medic (?).
On Ascanius – 10 Btn, ourselves, Dr. Golding Bird/Bishop Kalgoorlie and Father Fahey.
4 p.m. until 4 a.m. MON 2 Nov 1914.
No civilians allowed near ship during embarkation.
Note: (Medic (?) also left Australia with troops for Boer War Oct 1899).
2/11/14 4.45 a.m. Ascanius weighed anchor, joined by 2 British and 1 Jap Man ‘o War. Sea calm – some sick.
3/11/14 A wonderful sight. Whole of the ships carrying A.F. troops joined us, together with escorts – 46 vessels (27 of which were troopships carrying about 35,000 N Zealand and Australian troops – going to help the motherland. (Escort about 10,000 men). Never before has such a glorious sight been seen.
4/11/14 Sea rougher – nothing eventful (some vacant seats at meals).
5/11/14 Dull and monotonous – lights extinguished – except necessary ones, which were veiled. Many rumours re possibility encountering German Cruiser Embden.
6/11/14 Some cases of measles (2 of pneumonia in S.A. Bn.). Fine weather.
7/11/14 Very slow travelling (tropical heat). Not much work. More rumours Embden.
Pay day (10/-) (by J.S. Denton Mj) First pay since 25th October in Australia.
8/11/14 Euripides hoves to – to bury a soldier – very rough today and sultry. Rumours of a strange warship in vicinity Cocos Island. Have had life belt exercises, physical jerks – Lieut. Archibald – aft portside.
9/11/14 SOS received from Cocos Island Wireless Station. 3 warships including Sydney belching forth black smoke were seen to turn back and race for Cocos at full speed – Melbourne and Ibiki (Jap) returns to position of escort presumably under instructions.
Great excitement – news received “Sydney” encountered “Embden” in a battle. Embden forced to beach. Another cruiser went in pursuit Embden’s collier. Singing and free drinks in honour of victory.
Later – On return of Sydney about a week later we troops stand to attention on board – whilst Sydney passes through lines with Embden’s Captain and prisoners – a solemn affair – round about midnight or 8 p.m. (uncertain).
10/11/14 Medic (?) stops – buries a soldier.
Editor: Pte.FREDERICK COURTNEY – born 1893, Lisburn, Antrim. N.I., of Slate Mill, Marjimup, Western Australia. Private, 21, of the 11th Battalion, died of Pneumonia at sea, aged 21. HMAT Medic en route to Egypt. Commemorated – Chatby Memorial, Egypt.
11/11/14 We stop to bury a soldier named Power (821 Pte C.W. Power, g Coy, 11th Btn.) Pte. CHARLES WILLIAM POWER – born 1895, Birchip, Buloke, Victoria. Private, 821, of the 11th Battalion, ‘G’ Company, died of Pneumonia at sea, aged 19. HMAT Ascanius en route to Egypt. Commemorated – Chatby Memorial, Egypt.
12/11/14 Sports on deck.
15/11/14 Arrived 2 p.m. Colombo. Col M. Lagan, 3rd Brigade Commander and Major Brand, Brigade Major, second in command come aboard.
17/11/14 Leave Colombo 11.20 a.m.
18 & 19/11/14 Hot, 18 Nov pay day (10/-).
20/11/14 Pass Maldive Islands. Going through Arabian Sea. Rumours of trouble on Suez Canal (Turks).
21/11/14 4.30 a.m. (dark) awakened by a collision – I and King (Signaller) sleeping near life boat on boat deck – port side. Had no life belt. Our line of ships were Euripides, Argylshire, Shropshire, Ascanius and Benalla.
Our ship (Ascanius) bumped into Shropshire about 1/4 broadside on and in endeavouring to get out – bumped again, tore hole in our ship about 20 feet long 4 inches wide above water line.
Alarm bells – SOS rockets fired. Very dark. Fair sea running.
Men behaved splendidly and remained calm for hour and a half.
HMS Hampshire came alongside later and gave our Captain a dressing down (through his megaphone). Of course we took our captain’s part. (Later enquiry proved our Captain was not to blame – to his and our relief).
25/11/14 7 a.m. at Aden – here there were many transports containing British troops – and native troops.
26/11/14 Left Aden 5 a.m.
28/11/14 Pay day 10/-. Last pay on boat.
1/12/14 Cheered by Tommies ….? on land. Arrive Suez 9-10 a.m.
2/12/14 Port Said.
3/12/14 Leave Suez 8.15 a.m.
5/12/14 Arrive Alexandria 8.5 a.m.
6/12/14 Left for Cairo by train.
11/12/14 Mena (pay day £2.1.0)
23/12/14 Pay. Training under Pyramids in desert.
30/12/14 Pay day (Sign. Lt. …? )
13/1/15 Pay day by RL Leane Cap.
17/2/15 I play piano at movies, also at concerts.
13/3/15 HMS Suffolk pay and Capt WR Annear.
1/4/15 Lemnos (HMS Suffolk) Re assorting transhipment of vehicles in various ships – preparations for tactical landing. Wolfende carrying a case of whisky fell off gangway between the two transports. Saved.
3/4/15 Landed independently – hill climbing and fire direction.
5/4/15 Lemnos – weather bound – no training.
5/4/15 Shifted to near Mudros pier.
9/4/15 Suffolk. 32 officers 970 OR 30 horses (payday).
15/4/15 Landed for training – transfer of basic kits (to Osmanish) for Alexandria.
16/4/15 Physical training – night exercise boarding battleship. Issue of water bags.
17/4/15 Exercising disembarking from battleships.
18/4/15 Landing practices, night landing practices from HMS Queen and HMS London in Lemnos Harbour.
20/4/15 Night landing practice.
21/4/15 2 coys and battleship tow 11 Bn and engineer demolishing party. 1st objective SW edge of spur 400 on square 224 M and N.
2nd objective Feature extending from Sq 224 F8 to Sq 225 A1 thence to Sq 237 Z8.
Red and yellow flags carried by advance line to be waved slowly to and fro to indicate cease fire by ships. Queen, HMS Prince of Wales and London.
23/4/15 Our last concert on Suffolk – Col. Johnston speaks – I play piano – Tipperary.
24/4/15 Bgde HQ Details A & C Coy, 23 others 1st Field Co. disembarked from A4 Suffolk embarked on destroyers. Thence on to HMS London (500).
(2 p.m. moved off – awakened at midnight – hot cocoa – 1 a.m. ships stop).
Remainders of BN left Mudros Harbour on A4 Suffolk 1.30 p.m. – HMS London left Mudros Harbour, Colonel EG Sinclair Marchason DSO Commanding covering force.
Rifles not loaded – no magazines to be charged until troops landed. Water bottles to be filled overnight. No bugle calls to be sounded after leaving Lemnos.
No bugle calls during charge.
9th to attack right
7th Indian Battery to support.
A Co Right Maj. SR Roberts
C ” left ” “
to form 1st line of attack ?
M6 B and D Engineers 2nd line.
Packs to be dropped on beach.
Tools to be carried forward by B and D Coys.
We have a grand feed on HMS London a big rum issue (navy rum) – sailors wish us luck.
Sailors on London give up their hammocks for us. As I look up someone is taking a photo on London. I think I’m in it.
Editor: The Gallipoli Campaign (Dardanelles Campaign) 17th February 1915 – 9th January 1916
The aims of the Campaign were the capturing the Ottoman Empire capital Constantinople and the opening of a new front taking German and Turkish forces away from Europe and North Africa and Mesopotamia . Creating a safe sea route rout to Russia and the Black sea, enabling Russia to trade goods for arms. The campaign was an Anglo-French task force but is better known for the contribution and fierce fighting from the Commonwealth forces from Australian and New Zealand force the “ANZAC” (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). The Campaign was to fail due to poor mapping and planning. The forces landing on beaches with steep cliffs and soon became bogged down with trench warfare. Supply routes we hampered by the enemy attacks on shipping. Equipment and water were limited. Disease and heavy shelling on the narrow beach heads caused thousands of casualties. The evacuation took place in January 1916.
It is estimated that over 50,000 British and commonwealth dead and over 100,000 wounded sustained from the campaign. With 8,709 dead from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand.
25/4/15 Left HMS London 2.30 a.m. – got into row boats
a.m. moon down – boats
and landed of. (Geo. Wise 1st man wounded in my boat – he could not lie down on beach). Editor:(Pte.G.Wise KiA 1916)
Rushed to heights above shore – took position (heights). Capt Annear killed on 1st trench. Cliff – shot through head. (2 more wounded getting out of boat).
8.10 a.m. counter attack, repulsed – Lieut Peck wounded (in arm about 9.30 a.m. Zegge Valley) well out ahead before retirement.. Said he was OK to me, and would get back alone. ?
2 p.m. heavy fighting – said you hang on boys, carried ammunition to machine guns – fired machine gun – with C/ Halloran. (Later called Quinns Post).
4 p.m. enemy attack dies down under our Battleship fire.
6 p.m. Ordered to dig in.
Casualties very heavy.
Buried Sgt Lovett 9th Bn. I brought him in from the front aided by another badly wounded in thigh, died during the night in our position.
I gave paybook and disc to Lieut Newman. 2 months later I met a 9th Bn man and told him re Sgt Lovett. Evidently Lt. Newman had not reported his death.
28/4/15 Roll call on beach
9th 4 officers 251 other ranks
10th 3 228
11th 5 220
12th 2 160
Capt. Barnes killed – engagement continues.
29/4/15 Troops exhausted, no sleep 96 hours. Continuous fighting, enemy firing all the time.
30/4/15 Killed Wounded Missing
Officers 2 7
OR 32 183 154
Assemble on beach
Some 2 days later. I amongst them.
1/5/15 450 11 Bn re-occupy trenches (includes reinforcements).
2/5/15 Enemy shells heavily.
3/5/15 Capt Leane, Lt. Rockliffe, 98 rank and file infantry 4 sig 1 officer, 10 inf men, 1 med. Officer Dr. Brennan_ 1 AMC Sgt, 1 stretcher bearer bivouaced on beach 3 may night.
Sgt Newman and myself were left behind on beach to look after gear.
4/5/15 3.30 a.m. they embarked on boats taken to destroyer Chelmer and towed to Gaba Tepe – disembarked 4.30 a.m. Enemy held fire until we started to land about 40 yards from beach – they then started heavy rifle fire. We rushed beach, took cover under sandy cliff about 12 ft high which runs along beach.
Lt. Rockliffe wounded – 4 OR killed, 18 OR wounded. Lt Rockliffe and about 12 men wounded returned in the boats – destroyer sent another boat to pick up 6 more wounded. Enemy ceased fire during return of wounded. They did not fire again until wounded were being towed away by (?) pinnau.
Position too strongly held to attempt storming. Rows of barb wire 3’6″ high ran all over the hill in front of Turk’s trenches – 3 MO Guns and 1 pom pom were firing from Turk’s trenches. Enemy’s strength estimated about 150 men – decided to return to destroyers.
Signalled destroyer to send boats at same time pointed out gun positions and asked them to fire during re-embarkation. 3 more were wounded during re-embarking. HMS London sent us some bread round about this time – what a rush for the crumbs.
5/5/15 Took over trenches extreme left.
10/5/15 3 bgde and improved trenches. HMS London sends us a couple bags bread – (better than good).
19/5/15 3.30 a.m. enemy attack in full strength – our trenches crowded – men squeezing in every vacant spot to fire. Rifles get quite hot incessant firing. Attack repulsed 5.15 a.m. Turks allowed to come up close before being fired on – thousands wounded and killed Turks. Enemy artillery shells heavily. Enemy aeroplane overhead. Quiet at night. Capt. Hallahan let me fire his machine gun. Killed many Turks.
20/5/15 Heavy enemy firing.
21/5/15 We send out burial parties under flag – but returned when fired upon by enemy. No doubt a misunderstanding as Turks are such clean fighters as respect burial parties.
22/5/15 Capt Everett 150 men investigate Turkey Knoll – when returning enemy fired, killed 1 man.
23/5/15 Some firing – Stench of dead in front of our trenches becoming unbearable. Flies awful.
24/5/15 Armistice 7.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Parties from each side went out halfway between enemy and our trenches to bury dead and collect arms and equipment. Cigarettes exchanged. Maj Roberts talks to German of Turkish officer re Constantinople (Col (Major then) Roberts knows best which was said).
Enemy losses dead estimated at 7,000.
25/5/15 12.30 p.m. whilst we men watching HMS Triumph (12,000 tons) shelling the Turks with broadsides – Suddenly a terrific explosion took place – a cloud of smoke spurted high near the Triumph. She had been torpedoed by an enemy submarine ((U21) Commander Hersing). The battleship was almost hid from view by the tremendous explosion causing water and smoke to be forced straight into the air. A few minutes later the Triumph turned turtle, men struggling in the water and on sides of the boat. Destroyers racing all around endeavouring to pick them up. – Finally the Triumph has her keel in the air and in 30 minutes she disappeared altogether. It was a very sad sight – and will never be forgotten by us who saw it Even fighting on the trenches was forgotten about by both sides at the time. Our best friend gone – it was hard to believe.
26/5/15 HMS Majestic torpedoed off Cape Helles (by U21) -capsized in 4 minutes. (This boat did not completely disappear out of sight for years afterwards). She sank in 9 fathoms. Hundreds of men were caught in her torpedo nets.
Lieut. GH Smith killed.
Enemy shelled beach – difficult to land supplies.
30/5/15 Enemy continues to fire. No attack.
2/6/15 Maj Denton awarded DSO
Sgt Layling DCM
1/6/15 Demonstration by us to draw Turk fire.
4/6/15 Another demonstration by us.
5/6/15 We throw bombs – respirators issued.
8/6/15 Patrol went out.
9/6/15 Advance towards enemy trenches, drove in few snipers. We were compelled to retire before doing anything else.
10/6/15 Demonstration – Collision with enemy strikers ?
13/6/15 Capt. Peck now staff Capt.
HMS Bachante and 4 destroyers shell Turk positions for an hour.
I become Capt Peck’s runner at his request.
15/6/15 HMS Monitor shells Turks position.
18/6/15 Very hot. Olive Grove gun shells beach between 10 p.m. 11 p.m. (1st time at night).
20/6/15` Hot – still suffering.
21/6/15 Another trench Tasmania Post – extreme right.
22/6/15 Still hot. Lts. Farr, Kelly, Franklyn and 40 OR of 2 reinforcements form up.
23/6/15 Enemy bomb our working parties.
24/6/15 We make tunnels.
26/6/15 Gen Sir Ian Hamilton and General Birdwood inspects our trenches.
German aeroplane flies over.
Howitzer battery put in position.
27/6/15 Enemy shell fire.
28/6/15 We advance from trench to top of ridge to obtain fire on Turks trench – Enemy opened heavy shrapnel fire and we being extended in open – a considerable number of casualties occurred.
Engagement lasted until 5.30 p.m.
Killed 3 officers 18 O.R. )
Wounded 1 officer 41 O.R. ) 63
Officers killed Capt C La hanze C Coy, Lt. L McDonald C Coy (poor old Mac had only just returned from hospital after being wounded 1st day – before hopping over he appeared as if he knew it was his last hop over – but he led the men over – Gallantly). 2nd Lt. Parry killed C Coy. (Wounded) Lt. Kelly (arrived only on 22nd.)
(side note) I and 3 others were unable to get back until nearly dusk – when we ran the gauntlet. We were jammed in a Turk trench 1 foot deep all day.
?? Nothing eventful.
editor: Captain (Capt) Charles Andrew La Nauze, 11th Battalion, of Boulder, WA. Capt La Nauze was born in Mauritius in 1881 and was educated at the Royal College there; he emigrated to Australia with his parents when he was 16 years of age. Capt La Nauze was first commissioned on 26 July 1901 in the British Army and in 1905 into the Australian Army. At the time of his enlistment he was an accountant in the West Australian Bank. He embarked from Fremantle, WA, aboard HMAT Ascanius on 2 November 1914. He was killed in action on 28 June 1915 at Gallipoli Peninsula and was buried at Shell Green Cemetery by Chaplain J C McPhee.
13/7/15 Relieved by 10 Bn – go on reserve – just behind the line. 200 yds.
15/7/15 We get a £1 pay.
27/7/15 We relieve 12 Bn Tasmania Post – during our stay in reserve we had to do fatigues at all hours of day and night. Some days 450 men were supplied – didn’t get much rest (13 weeks without a (?) shell – spell.)
Troops getting diarrhoea – dysentry and ??
31/7/15 !A Hell of a night !
Officers and 200 men under Capt. Leane storm trench in front of Tasmania Post. Engineers explode mine at moonrise – same time we charged trench which we occupied and bayonetted Turks who didn’t run away. Part of trench being still in enemy’s hands and prevented communication being established. We attacked again and surrounded and improved trench during the night. I was lucky again.
Casualties 25/4/15 to 15/8/15
11 Bn Killed Wounded Missing Ing Total
Officers 9 19 3 31
O/Ranks 158 607 72 837
167 626 75 868
Officers 31 53 6 3 93
O/Ranks 517 2063 286 1 2867
548 2116 292 4 2960
17/8/15 Sap – Black Land.
18/8/15 Very quiet – troops’ health very bad.
19/8/15 A bit cooler.
25/8/15 Still a bit warm.
27/8/15 Enemy patrols bombed one trench.
28-29/8/15 Quiet, some firing.
11/9/15 Col. J.L. Johnston to command 3rd Brigade.
16/9/15 We opened fire and threw tins out in front of trench drew enemy’s fire.
17/9/15 Capt AL Corley (a doctor) killed by sniper – in Snipers Post on Salt Spur – Capt Corley was one of the best and liked by all. My Company Commander. There seem to be a lot going away not really sick – even officers.
18/9/15 Turks shelled us heavily and fired from Lone Pine and Sniper’s Ridge.
20/9/15 Battalion strength 13 officers and 349 o/ranks.
24/9/15 Heavy shelling from Gun Ridge – Olive Grove and Gaba Tepe on our trenches and General Birdwood and Admiral Weymes inspect our trenches demonstration at night time. Firing – showing dummies – firing rockets – threw out burnt tins. Draw enemy’s fire. No casualties our side.
27/9/15 2 coys relieved by 12 Btn for 48 hours.
4/10/15 Enemy shells heavily.
5/10/15 Turks bomb us from Sniper’s Ridge.
8/10/15 Rain and wind stormy.
9/10/15 Clear today. Quiet except a few shells from Turks.
11/10/15 Maj Leane takes charge as Col Johnston sick.
12/10/15 Enemy shellfire.
13/10/15 General Wacker wounded near Blackhand M6 position.
14,16,17/10/15 Cold wind – some shelling. Enemy seems to be more active with heavy guns.
18/10/15 Rain – cold miserable. No dry wood.
19/10/15 Turks shell fire.
20/10/15 Col Collett visits our Batt. With 28 Bn officers.
We got some wood today.
Do you realise what that meant ?
21/10/15 I had a go on machine gun.
22/10/15 Rain – I fired machine gun again.
23/10/15 Quiet – machine gun fire again.
24/10/15 Very cold, fairly quiet.
25/10/15 6 mos today – a rum issue.
27/10/15 Heavy shelling.
5/11/15 Enemy opens heavy fire.
7/11/15 Shelling troops. Get a pay about this time.
13/11/15 I see Kitchener and Birdwood, near canteen. Looks stern, red, but is very human, asks if we want to go to France – Yes.
14/11/15 We to re-embark – weather too rough.
15/11/15 Rained hard all day. Trenches and dugouts very muddy.
16/11/15 Too rough to re-embark.
16/11/15 6 p.m. re-embark for Mudros – reach Mudros 8 a.m. 17th November.
18/11/15 At Sarpi – very cold and miserable.
24/11/15 RMS Olympia arrives
25/11/15 Very cold. Don’t like the place.
26,27/11/15 A violent gale, shipping damaged.
1/12/15 Lemnos. Lts Tostevin 1st Bn, James 10th Bn and Walther (severely wounded Poziers) sent to M.G. Course. Smandia MG School. editor: BERNHARDT HERMANN WALTHER, born Murtoa, Victoria, of Surrey Chambers, Perth, Western Australia. Captain, Australian Machine Gun Corps, 3rd Coy, died from wounds, 25th July 1916, aged 21. Laid to rest at Puchevillers British Cemetery, Somme.
3/12/15 Major Peck returns to 11Bn from Bgde HQ. He asked me if I would like to go in for a commission. I said not yet.
4/12/15 Maj Roberts returns to 11 Bn – in command.
17/12/15 Pt. H. Heyes died of meningitis (Lemnos) ill since 10th Dec.
31/12/15 A & B Coy;’s embark on Lake Michigan.
1/1/16 balance of Battalion embarked on RMS Empress of Britain.
5/1/16 Arrived Alexandria, entrained for Tel El Kebir.
6/1/16 Arrived Tel El Kebir.
Went to hospital to see Ben, but told he had gone to England.
Tel El Kebir – general training – living in tents, leave to Cairo and Alexandria. See Maj Peck at Sheperds Hotel. Gave me good stiff whisky and a fiver to spend – he shook hands and patted me on back.
15/1/16 Lt. Gen Sir A Murray inspects Division near Arabi-Pasha line of defence.
22/1/16 Group firing – leave stopped prepare to move.
24/1/16 Entrained for Serapeum.
25/1/16 Arrive Serapeum.
30/1/16 Fine Weather.
31/1/16 Left Serapeum for Habieda – bivouaced.
1/2/16 Erected tents.
2/2/16 Dig trenches – water shortage.
3/2/16 Wood and water shortage. Digging trenches.
6/2/16 Have to use hurdle revetments to keep sides of trenches up to hold sand.
14/2/16 Habieda – found men of 5th Gurkhas in famished condition – been out 7 days – no food or water.
23/2/16 Shifted camp a bit.
28/2/16 Maj Leane to command 48th Bn.
29/2/16 10 officers 481 O/Ranks of 11 Bn went to Tel El Kabir to 51 Bn (Corp Young went). New arrangement to mix old hands with new.
9/2/16 Handed over to 10 Light Horse – who arrived on camels. Col Olden in command, I dentist whom I knew in Nar ..? 1911.
19/2/16 Church Parade – Gen Birdwood – HRH Prince of Wales. Maj Gen Walker commanding. We marched past – Teddie fell off his horse.
Training to ??
26/3/16 Serapeum – entrain for Alexandria.
30/3/16 HMT Corsican for Marseilles, France.
5/4/16 Arrive Marseille – entrain for Godrasvelde.
8/4/16 At Strazule – billeted near Flebie (I transfer to 3 MG Coy).
14/4/16 Strazule near – glad to get away from Lizzy.
19/4/16 Move to billets in Saily.
20/4/16 Strazule C Coy 9 Bn shelled in billets. 1 officer 24 O/R killed. 1 officer 48 O/R wounded.
19/5/16 General training.
20/5/16 Relieve 1st bgde at Fleurbaix – near Cellar Farm – some wounded – shelling to 30/5/16. Many casualties. 3rd MG have Mguns at Cellar Farm (Fleurbaix).
30/5/16 8.10 p.m. extremely heavy barrage by enemy – near Cellar Farm. Cordonniue 36 OR killed, about 69 wounded – by HE shrapnel – aerial torpedoes and bomb lasted till about 9.30 p.m.
Killed Capt Bradshaw and Lt. Brooks (See Col. SR Roberts report).
We heard a big naval battle. A terrible barrage it was too.
Officers mentioned etc.
31/5/16 Enemy quiet until 6.30 p.m. then he dropped several bombs onto our lines – fine day.
4/6/16 Fine day – still in lines – good rations.
5/6/16 Telescopic rifles most efficient – only 2 to the Bn. Still in line. Lord Kitchener drowned on HMS Hampshire.
6/6/16 6 p.m. AV expenditure in front line of SAA for 24 hours was about 6000 rounds.
7/6/16 Fleurbaix. Enemy shell heavily (3/400 shells) releived by 12 Bn.
Total casualties 1st appearance in front line in France
Wounded 2 officers O/ranks 43 killed.
8/6/16 Enemy shells D Coy’s billets near Fleurbaix 2 OR wounded.
12/6/16 Lt. Bickford joined with JL barry 29 reinforcements arrive. I meet Maj Denton again.
17/6/16 Gas alarm.
29/6/16 14 trees Sailly – (3rd MG Coy indirect fire)
The Tadpole Raid 2,3/7/16
Scouts and officer Lt. W Kruger, 40 O/Ranks parade at Croire Blanche 2000. 100 yards in front our trenches main position destroyed – loose trip wires in evidence – M Gun opened fire from left – places thrown up bombed trench either flank. About 30 German dead – and breached parapet. The whole party carried out their duties with coolness and precision and was particularly well led by Capt F. Metcalf, all other officers engaged, namely Ly. W Kruger, Hallahan, Clarke, 2/Lt. Davies and Hastings, handled their respective parties in a very capable manner. Conduct of NCOs and men was particularly good and once again I find it difficult to single out anyone for special recommendation (Lt Co 11Bn)
3/7/16 Outterstien billets – training.
10/7/16 Doulless – Hilloy entrained at Godewaersvelde for Doulless – marched Candas-Mintielet – Canaples for Hilloy.
12/7/16 at Navurs – routine marching and training (underground works here, very interesting).
16/7/16 Navours to Rubenpre – 7 men fell out due to an overdraft of Vin Blanc night before.
18/7/16 Arrived at Forceville (3rd MBC at Headeville).
19/7/16 Hedauville via Bouzincourt to Albert – to Poziers firing line section – from Durham light Infantry.20/7/16 to Sausage Gulley – much shelling by enemy – dig communication trenches.
French and 4th Army on our right, 1st AIF Brigade on left.
1st 4 lines each of 2 waves
R 9th Bn L 11 Bn
2 Section 3rd MGC 1 Section 3rd MBC
Reserves 10 and 12 Bn.
(Brother Bill from RHA visited us but I missed him. He had a bottle of whisky).
(Gas shells flying around from Fritz)
22,23/7/16 After exceedingly heavy bombardment we attacked Poziers. (Terrible bombardment, poor old Paddy Ryan shot through both cheeks. I bathed his mouth. Another man 1 leg shot off. Another on …? intestines sticking out – asked for a drink. I bathed his mouth).
Attacked 12.30 a.m. ? (Capt. Walther 3rd MG Coy badly wounded (dead) – said goodbye – we left him in shell hole just behind 1st objective – he begged us to keep going.
1st and 2nd objective taken. I lose the section’s bread and refused permission to find it. Enemy’s counter attack failed. Many casualties both sides. Enemy continues shelling. Our men too anxious went to 2nd objective before barrage lifted. MB Coy wounded Capt B Walther – Lt. Phie, Lt F archer, Lt. Cavanagh, killed 11 Bn. (Many badly wounded – no bearers to remove them).
We capture a German prisoner, said he had been waiter in hotel in London ?
Killed 20 to 26/7/16 Pozieres – 68 K, 92 missing, 369 wounded (Tot 529)
9 Bn 642; 10 Bn 328.
23/7/16 Wanted to look for lost bread – they would not let me leave the trench.
26/7/16 At Warley.
29/7/16 Briteuevielt via La Vicoyne ? Poziers
Sgt. FJF Stable dead.
22/7/16 to ..? A British aeroplane brought down close behind our forward line Poziers fell in exposed position 250 yds enemy’s trenches. Stable went to assist observer who was injured and brought him into safety – also obtained much information on patrols and was wounded – remained until ordered away.
Aeroplane seemed to fall amongst trees – very smoky – what a day and night.
4/8/16 training – Briteaumont. Warm, bathing parade.
6/8/16 Church Parade.
9/8/16 Bonneville – training to –
13/8/16 Church Parade.
17/8/16 Albert – Brickfields.
(I meet my brother Bill, Royal Horse Artillery, gave me riding britches, was later awarded MM and commission).
19/8/16 Bailiff wood (MG Ind. Fire).
20/8/16 In line north of Poziers.
26/8/16 Douless – by train to Paeringhi (via Pravin).
27/8/16 Church Parade.
29/8/16 Connaught Camp – tents and huts.
2/9/26 To Scottish lines.
4/9/16 Capt Hemingway, Lt. Kruger visit front line trenches.
6/9/16 Dominion Camp – general drilling, bayonet fighting, MG stoppages, bomb throwing, musketry etc.
7/9/16 Gen Birdwood visits camp.
10/9/16 Col SR Roberts returns from leave to Dominion Camp.
12,13/9/16 to Battersea Farm – Sunken Rd, railway dugouts. Brandhoek to support lines Ypres (MG Co – indirect fire).
14/9/16 Enemy shell Zillebeke and Shrapnel Corner.
20/9/16 Father Fahey reports back to duty (Marshall walk) Hill 60.
26/9/16 Halifax Camp (MG Co ind. Fire Hill 60).
2/10/16 Chateau Belge.
9/10/16 Devonshire camp (MG Coy Scottish lines).
19/10/16 Gen Birdwood and Archbishop Riley visits at Zonafques.
24/10/16 Buire – Fricourt Camp.
To 30/10/16 Weather very bad – slushy mud very deep. Moved to Bernafay Wood, rain, very slushy, roads in awful state.
31/10/16 Brinafay – ground very wet, short of water. Shell holes full of water, but not good. Fine day.
1/11/16 Brinafay – roads very bad, mud foot deep. Cold.
2/11/16 Cold, wet, muddy. Sheepskins issued.
3/11/16 Repairing roads and railways. And 4,5/11/16
6/11/16 Brinafay Wood – better weather. Still extremely muddy.
7/11/16 Delville Wood and Fless. Wet night 6/7th Nov. 8th ditto.
9/11/16 Fless – enemy shelling. Ground drying up.
10/11/16 Fless. (12th Nov 3rd MG move to Dernacourt via Carney and Meaulte).
18/11/16 11 bn left Fricourt, arrival Buire.
19/11/16 Embark in busses from Buire to Coisy (near Amiens).
20,25/11/16 Training, Coisy – neavy rin on 25th.
To 28/11/16 Foggy, fine, cold – training.
30/11/16 to La Houssouge (MG to Trouvilles).
1/12/16 To Dunacourt.
2/12/16 To Dunacourt, v cold.
3/12/16 To Fricourt (MG to Bazinhine)
5/12/16 To Manietz (Melbourne Camp) (MG to Delville Valley)
Training etc. Gas, musketry.
7/12/16 Cold – fine. Carlton Camp.
9/12/16 Bailey trench – enemy shell fire. 10th ditto.
12/12/16 Carlton Camp – fatigues. Shelling both sides (MG Coy Fless indirect fire).
13/12/16 Fine – ditto above.
14/12/16 Fine – ditto above
15/12/16 Rain and fog – ditto above
16,17/12/16 Foggy, observation impossible
(MGC indirect fire (Fless) Factory women).
18/12/16 11 Bn Carlton Camp – snow cold, making roads.
(MG Coy Fless – ind fire).
19,29,12/12/16 Carlton Camp making roads (MG Coy Fless ind fire).
22/12/16 Fless – 11 Bn HQ shelled (MG Coy Fless) A couple of stranded tanks near Fless.
23/12/16 Wet, cold, windy. Some enemy shell fire (MGC ind fire). Plenty of good vegetables here from the garden.
24/12/16 Fine, cold.
25/12/16 Fless (Xmas Day) – 2 minutes heavy bombardment on enemy’s trenches at 11.30 a.m. (enemy put notices up?) enemy heavily shelled Fless in afternoon.(Cold). Fless – Hay Avenue – smoke trench, Tank Dump Grove Alley. (My gun was at Factory corner – 1 man wounded – Morgan (1 MG O/Rank wounded, Morgan, later killed Polygon Wood).
26/12/16 Fless – fatigue parties, fine in morning – MG Coy indirect fire.
27/12/16 Fless 11 Bn fatigues.
28/12/16 Enemy shells Fless and Switch trench. Cold and frosty. Troopship Suffolk strikes a mine in English channel – reached Portsmouth no lives lost.
29/12/16 Wet and mild.
30/12/16 11th relieve 9th Bn in front line Fless.
31/12/16 Fless front line.
1/1/17 Fless shelled – also Grass Lane and Grove Valley. 11th Bn at Bulls Road.
2/1/17 ditto, showery and foggy.
3/1/17 Bulls Road – 2 11 Bn horses destroyed by shellfire at Montauban. Dr Dixon ? wounded. Capt. Hallahan returns from leave.
4/1/17 Bulls Rd – enemy shells – fine day.
5/1/17 Many enemy balloons up – fine day.
6/1/17 Enemy shells heavily (MG C Fless – ind fire).
7/1/17 Bulls Road 9 (MGC Fless).
8/1/17 to Coolgardie Camp. I step off duckboard in the dark into a shell hole full of mud (with my overcoat on) up to my shoulders.
9/1/17 Coolgardie to Quarry Siding – entrain for (?) Meaulhe to Dernacourt. Cold.
11/1/17 Dernacourt – showery, cleaning up etc. Camped in a farm barn.
12,13/1/17 Dernacourt – Maj Coombs commands 11 Bn temp. Wet cold.
14/1/17 Ex Dernacourt to Bresle – cold and snow.
15/1/17 Bresle – cold snow.
16,17,19 Bresle – wet and muddy.
24/1/17 Ex Bresle for Fircourt Farm(MGC to Millencourt).
25 to 28/1/17 Fircourt Farm – training.
29/1/17 Bazentin le Petit – working parties and training. (MGC to Fircourt).
6/1/17 Bazentin le Petit – Fine & frosty – fatigues.
8/2/17 Bazentin – Lt Balford & Archibald visit front line during early part of night.
9/2/17 Fine, frosty. Bazentin le Petit. And 10/2/17.
12/2/17 Gas alarm – no gas, Bazentin le Petit.
13/2/17 Yarra Reserve.
17/2/17 Yarra Reserve – Cobham trench. Pte Akhurst killed.
18 to 22/2/17 11th Bn some enemy shell fire (3 MGC coughdrop indirect fire on tracks rear of maze).
22/2/17 11th to Bazentin le Petit.
24/2/17 A 11th Switch Dump B 11th Yarra rse. C 11th York Dump D 11th Bn Cough Drop fine (MGC Cough Drop).
27/2/17 Attack – Le Barqui – Oat Lane
Bank Trench – the Maze.
(Les Brady. Pettit, Hall, Long, Archibald, Kilma, Smith, Alken, Ohall Check).
1 to 5/3/17 Bazentin le Petit – fine and cold – working parties moved to Shelter Wood.
6 to 22/3/17 Scots Redoubt – training. Cold – some sleet.
23 to 27/3/17 to Henecourt Wood – training.
28/3/17 Maj Rafferty takes charge.
29/3/17 Henencourt Wood – wet muddy training.
31/3/17 ditto. Lt Archibald left for Inf. School.
1/4/17 ditto. Church Parade.
2,3/4/17 ditto. Snow storms.
4/4//17 Ex Henencourt to front line via Montauban to Haplincourt – shelling.
5/4/17 Marches (MGC SE Lagamnt).
6/4/17 Marches Finincourt – shelling
7/4/17 ditto Lagmant.
9/4/17 Marches, some casualties.
To 13/4/17 Marches – Lagmont Lonverval – enemy shelling.
14/4/17 2 posts C Coy captured by enemy – Lonverval.
15/4/17 0330 Lagmont – enemy artillery fire on our own batteries.
0415 enemy massing.
0420 enemy attacking en masse left 11th Bn.
0515 strong enemy column between Lagmount and Noveuil.
0630 fighting severe remaining 4 MG Guns – sighted for defence of Marches
0730 enemy retreats.
0830 enemy dead around Lagmont in large numbers. MGC guns fired on enemy around our artillery.
2 p.m. enemy massing Quiant. I meet Col Denton again. (I wake Lt. Hope (?) (his messenger taken prisoner) and his batman in cellar in Lagincourt – tell them enemy in mass coming up road. Wouldn’t believe
Casualties 15/4/17 I MG captured, 3 Lewis Guns
Killed 29 O/Ranks
me – coming out he was wounded. MC for good work his company on that day. Later on he recommended me for a commission.) Corp. Checker (?) given MM.
16/4/17 Some shelling otherwise OK.
17/4/17 11 Bn Velu (3 MGC Beaumetz – marches) rest, some rain. Wounded 4 officers 55 O/R
Missing 37 O/R.
20 to 22/4/17 Velue (MGC Lagincourt) quiet.
24/2/17 Relieved by 5th Dorsets.
25/4/17 to Haplincourt.
30/4/17 Bergny – (11th Bancourt) ??
Polling – commonwealth elections.
3/5/17 Riencourt – Bullicourt 11th. (MGC Pioneer hits Bancourt).
4/5/17 Maj Tostervin 3rd MGC killed whilst reconnoitering position took over position Hindenburg. Maj Tostervin has previously sent me before Brigadier Bennett as prospect for Commission. Tostervin was one of the best – recommended me for a commission.
5/5/17 Enemy attacked – repulsed, Dent-Young killed. editor: WILLIAM DENT-YOUNG, born 1891, Bath, Somerset, England, of Tambellup, Western Australia. Lieutenant, 11th Battalion, KiA – shell fire, aged 26. Laid to rest at Noreuil Australia Cemetery, France. Until April 1922, was laid to rest as an Unknown Soldier.
6/5/17 Query. 4 Guns – 1 Gun fired direct on enemy during attack – kept enemy in trenches. 1 (our) Gun knocked out and crew casualties except 1 man who dug gun out and put it in place of safety and then fired a Lewis Gun.
Enemy used Flamenwerfe. Killed – Danielle editor: VIVIAN BELTON DANIEL, born 1889, Coalville, Victoria, of Midland Junction, Western Australia. Second Lieutenant, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 27. Laid to rest at Queart Road Cemetery, Buissy, France.
Wounded Capts Hemingway, O’Neill, A Burgess;
2 Lt. Colvin and Summers.
7/5/17 Railway Cutting – Hindenburg Line.
9/5/17 to Bapaume – slept all day.
10/5/17 Bapaume – rest and clean up.
4 to 14/5/17 Bapaume – Church Parade 13th May.
15/5/17 Bapaume Training to 20/5/17 (MGC inspected by Corps MG Officer).
20/5/17 Church Parade.
22/5/17 To Bazentine Le Petit
23/5/17 Ex Bazentine to maaulte – to Ribemont.
24/5 to 5/6/17 Ribemont – training.
I play piano at concert.
6 to 23/6/17 Ribemont – artillery training. Competitions – officers (recorded) topography class only four junior officers need much more training in the work).
Dave Spence calls on me from ….?
Training – Lt. F. Stable and 2 O/R wounded in bomb accident.
25 to 30/6/17 Mailly – Maillet – training.
1/7/17 Church Parade.
8/7/17 Unveiling of 1st Aust Division Memorial at Pozieres.
12/7/17 10th and 12th Btn. Inspected by HM King George V.
18 to 20/7/17 Bray Bonfay farm training on the Somme. I think this is somewhere near where I met Percy (brother, later awarded MC), Paschendale).
26/7 to10/8/17 Entrain at Albert for Steenborgue – Staples.
(MG Bayenghem) (HQ Lumbres)
11th bn Lottingham, (Verval?)
route marches, training.
11/8/17 Doubieu (MG Veux Berquin).
17/8/17 Enemy aeroplanes drop bombs on 11th Bn area and Hazebrouch.
22/8/17 Veux Berquin Brigade Sports march past Lt. Gen Birdwood (MG Transport specially mentioned).
11 Bn Doulieu (MG Veux Berquin training to (?).
5/9/17 (I meet another brother A.M.C Fred).
March 11 Bn 15 miles, no straggling.
13/9/17 to Thieushauck (MG L Co Le Paille) via Strazeele- Flebie.
14/9/17 to Wippenhock.
16/9/17 to Dickenbursch – Chateau Segard.
18/9/17 Renegelst – Halfway house. Hooge, Clapham Junction.
19/9/17 from Halfway Hose to line.
21/9/17 Wounded – Capt Mason, Lts Barry, WD Brown, E/M Clark, J Archibald, F Dale, CW Matthews, Co Pesse (Killed Lt Fordham) (MGC Dickebush Huts).editor:ERIC SURREY WYNTER FORDHAM, born 1887, Richmond, Victoria, of North Perth, Western Australia. Second Lieutenant, 11th Battalion, aged 28. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial West-Vlaandren, Belgium.
MGC Killed Capt Ghent, Lt. Lehmann, Williams and Hughes. Wounded Lt. Grimwood and Jamieson.
Noune – Bosschen Polygon MG Coy. editor:LLOYD GHENT, born 1895, Melbourne, of Brunswick, Victoria. Captain, 3rd Coy, Machine Gun Corps, KiA at Glencorse Wood, aged 22. Laid to rest Divisional Collecting Post Cemetery and Extension, West-Vlaandren, Belgium.
BENNO CARL LEHMANN, born 1879, Maitland, South Australia, of Freemantle, Western Australia, Lieutenant, 3rd Coy, Machine Gun Company, KiA, aged 37. Military Cross. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. M.C. citation reads: ‘during an enemy counter-attack he brought his gun into action at great personal risk. On seeing his gun in danger of being captured he led a bombing attack and though twice wounded remained until the enemy was repulsed.’
19/9/17 to Chateau Segard via Shrapnel Corner – Wappington Road, Glencorse Wood and Nonne Bosschen. Very muddy and deep too.
23/9/17 to Steenvoorde by bus.
1/10/17 West hock Ridge.
5/10/17 Broodseinde Ridge Line.
6/10/17 Celtic Wood Raid, Dainall, Vowells, Gudgeon and Steele.
7/10/17 Maj. Steele temp comm 11 Bn killed by shell fire. Maj JE Newman assumed command. Lt LC Cooke killed (very good man). Lt Harthill wounded. Editor: ALEXANDER STEELE, born 1888, Mount Gambier, South Australia, of Mount Gambier, South Australia. Major, 11th Battalion, D.S.O. D.C.M. aged 29. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
LEONARD CHARLES COOKE, born 1890, Banbury, W.A. Lieutenant, 882, 11th Battalion, KiA Passchendaele, aged 27. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Leonard was awarded the Military Cross ‘Extreme endurance and courage in establishing and maintaining communications, materially assisting success of the operation.’ Recommendation date: 23rd April 1917.His brother died from wounds March 1918.
11 to 19/10/17 Devonshire Camp – Scottish lines.
Bomb explodes prematurely, wounds Lt D Hardy and Summers, Sgt Bick and Pte Bell.
29/10/17 Tailway Dugouts, Ypres.
31/10/17 Zonnebeke – Sgt HA Black killed (a good chap). Editor: HENRY ALEXANDER BLACK, born 1883, Forbes, New South Wales, of Kalgoorie, Western Australia. Sergeant, 4155, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 35, DCM MM Served 12 months in the Boer War. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
To 6/11/17 Cause dugouts.
9/11/17 Vancouver Camp.
12/11/17 New band plays for 1st time at Wisnes.
17/11/17 11 Audringham (MGC at Engain, Sue Baillon).
Courset (some leave to Boulogne). Samer to ?
12/12/17 Devres baths ..?.
13/12/17 Legingham Elness, Neuve Eglise 14th Avroult.
15/12/17 Entrain at Wizernes for de Kennebak.
16 to 31/12/17 Lindenhaut Camp Gable Farm. Messines.
1/1/18 Quiet. Relieved by 9th Bn 11 mp at Wilberghem. 2 casualties Ramilies camp.
3/1/18 Gable Farm – Quiet, visibility good. Guns, enemy artillery fires on tram-routes and aircraft more active. Much enemy train movements.
5 to 8/1/18 Missmes (?). Gate Farm. Capt Le Nay return X hospital.
Gable Farm (working parties).
9/1/18 Messines (in line).
10/1/18 Messines (in line) very muddy, thaw set in.
13/1/18 No 5 post blown up by enemy, 5 killed 4 wounded.
Editor: WILLIAM CHARLES HEWSON, born 1885, St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, of Perth, Western Australia. Private, 7729, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 29. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
WILLIAM JAMES MOLONEY, born 1892, Broga, N.S.W. Private, 6126A, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 25. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
WILLIAM WILSON MORGAN, born 1885, Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire, Wales, of Dowerin, Western Australia.Private, 7781, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 33. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
WILLIAM NOBLE, born 1885, Leith, Midlothian, Scotland, of Kalgoorie, Western Australia. Private, 1390, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 29. Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
5th man unknown..
14/1/18 Messines in line quiet.
15/1/18 Relieved by 7 Bn – went to Ramiles Camp – to Kemmels. Very wet. Last coy arrives after midnight.
17,18,19/1/18 Working parties, cleaning and inspections etc.
20/1/18 to Gable Farm 21st & 22nd ditto.
23/1/18 Messines, relieve 7 Bn in line. Fine weather (MGC at Wambeck Down).
24,25/1/18 ditto Messines.
26/1/18 Enemy aeroplanes brought down just inside enemy’s lines. 3 killed 3 wounded. Gen Birdwood visits HQ.
Editor: 26th January 1918 –
HAROLD SYDNEY BUSHBY, born 1898, Marrickville,
N.S.W. Private, 4162, 11th Battalion, KiA, aged 19. Laid to rest at
Messines Ridge British Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
FRANK HERBERT LEMMON, born 1883, Billingshurst, West
Sussex, of Western Australia. Private/Signaller, 7348, 11th Battalion,
KiA, aged 24. Laid to rest at Messines Ridge British Cemetery,
LESLIE RONALD MASLERS, born 1888, Guildford, Western
Australia. Private, 7199, 11th Battalion, KiA, at Gable Trench,
Messines, aged 29. Laid to rest at Messines Ridge British Cemetery,
West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Brother, Reginald also KiA, August 1918, France.
27/1/18 Messines – in line. Foggy, quiet.
28,29,39/1/18 Messines in lines.
31/1/18 Relieved by 3rd Bn, moved to Neuve Eglise.
1/2/18 Neuve Eglise – strength 39 officers, 754 O/R.
Fine day, cleaning up. Lt Col Rafferty returns from UK leave.
2/2/18 Reorganising – Brigade Concert Party opens at hall, Neuve Eglise.
3/2/18 Church, fine weather.
4/2/18 Working parties, 5th ditto.
9/2/18 Route march.
10/2/18 Church Parade.
11/2/18 Working parties and training to 16th. 17th Church parade.
18/2/18 Gen Holiday in lieu of Christmas Day (which was spent in line. Boomerangs give show to our Bn).
19,20/2/18 Neuve Eglise working 21st Baths.
22/2/18 Neuve Eglise training. 23rd ditto.
24/2/18 Church Parade. 25th Wet. 26th Training. 27th ditto.
28/2/18 Neuve Eglise, live grenade throwing.
1/3/18 Neuve Eglise, cleaning up.
2 to 7/3/18 to Tournai Camp at 9.30 a.m. arrive Tournai at noon, as brigade Reserve.
7/3/18 Lts. Costelow, W, Blair and Sadler took over Bn HQ (owing to 9 Bn in line being gassed). Lt. Porter gassed, also 2 O/R.
8/3/18 Tournai Camp and in line Hollebeke. Lt. GA Lamenhow ex UK.
9,10/3/18 Tournai Camp and in line Hollebeke. Enemy shelling, casualties -K 5 W.
11/3/18 Hollebeke area. Fairly quiet. 7 wounded (near canal dugouts).
12/3/18 Increased enemy shell fire particularly on R of Coy HQ Inter Co. relief carried out at night – 3 K 6 W.
13/3/18 Enemy artillery again. Active – R of Coy HQ. Capt Tullock to Hosp sick. 3 wounded.
14/3/18 Enemy still shells heavily but a bit quieter. 3 under gas.
15/3/18 Enemy generally quiet but fired a few high explosive and gas shells – 1 W.
16/3/18 ditto (heavier shelling) inter company relief. Gas.
17/3/18 (Lock 8. 1.32a) Enemy active – preparations made to raid enemy – probably at Game Capsi (?). Lt Davison, OC Raid and about 50 O/R at Tournai Camp training – (Lt. Col Rafferyt is at same camp slightly gassed). In evening Brigade Major and Lt Archibald 11 Bn visit outpost line of left 11 Bn. The route is over the open from support trench with fairly rough going amongst shell holes full of water and bits of barbed wire. Posts consists of NCO and 6 men in a group near a pill box in a short very narrow trench. All men were quite cheery and had (?) except cigarettes (which were sent up later from the YMCA). Enemy very active with Light Machine Guns and Minneiwafer (?) between our barrage lines and our posts. It is difficult to get at the bosch here because the indirect fire of the MG Guns cannot be brought in close enough to configuration of the ground. The Lewis gunners are of course loath to fire from their occupied posts. Potsdam group was shelled during the day.
18/3/18 Enemy shells Gas and HG Clusters heavily. L Coy HQ slightly damaged – inter co relief carried out. 7 wounded. Gas seems to have been phosgene – Yellow Cross (Mustard) and some Lachrymatory gas – duck boards – small bridges – smashed – some men were able to go in tunnels along canal bank, but many who had to remain in area had a rough time.
Small box respirator very trying, nose clip becomes painful, eye pieces practically useless at night.
19/2/18 Enemy quiet – probably relieving. Some gas shells – (Brigade HQ says there are evidently too many canteens in this area (Lock 8 – Canal) as a number of drunken men have been seen (British (?) Artillery mostly) – unless closer supervision can be exercised they will have to be turned into dry canteens.
20/3/18 See Maj L May SRAMC RMO report to the SDMS 1st Division on the health of 11 Bn on the effects gas is having viz :
“11 Bn completed relief of 9 Bn in line on 8/9 and 1 Coy in supports the previous night after the 9th had been severely gassed (shell) by Yellow Cross and I think Green Cross too. Since then this Bn has been subjected to intermittent shelling with Yellow Cross (mustard) – Phosgene and blue Cross; and intense local bombardment with French Mortar gas bombs. On the night of the 15/16 instant for 39 minutes and a severe bombardment of our whole area on night 17/18th lasting about 3 hours. Mostly phosgene. That the gas discipline of this unit is satisfactory is proved by the fact that there has only been one definite case of pure gassing, and that was Blue Cross. Fatigues have been heavy and the men have had little chance for sleep and after the inter company reliefs have been completed the men from the outposts, instead of resting – have to start carrying and working on wire and the like. The number of fatigues have been reduced by brigade to the mere ration parties etc for our own economy in addition to wiring, as a result of a recommendation I made to Co on the 17 inst. My experience of a gas drenched sector at Zonnebeke where the 11th bn held the line for 6 days is confirmed here, and the crux of events is :- A considerable number of men develop a dry throat and husky voice – with hacking cough (sometimes retching)and their loss of voice one or two days after entering the Sector. This I put down to the inhaling of very low concentrations of gas, caught in pockets of communication trenches shellholes or dugouts. The number increases steadily, and the men are found short winded, liable to fits of coughing, which renders them unfit for outposts or patrols, but in view of the large numbers (officers and men) affected in this way – I consider it inadvisable to evacuate them, as they can still carry on. The numbers increase, they cannot sleep for coughing and get worse, despite treatment by inhalation, the heart found dilated and its sounds are poor in quality and the man complains that he feels all done in. I have tried holding 4 or 5 in a shelter for 2 days or so, but cannot see that they improve up here, and the evacuation rate from being very low, promises to reach a very high figure. After a careful examination today, I evacuated 20 cases with this general asthma, cardiac dilation, and Laryngitis, and practically all are a-fabrile. I ascribe this condition to a combination of gas, lack of sleep, military strain and and hard fatigue and consider that the men have been doing too long a tour of duty in the line, and that spells of four or at least 6 days should be given in the line in such circumstances as these. The men have been fed well and are well looked after. Sanitation is good and the water. Question is well in hand and we have only 2 cases of diarrhoea.
I think it is my duty to lay these facts before you and to state that in my opinion the Bn should not be left in the line until the men are seriously affected and require a long rest to recover.
Signed Leonard May Major & …? 11 bn 20/3/18
20/3/18 Enemy artillery quiet – but M.Guns & T mortars active. Coy reliefs again. 1 K 1 W.
21/3/18 Enemy artillery very active. 6.30 a.m. our Lewis gun opened fire on enemy patrols & wounded 4 (who we captured) one of which died on way to aid post.
Maj Darnell to rest house Le Touquet and Lt Green killed by shell fire.
Capt GFS Combs to hosp – sick. Casualties 3 K 4 W.
Much heavy shelling – all kinds of gas used – masks had to be worn.
22/3/18 Enemy shells communications trenches. Lt AR Retchford wounded while on patrols by enemy machine gun fire,
Casualties 5 wounded.
23/3/18 B Coy relieved by 9 Bn. Hessian Chaken Rd. Potsdam and Belgium groups – Chateau dugout – Imperial Support – Image trench )- Railway trench D Coy reserve).
BEGGARS REST CAMP
24/3/18 1 officer 40 Ranks working party – remainder had use of baths and generally cleaning up.
The Buffs in the Canal Spoil bank on the N side of lock 6 – is defended by 3 Vickers guns and 2 m. trench mortars and 1 company.
A large (5.9) heavy shell fell at my feet here in very soft ground – did not explode.
25/3/18 Beggars Rest Camp Working Parties – Lt LE Whitford ex Hospital. B Coy in reserve for 9 Bn relieved by A Co.
26/3/18 Working parties
Was this on (?canal)?.
27/3/18 Beggars Rest Camp
Lt (Bill) Blair relinquishes at his own request – position of Assistant adjutant and is posted to C Co.
Capt Combs returns ex Hosp.
28/3/18 Large number of gas shells on (S. of) spoil bank.
Resting in German Pillbox. Brigade phones for recommendation for Commission – I hear (Lt. ? Hogue) officer mention my name.
29/3/18 Beggars Rest Camp
Lecture by Capt A Keighley on Sea Power and the War.
Capt L May returns from duty as Bgde KTO – to command D Co.
30/8/18 Capt Combs – gassed (to Hosp) Salter sick Lt. G Campbell wounded.
31/3/18 Lecture by Gen Bennett on open warfare.
Maj J Newman ex Hosp. 11K
Capt Griffin sick.
Strength 42 officers 722 O/R.
1/4/18 Beggars Rest Camp – Lt Campbell reported died from wounds – Godraesvelde.
2/4/18 Beggars Rest Camp Working parties.
3/4/18 Beggars Rest Camp to Currack Camp.
4/4/18 Currack Camp to Caestre. 1 Brigade took 78 lorries then marched to Le Breadde (?).
5/4/18 Caestre – entrained for Amiens – travelled in horse trucks – 6 p.m.
6/4/18 detrain at St Roche Siding (Amiens) marched to Bertangles (MG Coy to Coisy) and near Borre German bombers over.
7/4/18 Cleaning up.
9 to 11/4/18 Bertangles – training and range practice on 11 April.
12/4/18 ex Bertangles to Amiens enemy aeroplanes drop bombs on streets of Amiens – 2 off Killed 1 O/R Killed 5 O/R wounded.
13/4/18 entrained at St Roche Siding (nr. Amiens) for Hondenchen. What a night of German Aeroplanes bombing us among the trees.
14/4/18 Meteren (See Bois) near Borre and Morbecque.
16/4/18 rounding up cattle and other stray stock.
17/4/18 to Courte Croix.
18/4/18 Meteren – enemy expected to attack along Meteren Becque sector – heavy shelling – many farm cattle, pigs, horses etc dead – muddy and boggy ground. Livestock bogged unable to move.
19/4/18 Meteren – move to front line – relieve French and British troops.
22/4/18 11 Bn HQ heavily shelled forced to evacuate to elsewhere.
3 O/R killed 4 wounded.
23/4/18 Meteren area 2.30 a.m. – advanced with little opposition. Lt James wounded.
24/4/18 mopping up Meteren C Co & 1 Coy 12 bn – heavy M. gun fire encountered 0- 10 Bn retires line.
Killed 3 O/R & Lt ??
Wounded Lt Sthl & 10 O/R.
25/4/18 ex Meteren to reserve line.
26/4/18 digging support trenches.
28/4/18 ex Meteren to Thieushouck. 4 K 4 W by shellfire.
29/4/18 Entertainment by A Coy Hebic brewery – reorganising.
30/4/18 Musketry training.
Strength 29 officers 630 O/Ranks.
(Intelligence summaries are available from 2 Awa (?)).
Men are fed well and in good spirits.
1/5/18 Thieushouck – Inspection & musketry in billets.
Lt J Archibald resumed as adjutant.
2/5/18 Thieushouck – working parties – Capt Keighley visits front line Thieushouck.
3/5/18 Arms inspection – Coy commanders reconnoitred forward areas. Civilians evacuated.
4/5/18 ” relieve 7th Bn in line.
5/5/18 in line – much shelling – 3 O/R wounded.
6/5/18 enemy gets direct hit on RAP – no casualties & also shells projector gas from 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
7/5/18 enemy shells 5.9’s 4.2’s with some 7.7cm shells. Later fires 2 red & 2 Green flares – then opened with 7.7s & T mortars.
Mopolenacker received most attention.
8/5/18 Enemy shells heavily. Capt Keighley & Capt Newnmouth take prisoners from enemy’s posts.
9/5/18 Relieved by 9 Bn – thence to reserve.
10/5/18 Prepare to return to line.
11/5/18 A Co billets shelled. Lt P Vowles (?) & 2 O/Ranks Killed.
12/5/18 nil to report.
13/5/18 usual patrols sent out.
14/5/18 Maj Newmn returns to 11 bn (from 9 Bn) as 2nd in command.
16/5/18 to baths at Borre.
17/5/18 Maj Newman commands 10 Bn (sems to have a lot of moves ?).
18/5/18 to Sercus.
19/5/18 Church parade – tents to be camouflaged.
21/5/18 Rifle range La Belle Hobesse. Sports in afternoon. Concert & cinema at Sercus at night.
22/5/18 Gen Walker inspects Brigade.
23/5/18 Sercus – Working parties
24/5/18 Sercus -training – Wet.
26/5/18 Lt Arhibald evacuated sick. Capt Walker adjutant.
27/5/18 Maj Newman Co0 11 Bn Lt Col ? rafferly to Sutton Veny.
28/5/18 Pradilles – digging trenches. 10 reinforcements arrive.
29/5/18 Pradilles/Strazeele. Enemy shells – gas shells & Lt A Wilkinson away sick.
30/5/18 Trench digging.
31/5/18 Prepare & reconnoitre for attack on Mont de Mervus(?)
10 pm attack rehearsed.
2/6/18 10.45 p.m. to firing line (HQ Tiflis Farm) C Co lost 2 men. D Coy 14 men gassed. Capt WR Hallahan responsible for maintaining centre direction.
3/6/18 1.44 a.m. prisoners captured 13th Regiment (German)
1.54 a.m. 22 prisoners 1 officer 51st Reg.
Enemy trench mortars & Machine Guns captured.
Killed Lt Retchford 12 O/R
Wounded Lt Davison & Ross and 63 O.R. (other ranks).
Capt Hallahan & Lt Aitken both wounded remained on duty.
4/6/18 Mont de Merus – 5 p.m. relieved by 6th Bn who had 4 killed & several wounded at Estaminet corner – Strazeele.
6/6/18 Rest Le Bricarde.
8/6/18 To Sercus.
10/6/18 Sercus – Church Parade.
11/6/18 Sercus – training.
12/6/18 Sercus – sports.
13,14/6/18 Sercus – training.
15/6/18 To Le Kreule. Bivouacked in a field.
16/6/18 To line (Mont de Minis).
17/6/18 Line – quiet – weather good.
18/6/18 Quiet – fine weather in line.
19/6/18 Mont de Minis – Influenza breaks out.
20/6/18 Enemy shells – 1 K 5 W. Drizzle rain.
21/6/18 Fritz gets windy – sends over barrage of minnies & 4.2’s.
22/6/18 Lt. Inman & 18 Ors of D Co in raid. Lt. Inman kills 1 enemy wounds another & takes 1 prisoner. On returning enemy opens up barrage killing 3 wounded 3 and buried 3. Inman severely wounded.
23/6/18 enemy raid on D Coy driven off. Enemy shells 5.9’s & 8″s on HQ & D Co. CSM Jorgenson (casualty).
24/6/18 Mont de Merus – quiet.
25/6/18 Lt. Brown wounded.
26/6/18 Pradilles – relieved by 10 Bn – 11 Bn relieved 12 Bn at Brasserie (?).
28/6/18 Carrying parties.
29/6/18 Carrying parties.
30/6/18 Strength 28 officers 548 O/R
Officers O/.Ranks Total
Killed 1 9 10
Wounded 5 196 201
Missing . 10 10
Sick 1 125 126
Total 7 340 347
1/7/18 Pradilles – weather good.
2/7/18 Some enemy shelling – gas. Men cheery.
3/7/18 Some gas shelling.
4/7/18 Enemy very active – heavy gas barrage. Enemy attack was repulsed. RL Ramsey (runner) carried despatch to Strazeele garrison through heavy gas & HE shellfire & though gassed returned to Bn HQ (in record time).
6,7/7/18 Le Kreule
9/7/18 recovering from innoculation.
10/7/18 Le Kreule.
11/7/18 Cricket match against 9 Bn.
14/7/18 Strazeele – enemy shelling.
16/7/18 Wet trenches are sloppy 4 wounded.
18/7/18 Srazeele – fine day.
19/7/18 9 Bn take Meteren. Lt Moss killed 6 O/R killed 13 wounded. Weather good.
20/7/18 fine day – shelling brisker.
21/7/18 Capt JD Walker killed. Lt Riches took charge of Coy. …? captured Gerbedaen Farm and Cross Roads.
3 enemy captured & 4 killed. 2 Minewerfers captured.
22/7/18 Pradilles – working parties.
23 to 29/7/18 ditto
30/7/18 Support line (10 Bn attacks).
31/7/18 Borre Siding – trenches in good order – resting.
The morale of the Battalion is excellent and their fighting spirit is still the same old spirit.
2/8/18 Borre – relieved by 29 Div now at Campagne. A good hot meal.
3/8/18 Campagne – resting and cleaning up.
6/8/18 entrained at St Omer for Longpre.
7/8/18 embussed at 7.45 p.m. for Cardonette – near Amiens.
8/8/18 debussed near Coisy – marched to Cardonette – to trenches near Hamel 9p.m.
9/8/18 to near Harbonieres 10.30 p.m. dig defensive line in front of Harbonieres all night.
10/8/18 Attack on enemy’s stronghold left of Lihong. Captured 50 Machine guns 4 4.2 howitzers, 4 T M’s
(our) Killed 7 officers 35 O/ranks
Wounded 5 officers 137 O/ranks
Missing 7 O/ranks
13/8/18 Withdrawn to support.
14/8/18 Enemy aeroplanes drop bombs.
15/8/18 4 Bgde relieves us.
16/8/18 14/16 Bn’s relieve 11 Bn.
17/8/18 to Vaire-Sous-Corbie.
18/8/18 Cleaning – swimming – resting.
19/8/18 Darnell & L May on leave – fine day.
20/8/18 Swimming at Vaire.
21/8/18 Maj AN Phillips commands temporarily – hot & dusty day.
22/8/18 Officers sent forward to reconnoitre. At 9 p.m. tonight orders have been received for us to move forward in morning to attack on the left of Div’ front.
Capt WR Hallahan MC marched out to go on transportation duty to Australia (was recalled & killed in action 18 Sept 11.18 a.m.)
23/8/18 Bn moved to near ? German’s Wood – left of Proyart
I was on my way to England for a Commission. I met him on his way back, damned hard luck I said to him – he taught me to fire his machine gun on Gallipoli (19th May 15). We shook hands & said good luck.
27 to 30/8/18 Prayart Valley
1/9/18 La Motte – Church parade (first one since Sercus)
2/9/18 baths at Cerizy.
3 to 6/9/18 La Motte – training.
7/9/18 Struck tents 4 a.m. embussed – through Chuignolles and Chuigines reached Mt St Quenlin.
9/9/18 Route march.
10/9/18 Wet & stormy – cleaning up before moving.
11/9/18 Marquaix – rough & stormy. Fritz dropped bomb – no damage. This morning Lt Bedford went forward to get information from front line battalion (which attacked) – digging all night.
12 to 14/9/18 Wet – stormy – resting.
15/9/18 Fine & hot – resting. Officers reconnoitre Jeanrouch area.
16/9/18 Jincourt – fine & warm reconnaisance of front line.
17/9/18 Fine until midnight.
18/9/18 Moved to tape line without incident prior to attack on Hindenburg Line.
5.06 a.m. on tape line
5.19 a.m. barrage starts
6.10 a.m. no news & rough thick smoke
7.55 a.m. prisoners coming in freely.
8.15 a.m. 11 Bn nearing 1st objective.
9.05 a.m. estimated casualties 7 O/R killed 23 wounded.
9.40 a.m. 11 Bn on objective 23 wounded (none killed ?)
11.12 a.m. Capt WR Hallahan 11 Bn MC MM killed consolidating front line (a very fine soldier).
11.15 a.m. enemy blowing up bridges 3/4 miles E.
Casualties Villeret operations
Killed 4 10
Wounded ? 51
When returning on horseback Major Darnell & Lt Archibald were killed by aerial bomb splinters from a Gotha.
Our tanks did good work.
24/9/18 Fine & cool day – relieved by Americans.
25/9/18 Wet. Resting & cleaning off mud.
26/9/18 entrain at Jincourt 9 a.m. arrive Longpre 4 p.m. Marched to L’Etoile on banks of Somme.
27/9/18 Cleaning up.
28/9/18 L’Etoile. Billets guards.
29/9/18 L’Etoile. Church parade.
30/9/18 L’Etoile. Wet day.
Battallion entered operations on 18 Sept reduced to 3 Coys average strength of 70 men. Advanced 3000 yards. Remained in support & front line – 6 days under adverse weather conditions etc.
1 to 5/10/18 L’Etoile training.
6/10/18 Church parade
7 to 31/10/18 L’Etoile – training, sports, Church parades, bathing etc.
11/11/18 11 a.m. – Armistice.