August 1916

Tuesday 1st August, 1916

Slept in bushes again last night, but had rotten night, woke about 1 a.m., did not get to sleep again till 3 a.m. and was awake again 4.30 a.m., lay till 6 a.m. and got up. Guns booming all night. On duty 8 a.m. looking after couple of tents of wounded, get fresh cases and evacuate to C.C.S. as fast as they arrive. Passed about 40 cases through today. This afternoon four German planes flew over, heavily shelled by our anti-aircraft guns but apparently got away. Cleared all patients this evening, expect our troops to attack tonight and inrush of wounded tomorrow. Off duty 9 p.m., turned in 10 p.m.

Wednesday 2nd August, 1916

Orders issued last night, no man to sleep in hospital grounds. Billets allotted as are 20 minutes walk away, filthy and alive so slept over way in an orchard. Up 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. No attack last night so not many wounded in today. At 10 a.m. was told off to attend a badly wounded officer, looked after him till 4 p.m. and went back to my other duties. Heard that 2 of German planes that flew over Page 41 of 69 yesterday were caught by our planes and brought down. Heavy artillery firing started about 7.45 p.m. Wonder if start of another advance. Off duty at 8 p.m. and turned in about 9.30 p.m.

Thursday 3rd August, 1916

Terrific bombardment by our guns all night till about 5 a.m. this morning when they eased a bit. Up at 6 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Fairly busy morning, most of wounded who arrived belonged to 4th Pioneer Batt. The officer I nursed yesterday (Capt. Ward 23rd Batt.) died before midnight. After dinner things were very quiet. Our aeroplanes very active. Had half a dozen wounded in after tea, not dangerous. Off duty 8 p.m. Wrote till it was too dark to see and turned in about 9.30 p.m. Our guns started bombarding heavily again about 9.45 p.m.

Friday 4th August, 1916

Our guns went heavily most of night but eased off somewhat about 5 a.m. Up at 6 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Had fair No. of wounded in this morning, some very severe. Learned from these men that Tommies had taken two trenches from Fritz last night to the right of our position, and that Fritz seemed annoyed and was shelling somewhat indiscriminately. Much quieter after 2 p.m. so padded lot of splints ready in case of rush of casualties. Received four letters today. Off duty 9.15 p.m., several patients arriving late. Artillery started about 9.15 p.m. In bed 9.45 p.m.

Saturday 5th August, 1916

Heavy bombardment during night, sky all aglow. Called out at 2.30 a.m., big rush of wounded. Our boys attacked at 9.28 p.m. last night and captured enemy trenches. Going for my life all day, snatched hurried breakfast at 10.15 a.m., dinner 3 p.m. and tea about 8 p.m., not a minute to spare. Had about 40 wounded Germans in, but attended our own boys first. Kept at it till 11.25 p.m. when rush was over. Absolutely tired out. Most wounds caused by high explosive shell, very few from rifle bullets. Turned in about 12 p.m.

Sunday 6th August, 1916

Up 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m., steady flow of wounded all day including about dozen Germans. Our section treated nearly 300 wounded yesterday and up to tonight the Amb. has passed through just about 700 wounded. Kept busy all day but not rushed like yesterday. Managed to get my meals better. Our troops beat off enemy counter attacks and are still holding captured position. Had to personally dress wounds of several of enemy. Our bearers went out last night. Off duty 9.30 p.m. and turned in 10 p.m.

Monday 7th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Fairly quiet first part of morning but about 10 a.m. wounded started coming in and kept us going steadily along till 6 p.m. when eased off again. Heavy artillery firing during this afternoon. Two of B. Section of our Amb. bearers wounded during night. Lieut. Jacka, Aust. first V.C., came through wounded today. Our boys having very hot time from enemy guns. Managed to get a bath this evening. Fairly quiet after 6.30 p.m. for us but guns going heavily. Turned in 9 p.m.

Tuesday 8th August, 1916

Page 42 of 69 Up at 6.30 a.m., on duty 8 a.m., first job I had was to dress a French boy's hand which had been badly shattered by a bomb in a fire, he was about 14 years old. At 11 a.m. went in motor ambulance to divisional rest station with patients and called at "Contay" where first Anzac Hdqutrs are for mail from field post office. Got two bags, only one letter for me from soldier in India. Artillery going very heavily. Very few wounded in today so managed to write couple of letters. Warned to be ready for call out in night so turned in 9 p.m.

Wednesday 9th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Good number of wounded brought in today, mostly from 15th Batt. who along with one company of 16th Batt. attacked and took some German trenches last night. Couple of German wounded came in today. Good number of men are coming in suffering from shell shock, pitiable to see. Believe shell fire further up is something terrible. Off duty 8 p.m., sat outside tent till 9.30 p.m. when saw one of our planes come over with lights attached to wings and tail then turned in.

Thursday 10th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Very quiet all day today, just few odd slight wounds and two Germans seriously wounded, one a stretcher bearer, evidently been hit and lying out some days. Warned to expect visit from the King this afternoon and to have everything spick and span. King expected about 3 p.m. O.C. and other officers done up to kill and everything all in order but King passed along main street without calling, did not see him. Very quiet after tea, so sat talking and turned in 9 p.m.

Friday 11th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Tidied up and had about eight wounded in before dinner. Our boys advanced another 200 yards last night. After dinner closed up our dressing tent and we had to unload Amb. cars with wounded while C. section did the dressing as all our bearers are out. Major Welch was out near front today and brought back a small wicker cradle from German dug out. Very few wounded after dinner. Learned that our division had 1200 casualties before getting into trenches. Off duty 8 p.m. and in bed 9 p.m.

Saturday 12th August, 1916

Up at 6 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Was not sure what duty we were to be on today but were put on unloading wounded from motors and general fatigue work at front of dressing station usually done by bearers. Not many wounded today, though guns were going solidly last night. Unload large motor wagon of tents etc. and stood by all day till 8 p.m. for any kind of duty. One of our C. section bearers brought down from further up suffering from shell shock. Our planes as usual very busy. Turned in 9 p.m.

Sunday 13th August, 1916

Very quiet last night. Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. at front gate unloading wounded of which very few today. Went to D.R.S. at 11 a.m., also to field post office in motor. After dinner some 6th field Amb. men came to give us hand. Instructing a party this afternoon how to carry on, do not seem to Page 43 of 69 know much. Went to field post office in motor again at 2 p.m., got one bag mail. About 4.30 p.m. German plane came over but about 4 shots from anti-aircraft gun sent it back again. Off duty 8 p.m., in bed 9 p.m.

Monday 14th August, 1916

Up 6.30 a.m., on duty 8 a.m. Things very slack so at 9 a.m. got a parcel of goods and hopped on motor amb. which took me through Millencourt and Henencourt to Albert, then got on another motor and arrived at Becourt wood, changed again on to a horse wagon and arrived at Casualty Corner just behind our lines, walked about 1 1/2 miles to some of our bearers, had dinner and went into support trenches, was 15 yards behind our front line. Just got in and enemy opened his guns on the supports levelling trenches all round. Hit on leg, small piece of shell spent. An awful bombardment. Waited an hour before could get out and arrived back in stages at 8 p.m. In bed 9 p.m. Went through Contalmaison to about 1/2 mile beyond Poseries.

Tuesday 15th August, 1916

Sausage Valley, Chalk Pit, Black Watch Alley, Sunken Rd. trench. Not a brick left in Posieries and very little at Contalmaison, enemy shelling all the time, terrible scene of desolation, every inch of ground shell holes. Up at 6.30 a.m., on duty 8 a.m. unloading cars at gate. Very busy this morning. Our boys attacked a farm and surroundings last night (13th Bgde). Do not know the result yet, but we had fair number of casualties. Unloading cars and carrying wounded back and to all day. Guns very quiet today. Rained fairly hard after tea, ground very muddy. Off duty 8 p.m., turned in 9 p.m.

Wednesday 16th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Very busy till dinner time loading and unloading and carrying wounded, a good number coming in. Very shorthanded, 3 of us doing 10 men's work. The last of our division were relieved last night and first division now in trenches, fair number of them knocked out already. Busy again from 4 p.m. till 8 p.m. when came off duty. Enemy plane attempted to come over this morning but cleared as soon as one of our battle planes went for it. Our bearers came in tonight. Turned in 9 p.m.

Thursday 17th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Very busy loading, unloading and carrying wounded, also doing general fatigue work, sweeping the grounds and tents and making things tidy. Some of our chaps saw one of our planes bring down two enemy planes this morning in our lines. One came down on fire. Had to go to cemetery with a man who had died of wounds while on the way to our dressing station. Heard this afternoon that the Jocks had captured Mouquet Farm and over 700 prisoners. Off duty 8 p.m., in bed 9 p.m.

Friday 18th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. General fatigue work till 11 a.m. Had to go in motor again this morning with another man who had died of wounds. On duty stretcher bearing again till 1.30 p.m. when relieved. Had this afternoon to ourselves, bearers being back from advanced post. We are not so shorthanded and are to work in eight hour shifts instead of 12 hours. Spent whole of afternoon in Page 44 of 69 writing letters as post has opened again today. Our planes very busy flying about all day. After tea had sleep as have to go on duty at 12 midnight.

Saturday 19th August, 1916

Had very busy night, some Battalions of first division (7th and 8th I think) making charge on enemy's trenches in the evening. Had nearly eighty wounded in and had all fixed up before being relieved at 8 a.m. this morning. Turned in after breakfast for a sleep till dinner time, also had a nap this afternoon. Our guns going solidly all afternoon and this evening we could see the flashes in the sky as they fired. Did little writing after tea and on duty at 12 midnight.

Sunday 20th August, 1916

Had fairly quiet night, only having about twenty wounded until we knocked off at 8 a.m. Most of night we passed in playing cards waiting for patients to arrive. Turned into bed about 9.30 a.m. and slept till 4.15 p.m. when got up and cleaned for tea. Our aeroplanes buzzing about a lot this evening. Was writing till about 8.30 p.m. when had game of cards till 9.30 p.m. and then turned in for nap till 11 p.m. when got up and on duty 12 midnight.

Monday 21st August, 1916

Guns were roaring incessantly all night. Only had about fifteen wounded in, but some were badly hit. Most of wounds are from shell fire, very few being from rifle bullet. Two of wounded were stretcher bearers, one from 1st Field Amb. and one from 3rd Field Amb. Played cards during time while waiting for patients. Off duty 8 a.m. Very cloudy day and enemy planes dropped two bombs on Albert from which we had 9 killed and 31 wounded, mostly Artillery men. Got up at 4.30 p.m. and after tea had read and sleep before going on duty at midnight.

Tuesday 22nd August, 1916

Had to take charge of our tent division last night as Cpl. Chisholm sent in charge of officers' rest house. Although our troops made attack and advanced yesterday evening, we did not have many wounded in, only about twenty four, but as usual, most of them were pretty severe injuries. Off duty 8 a.m. Enemy planes tried to come across our lines this morning, but our planes and anti-aircraft guns speedily drove them away. Went to sleep about 10 a.m. and slept till 4.30 p.m. Rested after tea and on duty at 12 midnight.

Wednesday 23rd August, 1916

Fairly quiet night, wounded coming in at intervals. Altogether had about fifteen, one man shot through both lungs died. Two patients had been gassed, one recovered sufficiently to be sent to C.C.S., other died during day. Off duty at 8 a.m. Had breakfast and read for half an hour then went to sleep till 4.30 p.m. when got up and cleaned for tea. Our artillery very busy this evening, guns roaring continuously. After tea had talk to some 1st F. Amb. men just come from advanced post. One section full strength returned with 18 men. On duty 12 midnight.

Thursday 24th August, 1916

Quietest night we have had, only had two patients, one sick and one wounded, so managed to write a couple of letters. Rained during night a little. Off duty at 8 a.m. Had breakfast and turned in till 3 p.m. Page 45 of 69 when cleaned myself up for tea. After tea did some washing and writing. Our planes busy again this evening, saw twelve in one batch go over towards enemy's lines, possibly a raid on. Been very nice day. Had an hours sleep and on duty midnight.

Friday 25th August, 1916

Very quiet again last night, did not get a case in till 7 a.m. when car brought in three wounded. Was reading and playing cards all night. Off duty 8 a.m. After breakfast turned in for sleep till 2 p.m. when got up and had hot bath. B. section bearers went up to trenches yesterday. A. and C. section bearers standing ready to go at any time. After tea yarned and smoked before turning in again. Been showery but warm. On duty at 12 midnight.

Saturday 26th August, 1916

Few more cases in last night, had about twenty altogether, most of them bad wounds, great number of compound fractures among the wounds here, expect a great no. will lose their limbs. Very dull when we finished duty at 8 a.m. and shortly after rained but later turned out very fine. Slept from 9.30 a.m. till 1.30 p.m. Hard to sleep with men on duty running and shouting all round. After tea our planes very busy again. Did not go on duty at midnight tonight.

Sunday 27th August, 1916

Up at 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. Had to stand by for any duty till 10 a.m. when put on bearing and unloading wounded and general fatigue. A. sec. bearers went out to trenches at 12 noon, and C. sec. at 1 p.m. Rained hard at intervals all day. Very few wounded came in today, only about 10 all day so had it pretty easy. Sky cleared for about two hours between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and our planes were out at once. Relieved by some R.A.M.C. men at 8 p.m. and turned in about 8.45 p.m.

Monday 28th August, 1916

Up at 7 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. at gate, unloading wounded and carrying. Not much doing this morning, rained hard after dinner. Cars brought in wounded fairly brisk for couple of hours after which eased off again. Received news this morning of Italy's declaration of war on Germany and this afternoon of Roumania's declaration of war on Austria-Hungary. Sky cleared a little this evening and planes started buzzing. Before came off duty at 8 p.m. warned to be ready if called out any time up to 2 a.m. in morning. In bed 9 p.m.

Tuesday 29th August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Very few patients in today. On same job as yesterday. All last night and this morning our guns were going solidly. At 10.30 a.m. went in car to cemetery with man who died during night. Saw barb-wire compound with about 150 German prisoners, some of them doing fatigue work. Rained hard this morning and this afternoon had pretty heavy thunder storm. Cleared up after tea and planes came out. Heard rumour that Greece had declared war on Bulgaria. Off duty 8 p.m., in bed 9 p.m.

Wednesday 30th August, 1916

Page 46 of 69 Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Very wet and miserable day. Fatigue work this morning hauling down tents etc. Canadians marched into village this morning. At 2 p.m. B. and C. section tent divisions went out to Albert. Our section (A) in charge of dressing station here assisted by Canadian Amb. Cleaning up and putting things in order occupied afternoon. Battery of big guns very close somewhere, firing very heavily this afternoon. Heard British had naval victory, sinking 43 enemy ships to our 16. Off duty 8, in bed 9 p.m.

Thursday 31st August, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Not much doing as some of our brigades are out of trenches now, what wounded came in were simply plastered with mud and mostly suffering from severe colds. A Canadian officer, Major Frazer, working with us. Last night and this afternoon our guns bombarded tremendously heavy. Very nice day today, snatched an hour and wrote a letter just before tea. Only half dozen patients after tea and off duty 8 p.m., turned in at 9 p.m.