1st August, 1918
11th August, 1918
Up at 6.30 a.m. and on parade for breakfast 7 a.m., day off today. Very hot and sultry so did not go out till after tea. News of British Offensive getting better still, really fine. Some of our chaps got some Aust'n mail so it is kicking around. After tea Bob Sargeant and I went for walk across some fields and returned through village of Compagne, back at 7.30 p.m. Made some tea and had piece of bread and in bed at 9 p.m.
Monday 12th August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7.45 a.m., roll call and sappers marched off to work. N.C.O.'s getting rifle drill. Finished our grading this morning and this afternoon started laying track. Very hot day again. News getting even better and fritz getting towelled up. Were paid at 4.30 p.m. More Aust'n mail in today but so far none has arrived for me. Issued with service chevrons today. I received one red and three blue ones. Mashed some spuds for supper and into bed at 9.30 p.m.
Tuesday 13th August, 1918
A number of chaps drunk last night and several brawls in our camp. Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. N.C.O.'s rifle drill and hard work for the few sappers, more pick and shovel this morning till dinner at 12 noon. On parade 12.45 p.m., this afternoon carrying sleepers (broad gauge) and heavy baulks of timber about 1/4 mile to saw mill. Heavy work and tired when knocked off at 5 p.m. Very hot day again. News in papers keeping tip-top. Boiled billy and into bed at 9 p.m.
Wednesday 14th August, 1918
More of our chaps drunk and brawling in the village last night, looks like trouble for all of us instead of culprits being punished alone. Up as usual this morning and to work with pick and shovel grading a new light Rly. track, very hot day again. Had lecture at midday parade by Lieut. Maher, Acting O.C. about conduct in village and liquor. Finished work at 5 p.m. Just after tea brawl broke out in camp, couple had a fight, pity they hadn't pluck enough to fight the Huns instead of among themselves. Into bed at 9 p.m.
Thursday 15th August, 1918
The row last night was caused through jealousy of a chap who had been in the Infantry. There is some feeling shown by some of this crowd, the younger chaps against the few of us who have been in the real stunt. Up and at work as usual grading Rly. track this morning and digging trench for water pipes this afternoon. Received two letters from Mam and one from Dais., news of arrival home of Dad, glad to hear it. Very hot day again and news still good. Wrote letters tonight and into bed at 9 p.m. *3 Additional entry at beginning of diary The row was caused by a young chap of this unit picking at a chap who had been a stretcher bearer and who is a bit simple. This simple chap has been wounded five times and gassed once and is unable to hold his own end up so a chap who has been in the infantry took his part and had a go at the other cove. The brawl was stopped, honours so far being with the infantry chap who thoroughly deserved them.
Friday 16th August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7.45 a.m., all hands are at work again, no time for rifle drill. Roll call and orders. Two of our chaps got 7 days 2nd field yesterday for being caught asleep instead of at work and another got 14 days 2nd for riotous drunken behaviour, two more are remanded. Digging trench for water pipes all day, very monotonous. Very hot and sultry day again, have bit of headache with the sun. After tea did some writing, boiled the billy and into bed at 9 p.m.
Saturday 17th August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and at work as usual digging trenches for pipes still. Very windy today also dull, looks like rain. After roll call at midday parade a number of men were called out and some enquiries were made about a brawl in the village a few nights ago, our men caused it while drunk. Knocked off and had tea at 5 p.m., went out about 7 p.m. for my washing and the French woman and husband made me have supper, soup and rabbit, coffee and glass wine. Back and in bed 9.30 p.m.
Sunday 18th August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and had breakfast at 7 a.m. Loafed the morning away reading and yarning. After dinner cleaned my boots and leggings and got dressed, took out my washing and gave Madame's husband a little tobacco, he was awfully pleased as civilians find it hard to get. They are an elderly couple with 3 boys and an orphan nephew, the eldest 16, and are refugees from between Lens and Loos. Back at camp for tea after which wrote several pages of letter to Dais. and in bed 9 p.m.
Monday 19th August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7.45 a.m., roll call and orders. A lot of our chaps on rifle drill today. Our party out digging again, but did not do a great lot today as getting a bit fed up with it. Weather looks like breaking again. News in paper still slightly in our favour and rumour today of British offensive on Arras front. Knocked off and had tea at 5 p.m. After tea spent the whole night writing my letter to Dais. Boiled the billy and into bed 9 p.m.
Tuesday 20th August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and on parade as usual, roll call and marched off to work, still digging water pipe trenches, were at it all day, but are taking it much easier now. Dull and inclined to rain, but did not do so. More Hun prisoners working here, some of them only captured this month. Little news in paper of our offensive near Bailleul and rumour tonight that we have taken that town. After tea wrote letter home and to Vic. Hill and into bed 9 p.m.
21st August, 1918
Up at reveille 6.30 a.m., had rained a little during the night. On parade and to work as usual, still digging. Turned out very clear day and this afternoon and evening was a real roaster, too hot to do anything. News in papers pretty good again and it looks as if fritz will have to go back some distance before long. After tea had shave and clean up then wrote a letter, boiled the billy and into bed 9 p.m.
Thursday 22nd August, 1918
Fritz over bombing last night. Up at reveille 6.30 a.m. and on parade and to work as usual, still on same job. A real boiling hot day, feel properly cooked. Just after knocked off this evening went to R.E. camp and had bonzer hot and then cold shower. News very good again today. Sudden orders this evening for 100 men and 2 officers to move tomorrow up line somewhere, all have to take rifles etc. Am not amongst party to go but rest of us expect to follow in few days. Awfully close tonight, boiled billy and in bed 9 p.m.
Friday 23rd August, 1918
Up at Reveille 6.30 a.m. and to work as usual. Mixing concrete today for a big water dam, capacity 30,000 gallons, very heavy and laborious work. Very good news in papers again today. After knocked off tonight issued with rifle etc. and two of us got orders to be ready to leave tomorrow. Went to get my washing and spent evening in packing up some of my gear. Everything upside down, our unit is scattered in about six different directions. In bed 9 p.m.
Saturday 24th August, 1918
Up at reveille and after breakfast finished packing my kit, had hair cut and got all ready for journey to Marquise. After dinner wrote couple of short letters then took my kit bag and blankets over to station, reported to R.T.O. at 3.15 p.m. Train left 4 p.m., changed at Etaples and arrived at Boulogne about 7 p.m., left kit bags on station and went to rest billet with rifles and equipment then went out and had eggs and chips. Lay down to sleep in rest billet at 9 p.m. Awoke 11 p.m., fritz over bombing.
Sunday 25th August, 1918
Fritz gave us a bad time, dropped number of bombs, some so close we heard them falling and heard pieces swishing about in street outside billet. Only got about an hours sleep and called up 4 a.m., had breakfast and went to station to catch train 5 a.m. Train late and did not get away till 10 a.m., arrived at Marquise 11 a.m. and got to our destination and reported. Put into crowded huts, camp looks dirty. Broad gauge depot. Had clean up and then my mate and I went for walk up town and a feed, looks clean town, back and in bed at 9 p.m.
Monday 26th August, 1918
Got up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast then went over to start work at 8.30 a.m. Usual hours of work here are 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., 8.30 a.m. to 12 noon, 12.45 p.m. to 5 p.m., not much good. Don't know how we are going to get on yet. Was stretching some tube ferrules today. Sgt. Boilermaker seems nice chap, a regular time serving soldier. Tucker today was not too good or too plentiful, room for improvement. Ridiculous restrictions but chaps are real good. After tea started letter to Dais., could not finish it. Turned in 9 p.m.
Tuesday 27th August, 1918
Up at 5.45 a.m. and over at work 6 a.m. but did not do anything first quarter and don't intend to do much as do not get a bite or drink of tea till breakfast 8 a.m. then at work 8.30 a.m. Cut some lead washers out this morning for mud hole doors. After dinner 12 noon till 12.45 got in firebox, took down brick arch and caulked seven steel stays that were blowing badly indeed. Knocked off at 5 p.m. and had tea. Finished letter to Dais. and one to Mam. Tucker not too brilliant yet and regulations very strict. Had yarn and in bed 9 p.m. Lights out 9.30 p.m.
Wednesday 28th August, 1918
Up at 5.45 a.m. and over at shed 6 a.m., did nothing before breakfast at 8 a.m. At work again 8.30 a.m., had a look round with Sgt. Boilermaker and caulked some studs before dinner. After dinner took off broken fire hole door and put new one on, also fixed up an inspection door and cover. Knocked off at 4.30 p.m., tea and paid at 5.30 p.m., they gave me 20 Francs. Rained heavy during day. After pay my mate Harry Beech and I went for stroll along lanes outside township, back at 8 p.m., had read and in bed 9 p.m., lights out 9.30.
Thursday 29th August, 1918
Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., loafed first quarter. After breakfast at 8 a.m. till 8.30 a.m. had look round engines then started to repair hinges on lap plate between Tender and footplate, construction of Engine made it an awkward job and all jobs have to be done against time, so necessarily are rough. Managed to get two new hinges made and put on by 5 p.m. so engine could go out tonight. Good news in paper today. Wrote a letter after tea, had read and in bed 9 p.m.
Friday 30th August, 1918
Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing first quarter. After breakfast 8 a.m. had a look at repair book and as engines for repairs are all out but one went on that one. Started to take down ash pan, it is a North Eastern Engine, Fire hole ring, Foundation ring, studs and nearly all the stays blowing, awkward job getting ash pan down. Got one half down by 5 p.m. Had walk up village after tea and back at 8 p.m., roll call 9 p.m. and into bed 9.30 p.m.
Saturday 31st August, 1918
Up at 5.45 a.m. and on duty 6 a.m., nothing doing first quarter. After breakfast went on getting down remainder of Ash Pan on N.E'n engine, got it down by 6 p.m. tonight. Orders come out have to work now till 6 p.m. Great dissatisfaction, all sorts of petty restrictions, can't have anything to eat in hut, officers treat men as children. After tea went out with couple of R.E.'s and had game of French billiards. Back in camp at 8.30 p.m., roll call 9 p.m. and into bed 9.30 p.m.