July 1916

Saturday 1st July, 1916

Reveille 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. At 7.45 a.m. fell in in full marching order and at 8 a.m. marched out. Went about 9 miles to our new position which is about 2 miles past Erquingham and about 2 1/2 miles from firing line. Billetted at a brewery which is still working, brewing part out of bounds to us. This place is called Fort Rompu. Arrived about 11.30 a.m. and general fatigue work took up rest of day. Fine hospital here and not bad quarters. We are about 6 miles from Neuve Chapelle. Turned in tired out at 9 p.m.

Sunday 2nd July, 1916

Our guns bombarded furiously last night, the building we are billeted in shook as if going to come down. Our troops raided section of enemy's trenches successfully. Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m. B. section doing night duty this week and my section (A) on day duty. On duty 8 a.m. 19 slightly wounded cases came in during night and 1 serious one. Cleared patients to C.C.S. at 11 a.m. Splendid day. Saw W. Hill yesterday and today, had tea together, looking fine. Our planes very busy. Turned in 9 p.m. Shrapnel from anti-aircraft guns fell on our billet this evening.

Monday 3rd July, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Heavy guns going all night, shake our billet like an earthquake. On duty 8 a.m. About 20 wounded brought in during night, evacuated them this morning and did sick parades etc. Our boys made another raid on enemy's trenches last night. News of British and French offensive further south, very good. Beautiful day, aeroplanes fairly active. Rather quiet this afternoon, so did some writing. About 9 p.m. our guns started firing heavily again. In bed 9.30 p.m.

Tuesday 4th July, 1916

Up 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., on duty 8 a.m. About 40 or 50 wounded came in during night and about dozen more between 8 and 9 a.m. One man died. Enemy made raid on our trenches last night, one of our Batt., 14th, caught it pretty hot, but enemy while returning to own trenches, caught with enfilade fire from N. Zeal. troops and terribly punished. Very busy all morning. After dinner went with Capt. Furber to Bac. St. Maur to arrange about operation for appendix on young woman. Back for tea. Very quiet tonight so turned in 8.30 p.m.

Wednesday 5th July, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Very busy all morning getting instruments and dressings etc. ready for operation this afternoon. Left billet in motor with all necessary things and one of our chaps to help me at 1.30 p.m. for Bac. St. Maur. Sterilized and arranged instruments and room ready. Capt. Furber and 3 others of our officers arrived 3.45 p.m. and operation commenced about 4.15 p.m. finishing successfully and without a hitch about 6 p.m. Cleaned up and packed away all our gear and left for billet in motor about 7 p.m. Capt. Furber complimented and was very pleased with my work. Very tired, turned in 8.30 p.m.

Thursday 6th July, 1916

Page 36 of 69 Awakened by our gas guard at 12.30 midnight, had to don our gas helmets as enemy had discharged gas up "Plug St" way. Sat with helmets on till about 1.30 a.m. then took them off and went to sleep again. Wind took the gas past us without it getting over as far as us. Up again 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders, on duty 8 a.m. Cleaned and packed away instruments used yesterday during this morning. Very quiet all day till 6 p.m. when enemy put few shells over us and all round our billets without hitting them. Our O.C. very much perturbed. Turned in about 9 p.m.

Friday 7th July, 1916

Awakened 12 midnight, enemy letting gas loose again, had to sit with our gas helmets on till 12.40 a.m. Gas did not reach us. Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders, on duty 8 a.m. Dull wet day again. Good news of British and French offensive further south. Sick parade etc. during morning and this afternoon did a little writing. Very few wounded coming in. Linton Lethlane of 2nd. Eng. came to see me this afternoon, looks well and is a Warrant Officer. Turned in about 8.30 p.m.

Saturday 8th July, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m. and on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. Breakfast 7.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Very little doing, better day today, sky cleared this afternoon and aeroplanes were about. Did some washing after dinner. Still good news of our offensive in Somme region. Received orders this afternoon to be ready to move off at two hours notice, don't know where we are going. Evacuated our few patients. Rather quiet this evening, enemy shelled our planes, did not see any effect. Turned in 8.30 p.m.

Sunday 9th July, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. On duty 8 a.m., fair number of slight cases in this morning, many others arrived during day, evacuated them all. Obtained pass to visit Armentiers this afternoon, it is about 3 1/2 miles away. Large town, suffered severely from shell fire and is periodically shelled yet. Fine large church in utter ruin, had look inside, people still remain in most of houses and shops open. Bought 2 souvenir brooches. Saw 6 enemy planes over town, quickly driven off. Back at billet 6.15 p.m. and in bed 8.30.

Monday 10th July, 1916

Reveille 6.30 a.m., on parade 7 a.m., roll call and orders. On duty 8 a.m., sick parade etc., one or two slightly wounded came in this morning. Very busy all morning, when not attending other duties packing our drugs and medical stores. Finished and loaded on wagon by dinner time. This afternoon very quiet so played cards, cannot post letters till after we have moved. Tea at 5.30 p.m. After tea stood talking and watching enemy shell our aeroplanes which seem busy tonight. Turned in 9 p.m.

Tuesday 11th July, 1916

Reveille 5.45 a.m. and on parade 6.15 a.m., roll call and orders and steel helmets issued to all of us. Evacuated patients who came in during night then proceeded to farm halfway between "Erquingham" and "Bois-Grenier", arrived dinner time and awaited orders. Could see enemy's shrapnel bursting about mile away. Our artillery very active, guns close to us. Stood ready till 5 p.m. when marched out without tea and kept going till 8 p.m. when we arrived at farm at Stenje, few miles from Bailleul, having done about 15 miles today. Had bread and jam and drink of water and turned in in a loft, dead tired. Page 37 of 69

Wednesday 12th July, 1916

Woke at 7.30 a.m. and on parade 8 a.m., instructions issued for us to stand ready to move at any minute, while waiting to rest as much as possible. Had parade again and had our gas helmets inspected at 10 a.m. then had walk up the road. Very dull day, saw couple of our aeroplanes up. After dinner lay down and slept till 4 p.m. Very quiet after tea, rained a little, just stood yarning about the fine country. Rumours of early departure in morning so turned in 8 p.m.

Thursday 13th July, 1916

Slept in my clothes last night as did not know what time turning out. Roused at 4.30 a.m. Breakfast 5 a.m. and marched out at 6 a.m. Arrived at siding (Rly) at Bailleul West at about 7.30 a.m. having done about 4 miles. Entrained in brake vans and moved away at 10.30 a.m. Arrived at "Doullens" in the Somme valley about 3.45 p.m. Marched from station at 5 p.m. and arrived at "Surcombes" at 1 a.m. close to "Domart", having marched since 5 p.m., somewhere close on 20 miles. My tucker for the day was little bacon and bread at 5 a.m., at 10 a.m. one small piece bread and butter, about 2 p.m. dry bread and at 6.30 p.m. two pieces bread, jam and cheese.

Friday 14th July, 1916

Arrived at large farm and chateau about 1 a.m. and billetted, getting to bed about 1.45 a.m. thoroughly tired out and hungry. Slept sound until 10.30 a.m. when got up, washed and shaved which I needed very badly and had cup of tea. Had look round before dinner. The Chateau is a fine old place, the country round about lovely with a very small straggling village about a mile away. We are about 15 miles from firing line, but expect to move on again at any moment. Wrote a letter this afternoon and after tea took a stroll in one of the woods. Turned in at 8.30 p.m.

Saturday 15th July, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m., cleaned up our billet and parade and general inspection at 10 a.m. Heard that British and French have met with considerable more success in their offensive along the Somme. The name of our present billet is the "Chateau de la Haye". Given permission to go and pick red currants in the garden for ourselves which we readily did. Lay out on lawn this afternoon and wrote a letter. After tea we held a concert among ourselves on lawn in front of Chateau and spent a very nice and enjoyable evening. Turned in about 9 p.m.

Sunday 16th July, 1916

No early morning parade again so did not get up till 7.30 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m. Expect to move today so packed up and got everything prepared. Had dinner early and paraded and marched out about 1 p.m. Got about 400 yards down road when motor stopped us with orders to return and stay at billet Chateau de la Haye till further notice. Took a walk about 2.30 p.m. to a village about 2 miles away called "Brucamps", had tea, eggs and bread and butter then back to camp. Very good concert tonight. Madame and some friends attended. Turned in about 9.30 p.m.

Monday 17th July, 1916

Page 38 of 69 Reveille at 7.30 a.m. and breakfast 8 a.m. Rained all night and dull and wet this morning. Colonel who has been away this last two days returned last night. Had very quiet morning. After dinner some mail arrived and I received four letters. News rather scarce just now, but what little we get is all in our favour. Played cards most of afternoon. After tea we were unexpectedly paid. Bought couple of postscard views of the Chateau and had a yarn before turning in about 8.30 p.m.

Tuesday 18th July, 1916

Rumours about last night that we were to be up at 4.30 a.m. to get away early, but did not come off, so lay in bed till 7.30 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m. On parade 9.30 a.m. and had our gas helmets inspected after which had game of bridge on the lawn. Able to post letters today for first time since been here. After dinner I watched our section (A) play C. section at Rugby football, was very unscientific but funny to watch and ended in a pointless draw. Had walk up lane this evening and in bed 8 p.m.

Wednesday 19th July, 1916

Some of chaps came home last night late, the worse for drink, and made lot of noise. Reveille 7.30 a.m. and breakfast 8 a.m. Parade ordered at 10 a.m., roll call and orders. In future reveille to be at 7 a.m., parade 7.15 a.m. and route march till 8 a.m., also all men to be inside billet by 10 p.m., result of row last night. Could hear artillery booming heavily in the distance this morning. Parade at 4.45 p.m., returned one of our smoke helmets and received better style. Wrote letter and in bed 8 p.m.

Thursday 20th July, 1916

Reveille 7 a.m. but was up and washed half hour before. On parade 7.15 a.m., roll call, orders and went for route march till 8 a.m. in direction of St. Omer. At 10 a.m. Capt. Furber gave us lecture on fractures and their treatment till dinner time. Gen. Cox looking round this afternoon. Six patients arrived which we have kept, rumoured we are to be divisional rest station which is pretty rotten. Artillery going this evening long way off. Had game of cards and in bed 9 p.m.

Friday 21st July, 1916

Was up at 6.30 a.m., washed and shaved before reveille at 7 a.m. and on parade at 7.15 a.m., roll call and orders. Did not go on route march this morning as have half dozen patients to attend to. At 10 a.m. Capt. Furber continued his lecture till dinner time on fractures and their treatment. Could hear big guns rolling today again. Nothing doing this afternoon again so played cards on the lawn. Beautiful day but time getting very monotonous. Smoked and yarned after tea till turned in 9 p.m.

Saturday 22nd July, 1916

Reveille 6.45 a.m. and on parade 7.15 a.m., roll call and orders. Still got six patients in hospital but during day sent four to Casualty Clearing Station. Lecture at 10 .m. by Capt. Furber, same subject, very interesting. After dinner settled down and wrote couple of letters. Saw largest British aeroplane I have seen yet fly over our billet today. Guns booming heavily in distance at intervals. Beautiful day. Turned in 9 p.m.

Sunday 23rd July, 1916

Page 39 of 69 Reveille 6.45 a.m. and on parade 7.15 a.m. Only two patients today. Beautiful day. Cleaned up for inspection of billet by O.C. and then played cards on lawn till dinner time. After dinner wrote letters till tea time. Aeroplane went over again, one of our latest Farman battle planes. Could hear guns booming at intervals but cannot get much news. Various rumours as to our staying here. After tea had sing-song, yarned and turned in 9 p.m.

Monday 24th July, 1916

Reveille 6.45 a.m. and on parade 7.15 a.m. Went for route march till 8 a.m., then breakfast. Very quiet day, sent our two patients away to C.C.S. and did an odd dressing or two for some of our own chaps. Played cards afterwards till dinner time. After dinner did some washing. About 4 p.m. received orders to be ready to move sometime tomorrow. After tea loaded the panniers we had been using on G.S. wagon. Guns booming. Heard rumour some Aust.'s have had it hot. Turned in 9 p.m.

Tuesday 25th July, 1916

Reveille 6 a.m., breakfast 6.30 a.m. Got kits together, cleaned up billets and on parade in full marching order at 7.15 a.m. Little odds and ends to attend to and moved away at 8 a.m. Passed through St. Omer and went almost due east just inclining slightly to south. Marched till 12 noon when we halted for dinner, having done just 12 miles. Started again at 2.30 p.m. Just as finished another 4 miles met Gen. Cox who complimented us on our march. Came to the end of our journey for today at 5.15 p.m. when we reached "Herrisant" having done 20 miles. Carried my full pack all the way. Had wash and clean up, tea and turned in about 8 p.m. pretty tired.

Wednesday 26th July, 1916

Had restless night, slept in old barn on straw, not too clean, and in the main street. Motor supply wagons, horses and men helped to keep me awake, but mainly I think I was over tired as all night my body ached and could not sleep. Up at 7 a.m. and after breakfast did little fatigue work, cleaned billet etc., surroundings of which are filthy. Fixed up a temporary dressing station in a school room. Had quiet afternoon, place full of troops, British and Aust. Had concert tonight. Heavy bombardment proceeding. News of Russian success in Armenia. Turned in 9 p.m.

Thursday 27th July, 1916

Was soon sound asleep last night. Awakened at 3 a.m. by N.C.O. Told special despatch arrived for us to move off this morning. Up at 5.45 a.m., breakfast 6.45 a.m., packed our kits and moved off at 9 a.m. following the 4th Brigade towards the firing line. Halted and had dinner in field at 12 noon having done about 5 miles. Went on again, 2 p.m. another 1 1/2 miles to "Warloy-Baillon" and billeted at farm. Cemetery alongside us opened few days ago, about 400 buried already. Saw about 20 Aust.'s buried. Guns booming fiercely. Saw remnants of 1st Brigade arrive back from "Poseries" which we have taken. Place full of troops. Turned in 10 p.m.

Friday 28th July, 1916

Slept well and up at 6.30 a.m., on parade 7.15 a.m., roll call and orders. After breakfast gas helmet inpsection at 9.30 a.m. after which did some washing. Troops here in great spirits, boys from trenches bringing back German helmets and trophies galore. All seem to consider the Germans utterly beaten. Aeroplanes very active and guns going like a continuous roll of thunder. First, 2nd and 3rd field Amb. Page 40 of 69 suffered heavily, prospect of us going forward tomorrow. This place like a hive, motor cycles, cars and wagons of all kinds going for all they are worth. Received notice to be ready to go further up, stood by till 10 p.m. when turned in.

Saturday 29th July, 1916

Reveille 6.30 a.m., on parade 7.15 a.m., roll call and orders. Breakfast 8 a.m. Spent morning watching our aeroplanes and observation balloons, big guns not going so heavily today. After dinner had walk up the street to see what was doing. Ambulances bringing in wounded from last night's charge. Believe 2nd division got it pretty hot. Just before tea our stretcher bearers received word to be ready to go out but order cancelled. I made application tonight for transfer to Batt. at Regimental Medical detail. 15 balloons and innumerable planes of ours up tonight. Turned in 9 p.m.

Sunday 30th July, 1916

Was up at 6 a.m., washed, shaved and cleaned up before breakfast at 7.30 a.m. At 8.30 a.m. went to other end of village and took over 1st field amb. dressing station, working as C.C.S. in grounds of large house. Had lot of cleaning up to do and had good number of wounded in to fix up, mostly 2nd division men. Kept very busy till 8 p.m. when B. section took over from us for the night. Very amusing to hear our officers who have not done field work before discussing how it should be done. They have lot to learn, but we have to suffer while they learn. Turned in 9 p.m.

Monday 31st July, 1916

Up at 6.30 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Had no fresh wounded in up to dinner time but were kept busy and buffetted from pillar to post by our officers who want the place fixed up as though for a garden party. Our corps has absolutely no organization at all and our officers who should be striving to hold the men together are instead, fostering a spirit of jealousy between sections. All our officers are at loggerheads with each other. Got our first gas patients about 4.30 p.m., three machine gunners gassed by gas shell, worked hard at them till 9 p.m. but all died, did all we could. Doctors say new kind of gas, not chlorine. Had tea 9.15 p.m. and turned in 10 p.m. Had to sleep under bushes last night.