October 1916

Sunday 1st October, 1916

Nothing doing again all night, got a sleep and before breakfast cleaned and tidied the dressing station. At 9 a.m. assisted Capt. Furber at sick parade and afterwards sent cases admitted on to C.C.S. and D.R.S. Off duty at 12 noon. Had sleep this afternoon. Our Amb. played a football match this Page 52 of 69 afternoon (Aust. game) and won. German plane brought down on fire, a Belgian observation balloon and our planes brought down on fire two German observation balloons. Planes very active this evening. Turned in 7.30 p.m. On duty midnight. Had church service tonight.

Monday 2nd October, 1916

Nothing doing at all again last night so got a sleep again. Tidied up before breakfast and assisted at sick parade at 9 a.m. Inclined to rain and pretty cold. Off duty at 12 noon. More big guns went up again today. Special orders issued today re carrying gas helmets. Rained pretty sharp this afternoon but went for walk to get a paper to see the news. Received parcel from home. Tea at 5 p.m. and was in bed before 6 p.m. Lay reading for about an hour and half before going to sleep. Up and on duty at midnight.

Tuesday 3rd October, 1916

All quiet again last night, no wounded came in. Our planes very active about 5 a.m. Tidied up before breakfast and at 9 a.m. assisted at sick parade. Rained sharply all morning but eased off after dinner. Off duty 12 noon. At 1 p.m. went out with couple of mates for walk towards "Dickiebush", very muddy. Passed couple of big guns over which canvas houses painted to look like brick had been erected to screen them from enemy planes and observers. Back at 4 p.m., had short sleep. Tea 5 p.m. and in bed 6.30 p.m. Up and on duty 12 midnight.

Wednesday 4th October, 1916

Had three slighly sick patients in last night, otherwise quiet. Tidied up before breakfast and sent patients to D.R.S. at 8 a.m., at 9 a.m. assisted at sick parade. Wet again today, weather seems to have broken up for the winter now though it is not very cold yet. After dinner took a walk up the road to get a paper. Arrived back at billet about 3 p.m. and had a sleep till tea time 5 p.m. Did some writing after tea then turned in about 7.30 p.m. Up and on duty at 12 midnight.

Thursday 5th October, 1916

Seven sick and three wounded in during night, fixed wounded up and sent them straight on to C.C.S. The sick sent to D.R.S. at 8 a.m. Tidied up before breakfast and at 9 a.m. assisted at sick parade. Very dull and heavy again today with showers at intervals. Off duty at 12 noon. On parade at 2 p.m. while orders were read out, then dismissed. Spent afternoon writing and overhauling my kit. Tea at 5 p.m. and in bed before 6 p.m. Lay reading for an hour, then to sleep, up and on duty midnight.

Friday 6th October, 1916

Half a dozen sick and about same wounded last night. One man died, our first death here, a 16th Batt. man named "Andrews". Spent rest of night writing. Tidied up, had breakfast and assisted Capt. Bentley at sick parade at 9 a.m. About 10.30 a.m. went with patient on motor to C.C.S. Went through town of "Popperinghe" which has been heavily shelled, houses shattered and in ruins, others with bullet marks all over. Passing up a main street saw newly made patches in roadway, showing where shells had fallen. Back for dinner, slept this afternoon, tea at 5 p.m. Turned in again 6.30 p.m. and up and on duty at midnight.

Saturday 7th October, 1916

Page 53 of 69 Five sick cases and no wounded at all last night. Beautiful in the early morning but very dull and showery after breakfast. Sent patients to D.R.S. at 8.30 a.m. and assisted at sick parade at 9 a.m. Admitted four cases and sent two each to D.R.S. and C.C.S. respectively. Capt. Furber sick (rheumatism), sent for me to rub him with liniment. Off duty at 12 noon. After dinner lay down and read for an hour before going to sleep. Tea at 5 p.m., in bed at 6.30 p.m. and up and on duty at 12 midnight.

Sunday 8th October, 1916

Couple of sick cases last night, sent them to D.R.S. Lovely early morning again but went dull and wet later on. Sick parade 9 a.m. Very little doing so had game of cards (bridge). Off duty at 12 noon. After dinner went on bike for ride into Reninghelst to our Hdqrtrs. Back at Ouderdom at 2.30 p.m. and played cards till tea-time. Very heavy bombardment going somewhere round this sector, heard Germans were shelling Belgians to the north of us. Had church service at 7 p.m. then turned in and was on duty again at midnight.

Monday 9th October, 1916

Had a dozen sick men in during night, got them away to D.R.S. pretty early as had to thoroughly clean out, some of the "heads" coming to have a look round. Had everything in perfect order but "Heads" didn't turn up. Sick parade at 9 a.m. and off duty at 12 noon. Went into Reninghelst on bike at 1.30 p.m. and played Soccer football with our Amb. against a motor convoy team, made draw 2 goals each. Back for tea at 5 p.m. after which played cards till 8.30 p.m. when turned in. On duty 12 midnight. Capt. Bentley went to England today on leave.

Tuesday 10th October, 1916

Did not have a single patient in all night so got a little sleep. Tidied up before breakfast and assisted at sick parade at 9 a.m., then sent three patients admitted to C.C.S. Heard news of further British and French advance on the Somme. Off duty at 12 noon. After dinner played cards for couple of hours then had a sleep till tea time 5 p.m. Made my bed and lay reading till 7.30 p.m. when fell asleep. Up and on duty 12 midnight. Very nice day but clouds threatening and wind rising tonight.

Wednesday 11th October, 1916

No patients again last night so did some writing and had a sleep. Tidied up before breakfast and at 9 a.m. assisted at sick parade. After dinner went to Div. Baths at "Reninghelst" and had good hot bath. Unexpectedly met W. Hill and we had half an hours yarn. Back at "Ouderdom" about 3.30 p.m. and was warned right away by Capt. Furber to be ready to go to "Bedford House" sometime tomorrow. "Bedf'd H'se" is an advanced station, used to be residence of Rosenthal murdered in America, police graft scandal. His son was shot here as a spy. Turned in about 7 p.m., up and on duty 12 midnight.

Thursday 12th October, 1916

Five sick cases last night, one diphtheria. Cleaned up and sick parade 9 a.m., few dressings etc. Off duty 12 noon. After dinner packed up ready to move off at 6.15 p.m. After long wait left Ouderdom in car at 9.15 p.m. As got nearer firing line evidences of shell fire became numerous, terrible scene of desolation. Passed through "Ypres", it has once been a lovely city, now totally in ruins, great pity. Page 54 of 69 Arrived at "Bedford House" about 10 p.m., it has been awfully knocked about by shells. Worked till 11.30 p.m., turned in on a table at midnight.

Friday 13th October, 1916

Was up at 7 a.m. and had a wash in the moat that runs round the house. Went on duty at 8 a.m. Set the dressing station out, it is a large dug-out. Am in charge of dressing station and have to do dispensing etc. Couple of slightly wounded and about 8 sick in during day. Had look round grounds this afternoon. It has been a fine place but house is a total wreck, even the cellars having been penetrated in places, not a room left untouched. Part of grounds have been made into a cemetery. Guns all round us. Got a bunk tonight in room in cellar. Off duty 9 p.m. All round star shells making night into day. Turned in about 9.30 p.m.

Saturday 14th October, 1916

Up at 7 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Busy all morning arranging things and fixing up for supplies we are short of. Only had two wounded and about eight sick through today. This morning two of our planes flew over very low, fritz shelled them ineffectively. Some of his shells burst only few hundred yards from us. Batteries of guns all round us firing at intervals all day. About 8.30 p.m. our guns fired solidly for half hour, star shells going up lighting the whole country side up. Brother Harry out to see me. Off duty 8 p.m. Turned in 9 p.m.

Sunday 15th October, 1916

Up at 7 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Cleaned dressing station out, had few sick patients in and couple of wounded up till 8 p.m. when 7 or 8 badly wounded were brought in. Shell had burst among a crowd some distance further back from us. Reciprocal shelling at intervals all day, the trees round about are nearly all shattered. Saw shell hit a tree, fine big one, came down like a match stalk. Rained this evening, was very busy with wounded who came in and it was 11.30 before I was free to turn in for a sleep.

Monday 16th October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Cleaned out and tidied up, only one slightly wounded man up to dinner time. Majors McGregor and Welch came round this morning. Fine day but cold. A few sick cases this afternoon. Shelling at intervals by both sides, some of enemy's shells burst quite close to our place. An enemy plane came over about 4.30 p.m. but was soon driven off by our anti-aircraft guns. Off duty at 8.30 p.m. and turned in about 9 p.m.

Tuesday 17th October, 1916

Up at 7 a.m. and on duty 8 a.m. Very fine morning, our planes very active, fritz's guns trying to drive them away but to no purpose. The day got very chilly after dinner, and things were very slack with us till 5 p.m. when four wounded were brought in, two very badly hit kept us going till 7.30 p.m. when got my tea. Our guns opened up about 4.30 p.m. for about half an hour. Hear we are likely to be leaving here soon, perhaps tomorrow. Finished work at 8.45 p.m. and turned in 9 p.m.

Wednesday 18th October, 1916

Page 55 of 69 Up at 7.30 a.m., rather nice morning, few sick cases this morning. At 1 p.m. went with some stores etc. to Reserve trenches at "Sunken Road" for R.M.O. right at point of salient (Ypres). Came back by way of the "Bluff" just before reaching which got a view of Fritz's trenches in front and behind me about 1 to 2000 yards away. From the Bluff to Spoilbank on the canal and then to King Albert of Belgium's Chateau which is in total ruins, had just left Chateau when enemy put couple of shells into it. Busy this evening. Off duty and in bed 9 p.m.

Thursday 19th October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m., rained heavily all day. Few sick cases in. At 11 a.m. section of 4th London Field Amb. arrived to take over from us from tonight at 8 p.m. Packed as much as could before tea and showed R.A.M.C. officers round place. Rain drained into cellars and floor about 4 inches deep in water all over. No patients at all after dinner so just before tea packed almost everything up. About 7 p.m. left Bedford House in motor dragging wheels for stretchers behind, got covered in mud. Passed through Ypres and "Vlamentinghe", arrived Ouderdom about 9 p.m.

Friday 20th October, 1916

Did not get to bed till 3 a.m. this morning, very cold night, slept in dressing station. Up at 8 a.m., had breakfast. 20 German prisoners on sick parade this morning. Parade at 11 a.m. and were paid, also registered our votes on Referendum re conscription in Aust. Voted for conscription. Dinner at 12.30 p.m. and then walked to Reninghelst and had hot bath. Bitter cold all day. Back at Ouderdom 3.30 p.m. and received couple of letters. Took charge of dressing station from 6 to 9 p.m. then turned in.

Saturday 21st October, 1916

Very cold night again and when I got up at 7.30 a.m. everything was white with frost, but turned out lovely clear day. German planes very active today, about 6 coming over at intervals. Our gun fire beat them off, two of our planes cornered one and after a fight which was fine to watch on account of superb flying by all 3 machines, drove it down in our lines. Expect to move about

Tuesday, think down to Somme again. Gave a send off to Major Welch tonight. Last of our old officers to leave us. Turned in 11 p.m.

Sunday 22nd October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m. and on duty at 8 a.m. Cleaned up in dressing station and then sick parades which kept us busy till dinner time. Number of Hun prisoners come for dressings etc. under guard of course. Enemy fired a mine in this sector today under our trenches but gained no advantage. Had kick at football this afternoon to warm myself as it is very frosty and cold again. Harry was sent out last evening to "Voormigeele" for day or two. Turned in 8 p.m. Up and on duty at midnight.

Monday 23rd October, 1916

Very quiet night but very cold, had six patients in for night. Tidied up before breakfast and afterwards had sick parades, very busy till dinner time. This afternoon Capt. Furber told me to take charge of tent division and said he had recommended me for the permanent job. Would not accept only it would ruin every chance of any future promotion. Have been treated so inconsiderately that I hardly care. Page 56 of 69 Bearers moved to Reninghelst this evening. On duty till midnight, 24 hours been on duty. Packed up ready for morning.

Tuesday 24th October, 1916

Up at 6 a.m., fixed up my equipment and saw to everything being right for moving after breakfast. Breakfast 7.30 a.m. Left for Reninghelst at 8.15 a.m. The whole corps marched out of Reninghelst about 9.30 a.m. I went with transport. Did about 8 to 10 miles and arrived at "Godewaersveldte" in France and put into billets, 12 of us in loft behind a shop. Went out and had eggs for dinner. This is a fair sized place and very nice in parts. Arranged with lady of house to cook dinner for 10 of us at 5 p.m. Had splendid spread, 2 Belgium Hares, potatoes, cakes and coffee, cost about 1/3d. each. In orders today I am promoted to L/Cpl.

Wednesday 25th October, 1916

Slept well last night in the loft and was quite warm. Rained during night and everywhere is very muddy. Up at 7.30 a.m. Got bacon for breakfast from cooks and got Madame to cook us some eggs. Cleaned and tidied billet for inspection at 10 a.m. Loafed about till dinner time, rained pretty sharp all day and very cold. Dinner at 12.30 noon, after which wrote a letter ready for when post opens. Madame cooked us a dinner again tonight, two splendid chickens and plenty of potatoes and coffee. Cost us (12 men) 1 Franc and 3d. each (1/1d). Turned in about 8 p.m.

Thursday 26th October, 1916

Up at 7 a.m. Breakfast at 7.30 a.m., packed our kits ready to move and cleaned up billet. Moved to transport lines about half mile away at 9.30 a.m. From there whole corp got under way and we marched about 5 miles carrying equipment, full packs and blankets to "Caestre". Rained all time and terribly muddy. Had dinner on roadside in the mud and entrained about 2.30 p.m., horses unloaded from boxes and we got in. Went through "Hazebrouck", "St. Omer", Calais and Boulogne and arrived at "Pont Remy" about 1 a.m. in morning. Very cold and very rotten journey but expected it to have been a longer one.

Friday 27th October, 1916

Humbugged about at siding at "Pont Remy" till 4 a.m. this morning when we marched away in the darkness. Everywhere pitch black, could not see a thing, raining all the time and up to boot tops in mud, wet feet and generally feeling miserable. Marched about four miles to village of "Montflieres" where we arrived about 6 a.m. just beginning to break light. Billetted in a stable on hard brick floor, very cold and got our wet boots and socks off. Breakfast at 8.30 a.m. then turned in and I slept most of the day. Rained all time, up for tea and in bed again 6 p.m.

Saturday 28th October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m. and breakfast at 8 a.m. Parade at 10 a.m. re shortage of clothing etc. Was pretty busy during morning arranging various small things and fixing up couple of our chaps who are sick. General leave after dinner so walked into Abbeyville 3 1/2 miles away. Rained and very muddy. Had look through the very fine old Abbey and went to Y.M.C.A. and wrote two short notes home with Xmas Greetings. Fair sized town and some good shops but very expensive. Had chips and eggs for tea and returned home and went to bed at 7 p.m. Page 57 of 69

Sunday 29th October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m., breakfast at 8 a.m. Cleaned up billet for inspection and on parade in full equipment except packs at 10.15 a.m. Major McGregor gave out several congratulatory cards for work done on our last visit to Somme. An instance of how honours are awarded. After parade had little work to do for some of our chaps before dinner. After dinner although raining did some washing. Don't know how am going to get it dried. Had a read before tea. Been very cold today. After tea did little writing and held church service in our stable billet. Turned in 9 p.m.

Monday 30th October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m., shaved, cleaned and had breakfast at 8 a.m. Parade, roll call and orders at 9.30 a.m. Our (A) section for duty today so had to arrange sick parades etc. Kept very busy till dinner time with Battalion sick parades, and sent 14 cases to hospital at Abbeyville. An odd case or two this afternoon so did some writing. Rained hard all day, terribly muddy, feet have not been dry since arrived here. Number of our chaps suffering from severe colds. Wrote again after tea and turned in 8 p.m.

Tuesday 31st October, 1916

Up at 7.30 a.m. and had breakfast at 8 a.m. Parade, roll call and orders at 10 a.m. Spoke about getting further promotion as this job is well worth it. Got pass and at 1 p.m. paraded for leave inspection and then walked into Abbeyville. Had good look round, went through various churches and at 5 p.m. had good dinner, having previously had good hot bath. Wrote number of Field Service cards for Xmas and was back at billet at 7.30 p.m. Turned in 8 p.m.