August 1917

Wednesday 1st August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m., had rained all night also rained unceasingly all day today. Awfully muddy. Was not called out today, but had to stand by. Helped a chap to trench his tent and gave Quarter master a hand, more prisoners came in today. After tea wrote a letter home then had yarn and in bed 10 p.m. Our guns sound further away tonight.

Thursday 2nd August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast, had rained all night again and also most of today, ground a quagmire. At 2 p.m. was called out to Winnipeg on breakdown, was back at 3.15 p.m. and had to stand by till 5 p.m.. Very rotten day and cold. Cooked some potatoes and french beans for tea. Our guns booming heavily again tonight. Still raining and in bed 10 p.m.

Friday 3rd August, 1917

Up at 5.30 a.m. and out on track 6 a.m. Rained very heavily all day, everywhere a quagmire. Put three engines on at Vauxhall and several others at different places, set out for home at 6.30 p.m. after hard days work and arrived at camp at Ellarside at 9 p.m. thoroughly tired out, had dinner and in bed 10 p.m.

Saturday 4th August, 1917

Roused out at 5 a.m. and on track at 5.30, lot of engines off track through bad weather, still raining. Had very busy day and worked hard. Had 14 derailments and eventually landed home at 11.45 very much done up and wet through. Had tucker and into bed.

Sunday 5th August, 1917

Up at 7.15 and out at 8 a.m., breakdown near Spoilbank, worked hard all day and arrived home 8 p.m., into bed 10 p.m. Finer today. Was under solid shell fire all day and eventually had to leave the job, our driver being dangerously wounded and fireman on broken down engine severely wounded. Brought them in to Dunedin dressing station and returned to camp. Our Cpl. was slightly wounded as well.

Monday 6th August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast. Take over night shift this week. Did some washing, wrote a letter and had a bath, very quiet day. Few of our planes about, had slight shower otherwise fine. Called out at 8 p.m. for breakdown, back at 10.15 p.m. from Zealand. Lay down and was not called again up to midnight.

Tuesday 7th August, 1917

Called out at 2.15 a.m. for breakdown near Ypres, went out and fixed it up. Fritz peppered us with shrapnel all the time. Fixed up another breakdown at Brisbane dump and arrived back at depot at 8 a.m., had breakfast and turned in till dinner time. Had a read after dinner till tea time, standing by from 5 p.m. Lay down 10 p.m., not called up till midnight.

Wednesday 8th August, 1917

Was not called out all night, got up 7 a.m., had breakfast and got cleaned up. Things pretty quiet. After dinner had a walk up the road and a cup of coffee, getting back to depot before 5 p.m. Standing by from 5 p.m., yarning and had cup of tea at 9 p.m. Received official word of Fred's death. Rained a little tonight. Lay down 10 p.m. and not called up to midnight.

Thursday 9th August, 1917

Not called all night and up at 7 a.m, got cleaned and dressed and had a read. At 12.30 p.m. Dad, Tom Leaming and I went in motor to erect cross on Fred's grave at Underhill Farm at foot of Hill 63. Fritz doing bit of shelling in that district. Came away and arrived at Ballieul at 5.15 p.m. and had tea, arrived at depot about 6.30 p.m. Fixed up Lieut. Stamp's leg and had yarn and smoke. Lay down at 10.30 p.m.

Friday 10th August, 1917

Not called out all night so up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast. Weather very unsettled and showery. Just before dinner my brother Harold arrived, was glad to see him, first time for nearly 3 years. Dad going to try and get him here. Had dinner and tea with us and left on bike at 6 p.m. Very quiet evening, rained a little again, lay down 10 p.m. and not called up to midnight.

  Saturday 11th August, 1917

Not called out all night, up at 7.30 a.m., had breakfast and wrote some letters till dinner time. Had sleep this afternoon. After tea had thunder shower and lay down at 10.30 p.m. but was called out about 12.30 p.m. for breakdown at Vauxhall, very dark night but fine.

Sunday 12th August, 1917

Fixed up breakdown and back at depot 8 a.m., very hot day, slept most of it. Called out to Busseboom at 7 p.m., back at depot 8.30 p.m. and in bed 10 p.m.

Monday 13th August, 1917

Was called out at 11 p.m. last night but sent back to bed at 11.30 p.m. Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast and at 9 a.m. started unloading light Engines off broad gauge trucks in Ellarsyde yard. Worked pretty hard all day and got four engines off by 5.30 p.m. when knocked off. Did some writing after tea. Received word tonight that Roy Ash had died of his wound. Has been hot all day but rained a little tonight.

Tuesday 14th August, 1917

Up at 6.30 a.m., had breakfast and started work at 7 a.m. First Engine came off rails while unloading causing good deal of additional work. Had to work after tea till 8 p.m. and managed to get four more engines off for today. Been hot and showery in turns. Got cleaned and had a yarn and turned in at 10 p.m.

Wednesday 15th August, 1917

Up at 6.30 a.m., and at work 7 a.m. Got last two engines unloaded by 1 p.m. then had dinner. Lay down for nap at 2 p.m. and slept till 4.30 p.m. when got up and had tea. Called out as guard at 7 p.m. Signed on 7.30 p.m. and went to Wellington with Engine, picked up five trucks 18 pdr. ammunition for Zillebeke lake about 9 p.m. and went on with it. Fine night, fritz doing bit of shelling and some of his planes about. Got to Brisbane Dump 12 p.m.

Thursday 16th August, 1917

Fritz's planes very active at night time lately, dropping bombs all round our district. Was blocked in about mile past Brisbane so walked on to Control at Woodcote Farm about 2 1/2 miles away. Back to my train, got line clear and arrived with ammunition at Woodcote at 2.30 a.m. After waiting a time, found line blown up ahead of us so had to return with load to Cordova and eventually arrived back at depot at 7 a.m., fritz nearly getting us with a shell on our way. Slept till dinner time and had nap this afternoon. Called out again at 6 p.m. and went to Pacific.

Friday 17th August, 1917

Left Pacific and picked up load of ammunition at Winnipeg going up to Vauxhall to report from where we were sent on to P4 through Voormezeele and to V1 at Bushouse. Waited while shells were unloaded and returned home by 5 a.m. Slept till 3 p.m. and out again 7 p.m. with 2 tractors. Went to Vauxhall and took shells to V3. Back at V'hall by 11 p.m. Fritz shelling solidly, pieces flying all round. Picked up 3 breakaway trucks near English Wood and put them on train at F3.

Saturday 18th August, 1917

Back at depot at 1 a.m. and slept till dinner time. Did some writing and washing this afternoon. Called out at 5.45 p.m. Picked up load amm'n at Winnipeg and took it to Batteries at V1 Bushouse and St. Eloi. Returned with empties to Dunedin. Picked up load amm'n at Wellington and went to Robsons Dump, returned with empties and made for home.

Sunday 19th August, 1917

Arrived at Depot 2.30 a.m. and into bed. Slept till dinner time. Did some washing after dinner. Expected to be called out again this evening, but was not up to 12 p.m. Fritz planes over bombing.

Monday 20th August, 1917

Was called out at 3.30 a.m. and on duty on tractor at 4 a.m. Picked up Lieut. Worley at Quinton and went out to Zillebeke Lake, took up some Ammunition and did trip all round lines. Saw Fritz plane fall near Ypres, shot down by our planes, pilot fell out nearly a mile from plane, observer burnt up. Arrived back at depot 2 p.m. and had a nap. After tea went out with Dad and had cup of coffee. Into bed 10 p.m. Fritz planes bombing.
  Tuesday 21st August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast. Called out at 10 a.m. and went to Pacific with engine and reported. Sent to Cordova with empties and remained for some time. Very nice day, saw fritz plane brought down. Left Cordova with load of empty shell boxes for Pacific and back at depot at 6.30 p.m. Heard that Huns had shelled Brandhoesk hospital killing a nurse and number of patients and wounding 4 nurses and lot of patients. Expect big stunt to start any time now. Into bed 10 p.m.

Wednesday 22nd August, 1917

Was called out at 4.15 a.m. and on duty at 4.45 a.m. Went out as guard on a tractor with Lieut. Worley of N.Z. Engineers. Went all round line to near Hooge, past Zillebeke. Our guns very busy and our troops attacking, hear good results obtained. Good news of French and Italian victories. Back at Depot at 3.30 p.m. and got cleaned. Went out with Dad after tea and had coffee. Fritz planes over tonight. In bed at 10 p.m.

Thursday 23rd August, 1917

Was called out at 5 a.m. and on duty 5.45 a.m. On the Yale shunt today and went round good bit of the line finishing up by going with Ammunition to Robsons dump and getting back to depot about 5.30 p.m. A lot more men of this unit arrived tonight. Weather a bit changeable today. Had supper and in bed 10 p.m.

Friday 24th August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast. Called out at 8.30 a.m. and on duty 9.15 a.m. Feel very sick today. Went out to Robsons dump and Hitchen siding and back to depot 5.30 p.m. Have had nothing to eat today as cannot contain a thing. Feel a bit better tonight. Very windy and slight showers, cold tonight. Turned in at 9 p.m.

Saturday 25th August, 1917

Called out at 5 a.m. and on duty 5.45 a.m. Picked up load at Busseboom and took it out to transport farm near Lake Zillebeke. Back to Pacific and got load for Howe Dump of ammunition. Back at depot at 1.30 p.m., got cleaned and wrote two letters. Had yarn after tea and in bed 10 p.m.

Sunday 26th August, 1917

Called 5 a.m., on duty 6 a.m., went out to Vauxhall. Brought back empties and at depot at 4 p.m. Had bath and tea and went to church service. Rained heavily tonight. Fritz planes bombing early this morning, killed N.Z. guard. Turned into bed 10 p.m.

Monday 27th August, 1917

Called at 5.30 a.m. and on duty 6 a.m. on Yale shunt today. Kept very busy all day. Fritz put few shells close to us while at Brisbane Dump. Engine came off rails, took an hour to put it on. Rained very heavy all day, just about wet through when arrived home at 10.30 p.m., very tired. Had tea and into bed at 11 p.m.

Tuesday 28th August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast, very windy and rainy. Did some writing this morning and after dinner, and was called out at 4 p.m. and on duty at 4.45 p.m. Took an 8 inch Howitzer to Vauxhall and brought empty wagons back, getting to depot about 9.30 p.m. Had little supper and into bed 10.30 p.m.

Wednesday 29th August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast. Called out at 8.45 a.m. and on duty 10.30 a.m., shunting about all morning and after dinner took load of ammunition to Red Rock dump through Ouderdom. Very windy rainy and miserable again today. Brought empty wagons back and at depot 7.30 p.m., had tea, did some writing and turned into bed 10.30 p.m.

Thursday 30th August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. and had breakfast. Called out at 10 a.m. and on duty 10.20 a.m. Took ammunition to a couple of Batteries and did various jobs round the line. Rained heavily in showers and pretty cold. Things seem quiet in this part of line just now. Were delayed getting home by derailed engine ahead of us. Got into depot 10.30 p.m., had dinner and into bed.

Friday 31st August, 1917

Up at 7 a.m. land had breakfast. Things quiet this morning so did some writing. Just after dinner the O.C. Capt. Duncan sent for Dad and then for me, and after few questions told me I was classed as a B'maker and would receive the extra pay 8/- instead of 6/- per day. Called for guard at 5 p.m. but did not go as will have to work in depot now. Did some more writing and in bed 10 p.m.