March 1917

Thursday 1st March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m. Breakfast 7.30. On parade 9 a.m., marched up road and had physical drill, squad and stretcher drill and semaphoring till 12 noon. Holiday this afternoon, went to Ribemont and saw 4th M.G.'s play 1st Grenadier Guards soccer, Guards won 5-2. Back just after tea. Enemy still retiring. Had game of bridge and turned in 9 p.m.

Friday 2nd March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30. One of our chaps very sick and feverish, missed 9 a.m. parade to arrange for his welfare. Had my boots soled. On parade 2 p.m., short route march and inspection of feet followed leg washing and treatment for prevention of trench foot. Our troops still advancing, guns going in the distance. Received two letters, did some writing and in bed 9 p.m.

Saturday 3rd March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. No water for wash. Escaped 9 a.m. parade and went for walk to aerodrome, heard lecture on signalling to planes and back for dinner. On parade 2 p.m., went for route march and drill with Major Welch then foot wash with trench foot soap and powder. Had game cards after tea and in bed 9 p.m.

Sunday 4th March, 1917

Usual routine, route march and drill before dinner. Route march, foot washing this afternoon. Turned in 9 p.m. Route march this morning through Henenc't, Samlis and Millanc't. After dinner parade to gas school and found out should be tomorrow. W. Hill came to see me today.

Monday 5th March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. At 8.30 loaded our panniers etc. on G.S. Wagon and marched out 11 a.m. Arrived Millancourt 11.30 a.m. and were attached to 3rd A.F. Amb. Have charge of 9 billet wards, very busy all day arranging my men on duties and supplying necessaries. Have good barn billet, stretchers and straw mattresses. Capts. Spargo and Tooth with us. Things pretty well fixed up when turned in at 8.30 p.m.

Tuesday 6th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m. Parade, roll call and orders 7 a.m. My men on duty at 8 a.m. Made ration statement for my wards for 9 a.m. and various other duties. Dinner 12.30 noon and ration state again 2 p.m. and then had statement at 3.30 p.m. Kept pretty busy till 4 p.m. Had my name taken for using 27th M.A.C. Latrines. Seems very funny. Tea at 4.30 p.m. Afterwards wrote letters, frosty again tonight. In bed 9 p.m.

Wednesday 7th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m., escaped 7 a.m. parade, made out ration state and visited my wards before 9 a.m. Various other duties before dinner. Made out 2 p.m. ration state and 3.30 p.m. bed state, then walked to Laviaville and played rubgy against D.A.C. beating them 6-0. Felt very sick at half time so did not continue. Awfully cold wind, strong and freezing hard. Back at billet and in bed at 9 p.m.

Thursday 8th March, 1917

Did not get up till 7.30 a.m., very cold again, feel a bit shaky. Same duties as yesterday. Had snow and sunshine at intervals but wind strong and bitter cold. Sir Douglas Haig and H.R.H. Prince of Wales passed through this morning. Did some writing after tea and played bridge, turning in at 9 p.m.

Friday 9th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m., did not go on 7 a.m. parade. Breakfast 7.30 a.m. then did my round, afterwards writing a letter. Cold again today and snowed at intervals. After dinner did my rounds again and finished 4 p.m. Tea 4.30 p.m. after which played bridge till 9 p.m. when turned in.

Saturday 10th March, 1917

Same routine as yesterday, drizzling rain part of morning but not so cold. After dinner we received our A.I.F. Xmas gift boxes, mine from Footscray, better late than never. Wrote a letter and was paid during afternoon. After tea played bridge till bed time 9 p.m.

  Sunday 11th March, 1917

Same routine today again. Applied for leave to go to Amiens tomorrow but did not get it. Wrote a letter and turned in at 9 p.m.

Monday 12th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m. Do not go out on 7 a.m. parade. After breakfast made out my ration statement and went back to billet and cleaned up my equipment for inspection by D.D.M.S. tomorrow. Ration and bed states this afternoon and then wrote a letter. Received news of capture of Bagdad by our troops this evening. Arranged with Capt. Tooth for inspection and in bed 9 p.m.

Tuesday 13th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30, breakfast 7.30 a.m. and on parade in full marching order at 9 a.m. Proceeded to Laviaville at 9.30 and inspected by O.C. Marched to paddock at 11 a.m. and inspected by A.D.M.S. D.D.M.S. not present, everything satisfactory. Arrived back at billet 12.30 noon, wrote letters this afternoon, had game of bridge after tea and in bed 9 p.m.

Wednesday 14th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. Mornings duties as usual, applied for days leave for Amiens, did not get it. After dinner went to Laviaville and our corps played 45th Battn. Rugby and Soccer, won former by 3 points to nil, and latter by 3 goals to nil. Played in soccer game, ground very muddy, raining hard just before game. Had hot bath and back at billet 5.30 p.m. Had tea and read and in bed at 8 p.m.

Thursday 15th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. Major Bentley down here with us now. Days duties as usual, strong rumours of British successes and boys in great spirits. Cold day but very clear and sky blue. Our planes going over in great numbers and our guns being heard rumbling like thunder. O.C. inspected our billets and village was inspected by Gen. Birdwood. Had cup of cocoa and in bed 9 p.m.

Friday 16th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. Very cold day again today, could not get warm. Days routine as usual. Filled in hour or so in Sgt's quarters. Various war rumours, sky clear this afternoon and planes very busy. Watching farm people thrashing oats, old fashioned treadmill. In bed 9 p.m.

Saturday 17th March, 1917

Guns going heavily when woke this morning, had breakfast and usual routine. Received news that Austn. troops in Bapaume, also Russian revolution. Great numbers of cavalry passed through village today in direction of line, Indian and British. In bed 9.30 p.m.

Sunday 18th March, 1917

Routine as usual, played Soccer against 3rd F. Amb., lost 2-0. Beautiful day, splendid news of allied successes. Had game of bridge and in bed 9 p.m.

Monday 19th March, 1917

Reveille 6.30, breakfast 7.30 a.m., ration state 9 a.m. Loaded panniers on G.S.Wagon at 10 a.m. ready to move out at 2 p.m. At 11 a.m. got orders to report at Gas school for two days anti-gas instruction along with L/Cpl. Donald. Went to school and reported at 3.30 p.m. about half way to Albert. Have to report again at 9.30 in morning. Slept in same old billet, turning in at 9 p.m.

Tuesday 20th March, 1917

Up at 7.30 a.m. Had breakfast and at anti-gas school at 9.15 a.m. At 9.30 a.m. an officer started and gave us lecture till 12 noon. Had dinner and back for 2 p.m. lecture again till 4 p.m. and Helmet drill till 4.30 p.m., also went through Lachrymatory gas (tear gas). Back for tea, had yarn and in bed 9 p.m.
  Wednesday 21st March, 1917

Up at 7.30 a.m., had breakfast and at gas school 9.15 a.m. Had lecture, helmet drill and went through strong concentration of chlorine gas for test. Had to play Rugby football for our corps against 4th Machine Gunners, had good game, draw 8 points each. Packed my gear and joined section at Laviaville, moving in morning. Great numbers cavalry moving up. In bed 9 p.m.

Thursday 22nd March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. Packed up and on parade in full marching order carrying bed roll at 9.45. Moved out at 10 a.m. passing through Millanc't, Albert, Becordal to Fricourt. Had dinner en route and arrived and put in huts about 2 p.m. About 7 miles but tired, packs and blankets heavy. Unloaded part of our panniers and turned in about 8.30 p.m. Hail and snow.

Friday 23rd March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30. Parade 9 a.m., roll call and orders, then assisted at sick parade. Sun shining but very cold and bleak wind. Not a wall left standing in the village, only old trenches, ammunition and rubbish. After dinner went to divisional baths and had bath. Wrote letter tonight and in bed 9.30.

Saturday 24th March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30. Parade 9 a.m., roll call and orders. Kept busy at sick parade till dinner time, expect to move on any day. Wrote letter this afternoon, sunny day but wind rotten and bitter cold. Capt. Furber back. In bed 8.30 p.m.

Sunday 25th March, 1917

Same routine as yesterday, beautiful spring day, did some writing and in bed 9 p.m.

Monday 26th March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m. Raining and blowing a gale. Parade at 9 a.m., roll call and orders. Sick parade 9.30 a.m. Dinner 12.30 noon. General parade at 2.30 p.m., movement orders read, are to go to Bapaume tomorrow. Loaded our G.S. Wagon and got everything ready for early start. Had game of cards and in bed 8.30 p.m. Raining hard and blowing tonight.

Tuesday 27th March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 and on parade full marching order 9 a.m. Marched out of camp to Contalmaison by road then on duckboards across country over old enemy trenches, passing through Martinpuich and Le Sars where we had dinner. These villages utterly destroyed, evidences of wanton destruction, also of casualties mostly enemy. After dinner moved up on main Bapaume road, mine craters at intervals. As we got nearer the ground was not so shell torn and patches of green grass showed. Snow, sleet and hail. Entered Bapaume just before tea, not a whole building standing and every tree cut down. Terrible night, put tent up in garden to sleep in, then had look round working party which were digging out bodies of Light Horse and Aust. Comforts fund from ruins of town hall which went up by a mine after our occupation. Turned in about 8 p.m. Harry's 21st birthday. Bapaume still burning when entered.

Wednesday 28th March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m., on parade 9 a.m. On general fatigue salvage work getting good timber from ruins for our camp. Worked hard till 12.30 then dinner. At it again 1.30 p.m. and going strong till 3 p.m. when stopped as expect to move on tomorrow. Had wash, first for two days, also shave and then tea, after which visited cemetery, showed signs of vandalism, then to fort, very strongly arranged. Our planes very busy and guns going. Turned in 9 p.m.

Thursday 29th March,1917

Wet night again. Reveille at 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30 and on parade 9 a.m. Commenced to pitch camp on paddock about 200 yards away. Building officers' Mess room 20' x 12' all day from timber gathered from ruins. Ground very deep with mud, feet wet through and generally miserable. Rained in heavy showers all day. Tea at 4.30 p.m., had yarn and in bed 7.30 p.m. Raining hard.

Friday 30th March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30, on parade 9 a.m. Roll call, then took my men to job again, bit of pioneer and engineer about us now. Shifted our tent to new site and laid out camp. Worked hard till 4.30 p.m. on officers' mess. Saw some of our tri- planes today. Fly very prettily. After tea laid boards to sleep on as ground so muddy and wet and in bed 7 p.m.

Saturday 31st March, 1917

Reveille 7 a.m., breakfast 7.30. On parade 9 a.m. and went on with erection of Officers' mess shed. Had to go to old billet and supervise removal of our panniers. Worked hard all day and turned in 8.30 p.m.