September 1918

Sunday 1st September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing first quarter. After breakfast went on hammering stays in N.E. Engine, nearly all leaking badly. Knocked off at 12 noon, most of men had to work on but I took no notice and just knocked off. After dinner got cleaned and went for walk round village of "Rinxant", the Belgian village, and round the State stone quarries, had nice walk and back for tea. Had walk this evening up Marquise, had eggs and chips. In camp at 9 p.m. and into bed 9.30 p.m.

Monday 2nd September,1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing till after breakfast. Engine been in collision, cut off part of footplate, got it hot and levelled it and put it up again, had to work straight on till 7 p.m. to get it rivetted up as engine is wanted, worked hard. Very windy but fine day, coal dust from stack near by made me as black as a nigger. Saw a dinkum Yank plane today. After got washed made my bed and lay on it reading as feel tired. Turned in 9 p.m.

Tuesday 3rd September, 1918

Took the first quarter off and did not turn out this morning till 8 a.m. Have been hammering up leaky stays all day in N.E.'n engine, did about 200 single handed. Did not work on till 6 p.m., just knocked off at 5 p.m. and had my tea, too long to go till 6 p.m. without a meal and tucker is not too plentiful at any time. After tea started a letter to Dais., could not finish it before lights out at 9.30 p.m., when went to sleep.

Wednesday 4th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing before breakfast. Hammered up about 150 more copper stays today, did little caulking on foundation ring and put biggest part of ash pan up again before knocked off at 5 p.m. Nice day and air-ships out of shed alongside of us were out, there are three of them, all French. Did some more writing after tea and posted my letters. Turned in at lights out 9.30 p.m.

Thursday 5th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., sat in Blacksmiths shop till breakfast time. Started again at 9 a.m., hammered up some stays and did bit of caulking before dinner. This afternoon was caulking studs round fire hole door patch, work very interesting as it is mostly new to me. Knocked off at 5 p.m. and went for a walk, four of us to a village about 3 miles away, got pocket full of beans out of field and eat them. Back at camp 9 p.m. and in bed 9.30 p.m.

Friday 6th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing before breakfast. After breakfast finished caulking studs and rivets round firehole, caulked corner seams and patch round firehole. Put in fire bars and caulked round crown plate. Put on new fire hole door and finished up the job by 4 p.m., knocked off at 5 p.m. Fire alarm went 5.45 p.m. but I dodged it. Went for bath at Munitions Works in village, very fine baths and enjoyed it. Back at 8 p.m., had yarn and in bed 9 p.m.

Saturday 7th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., nothing doing first quarter. Have breakfast now from 8.30 to 9 a.m. Our Sgt. not at work this morning so am in charge. Hammered up about 50 leaky stays in Firebox, fire had just been drawn so it was a hot job but engine wanted in a hurry. Nothing doing after dinner, just cut some lead washers and knocked off at 5 p.m. Got cleaned and went to concert in dining hut, not bad show, over at 9 p.m. Made my bed and into it 9.30 p.m. Thunderstorm tonight, news still very good.

Sunday 8th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., nothing doing first quarter. After breakfast chipped out smoke box door ring and put in a new one, had to work hard to finish by dinner time. Very stormy day so did not go out this afternoon, wrote some letters before tea. Had a walk out this evening but the weather threatening, came to camp early, had a yarn and read and turned in 9 p.m.

Monday 9th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., sat by Blacksmiths fire till breakfast time, not much doing this morning, engines booked for repairs being out. After dinner cut off a step that was badly bent, 16 rivets. At 4.30 p.m. got my tea and caught light engine to Beaulieu at 5.5 p.m., about 20 minutes run up the state quarries. Had to expand tubes in Merryweather pump, finished 9 p.m., got engine back, had supper and got to bed near midnight.

Tuesday 10th September, 1918

Got up for breakfast 8 a.m., had wash and shave and turned into bed again and slept till dinner time. Up for dinner and went to work 12.45 p.m. Very wild and stormy day again. Put new joint ring in smoke box front plate of N.E.'n engine. News in papers still keeps good for us, but seems to be quietening down a little. After tea wrote letter to Dais. and one home. Into bed 9 p.m., lights out 9.30 p.m.

  Wednesday 11th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., very cold and stormy again today. Sgt. B'maker went to be inocculated today so have job on my own. Cut off damper on Baldwin and put new hinges on and after dinner started caulking roofing stay bolts in Baldwin, all leaking very bad. Very dirty and rotten job. Knocked off at 4.30 p.m. as it is pay night. Got my pay 6.30 p.m., had walk up street, back again 8 p.m. and in bed 9 p.m. Lights out 9.30 p.m.

Thursday 12th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., had quiet first quarter. After breakfast had look at repair book and set out work for chaps. Went into firebox of 1706 and caulked up 3 cracks in mouthpiece, hopeless job and very hot as fire just drawn, then went into 81 just as hot and took out safety plug, had to cut it out, then took out two safety plugs out of 770, part of fire still in, almost smothered with smoke. Finished at 5 p.m. after a trying day. Four years today since enlisted. Had game billiards and in camp 8.15, lights out 9.20. Roll call 8.30 p.m. tonight and after, and lights out 9.20 p.m.

Friday 13th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing first quarter. After breakfast set out work, examined some engines and caulked few more roofing stay bolts in 70. After dinner Sgt. started work again, straightened a badly bent step off 1851 and fixed up set of fire bars in 773, examined a Baldwin 663 for leaky tubes. Sgt. wanted me to work tonight and fix them up but I wouldn't. After tea got cleaned and had quiet night. Good news of American offensive and in bed 9 p.m.

Saturday 14th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., made a petrol and flint pipe lighter out of German cartridge before breakfast. Very rotten day, rained the whole time. Did couple small jobs this morning and went on caulking more roofing bolts. Kept at it till 4.30 p.m. when knocked off as there is a concert on tonight. After tea went down to French munition works and had a good bath. Back in camp at 8.15 p.m., roll call 8.30 and lights out 9.20 p.m.

Sunday 15th September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. and at work 6 a.m., did nothing till after breakfast when had look at repair book then put new joint on an inspection cover. Knocked off at 12 noon, got cleaned and went for walk along main Boulogne road, turned off through some fields and back to camp for tea at 4 p.m., gathered and eat a lot of Blackberries, tons of them. After tea had walk to place called the "Valley" by the boys, B.E.F. canteen there. Went for some smokes, very hard to get tobacco here. Back at 8.15 p.m. and in bed 9.50 p.m.

Monday 16th September, 1918

Had air raid alarm just before midnight last night but fritz plane did not get this far. Up at 6 a.m. and at work but did nothing first quarter. After breakfast fixed up an inspection cover that was leaking, also nine caps on top of firebox, put new joints in, did fair days work. Quite nice day again, good news of our offensives. After tea wrote a letter to Dais., gets dark early now. Roll call 8.30 p.m. and lights out 9.30.

Tuesday 17th September, 1918

Air raid alarm again at 1 a.m. this morning and had to go out in trenches adjoining huts, no bombs dropped near us. Did not get up till 7.30 a.m. as were in trenches till 3.30, supposed to get up as usual. Fixed up firehole door, put in some firebars also put step on, then caulked some steel stays. After dinner hammered up some rivets in tender tank and knocked off 5 p.m. Got fifteen letters today. Wrote to Mam and in bed 9 p.m.

Wednesday 18th September, 1918

Up at 6 a.m. and strolled over to work 6.30 a.m. Got air raid alarm about midnight last night but Fritz did not come our way so did not have to get up. After breakfast put new firehole door on and caulked some steel stays. After dinner took off a damper door that had jambed and fixed it up. Rained a little tonight. After got cleaned settled down and wrote seven letters in answer to some I got last night. Roll call at 8.30 p.m. and lights out 9.30 p.m.

Thursday 19th September, 1918

Did not turn out till 7.30 a.m. this morning though supposed to be out at 6 a.m. After breakfast 8 a.m. to 8.30 put new pair of hinges on Damper door and fixed it up on a Baldwin engine then straightened the step which was badly bent. An officer from the food control here at dinner time, believe he made a noise about insufficient rations. Not much doing this afternoon. Knocked off 5 p.m., dodged fire parade, wrote letter and in bed 9 p.m.

Friday 20th September, 1918

Turned out this morning again at 7.30 a.m., refilled a lead plug. After breakfast examined a Baldwin, blowing badly under lagging, stays appear to be broken. Not much doing after dinner, went down in motor car to Haut Banc about 4 miles away in the quarries. A French stationary boiler gone wrong through bad and dirty water, steel fire box, crown plate dropped, to be re-tubed and firebox caulked also roofing stay bolts. Started on job, back at camp 6.30 p.m., had tea and a read and in bed 9 p.m.
  Saturday 21st September, 1918

Up at 5.45 a.m. had breakfast 6.15 a.m. and got tools made and ready for job at Haut Banc. 10.30 a.m. before we got away in motor car. Started on job right away and caulked all round firebox, had dry bread and cheese for dinner. This afternoon Lieut. Gearing came down and we asked him about tucker, he arranged for us to have it at Quarry Headquarters. Had bread, butter, jam and tea at 5 p.m. then worked on and had tin of Macconnachie and tea for supper at 10 p.m. after which went on with job, still going at midnight.

Sunday 22nd September, 1918

Worked hard and got job finished by 7 a.m. Had breakfast, cold ham, bread butter and tea, then caught store train and arrived back at our depot 9 a.m. Went straight to munition works for bath and turned in at 11 a.m. Slept till 4 p.m. when had my tea, had to go to orderly room at 4.45 p.m. and was told am leaving to join up my own unit tomorrow. Had shave and went out for walk at 6 p.m. Came back to camp 7.30 p.m. as weather is inclined to be stormy. Turned in 9 p.m.

Monday 23rd September, 1918

Up at 7.30 a.m. and had breakfast then packed up my gear and went to orderly room to see what time leaving. Went for walk till dinner time and picked lot of Blackberries. Had yarn with the chaps and caught train at 1.30 p.m., cattle truck train but not too crowded. Went through Boulogne, Etaples, and to Abbeyville where reported to R.T.O. Put back on train and told to report R.T.O. Romescamp. Very slow train and getting weary of ride, no chance of sleep.

Tuesday 24th September, 1918

Arrived Romescamp at 3.15 a.m., reported R.T.O. and told to stay in B.E.F. canteen till called, place full up so stayed on verandah. Very cold and no sleep. Warm as day wore on, expect leave to Aust. soon from what I hear. Sent for and caught ration train at 2.45 p.m., came through St. Roch and Amiens very badly smashed about, saw large number of captured German guns. News in paper very good, Bulgaria being hit up. Arrived at Miraumont after passing Albert and other places about midnight, whole place a scene of desolation.

Wednesday 25th September, 1918

Was rather a bright night so could see fairly well, train stopped at Miraumont over an hour, eventually arrived at Rocquigny 3.30 a.m. No one about so stayed in van till 7.30 a.m. when found our camp close by. Reported, had breakfast and set about looking for dug-out to live in, the place is a wilderness. Two of us re-erected an old dug-out and got it ship shape after hard work by 7 p.m. Received half doz. letters, one from W. Hill, says Vic reported missing, also two I wrote Vic returned to me, will make enquiries. Very tired so turned in 8.30 p.m.

Thursday 26th September, 1918

Was not too warm last night, Fritz planes were over and good deal of gun fire. Up at 6.45 a.m., had breakfast and over at repair shop 8 a.m., not big lot doing, repairing captured fritz light Rly trucks all day. Very nice day and hundreds of our planes about. Fritz plane got 2 of our balloons about 5 p.m., tried for more later but driven off. Did bit more at dug-out till 8 p.m. when told am leaving for base tomorrow en route for Aust. Packed my kit and in bed 10 p.m.

Friday 27th September, 1918

Up at 6.30 a.m. and finished packing up my kit, had a yarn with some of the boys and watched some fritz shells bursting about mile away through glasses. Our passes came through about 3 p.m., four of us going home. Went from Roquigny to Bapaume on Light Rly truck, no train till morning so caught motor lorry to Achiet-le- Petit and then another to Achiet-le-Grand where got goods train to Candas, arriving 9 p.m. Got some eggs and bread and set out to walk to Doullens.

Saturday 28th September, 1918

Arrived at Doullens about 3 a.m. after walking about 7 miles, big struggle with all our kit and felt done up. Sat in small humpy with four Tommies alongside fire till 4.30 a.m. when had wash and went into town for breakfast, got steak and mashed potatoes. Went to station to catch train at 11.20 a.m. but it did not arrive until 2.30 p.m. when got aboard and after a rotten ride arrived at Boulogne at 9.30 p.m. and were marched to a rest camp and lay down about midnight.

Sunday 29th September, 1918

Called up about 4.30 a.m. but could not get near for any breakfast, such a crowd. Fell in and marched to the boat about 2 1/2 miles at 8 a.m. Got aboard after some difficulty and crossed the channel, arriving at Folkestone, very nice crossing. Got seat in train and started for London, arriving just after midday. Reported and given passes for the night and orders to report at Horseferry Rd. at 9 a.m. in morning. Miserable rainy afternoon and night, got good bed at Opera (Temperance) Hotel and into it at 10 p.m.

Monday 30th September, 1918

Up at 6.30 a.m., had hot bath and breakfast. Went to Aldwych Y.M.C.A. hut and got boots and leggings cleaned, then had haircut and shave in the Strand and an electric massage of the scalp as my hair is scurfy. Report at Hdqrtrs 9 a.m., good number of men there, kept standing about and dodging from room to room till 1 p.m. when got fixed up and had dinner in Y.M.C.A. close by. Afterwards went to Euston Station and caught 3.45 p.m. to Crewe, had pleasant journey arriving at 8.30 p.m. Went to my cousins, had yarn and in bed 10 p.m.