January 1st 1918. New Year's Day. Went out to Richmond and in the evening saw "Aladdin" at Drury Lane. It started at 7.30 pm and I left at midnight. They were just starting on the second last scene.
January 2nd 1918. Oh ! Disaster. Leave was over and I returned to camp.
January 3rd 1918. Heavy frosts again and as cold as can be.
January 4th 1918. It snowed again today. Cold, well it is beyond all words.
January 5th 1918. Snowing again today.
January 6th 1918. Had a heavy frost last night.
January 7th 1918. It rained all day. My birthday too. ( 21st. )
January 8th 1918. Frosty again.
January 9th to 12th 1918. Nothing doing.
January 13th 1918. Nothing doing but one great event. Your much welcomed parcel landed. The puddings were A1. Had quite a feed.
January 14th 1918. A very heavy fall of snow last night. It was registered as 18 inches. Some fall eh? Five of us instructors challenged an even of men in the school to a snow fight but before long we had an attack from 300 men. It was a tussle I can tell you.
January 15th 1918. It rained heavily, so when we woke up there was not a sign of yesterdays fall.
January 16th 1918. Still raining heavily.
January 17th 1918. Last night we had another 6 inches of snow. Sleet all day. Things are that mucky now one does not know where to go.
January 18th to 23rd 1918. Nothing important.
January 24th and 25th 1918. I have been decorating preparatory to our dance which is coming off tomorrow night.
January 26th 1918. Our mess dance tonight was a great success and quite enjoyed myself.
January 27th 1918. Woke up tired and weary. Did not get to bed till 4.30 am. this morning. In the afternoon we went down to see the Fovant Church. It is an old building.
January 28th 1918. Raining again.
January 29th 1918. About half our staff went on draft to France today. I expect my turn will be next.
January 30th to February 4th 1918. Rained nearly all these days.
February 5th 1918. There was a sudden mobilisation today.
February 6th to 11th 1918. We have had cold and stormy weather.
February 12th 1918. Had a mess meeting tonight. I was appointed Secretary of the Amusement Committee for a whist drive and dance to be held in about a fortnight's time.
February 13th to 17th 1918. We spent these nights painting the mess preparatory to the Whist Drive.
February 18th to 20th 1918. Some lovely fine days.
February 21st to 28th. 1918. Nothing to report.
March 1st 1918. I went on leave to London arriving at 3 pm. In the evening we went to the "Beauty Spot". It was a lovely play and the dancing was beautiful.
March 2nd 1918. Spent the day in London. In the evening we saw "Arlette".
March 3rd 1918. Went to Ciro's Y.M.C.A. in the afternoon and the Regent Palace in the evening.
March 4th 1918. The big Tank was today opened in Trafalgar Square. They also have the Gondola of a Zepp. These things were acting as Banks for the War Bond campaign. In the evening we went to the Alhambra to see the "Bing Boys on Broadway".
March 5th 1918. In the morning I went round the City ( proper ) of London. It is absolutely marvellous up this way. Saw the Bank of England, Royal Exchange and Mansion House where I saw the Lord Mayor out in all his regalia.
In the afternoon we went to the House of Commons, Lloyd George, Sir Eric Geddes and Asquith spoke on the Naval situation. It was very interesting. In the evening we went to the Grand Opera at Drury Lane and saw "Faust". Spent the night at my mate's place at Camberwell.
March 6th 1918. Returned to camp today.
March 7th, 8th and 9th 1918. Nothing important.
March 10th 1918. Went for a walk to Teffont Manor. This is a very fine old house with some lovely scenery.
March 11th to 15th 1918. Thank goodness we have had some lovely weather here lately.
March 16th 1918. We went down to Wilton and saw the very old and historical residence of Wilton House, the seat of the Earl of Pembroke. It was something glorious.
March 17th to 21st 1918. There is a terrible bombardment in progress in France. Once more it is fine.
March 22nd 1918. News came today of an enormous German offensive on the Arras, St. Quenten Sector.
March 23rd 1918. Went for a wander around the hills near here and explored an old Roman Camp and Roman Road dating from 53 B.C.
March 24th 1918. Went for a wander in the nearby woods. The trees and flowers are getting lovely now.
March 25th 1918. News came through of the fall of Bapaume, Peronne and Ham, all the places for which we fought hard. The situation and strain here in England is terrible.
I was put on some very special and secret work today.
March 26th 1918. News of the fall of Noyon and Nesle. The position is getting serious.
March 27th 1918. Roy and Rosieres fell yesterday. The strain here is worse than at the outbreak of War.
March 28th 1918. Situation very critical. The Bosch has all the ground around Pozieres, for which so many of our boys have made the supreme sacrifice. Albert, Bray and Montdidier fell yesterday.
March 29th 1918. Better news today. The enemy who is trying for Amiens, has been suddenly stopped.
March 30th 1918. Still the news is better. Only a slight advance was made by him yesterday. We had our dance tonight. It was something lovely.
March 31st 1918. We were dancing until 4.45 am this morning. In the evening we went for a wander in the woods. The primroses etc are lovely. The fields and woods are now a mass of yellow with these and daffodils.
April 1st to 5th 1918. Nothing doing only a great spell of weather, fine in the morning and the opposite in the evening.
April 6th 1918. The great battle in France has once more resumed. In the evening, we went for a walk to Sutton, Mandeville, a pretty little place about 2 miles from here. Then we climbed a big hill some 700 feet high and explored some remains of old Roman Water Ditch and Road which only of late years dropped out of use.
April 7th 1918. Rather wet and cold. We took a walk down to Compton-Chamberlain, a small village about 1 1/2 miles from here. It is a little hovel ( very quaint ) which straggles amongst a couple of insignificant valleys with awful odours.
Coming home, we struck a path through the woods. Here the flowers, primroses, daffodil, wood anenomies and violets ( Purple and
white ) were growing in great profusion. The scent was lovely and the song of the birds in the air, made one dream of that bonny place that seems to get further away as time goes on, Australia.
April 9th 1918. Out all day on a big Signal scheme. Had rather a good time. The hills over which we are working are just covered with violets.
April 10th 1918. News came today of another big battle near Armentieres.
April 11th 1918. The Bosch is still advancing. News of the fall of Armentiers, Bois Grenier, Fleurbaix and Ploegsteert came through today. They are all old hunting grounds of ours.
April 12th 1918. Another all day Signal Scheme.
April 13th 1918. Went for a walk via Fovant, Sutton-Mandeville to Wardour Castle and back home via Anstey, Swallowcliffe and home.
Wardour Castle is a fine ruined old castle in enormous grounds in which the scenery is simply marvellous. Also near here is the new castle, a very ordinary building. To come back to the old one. This was the seat of Lady Arundel and in Cromwellian days, the followers of Cromwell besieged the place for about 4 days, after which the owners had to surrender. The castle is surrounded on three sides by hills and in front by a lake, so one can see how the siege was conducted.
In the walls now, are the bullet holes and the holes where cannon balls struck it. Surrounding the place are some very fine cedars and Rhodadendrums. I have a nice set of photos so you can see for yourself.
April 14th to 18th 1918. Spent all these days decorating a hall for our Brigade Officer's Dance.
April 19th 1918. Our Mess held a smoke night and musical evening. Had a very nice time.
April 20th 1918. Worked all day on the Officer's hall. In the evening I was invited to supper and had a few dances. They are very pleased with the hall.
April 21st 1918. Arrived home this morning at 4 am. It was a glorious day; but, being tired, I slept nearly all day. The Commandant was that pleased with the ball, he granted me 7 days leave.
April 22nd to 24th 1918. Spent all these days decorating another bigger hall for another officers dance night. Was also invited to this and had a really tip top time.
April 25th 1918. Landed home at 5.30 am. this morning so did not get to bed. Got my things ready for leave and caught the midday train to London. I stayed the night at the Strand Palace Hotel. In the evening I went to see "Yes Uncle", a comic opera. It was lovely.
April 26th 1918. Went to see Miss Henning today and stayed the night. They are such nice people.
April 27th 1918. Went out to see Mrs. Morrison. Had another lovely day.
April 28th 1918. Went out to my mates place at Waddon. Had a real good time.
April 29th 1918. Went round London at will and viewed some of the damage done by Zepps and air raids. Better not say too much about this or the censor may object. In the evening I went to see the play "Nothing but the truth" at the Savoy. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen.
April 30th 1918. Went out to Weddon again. Had a fine day and musical evening. Quite enjoyed it.
May 1st 1918. Went to the National Service Museum. Here they have many carefully preserved and interesting relics. The building is the old Banqueting Hall and all that is left of the old Whitehall Palace built by James 1st. It was through this hall that Charles 1st went to be beheaded in the public thoroughfare in front. For a time Cromwell reigned supreme but was ejected.
Amongst the most interesting relics are the following :-
Napoleon's Chair form his chamber at St. Helena.
Table on which the Treaty of Sebastopol was signed.
Duke of Wellington's Hat and Uniform, besides those ( some actually blood stained with their life blood ) of other famous soldiers.
Pieces of old and historic boats, Guns and War Trophies hundreds of years old, The first Machine gun, the Skeleton of Napoleon's Favourite Charger, Saddle used by Bluecher at Waterloo, actual standard of "The Commonwealth of England" numerous relics of Nelson including Hat, Uniform, Writing Tablet, Pens etc. There are many other very interesting things which would take to long to explain, here.
May 2nd 1918. Returned to camp today, and as soon as I landed was detailed for night operations. Unlucky me eh !
May 3rd and 4th 1918. Feeling very off colour today. Had a return of the old trench fever and running a very high temperature. My arm broke out again in two places.
May 5th to 11th 1918. Cold and wet.
May 12th 1918. I went for a stroll in the woods today. Well, words will never describe it. the trees are now literally twined into one dense mass with honeysuckle. Then the trees themselves are clothed in every shade of green imaginable. The ground is one dense carpet of violets, blue bells, cowslips, daffodils and wood anemones.
These are not just scattered here and there but one huge and glorious blaze. To finish up this absolute heaven, the birds in the trees are singing a glorious medley. It makes one feel quite pleased to be alive.
May 13th and 14th 1918. Wet again.
May 15th to 17th 1918. Some Bonza days, just like Aussie days.
May 18th 1918. Went to Dinton for tea and to the pictures in the evening.
May 19th 1918. My mate went to France today. It was awful hot.
May 20th to 27th 1918. All very fine and hot days.
May 28th 1918. I was today made storeman of the Signal School and am now in charge of 2,500 pounds worth of material. Some job eh!
May 29th 1918. The job I got yesterday was only temporary as I volunteered for France today so am awaiting draft.
May 30th and 31st 1918. Still warm and fine days.
June 1st 1918. Another big battle is now raging in France. This time it is a direct drive for Paris.
June 2nd 1918. Terribly hot all day. Went to the pictures this evening. They are awful. Beyond words.
June 3rd to 5th 1918. Nothing doing other than the old routine.
June 6th 1918. About 7 of us clubbed together and had a little farewell supper tonight up at the school. During the last couple of days I have been repairing a Gramophone, so we got the lend of about 100 records and I can tell you we had a real good time.
June 7th to 11th 1918. Nothing other than monotonous routine of camp life. I am getting heartily sick of this and food is awful beyond words.
June 12th and 13th 1918. Spent both these days decorating another hall for an Officers dance. Tonight our unit held a boxing tournament. It was a rather fine show too.
June 14th 1918. I was down in the village of Fovant having supper when a chap came up to me and asked me if my name was Williams. On assuring him that such it was so, he informed me he was none other than Ted Dubois.
June 15th and 16th 1918. Spent in decorating Mess. Raining again.
June 17th 1918. Worked hard all day finishing off for the dance tonight. It looked lovely. In the evening I was in charge of the bar. Took 85 pounds. The hall looks tres bon. I have done it in heliotrope and green. They blend very well.
June 18th 1918. 5.30 am. Just landed home tired as can be.
June 19th and 20th 1918. Nothing of interest.
June 21st 1918. On looking back through the diary I have not yet given you an idea of our daily routine, so will give it now for the weekend.
Reveille at 6 am, Breakfast at 6.40 am. ( Rotten ) Company Parade at 7.20 am. Signal School Parade at 7.50 am. to noon. Dinner 12.15 pm ( Awful ) Company Parade 1.15 pm. Signal School Parade 1.45 pm. to 4 pm. Tea at 5 pm.
Voluntary Parade on which I must always be. 6 to 7 pm. The rest of the night to ourselves up to 9 pm. lights out.
June 22nd 1918. Reveille 6 am. Breakfast 6.30 am. Company Parade full packs 7.15 am. Battalion Parade 8 am. for a 15 mile route march to about 1 pm. The remainder of the day our own.
June 23rd 1918. Reveille, 6.30 am. Breakfast 7 am. Church Parade 8.30 am. Dinner noon. ( Rotten again. ). Rest of the day clear. This afternoon Wal came over from Hetesbury. We had quite a good old yarn and went to the pictures in the evening.
June 24th 1918. Went to the pictures this evening.
June 25th 1918. Good but vague news from the Italian Front. It appears as if they have cut off large portions of the Austrian Army which is on the run.
June 26th 1918. Woke up this morning feeling pretty crook. Went to see doctor. My temperature was 104.8 not too bad eh! Result, I was, with many others bundled off to hospital. By about 11 am. over 600 of the camp of 750 were effected. It was the flu.
June 27th to 30th 1918. All these days were spent in Hospital. Feeling much better today.
July 1st to 3rd 1918. Still in hospital and feeling rather groggy.
July 4th 1918. I was discharged from this infernal hole and given 3 days leave in London.
July 5th 1918. Left for London at 4.15 pm. arrived there about 8 pm. and went out to Miss. Hennings for the night.
July 6th 1918. Went into the city in the morning. It was a lovely day. In the evening went to the opera at Drury Lane and saw "Carmen". This was just beautiful. The singing was all that could be desired.
July 7th 1918. Went to Richmond and spent the day on the river. Quite enjoyed myself.
July 8th 1918. Went to Hampton Court today. This is a fine old palace of Henry VIII., all of red brick and white cement. Of the hundred or so chimney pots, there is not two the same design.
Here there is a vine hundreds of years old and the trunk of which is far bigger round than me and I'm not small. It is a bonza place. In the evening we went to the opera again and saw "Aida". Of all the glorious opera's I have seen, this is the best. It was gorgeously staged and the singing was just lovely. The part of "Aida" was taken by Madam Elsa Stralia, the famous Australian Singer. She was just it.
July 9th 1918. Returned home again today.
July 10th and 11th 1918. Raining heavens hard. In fact today is like the middle of winter again.
July 12th to 15th 1918. Still raining. This is getting very serious as all the crops are beginning to rot and grow again. As if the food situation was not bad enough as it is.
July 16th 1918. War Weapons Day in Tisbury. They held sports. We all went out and had a real good time.
July 17th to 24th 1918. Nothing happened although the big counter offensive is still in progress and looks promising.
July 25th and 26th 1918. Went to Tisbury today and had a very nice time.
July 27th 1918. Nothing doing.
July 28th 1918. Awfully hot. I went out to Wardour Castle and had quite a lovely day. Coming home I rode 10 miles on the back of my mates bike. It was great fun but very tiring.
July 29th 1918. Nothing to report.
July 30th 1918. I was warned for France today after parading about twice a day foe three weeks to be put on draft.
July 31st 1918. Went through the Doctor and Dentist today. Both marked me fit. So Goodbye on Sunday.
August 1st and 2nd 1918. Nothing to report. Just been told the draft is not leaving till Wednesday.
August 3rd 1918. Went to Salisbury today. Had a great time. In the evening we went to the theatre.
August 4th 1918. War Remembrance Day. Had a big Church Parade. In the afternoon we went to Wardour Castle but it rained, so got a wetting.
August 5th 1918. The cheerful war news still continues.
August 6th 1918. This morning's paper still gives the great news, the Hun is retiring in four different places.
August 7th 1918. We fell in at 6 pm. and marched to Dinton, entrained for Folkestone at 8.15 pm.
August 8th 1918. 3.15 pm. arrived at Shorncliff and marched to Folkestone where we went into billets for a short sleep till 9.30 am. then embarked for Boulogne arriving there after a good trip across at 12.30 pm. It was rather cold, but en route we passed the spot where the Hospital ship "Warilda" was sunk by submarines without warning. The spot is now marked with buoys. In the afternoon and evening, we went into Boulogne and had a ripping time.
There is rather a beautiful Church here after the style ( in architecture ) of the Melbourne Exhibition Buildings.
August 9th 1918. A glorious day. News came through of another big Allied success at Montdidier. At 10 am. we fell in, marched to the station and entrained at 1 pm. for Le Havre, proceeded via Etaples, Abbeyville and Rouen arriving there at midnight but stopped at the station till morning. En route, at Etaples we saw the big Hospitals which had been completely destroyed when Fritz had his big bombing raid.
The scenery, en route, is just lovely and there are several very large tunnels near Rouen.
August 10th 1918. The good news from the front still continues. 4 am. the train started again ( From Rouen ) and we continued our journey to Le Havre, arriving there at 11 am. It is awfully hot but a fine camp and good food. Just before we left Rouen, a Zepp. passed over head and dropped four or five very large bombs close at hand. In the evening, we went to the Cinema provided free by the Comforts Fund for the troops.
August 11th 1918. Nothing to do all day other than a medical inspection. During the morning, we marched to Harfleur and went through Gas to test our masks. Still awfully hot. In the afternoon we went for a walk around the forest and other places round here. It is very pretty.
The evening we spent at an open air service held by the finest Padre I have met. He is commonly known as "The Father Of the Aussies".
August 12th 1918. We were warned to go further. At 1 pm. we fell in and marched to Le Havre ( a distance of 6 miles ). The march was awfully hot. At 8 pm. we entrained and moved off at 8.30 pm.
August 13th 1918. After a very pretty trip, we arrived at Pernois and marched to the rest camp at Bertaucourt. I was here some two years ago and many of the people remembered me.
After we got settled down, we were shot off to go through gas once more. Then the best part, we went for a swim in the river. The camp is pitched in a wood on this river so the afternoon was well spent.
August 14th 1918. 9 am. We were warned for our units tomorrow. During the day we had organised games and had some great fun with the French kiddies. In the evening we went for a walk down the village.
August 15th 1918. We marched to Vignacourt which is quite a large village. Here we took the light railway for Allenville. From here we marched to Lamotte on the Somme Canal. At night we had a big raid ( air ) by Fritz. The bombs dropped very uncomfortably near.
August 16th 1918. Went for a walk across to Glisy. It was very pretty walking over the old corded roads through the swamps of the Somme. The town has suffered considerably from gun-fire. From here we can see Amiens and the famous Villers-Bretonneux. In the afternoon, we watched them dragging for a couple of chaps who had been drowned.
August 17th 1918. Nothing interesting. Parade as usual. Had another air raid from Fritz.
August 18th1918. Fine. Nothing interesting.
August 19th 1918. We marched to Dauors and joined our Battalion.
August 20th 1918. Fine. We rested all day. In the morning had a bath in the Canal and in the afternoon went through the village which has suffered from shell fire.
August 21st 1918. Very foggy. The Battalion reorganised. Another raid by Fritz. The bombs rather close again.
August 22nd 1918. Walked across to Bussy-les-Daurs. Good news came through today.
August 23rd 1918. Went into Dauors for a walk. It has been very hot and exceptionally heavy bombardment has been going on all day. We had a demonstration of the new signal rocket. There have been hundreds of wounded passing through all day. In the evening we walked to Aubigny for a stroll.
August 24th 1918. Rifle inspection in the morning. Went for a walk to Bussy-les-Dauora in the afternoon and saw the Second Divisional Concert Party.
When coming home at 9.30 pm we were just in time to catch a big air raid from Fritz. Some of the bombs dropped right in the village.
August 25th 1918. "Stood to" all day. 8 pm. took buses to Reserves through all the newly captured territory and through one of the fiercest storms I have seen.
August 26th 1918. 1 am. arrived at the reserves and marched 3 miles to the trenches at Cappy. The shelling was just hell. As soon as we landed we had to go out on lines till midnight.
August 27th 1918. 1 am. had to go out on patrol. It was terribly exciting. Had all the patrol killed or wounded bar the Sergeant and myself. 3 am. After fairly hard fighting we got forward 2000 or 3000 yards, gaining full observation of the enemy. I was out on patrol four times during the day. It was great fun getting our artillery on enemy marks as they would present themselves.
August 28th 1918. Rained nearly all the morning. 4 am. we advanced after some very heavy fighting, a further 1000 yards. No prisoners. 9.30 am. Fritz gave us a very heavy bombardment with gas to which we replied with one twice as heavy.
10 am. we had rather a hard fight but gained a further couple of woods and a few more hundred yards. My mate and I had rather a narrow escape. We walked right into a Fritz post. Lines were terribly troublesome; also a few snipers who had been missed in the advance. About 3 pm. a sniper put a bullet clean through my tin hat.
4 pm. we went over with a party of 50 and after some heavy fighting again and heavy machine gun fire, captured the village of Frise with 70 prisoners, 14 machine guns and 3 Minnewerfers and a 77mm gun.
9 pm. we were relieved and went back to Cappy. During the day I got a fair dose of mustard gas so tonight have lost my voice and am nearly blind.
August 29th 1918. The people who took over from us, advanced 6000 yards last night without any resistance. At 11 am. we moved up to Dompierre which was our old front line yesterday.
August 30th 1918. 1 am. They have had some very heavy fighting, up forward, so I was one of a party who had to go up for supports and had a very rough time. During the day we had to retire about 50 yards. 5 pm. We landed back with our unit and then went for a walk on which we got lost. We were in this predicament till 11.30 pm. when we found that for the last three hours, we had been wandering no further than 200 yards from our trench. Moved up to Frise landing there about 12.30 pm and went for a bath in the canal. During the afternoon we were heavily bombed by enemy planes.
August 31st 1918. 10 am. moved up to supports via Clery-sur-Somme and Ommiecourt-les-Clery under full view of enemy balloons. We were terribly shelled and lost heavily in casualties. We sheltered for some hours under a hill but still received casualties. 6 pm. went out in charge of patrol of 10 men, four of whom were killed and 3 wounded. This is the worst patrol I have yet been on. 8 pm. moved up into close supports. 9 pm. went out on patrol again. This time with greater success. 10 pm. had to go out on lines. These are the curse of my life. Midnight, warned for another patrol. If these continue, I can see yours truly getting another Blighty or going under all together. I am fearfully tired. The old Hun has started a terrible bombardment. During the day I got a further dose of gas so my voice has gone completely.
September 1st 1918. 1.30 pm. this patrol is fearful. We have been surrounded 100 yards behind enemy front line. Have had a solid hours fighting. Everyone is wounded, self included, only a little one through the arm. 2.15 am. still fighting hard. I am afraid we shall never get out of this lot. Out of our party of 20, 14 are now dead. Just got our Lewis gun working so have a good chance of getting out now and cutting our way through to our own lines. 4.30 am. arrived back at our lines in time to hear we were going over the top at 6 am. 6 am. under way. The enemy is resisting terribly. They are the best fighters we have struck. 7 am. Casualties are fearful.
The Division on our right is suffering heavily. As they are getting wounded, they are falling into the swamps and drowning. 8 am. held up by machine gun fire and bombs. 8.55 am. just finished an hours bombing. Casualties are increasing every minute. We are now up against it and right in front of a big brick wall which is infested with machine guns.
At last it has happened. My mate and I were sitting in a shallow trench and a 5.9 shell fell in beside us and wounded us both. I was carried out to the dressing station and from there to a field ambulance ( 5 kilos ) by four Fritz prisoners. From here we went in a motor ambulance to Dauors where we were dressed. 8.pm. loaded aboard the hospital train for Rouen.
September 2nd 1918. Arrived at Rouen at 10 am. and then proceeded by motor ambulance and then to the No 10 General Hospital. Treatment here is rotten.
September 3rd 1918. The Doctor inspected us this morning. I was marked "Blighty-cot Case."
September 4th 1918. It was hot all day.
September 5th 1918. 7 am. Loaded aboard the train for Le Havre, at which place we arrived at 4.30 pm. 8 pm. loaded on the Hospital Ship "Western Australia" for Blighty.
September 6th 1918. 1 am. Our steering gear went wrong and we drifted down near a big mine field but a destroyer came to our aid just in time. Arrived at Southampton 3 pm. 6 pm. loaded on Hospital train.
September 7th 1918. 12.45 am. arrived at Stourbridge Station where a lot of V.A.D. nurses gave us coffee, fruit and chocolate. From here we went to the No. 1 Southern General Hospital which was in peace times, a workhouse.
September 8th 1918. The Doctor inspected us today. I had a tube put in my leg.
September 9th to 12th 1918. Spent all these days in bed with some very high temperatures.
September 13th 1918. Allowed out of bed for a few hours.
September 14th 1918. Out of bed for a few hours. Had a nice concert tonight.
September 15th 1918. Visitor's Day. Had quite a number for the Tommies but none for the Aussies.
September 16th 1918. Moved to Hill House Hospital ( V.A.D. ) Warwick. This is an old private residence beautifully fitted out and situated. The food and treatment are a treat here. All one could desire.
September 17th 1918. Had a look around Warwick. This is very quaint old place and was the old capital of Warwickshire. It also figures largely in the times of Charles 1 and Oliver Cromwell. It is the seat of Guy the Earl of Warwick.
September 18th 1918. Took the tram to Leaminton Spa and saw the "Royal Divorce" at the theatre Royal.
September 19th 1918. Had a look at the old Hospital of Warwick. It was founded in 1383 and rebuilt in 1598. It is now used as a Veterans Home. From here we went to the Gardens which were very pretty and on the banks of the river. All the shops are closed today. There are some very fine old buildings and a very fine old Church. In the evening we had a whist Drive.
September 20th 1918. It was fine today.
September 21st 1918. Cold. Went to Leamington Sports in the afternoon.
September 22nd 1918. Very frosty and cold.
September 23rd 1918. Very wet. We had an inspection by the Head Doctor today. In the evening we had a very fine orchestral concert.
September 24th 1918. Went over Warwick Castle today. This is a very fine old place. In 1870 the residential parts were destroyed by fire but have since been rebuilt. The parts we saw over are the old original and well preserved. First we went over the Great Hall. In here is the famous Guy's Porridge Pot, round which is centred a very old legend. Next we went through the Armoury, where we saw the armoury of 15th and 16th century. Also the exact helmet Cromwell wore. from here we go into the Hall where we saw the famous Portrait of Mrs. Siddons by Reynolds; also a table made from the slab of rock from Gibraltar.
From here we went into the main Armoury in which there are some fine specimens of early armour; the old leather beer jugs, an old banner ( 900 years old ) and the remains of the old Gorget. Next came the Boudoir. This is very pretty. The ceiling was built to the command of Charles 11. There is some very fine furniture and a Marie Antoinette Clock; also some fine furniture by the old masters.
Next room is Queen Annes Room. All the furniture of this room was given by Queen Anne. The walls are covered with priceless Brussels Tapestry dating from 1600. From here we go into the Cedar Drawing Room where there are some of Vandyke's Masterpieces and other priceless treasures. Next we come to the red Drawing Room with the famous Genoese Vandykes. There is also the fine French Cabinet in here and some really fine specimens of Buhl Work. From here we went to the Gardens which are laid out in Italian Style. In the Conservatory is a Vase known as the "Warwick Vase" dating from 400 B.C.
September 25th 1918. Mrs. Pratt from Rollestone came up to see me today, so we went into Leamington Gardens; ( The Jeffson Gardens ) they are very pretty. She told me of the death of absolutely my best pal I have ever had, Sandy Delbridge. I felt it more than if it had been my own brother.
September 26th 1918. Raining all day.
September 27th 1918. We had a nice concert by the Pay Corps in the evening.
September 28th 1918. Some excitement today. Just as we finished dinner, we came out of the Dining Hall and saw one of the tents ablaze. Before we could do anything, the whole place was gone, beds and all the contents included.
September 29th 1918. Went to the Church of St. Mary's this morning. It was Harvest Thanksgiving. The place looked lovely.
September 30th 1918. News came through of five big offensives. They are all assuming great results for us.
October 1st 1918. With the first of the month came the news of the collapse of Bulgaris, the best news of the war so far. In the afternoon went to the Bowling Green and had great sport.
October 2nd 1918. News from Palestine ( where the new offensive has broken out ) that the first day realised a big advance and 10,000 Turk prisoners.
October 3rd 1918. In the afternoon we went to Leamington Spa and saw "Diplomacy" a very fine play. In the evening we had a whist drive.
October 4th 1918. It was frosty today so we went for a walk to Emscote, about half way to Leamington.
October 5th 1918. It was very cold and rained all day so stayed at home.
October 6th 1918. Went to a very nice place to tea. It was Mrs. Reeves, a friend of Mrs. Pratt's.
October 7th 1918. Went to see the "Night Birds" at Leamington. In the evening, the Matron had a big raid to discover if any one was out after hours.
October 8th 1918. A nice fine day.
October 9th 1918. Went to see "Love in a Cottage" at the theatre Royal, Leamington. It was lovely.
October 10th and 11th 1918. Very wet so stayed home. I wore my boot on the bad leg for the first time today. Am now able to get around with the aid of a stout stick.
October 12th 1918. A great day in Warwick. It was the Warwick Fair, or Mop, as it is called here. In this are Merry-go-rounds, Cheap Jacks and anything for amusement, all set up in the Market Square. In the evening they had a confetti battle. We had a royal time.
This generally goes on for three Saturdays, and is a very old custom.
October 13th 1918. The Head Quack visited us today. He told me I had a good chance of getting home, as the sciatic nerve in the leg was damaged.
October 14th 1918. Rather cold and wet so went to the Winter Hall in Leamington to see the Gipsies, a very fine concert party.
October 15th 1918. Went to the Theatre Royal, Leamington, to see Maud Allen, the great dancer.
October 16th 1918. Varied the programme today. Went to see the picture "Twenty Thousand Leagues under Sea", a great production.
October 17th 1918. Rained so stayed home. Had a fine concert in the evening by the Local String Orchestra.
October 18th 1918. Raining.
October 19th 1918. Second day of Warwick Mop. Had a real good time.
October 20th 1918. Cold.
October 21st 1918. Went to see a "Wild West Show- Bronco Bill " It was a scream, in fact the most disgustingly poor show I have struck.
October 22nd 1918. Raining again.
October 23rd 1918. Went to the Theatre Royal, Leamington to see Comic Opera "Carminetta". It was great.
October 24th 1918. Felt very seedy. Afraid I am in for the "Flu" which is raging in England.
October 25th 1918. No entry.
October 26th 1918. Went to the first Baseball ever played in Warwick. It was played by 2 notable American teams, went to the Mop in the evening but did not enjoy it as I was off colour.
October 27th 1918. Very crook this morning so had to stay in bed, with a temperature of 103, so was sent into isolation.
October 28th to 31st 1918. In bed with high temperatures. News came through today of the collapse of Turkey.
November 1st 1918. Allowed out of bed, feel very weak.
November 2nd 1918. Went to Leamington to see the Arcadians. Still feeling very seedy.
November 3rd 1918. Will wonders never cease. News came of Austria Collapse. This is a third within a fortnight.
November 4th 1918. Usual downpour.
November 5th 1918. A change, fine.
November 6th 1918. Went to see the "Man from Toronto" at the Theatre Royal, Leamington, a perfect scream.
November 7th 1918. Fine.
November 8th 1918. Germany sent her Peace Delegates today.
November 9th 1918. Still things are happening, news of the abdication of the Kaiser and his pals came through at 7 pm. Everything is rumours and the excitement waiting for news is gradually growing.
November 10th 1918. News of the Germans Revolution.
November 11th 1918. Misty rain all day. We all had to march and escort a captured German gun through the town to take part in the War Loan campaign, when at 11 am the news came through that the Germans had excepted the Armistice Terms. Within half an hour the place was one blaze of flags, not one Australian flag was to be seen, all business was suspended and the excitement was intense.
The wounded got a great time in the evening. The Commandant and Matron arranged a dance of which I was M.C. Had a great time and there were a fine lot of girls present.
November 12th 1918. Public holiday and very frosty. In the evening we had a very nice Pierotte Party to entertain us.
November 13th 1918. Went to Leaming to see Zig-Zag the popular Revue, it was gorgeously staged.
November 14th and 15th 1918. Nothing doing.
November 16th 1918. Went for a trip to Stratford-on-Avon, commonly know as Shakespear's country, where we saw his actual residence, that of Ann Hatherway, his wife and the school at which he was educated. It was very pretty.
November 17th 1918. Frosty again. Went for a trip to Knilworth but owing to the scarcity of guides could not find out much about the history of this place. Here is situated the ruins of the famous Kenilworth Castle, round which is centred "Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott.
November 18th and 19th 1918. Foggy and frosty.
November 20th 1918. Went to Leamington to see "Zar-Zar", a French play, it is very fine. When we arrived back I found I was marked for Horseferry Road tomorrow.
November 21st 1918. Left for London, arriving there at 7.30 pm. After reporting went out to Miss Henning's
November 22nd 1918. Spent the day at Horseferry Road and in the evening went to the Vaudeville Theatre to see "Tabs", a very nice little Revue.
November 23rd 1918. Caught the 10 am. train to Leamington and went to see the Radium's in the evening.
November 24th 1918. Spent the afternoon at the Hill House Hospital seeing my friends, an staying at Clarendon about the best hotel I could find in Leamington.
November 25th 1918. My pal went to Harefield today, so I returned to London and in the evening went to see "As You Were" commonly known as "The Undressed Rehearsal" at the London Pavilion.
November 26th 1918. Rained all day, so spent it in the City. In the evening took one of the Miss Hennings to see "Going Up" at the Gaiety, this, a musical comedy, was most enjoyable.
November 27th 1918. Went for a walk down the Mall and St. James' Park to see the captured Guns. All the avenues were lined with them and there were several captured by our Battalion. In the afternoon I went over Australia House in the Strand. It is all marble and a monument to the beauty of Australia.
Went to Drury lane Theatre to see Shanghai in which Dorothy Brunton and Ivy Schilling take part. It is really the best staged thing I have seen.
November 28th 1918. Wet. In the evening took another of the Miss Hennings to the Lyric to see Doris Kean in "Roxana"
November 29th 1918. Met my mate from Hospital and had a day round town. In the evening had dinner at the Trocadero and afterwards saw a fine Spy play called "The Luck of the Navy"
November 30th 1918. Had dinner at the Savoy and afterwards went to the Criterion Theatre to see "You Never Knowy' Know". I never laughed so much before. Afterwards we went to the Criterion for supper, London looks great at night now that the paint has been taken off all the lamps.
December 1st 1918. It is very wet. 2pm. Marshal Foch landed from France. He received a very fine welcome. Went for a walk down Knight's Bridge. It was very interesting in this quarter.
December 2nd 1918. Dinner at the Trocadero and afterwards went to see "Yes Uncle" at the Shaftesbury Theatre. This is a real scream with fine music.
December 3rd 1918. Had a great day. I accepted the invitation to visit Windsor Castle. 9 am. We started out from the War Chest Club. On landing at Windsor Station we went straight to the Castle and went through St. George's Chapel for the Knight's of the Garter, it was built in 1473 AD by Edward IV. The organ installed by George 111. and the windows arranged by Henry 111 and Edward 111.
In one other corner there is a fine monument of the Princess Charlotte, who should have been Queen in place of Victoria, but died a short time before George IV. The choir is a beautiful carved oak and each stall has its crest above it. The one which used to belong to the Kaiser is now in disgrace.
Around the entire building is a series ( some 200 or so ) of angels heads, known as the Angel Choir. From here we went to the Albert memorial which was fitted out by Queen Victoria. The walls are done in marble on which are pictures done in coloured cement, made from powdered marble. They were executed by an Italian who took the secret of their manufacture with him when he died.
Each picture took one year to complete and was chosen by one of the Royal family. In the centre is the exquisite Duke of Clarence memorial in gold. The ceiling and windows of this place are very fine. Next we went outside and came across the round tower built in 1056 AD. from here we passed through the Norman Gate over which James 1st of Scotland was imprisoned after passing many guards and Police.
We went through The Lord Chamberlains Office to the Century Hall where we were personally received by the Queen attended by Princess Alice, Duchesse of Athelone and had lunch. After this we were each presented with a souvenir card from the King and Queen.
The State Apartments.
These are practically beyond all words, first is the vestibule in which is a Tiger's head dating from 1799 AD. The tongue is of solid gold and the teeth Crystal.
Here there is a plentiful supply of Armoury belonging to all the past Kings, also a crown and throne chairs, a present from the King of Delhi. The pictures are by John West.
The Guard Room.
This is as it was in the time of George IV. Here is situated a fine collection of arms from Waterloo and the breastplate of George 111. In a case are the batons of the Prince Consort and Duke of Cambridge and the swords of Charles 1st and Duke of Marlborough. The floor is covered with tiger skins presented by the Marajar of Napoul. In the centre is a chair made from the finest elm tree from the plain of Waterloo. This was presented to George IV.
St. George's Hall or large banqueting Hall,
20 feet by 34 feet by 34 feet. The walls are decorated with the shields of the Knights of the Garter. This room was originally fitted by Edward 3rd and in it are the banners of all the original knights and a picture of each King from James 1st to George IV. At the far end is an exact copy of the State Chair of Edward 111.
Grand Reception Room.
Built to the design of George IV. The walls are hung with tapestry dating from 744 AD to 788AD and representing the old Legend of Jason and the golden fleece. Lighting is from fern shaped chandeliers and crystal tulip shaped wall lights in huge blue vases. These were brought from Venice and are known as the Venetian Tulip Lights. On the mantle piece is the clock of George IV and in the window a huge 6 ft vase presented to Queen Victoria by the Czar of Russia.
In here is situated the banqueting table which has 52 pairs of legs. The walls are gilded and hung with portraits of Kings and Warriors and statesmen of the Waterloo period. The carpet was presented to Queen Victoria and measures 74 feet by 40 feet and weighs 3 tons.
The Throne Room.
This is done out in red and royal blue tapestry, which along with the furniture are woven to the design of the order of the Garter. This room is used for the investure of the Knights of the Garter. The main pictures by Gainsbourough are of William IV, George 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
On all the shelves and nooks are small white marble models of old Roman arches. At the far end is the throne made of gilt, amethysts and crystals and which belonged to the Ruler of Ceylon till 1813 Ad.
The Ante Throne Room.
A very small room, lined with carved oak to represent the finding of Moses.
So called because all the pictures are the work of this artist. The main ones being his wife and the Holy Family. Everything is red and gilt and is now used as the Writing Room. The table belonged to George IV.
Ante State Room.
In the time of Charles this was used as the Dining Room. The ceiling was painted by Antonio Gomo who had to do this whilst lying flat on his back. This piece of work killed him and is supposed to be the second finest fresco in the world. The walls are of cedar to half way up and then crimson Tapestry to the roof.
The doors and windows being picked out with cedar carvings to represent fruit and flowers and done to the command of Charles 1st and 2nd. The chairs are those used by Charles 11.
Grand Stair Case.
This is decorated with the arms of the 15th to the 17th century. The stairs are of white marble and granite. At the bottom is a statue of George IV and the actual armour worn by Henry VIII. On either side at the top are two Sedan Chairs which were presented to Queen Charlotte. In the roof is the Union Jack which flew over the Legation at Pekin during the Boxer Revolution.
The Grand Terrace.
One gets a fine view of Windsor and Eton. It is laid out with gardens which is studded with statues and fountains and surrounded with a terrace promenade. Now we pass to the stables and saw the great coach horses and the exercising room, a very large hall used to teach the Royal Children to ride and to exercise the horses. The came coaches and carriages galore.
We then went out to a Cafe in Windsor for refreshments. 1.30 pm. Returned and saw Nell Gwynne's house. Then passed through Henty VIII Gate under which is situated the debtors prison where any man unable to pay his debts was put they were paid by him or some one else. Then came the cloisters built in the form of a horseshoe by Henry 1.
This was built in 1066 AD by William the Conqueror. The walls at the base or dungeon are 56 feet thick. In this dungeon is a set of old stocks, 300 years old. We were each locked in these for fun. From the ceiling was a pipe used for the water torture form. This water used to drop on the prisoner's head every few seconds until he went mad and finally died.
Next to this is a condemned cell. A prisoner once tried to escape from here. He scrapped 12 feet into the wall and then he found his fingers were worn down to the second joint.
Here the walls are 12 feet thick. The cords of the chimes of 12 bells weighing 36 tons hang from the roof along with a quaint iron Chandelier 100 years old. A stair case which rises 12 feet at an angle of 20 degrees from the perpendicular and in it's time costing one pound, seventeen shillings and ten pence rises to the next story.
From the window of this floor Cromwell erected a gun to command the whole of Eton. Here also are the bells installed in 1689 AD and the old brass clock which takes 25 minutes to wind up each day and 40 minutes to wind the chimes every second day. It loses about 3 minutes a year and the brass is remarkable.
Near this is a trap door used by Kings of long ago as an escape. It has a drop of 28 feet. This finished the castle so we walked down to Eton College, which has beautiful entrance doors. In the square is the statue of the Founder, and it is the custom of the School to always walk on the right hand side of it.
Near this is the old pump from which in olden days wayfarers used to get water, and from a window opposite a loaf of bread free. An ancient custom is to drink of this water for luck, which we did.
The Dinning Hall
Built by Henry VI, is used by the King's scholars. The windows are of leadlight with the State Coat of Arms let in. The fireplaces were discovered about 75 years ago, when repairing the floor. They had been covered up by the Wainscot in which is a black panel commemorating the time when Queen Elizabeth ruled the Nation. The chapel was built in 1444 AD. It is fairly large and what now stands was originally intended for the choir of the largest Church in the world. The building was stopped by the Wars of the Roses.
It was used as a stable by Cromwell and has a very artistic organ. The alter is made of one slab of black Belgian Marble supported by six bronze heads. hanging in the Chancel is a French Gun captured by an ex Collegian at Bois - Grenier the first VC Gained by Eton in this war.
The school room here, the supports are made of the oak from the Spanish Armada and the Eton block on which the boys are punished. The walls along the stairs and upper class rooms are carved with 6,500 names amongst which are many prominent men of the present day. The rooms are filled with busts of famous Statesmen trained at Eton.
3.45 pm. Caught the train to London. 5.15.pm.Caught the train to Warwick where I met my pal.
December 4th 1918. Visited hospital and in the night went to see "Daddy Long legs" at the Theatre Royal "
December 5th 1918. went to see the "Monte Banks" at the Winter Hall in the evening.
December 6th 1918. Caught the 7.15 am. train to London, arriving there via Oxford at 11.15 am. Leave being up I reported at Horseferry Road where I met Harold Drew and left for Hurdcott where we arrived at 8 pm. in heavy rain.
December 7th 1918. Midst heavy rain went up for medical classification. I was boarded and marked "Home Service"
December 8th 1918. Went up to Fovant to see my old mates at the Signal School.
December 9th to 11th 1918. Parades and rain.
December 12th 1918. Wonders at work again. I was put on the boat roll for Australia on the S.S. "Aenaes" leaving about the 18th.
December 13th to 16th 1918. Rained and parades as usual.
December 17th 1918. We were standing on the parade ground all day on the boat check parade.
December 18th 1918. 1 am. Breakfast. Raining torrents. After standing in rain and getting wet through we moved to Fovant at 4.30 am. and left by train at 5.50 am. After a pretty journey through Oxford and Birmingham we arrived at Liverpool Docks at 2.30 pm.
December 19th 1918. At the mouth of the River Mersey on the right bank lies a torpedoed T.B.D. 10 am. Pulled into Anglesea on account of engine trouble and left at 4.30 pm.
December 20th 1918. Very rough and as usual I am sick. Was made Orderly Corporal for the trip.
December 21st 1918. Still rough and very sick. Rained all day. During the day we saw a fair number of porpoises. At night it's interesting to see the phosphorous around the propellers. We are now in the Bay of Bisco and the waves are mountainous.
December 22nd 1918. Caught a glimpse of the coast of Portugal.
December 23rd 1918. 7 pm. Saught lights of Algiers and at 8 pm. passed through the straits of Gibraltar.
December 24th 1918. At sea.
December 25th 1918. Xmas Day. Had a very fine dinner and sports on the boat deck. 5 pm. Passed a Destroyer escorting submarines from Adriatis to England.
December 26th 1918. Sports in the afternoon.
December 27th 1918. Passed Malta.
December 28th and 29th 1918. At sea.
December 30th 1918. 7 am. First sight of Port Said. 8 am. Anchored. There are five wrecks still visible round the entrance to the Harbour. I will try and give you a brief idea of the place starting from the left are four vessels of various sizes, then a big foundry, and scrap heap dump. Then comes a great waste of sand which stretches as far as one can see. This borders the City and the first prominent feature is a white building at the waters edge.
Then comes all the many coloured houses and another fine white building on the waters edge. Next to this is a very fine clump of trees surmounted with a big water tank. Then the Canal and the vast waste of sand. During the day we took in coal and were entertained by natives diving for money and the Conjurer who came aboard. Fruit was very plentiful. 2 pm. We started on our trip down the Canal and passed a big boat load of New Zealanders on their way home.
On the left is an enormous camp of Armenians Refugees. On the right the country has undergone a vast improvement since I last saw it. The swamps are now drained and the railways and bridges have taken their place. On our left is sand, and right, green. 7.30.pm. Passed
El-Kantara, the start of the railway to Jerusalem. The sunset tonight is one I shall never forget.
December 31st 1918. 1 am. We are now passing Ismalia. 7 am. Arrived at Suez and anchored. It is very hot.
It's Over, nearly home to arrive in 1919. Click here
Back to Start