November 1916


1 Wednesday 

9am moved to Adv’d Div. HQ 12 noon try to get Visual Comm.[1] from Bazentin le Grand to Hook trench but unsuccessful.  6pm managed to get through, also managed to get shelled for our pains.  Enemy shelled just over our place all night.  Expect moving on to Visual Station tomorrow night for the attack following morning.

2 Thursday

Got shelter built in Hook trench for Visual Station.  Nothing else all day just helping with wires around Advd. HQ.  German planes very active therefore plenty aeroplane fights.  Enemy again shelled just near during the night, one bursting quite near and destroying part of our route.  Strafe put off two days.

3 Friday

Busied myself building a bit shelter.  German planes showing more activity today.  Saw two of ours come down, one near Quarry[2] the other towards Contalmaison.  Both planes came down quite under control.  Two of our 12” howitzers fired a few rounds today.

4 Saturday

Got our hut built.  Nothing special all day.  About 11pm it commenced blowing a proper gale with heavy rain.  Our roof went off with the wind and we had to turn out to repair it.  Attack coming early tomorrow.  Reveille 4.30pm

5 Sunday [3]

Breakfast 5am got out to station at 6.50 commenced action straight away.  In the attack 9th DLI gained their objective, 6th DLI gained part of theirs 8th DLI failed in their attack.  Australians on our right were held up and gained no ground.  Visual station closed at 5.30pm we returned to Div.  During night Fritzy heavily counter attack’d regaining all that he lost during day.  Prussian Guards are reported as being in this attack.

6 Monday

Reveille 4.30am same procedure as yesterday.  On visual work at Bazentin le Grand from 6am until 4.30pm.  Nothing more of importance but operations had to go on to gain objectives failed in yesterday Fritzy gaining all his ground back caused our people to cancel operations indefinitely.  Two Zepps over about 8pm.

7 Tuesday

Nothing doing all day.  The weather is abominable rained the whole blessed day long.  I have notified today one or two units taking rations etc. up on mud sledges.

8 Wednesday

Has a walk down to LM at Fricourt Farm

9 Thursday

Weather splendid all day, like spring.  German aeroplanes very busy today, one I saw brought down.

10 Friday

Weather still good.  Aeroplanes on both sides very active.  One I saw fell hundred feet or so.  This one was brought down in flames about an half hour later.  One Hun less, German plane over about 9pm dropped five bombs.  No damage or casualties.

11 Saturday

On the stroke of midnight our guns opened a terrific fire on the German trenches.  It lasted about one hour.  The same thing occurred about 6am.  Each time I could not tell what was happening when I awakened.  Dull and misty all day, worse towards night.

12 Sunday

Heavy firing being going on since about 6am.  The French seem to be going at it strong by the sound of fire in that direction.  No aeroplanes to be seen as weather is too thick for observation.

13 Monday

5.45am Heavy bombardment of the German trenches lasting about half an hour.  Preparations for the attack tomorrow, we have got to be on visual stations at 6.30am.  Heard that 3000 men and 50 officers were taken in the fighting at Beaumont Hamel today.

14 Tuesday

Established signal station at 6.30am.  One in sugar refinery B-G[4] the other Hook trench.  Heavy fighting all day in which the NFs lost heavily but gained all their objectives.  Australians on the right did well.  Their counter attacks repulsed with heavy loss to Fritzy.  Weather dull until 2pm.  We left stations at 7.15pm.  Cut my face by joining a broken girder in refinery.

15 Wednesday

Nothing special but plenty arty fire and aerial activity.  Fritzy shelled a lot during night around and near our HQ.  Had a suet pudding of my own making today.  Weather very cold and frosty.  Very cold at night.

16 Thursday

Nothing of importance but plenty aeroplanes.  Still freezing.  Pudding was such a success yesterday that I made enough for six today.  It was A1.

17 Friday

Left LMR at Bazentin l’Grand at 1.50pm, arriving at L.M. Fricourt Farm 2.45pm.

18 Saturday

Nothing special ordinary stables.  Getting as much as possible ready for moving tomorrow.  Weather very wet.

19 Sunday

Reveille 4am. Raining heavy.  Packing etc until we hooked in and moved off for Albert at 6.50am.  Arrived Albert 8.15am billeted in 83 Rue de Moreuil.  Slept on horse lines.

20 Monday

Weather dry and windy. Ordinary work on lines and making things a little ship shape.

21 Tuesday, 22 Wednesday & 23 Thursday

No entries.

24 Friday

Weather very cold these four days.  Stable duties and checking deficiencies in stores and harnesses.  Slight shower of rain today.

25 Saturday

Had a bath this morning and a clean change.

26 Sunday

Fell a little off volume this morning.  3pm had to go to bed.  Temperature 103

27 Monday

Still in bed all day.  Temperature the same.  Did not bite the whole day long.  A little better towards night.  Fritz shelled the town all night.

28 Tuesday

Had a little breakfast.  Got up this morning washed and shaved then back to bed.  No temperature.  Got up for dinner.

29 Wednesday

No entry

30 Thursday

Packing etc. for the move tomorrow


[1] Comm.=communication

[2] Quarry=Querrieu

[3] This action was known simply as the Butte de Warlencourt 1916 see Wyrall p.171 – 183.  DLI casualties numbered about 1000 and Peter Hart (The Somme) and Harry Moses (The Faithful Sixth)

[4] Bazentin-le-Grand