September 1917


1 Saturday

Paraded 6am march to boat which left at 8.45am and took 1¾hrs to cross.  At Boulogne we were taken to Oostrahove Camp until tomorrow.  Managed to get out for the night and had a look around Boulogne

2 Sunday

Paraded at 9.15 am and marched to station at Boulogne.  Entrained 10.25 and moved off at 11.25.  Travelled via Etaples, Hesdin, St. Pol, Arras and arriving Boisy au Mont[1] about 7pm.

3 Monday

Reported at Orderly room 9am and just larged about remainder of day.

4 Tuesday

Did nothing all day except checking and hunting up visual stores etc.

5 Wednesday

Started at 11am to test about 30 new men who have just arrived for a signal course.  Saw one of our heavy aeroplanes about 2.50pm trying to loop the loop when one of his planes collapsed and he came down to earth.  Both men were killed outright.  Another plane I saw last looping continuously.  Once he looped seven times in succession.

6 Thursday

Orderly Sergt. today.  Weather still keeps fine and has been every day since I got back.  Our Adjt. Lt. Cowling went over to see that plane which came down yesterday and told me today that it was a heavy type of machine and the pilot tried to loop with it when one of the planes collapsed.  The breaking of the plane could be distinctly heard.  Both men were killed.

7 Friday

Back to usual instructional work again today.  I have No.I + II classes.  Those aviators were buried today.

8 Saturday

Nothing special except the usual weekly tests

9 Sunday

Church parade under the new Divl Padre.  Went over to a concert at the 9th DLI tonight.  A large number of Yorkies also sang and gave various other tunes.  It was a fine nights’ enjoyment.

10 Monday

Usual instru. all day.  OC sent for me and asked if I would like to go to England for 6 months.  So I filled up my papers there and then and they were sent.  I stand a very remote chance as there are only two Sergts. required out of the 2nd Army.

11 Tuesday

Credit balance due to me on June 30/17 = £25-4-8½

12 Wednesday

Nothing of importance today except that I have now got an officers class along with 1 and 2 classes.

13 Thursday

Just the usual instructional work all day.  Last night at 11.20pm I heard, or rather felt, a sort of very heavy explosion which shook the hot and wakened some of the other NCOs who were already asleep then shortly after came a series of long heavy rumbling noises.  I came to the conclusion that it was some ammtn. dump that had caught fire.  It seemed to be a great distance from here.

14 Friday

Nothing much all day.  There is a raid on the German lines by battalions of the 151 Bde.

15 Saturday[2]

I am going up to fix stations for raid which comes off at 4pm.  One station on ridge overlooking German lines, the one I was on was at Heninel near 151 Bde HQ.  Our barrage commenced at 4pm.  Fritzy’s barrage was late and placed on our front line just on our lads dropped into Fritzy’s line.  They stayed half an hour, destroyed dugouts and trenches caused by a large number of casualties, brought back 35 prisoners and two M Guns of a new type, covers and everything complete.  One dugout was blown up by throwing in 100lbs guncotton because the Germans in it refused to come out.  The stuff went up many yards high.  We could see the whole of these proceedings.  Just as our lads got back to our line Fritzy put his barrage onto his own front line expecting that we were going to hold it.  Another raid was made on the same point at 7.40 prompt but it was too dark for us to see anything.  It was successful and was carried out by the 8th DLI.  The first one was carried out by the 9th DLI.  We closed our station at 8.30 and got back to camp all safe at 10pm.  This raid was to celebrate our entry in the Somme fighting of last Sept 15.

16 Sunday

Church parade today.  The band played on the school parade ground from 5 until about 6.30pm.  Not feeling well the whole day.

17 Monday

Still feeling of colour, worse than yesterday.  Test reading in all subjects.  Testing ofrs. and NCOs 5-7.30pm.  These men are going on special courses at other schools.

18 Tuesday

The usual practice work.  Still off colour.

19 Wednesday

Feeling A1 today.  Nothing of interest except to say that the weather still holds good.

20 Thursday & 21 Friday

Nothing just the usual visual instruction.

22 Saturday

Exam tests for reading and map reading.  Very cold during the night last night.

23 Sunday

Inspection for the whole school in fighting order by GS01 Capt.  Kentish of Div. HQ.  Parade at 8.45am.  Church parade after 10.15.  Finish for the day.

24 Monday

Usual visual work.  1.15pm Parade with a party of 50 men for fatigue at 446th Fd. Coy.  We moved a Nissen hut bodily.  Got back to camp 6.30pm.

25 Tuesday

Usual work. 10am tests for men who have been up the line.  These are passing out tests.  Weather still keeps very hot during day but cold and damp at night.

26 Wednesday

Usual practice all day.  Our aeroplanes are busy every night after dark.  Seen Tobe carrying out experiments.  They are like a motor car with headlights.

27 Thursday

Usual practices.  About 7pm a German plane raiders brought down two of our balloons in flames near Arras.  Three of the raiders were brought down.

28 Friday

Nothing special all day

29 Saturday

Usual practice.  4pm paraded with 1,2 + 3 classes to see experiments carried out with Sigg rockets.  All Divl. Staff Officers were present.  These rockets carried a distance of over 1000yds and carried a message fixed in the stick.  These experiments are with an idea to using them in the front line trenches to send messages back.  One for use in daylight sort of whistles on p.[3]  Its flight the one for night work burns during its flight and can be followed to its fall.

30 Sunday

Church parade.  In the afternoon I had a ride to Ayette and got a good stock of apples from an orchard there.


[1] Probably Boisleux-au-Mont

[2] Check Wyrall

[3] “sort of whistles on p”=don’t understand this expression