My father John Evan Adlard donated his
WW1 diary to the Australian War Memorial.
It is a detailed account of this ghastly war and the original also
contains some of his drawings. As his son I wish to make available an
online version of his work. If I have changed any of his words then I
apologise, for this was not my intention.
I have included 'Life on a Shoestring' as an introduction to the young
Reference: Australian War Memorial - Private Records Collection -
Accession No: 2DRL/0020.
Website: Australian War Memorial Collections Database (enter 'Search
Our Collections', search string 'Adlard').
By John Evan Adlard Copyright 1973 (aged 85) - rewritten from his
notes by Chas Adlard 2003
Born in 1888 I was reared in excellent circumstances providing me with
a first class private and public school education. Apprenticed to his
trade (Master Printer) through a city company I successfully finished
my apprenticeship entering my father's London office and became a
Liveryman. This proved to be a bad thing, teaching me to live above my
means, but it eventually led to my cutting adrift and starting a new
life in the colonies.
Because of this my life has been full of incident, and at the time of
writing happy and comfortable. Enjoyable books relating to the
personal experiences of people who have been to many places and
countries have been written. Here then is the nub of the matter. The
authors have invariably been well supplied with funds, and have
enjoyed first class travel. Their outlook and experiences inevitably
were coloured accordingly.
This is why the experiences gained 'on a shoestring' may provide
interesting reading to those similarly placed - to those who love the
wide-open spaces, and have to or hope to hoe their own row, and 'see
Let us begin here in 1911 the beginning of this record when young man
with trusting wife set out. The migrant ship belonged to a small
shipping line (the whole line was sunk in WW1) - the voyage was
reasonable weatherwise; the accommodation awful. The voyage was to
take seven long weeks to Melbourne, and not via the expedient route of
I settled myself in the grubby carriage of the train especially
reserved for emigrants. I tried to put my old school tie straight,
while holding the hand of the girl beside me. The carriage was
half-empty until a sudden invasion by a massive woman, five children
and a small inoffensive husband. She overflowed onto me, puffing with
anticipation of things to come. She said 'Ha, we've doon it!', and
continued to puff. The year was 1911, and the emigrants were bound for
Australia, via Tilbury Docks. It was a slow and sweaty journey by
train, somewhat relieved by the good-natured children who talked of
their father's efforts to bring in enough to live on. He was a
builder's labourer - mostly out of work. I said 'Don't worry I, too,
am now out of work, but the thing is take the first job offered, and
stick to it, until something better comes along.'
In all England there can scarcely be a more dismal train journey than
London to Tilbury on a wet Sunday. There was nothing whatever but
gloom to be seen, and the thoughts and fears for the future cast a
further mental gloom over the travellers.
At last one of the children shouted 'I can see an enormous ship with a
great big funnel.' This started a stampede in the carriage, causing
parcels to be dropped, and 'Mind my feet' and 'Tommy shut that window,
or you'll lose yer 'at'. Tilbury was in sight - the ship anchored out
in 'the River'. There was a floating raft, and passengers were ferried
out to the vessel. She was not more than 9500 tons, and not built to
carry passengers. There were no cabins, as such, males and females,
married or single were accommodated in different parts of the ship
during the night. The vessel's holds were divided up into cubicles
about seven feet high with no ceilings. Violence, robbery, and fights
were commonplace - including two suicides - and a death from
seasickness. A Frenchman ran amok yelling 'I 'ave him, I 'ave him'
ending up by leaping the stern rail and drowning himself. The quarters
were appalling - and the food poor, the voyage long, the weather
The first port of call was Sierra Leone, called 'Freetown' after the
abolition of slave traffic, on the west coast of Africa. Passengers
were allowed ashore, by tender or by ship's boats. It was very warm
there. Palm trees and bananas were growing in the town, and there was
a semicircular traders shop, a two storey all wooden hotel and single
storey wooden houses. The native market, crowded with Africans in
brightly coloured shirts or shorts, breasts bare, of course which was
just too much for 'new chums'. 'Just fancy' said someone. 'Black and
brazen. Disgusting I calls it.'
Freetown had its own black officials with power in any court case over
black or white who had been brought to trial. One such 'important
person', dressed in immaculate white duck and topee, passed along main
street, carried on a Sedan Chair by two lower caste boys. This first
ever sight of black people in their own town - a town of tropical
plants and sizzling sunshine - made a tremendous impact on migrants
from grey old England.
The short and revealing call at West Africa came to an end - back on
board ship was the order of the day. A blast of the ship's siren, and
once more to sea. Proceeding at fourteen knots, the next port of call,
Cape Town, was reached in comparative discomfort. This time interest
was really awakened, especially at the call 'Land ahoy on the port
bow.' 'Which side is that, mum?' 'Don't ask me. Ask the Captain,'
replied the child's mother. Table Mountain it was, and from first
sight, half a day before entering the Bay.
I had a call to make (prearranged) on the Curator of the Museum. We
were allowed into a private area and on display were life-size models
of bush people, pigmies and tree dwellers. The Tree people were quite
unlike any other humans - they had large, almost square buttocks and
when squatting the women's breasts were flattened on the ground. Very
primitive indeed. In Cape Town skins and bedcovers - called karosses -
were easily obtained, and much sought after. Twenty shillings would
buy quite nice skins. Zebra, antelopes of many kinds, also lion and
the beautiful springbok - the adopted Emblem of South Africa.
Here the ship took on coal. An understatement this. Everything took on
coal dust. Native workers, each carrying on head or shoulders a basket
of coal, trotted up a gangway in an endless procession for about
twenty-four hours. Passengers ashore went shopping, at least those
that had some money. The only difference to English coin was the
number of'tickies' (silver three penny coins). They were dished out
almost by the handful when given change. I bought a kaross, made of
gemsbok, and four meerkat skins, measuring six feet by four feet and
six inches, and also a springbok skin and two assegais.
In due course the coaling was completed, and much scrubbing and hosing
revealed a fairly clean ship. Tugs assisted the vessel to clear
harbour, and so to sea for the long voyage non-stop to Australia.
What a vast expanse of water, huge rollers over a mile wide, and at
one time no gulls or birds at all. Some dolphins, flying fish and the
occasional whale nearer to Australia.
Kangaroo Island was the first sight of land in three weeks - three
miserable weeks. Children were getting out of hand, mothers
desperately worried, and the men gambling and fighting. All in fact
utterly bored. The large island off South Australia at sunrise was the
most wonderful thing, arousing hopes and anxious thoughts of the new
Still going in a southerly direction for about four hundred and fifty
miles, the course was altered towards Port Philip Bay, to tie up at
Port Melbourne. Fortunately the passengers and crew were free of
infectious diseases, which enabled Emigration and Customs Officers to
clear the ship quickly. I sought an interview with an Emigration
Officer, intimated that I wanted to go 'on the land', and was offered
a job in Gippsland on a dairy farm. My only qualification was that I
was a reasonable horseman. The pay was twenty-five shillings a week
and a four room wooden house with free board and free milk. Having no
money, after nearly seven weeks at sea, I asked for and got a loan of
two pounds for expenses. I caught a train for Sale in the East
Gippsland, then the end of the line.
I and young wife, Mollie, were met at Sale railway station by the new
boss, 'call me Ted' with a horse and buggy with two seats, quite a
large affair. It was about ten miles of a wide (2 chain ie. sixty-six
feet) gravel road in flat country to the dairy farm, not far from Lake
Wellington. On the way Ted said to me 'What can you do?'
'I can do my best,' which elicited an explosive 'What is yer bloody
best?' The answer to this one remains an enigma. However, I did do
very well, milking by machine or hand - there were over eighty cows.
Ploughing with four horse teams, drilling, cultivating, harvesting,
fencing - everything imaginable. Fuel was wood, very hard wood -
indeed mostly Red Gum, Box and Stringbark. The countryside here on the
flat was miles of paddocks with post and rail or wired fences,
everywhere dotted with silver grey dead trees. Some of these had
disease many had been ringbarked so that grass or crops could be
grown. Hardwood trees do not rot, therefore it was necessary to blow
up the trunks. The trees that had been felled were hauled to make log
fences - which became infested with snakes and rabbits.
Ted, my boss, was a very small, wiry and fiery man. His wife was a
large woman of about fourteen stone with a heart of gold. Both Mollie
and I were infatuated with them. Australian houses, I found, were of
the 'bungalow style' with a verandah to at least three sides. The work
on this farm was one might call constant. Rise at 3.30 am, catch a
horse, ride to a swamp, get off, tie up horse, take a boat, start
eighty odd cows back from higher ground near the river. Get out of
boat, get on horse and move to the yard and start milking with
machines or by hand. Milking and separating the milk took until about
8.15 am, then home on a horse for breakfast sowing with two teams of
four horses until milking time at 4.30 pm; and so the routine went on.
It was sixteen hours a day all the year round excepting Christmas Day
which was only eight hours. Everything was free and hard and certainly
cursed - and loved by all.
One day a month was free. Shopping was achieved by travelling
seventeen miles to Sale, not a fast trip in a jinker (sort of two
wheeled dogcart) at a jog trot. By this time a horse and jinker had
been acquired, besides a bed, a table and two chairs, and a female
puppy. She was visited by a dingo, and their offspring turned into the
prettiest poultry killers imaginable.
The country here is best described as river flats, formed over
thousands of years, and much of it salt reclaimed from the sea.
Ti-tree scrub grew along the water edge of Lake Victoria, and on
higher ground, magnificent eucalypts. Poisonous snakes were very
common in these days, particular care being necessary during
harvesting. Black snakes and 'copperheads' were most frequently seen.
The rabbit plague, imported by former misguided settlers, had become a
vast problem. There were millions, seriously threatening the sheep and
crop farmers. An order was made later that all paddocks must be wire
netted - even then the rabbits learned to climb at the corner of
fences. One method of destroying the rabbit was catch a buck in a wire
netting sleeve trap, tie a stick of gelignite under him with a short
fuse and let him go. Voila! No more Colony!
Most farmers quickly gave this up, and used diced apple with molasses
and strychnine - quite effective and caused instant death. Years
later, myxomatosis was introduced - but this was a slow painful death.
Rabbit poisoning was ordered by law to be done in January; indeed a
two horse Waggon load of rabbits after skinning was a chore to
remember. The fur was used to make hats.
At the time of year described the rushes on the morass (marsh) had
died down, and the whole area was pockmarked with hundreds of Black
Swan nests, containing lovely green eggs. Swans cannot count. Their
usual clutch is five eggs, but if one is marked indelibly it was
possible to take the rest, and the swan went on laying. An egg made a
good breakfast for four people. In the summer the morass was dry, and
the reeds high, with the cattle feeding there.
When on the dairy farm there were incidents both funny and tragic. One
day, during lunch, a pair of horses harnessed to a waggon, and with
nosebags on, suddenly took fright and bolted straight for the post and
rail courtyard fence. The waggon was heavy, they could not stop, so
they did the impossible for horses weighing nearly a ton each - they
jumped but the waggon didn't. They came to a very sudden stop. We had
to cut the fence to make a path but luckily no other harm was done.
About this time, the summer of 1913, boss's wife said 'There's a black
snake under the kitchen floor. I have put milk out for him, but he's
far to quick for me. Do something because of the kids.'
The kitchen was little more than a wooden hut, the floor on joists
laid on the bare earth. Half the floor had to be taken up and the cat
spotted the snake curled up against a far wall under what remained of
the floor. With innocence, the young farm hand shoved a
double-barrelled 'twelve bore' under the floor and pulled both
triggers. He went backwards out of the door into the yard, the snake
was blown to bits, and the kitchen wasn't too good either.
Later in the year came the time for chaff cutting, Whole oaten
sheaves, cut slightly green, were made into chaff for racing stables
and working horses. Ted's brother had bought a new machine which was
driven by a belt on a flywheel of a Steam Traction Engine. The sheaves
were fed into a revolving spiked drum, Harry got his hand pulled in,
the reversing and stop gear jammed, and his forearm was cut off half
an inch at a time. I stopped the engine by throwing a log through the
flywheel. Pretty grim you would think. It was. Harry put a fencing
wire tourniquet on his own arm, and drove his model T-Ford seventeen
miles to the hospital. Tough days.
Before I leave this part of Gippsland it is very interesting to
realise the mistakes made in the 'protection' of Aboriginals. They
were put into encampments surrounded by corrugated iron fences. One
such was called 'Ramyuk'. The result was appalling. These nice wild
people quickly ceased to be fertile, and they almost died out.
I moved from Ted's farm to a 'station' further up country past
Bairnsdale, and virtually into the bush on Lake King. Here I went into
partnership in setting up a poultry farm. My side of the contract was
to supply the labour - me. Looking after the cattle which were in
paddocks all along the shores of Lake King was also my job.
Once this lake had fresh water and was wonderful cattle country, and
indeed sheep as well. All the lakes were ruined when engineers decided
to link the sea with the hinterland via the lakes.
There was nothing more than a sandbar to cut. However, the sea level
was higher than the fresh water lakes, all of which became salt and
useless, a tragic error.
In those days before WW1, the road to Lakes Entrance did not exist,
except for a dirt track around huge gum trees. This is about two
hundred and forty miles from Melbourne and there in the bush were two
signs, one a cow advertising tinned milk and the other signpost -
12,452 miles to the London Colliseum....
The poultry farm venture did not last long, as I found I did all the
work - my partner very little - so we parted good friends. As we now
had two children, a girl - Joan, and a boy, Geoffrey - so it was
urgent for me find a job immediately. A friend fixed me up near Sale
again; there was an empty house several miles from a little township
called Longford where there were a good many morasses. I had to plant
water paspalum (a good grazing grass), and was allowed to cut up and
sell firewood. I planted the paspalum in dry weather, using a hoe and
the heel of my boot. It was a wonderful plant eventually turning
morass and rushes into green greying land. To get a bit more money I
got an old horse for two pound, ten shillings, borrowed a dray and a
'six foot' cross cut saw. I pulled that saw alone on alternative days,
cutting up fallen red gum trees - much heavier than English Oak. I
took the horse and dray six miles and hauled my logs from door to
door. The price of logs was about thirteen shillings for a half-ton.
When the paspalum planting was finished, there was pick and shovel
work to be done, building a road to the 90 mile beach, seven miles
away. I was given an old race pony to do the seven miles to and from
home. The owner of the land where I had been heaving wood and planting
was having a house built, a brick house of all things, for his new
bride. He was a countryman to his fingertips, regarding 'townies' as a
lot of people who put on 'dog'. One of the carpenters, from Melbourne,
was a tremendous boaster, fearing neither God or man. So Billy said to
me 'Andrews is going to Longford on the creamy pony to get a demijohn
of beer. Let's fix up a ghost for him'. This was right up my street.
So I got hold of an old sheet, and when I heard him coming, started to
run around sheep tracks in tall heather, bobbing up and down and all
the time making for Billy's double gate. Success, success. He charged
the gate and disappeared.
I asked Billy in the morning how it went. He replied,'Like a dose
o'salts, both the horse and the man were speechless, and he dropped
the beer'. We tried a trap later on, but finding said carpenter with a
shotgun decided to give it up.
From here we moved to a two-room bush hut, with a wooden chimney and
lined with hession covered with old paper. The fireplace had a painted
mantel - all the wood had gone - eaten by termites. Nectarines grew
outside. This was near a township called Rosedale, huge willows by a
creek and a little pub, one old chap, a regular drunk, had a bicycle.
He used to stagger out, stand his bike up in the road, and when it
fell down, he marched off home saying 'I won't ride a bike that's too
full to stand'.
One day on the Nicholson we were sharpening axes. Australians use a
small four and a half or four and a quarter pound axe, very well
tempered and sharpened to shave the hairs on one's arm. For safety the
axe is never left handle up unless stuck in a block of wood. A small
boy was 'helping', an axe was leaning against the grindstone, the boy
tripped and opened his face from chin to the corner of his eye - cut
clean through. I rode six miles at a full gallop on a gravel road for
a doctor. It ruined the horse, but five years later the scar had
Between the Nicholson and Lakes Entrance is thick bush, where there is
a damp hollow with tree ferns and generally lush plants. At this time
there were the little bellbirds, a fairy chime - each bird singing a
single note, but each of a different tone - a beautiful sound. After
many many years, we drove through there by car on the Princes Highway
- the bellbirds were still there after all the tree felling and
bulldozing of modern times.
On several occasions little Joan, aged three, came down to where I was
sawing logs with a billy of tea for me. This was not to last because
she was greeted by the cackle of four kookaburras. This was too much,
she said 'All the dickybirds are laughing at me' and took off at a
high speed for home.
While in the Rosedale area I was employed in a road making gang. I
made a 'tuckerbox' and provided myself with eggs, bread and sausages,
and of course tea and sugar. The only water available was from a small
dam in which the eels were so numerous that one had to skim the slime
off the billy before making tea. To make matters worse, the sausages
had to have the blowfly maggots washed off before frying. It was a
marvellously healthy life.
It was at this time that war had broken out in Europe, but remote as
we were I had not yet enlisted. However, the sinking of the
'Lusitania' by a German submarine was too much, and there was a rush
to the colours for Australia. I remember I went to a doctor for a
checkup, during a plague of fleas. When I say plague I mean plague,
the fleas were like ants - everywhere. One had to stand on a chair to
dress, and keep clothes hung up high. When I stripped for the doctor
revealing a solid rash of bites he said 'Good God, it looks like
measles'. However, I joined up and went to 'Broadmeadows Camp' in
WW1 History of Events for John Evan Adlard (1888 - 1980)
1915 Cape Helles, Anzac Cove, Lone Pine
1916 Pozieres, Fleurbaix, Flers Somme
1917 Ypres, Polygon Wood, Messines, Nieuport, Broodseinde,
South Africa: 1916/1917
Ships: 1915: A41 - Cannstadt, Kingstonian, Snaefell, Trawler (Helles
to Anzac), Gascon (Hospital Ship), Dunluce Castle
Ship 1916: Olympic
Ship 1917: Brighton Rly Boat, Ivernia: Leave Boat, Huanchaco: Hospital
Ship 1918: Balmoral Castle
DIARY OF John Evan ADLARD 1915-1918 (Driver & Lieutenant)
5th REINFORCEMENTS 1st DIVISIONAL AMMUNITION COLUMN
1st AUSTRALIAN FIELD ARTILLERY - 2nd, 3rd and 16th Batteries
AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
J.E.A. lived at this time in the Gippsland/Victoria, with his wife,
Edith Maud (neeTaylor) and his two small children, Joan Miriam &
Geoffrey Evan. JEA refers to his wife as either Mollie or Sally in
this diary. 'Sally' may in someway tie in with 'The Salvation Army'and
their unselfish role in WW1 ie Sally-Ann - salvation for the heart.
12/02/15 Went to Melbourne thence to Broadmeadows Camp Q-Squadron/
21/02/15 Hodgson and I applied for transfer to Field Artillery.
22/02/15 Instruct Squad. Editor's note: JEA had 4 years experience as
a driver in the Horse Artillery in London before he emigrated to
23/02/15 Transfer to M-Squadron.
24/02/15 Am No.1 of A-Troop (one of 4 best men - Hodgson is one).
28/02/15 Met Miss Worthington (?).
01/03/15 Too bad a dust storm to drill.
02/03/15 Paid. Applied School Instructor.
03/03/15 Main depot guard. Boots on 38 hours. School is full up.
05/03/15 Am right marker. Visit Governor General.
10/03/15 Inoculated against fever.
Note: routine at Broadmeadows Camp: Reveille (Rev) -0600 Phys
Ex-0645-0730 Break 0800 Fall in-0845-1200 Lunch Fall in-1400-1630
Tea-1700 Light out 2200.
11/03/15 Heard from Mollie - she received no money. Got overcoat from
12/03/15 Acting Corporal over 24 men. (JEA's 27th Birthday)
13/03/15 Quarter Master's Fatigue. Heard from father. (Robert
15/03/15 Fixed Mollie's pay? Went up for School Instructor.
17/03/15 Inoculated again. Can't get compassionate leave.
18/03/15 Paid 30 Shillings. Crook from inoculation.
22/03/15 Hair clipped. Made Light Horse Reinforcements. Signed for
23/03/15 Made into Infantry 23rd Battalion - A-Company - 1-Platoon.
Heard from Mollie. Received 2 Pounds and five Shillings (Stirling).
24/03/15 Review practice.
25/03/15 Leave for home. Owing transfer to new lines.
26/03/15 Good time with Mollie and kids at home. Mollie received 1
Pound, 17 Shillings, 6 Pence.
29/03/15 Return to Melbourne. Back to camp in car - arrive 1230. Can't
find tent. Got it in A-Company, amongst old pals.
30/03/15 Riding Test commenced (I never got one).
31/03/15 Paid 26 Shillings. Excellent concert 'Reinforcements Stadium'
- Walter Kirby Mackray.
01/04/15 Wrote Mrs Masters (?) re rooms.
02/04/15 Mother's birthday! Good Friday. Inspection of kit. Moved to
permanent lines, east of Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.)
03/04/15 Heard of transfer to Field Artillery.
04/04/15 Church Parade - State Commandant Darvell. Brigade Guard.
06/04/15 Pick and shovel Fatigue.
07/04/15 Brigade Orderly 0640 - 2100
08/04/15 1330 Health K (?) of Belgium.
09/04/15 InfantryNo. 65.
13/04/15 Allotment again. Very wet mud - horrible.
14/04/15 Went to Pay office. Back pay to be sent by 17th. Fixed up
15/04/15 Swore to signature attestation.
16/04/15 No. 1-Platoon - A-Company inter Company competition. Marched
past Asst. Adj. General.
17/04/15 Issue of new blueys: waterproof sheet, towels, underpants,
cardigan. No. 1-Platoon A Company second by 4 points.
19/04/15 Transferred to 6th Field Artillery - reinforcing 2nd Brigade.
20/04/15 0315 on Picket. Fed 96 horses twice during night. Drove
centre 'C' Waggon 19thCitizens.
21/04/15 Australian Infantry. Received 18 days pay at 1 Shilling a
22/04/15 Rose 0745. No work.
23/04/15 Rose 0645. Shifted Quarter Master's (Q.M.S.) marquee. Rain.
24/04/15 Rose 0750. Assist Q.M. make inventory. Fire 1300hrs gun. Wet.
25/04/15 Rose 0830. Nearly got in Guard tent re bran bag Australian
26/04/15 Made Acting Bombardier in charge of D-Section. 40 horses
arrive. Bought N.C.O's notebook (Non-Commissioned-Officer).
27/04/15 Got to Melbourne - meet Mollie.
01/05/15 Arrive back in camp at midnight.
02/05/15 Am Camp Orderly.
3/05/15 Lead Driver - very good. Lieutenant St Clair changed with me
for a while. Stable Picket night.
04/05/15 Lead Driver. Home early. Medical Examination. Paid 15 days @
06/05/15 Wheel Driver and No. 1.
07/05/15 Camp Orderly. Vaccinated.
08/05/15 Brigade depart for front. Great cheering. Drove lead.
10/05/15 Transferred to 5th Reinf. Australian Field Artillery - good.
May go any day. Get complete kit from Ordinance this morning. Leave:
11/05/15 Camp Orderly.
12/05/15 Lead and wheel Driver. Leave afternoon.
13/05/15 No duties for 5th Reinf. Last day at Broadmeadows.
14/05/15 Day of Embarkation. Wet - miserable - muddy.
16/05/15 SAILED 1100 - SUNDAY.
18/05/15 Arrive Newcastle (NSW) sundown and anchor in Bay.
22/05/15 Load 339 horses in 2.5 hours. Grand send off - being
flagships. All vessels whistles. Deafening noise. Last of Australia
(not correct/WA to go). Noon: became coal trimmer.
27/05/15 Still crook, no more stoke hole for me (coal trimmer). Earned
1 Pound and 15 Shillings. Two horses have died so far. (A coal trimmer
moved the deprecating coal around: to trim ship)
28/05/15 Instruction in wearing life belts.
30/05/15 Sunday enter Albany, WA. See from paper Italy has declared
war. Pray conflict will soon cease. Girl at Albany Wharf gives me and
others a New Testament. Everyone ashore but me.
31/05/15 Sail from Albany at 0800. Picket aft. Tremendous wind
01/06/15 Very heavy seas.
02/06/15 We have only done 2 knots an hour for 18 hours. If ship were
driven would be swept away. Another horse died. Picket forward again.
03/06/15 Horse died in own section. Stood till he dropped.
04/06/15 Have run into warm weather. Mare that foaled died.
08/06/15 Horse died. Fire drill for crew.
15/06/15 Great boxing. Fight to a finish - knock out. Sighted a vessel
in evening. Travelled all lights out.
16/06/15 Crossed Equator. Sports: tug of war, flour, greasy pole and
19/06/15 Half holiday. Sighted north-east part of Africa - Somali
land. Concert and boxing Ð very fair. Passed Cape Gard de Fer.
21/06/15 Saw armed Merchantman. Heat is terrible. We arrive off Aden.
Searchlight and 2 lighthouses. Heat is killing: 4 horses die.
22/06/15 Midnight last: woke to see lights of Hell's Gates. Heat 90F
below decks. 4 horses succumb.
23/06/15 7 horses died since tea last night to breakfast. Finish
stables before breakfast. Picket 1st shift.
24/06/15 5 more horses.
25/06/15 4 horses since yesterday. Blanket Inspections.
26/06/15 Wake to find that we are entering Gulf of Suez. Passed a
hospital ship returning from War.
27/06/15 Port Suez (Bitter Lakes). Quantities of shipping. We are to
28/06/15 Go alongside Port Suez 0900. Entrain 180 horses. Hang about
all morning. Very hot. Train through desert - camels, palms. Suez a
ramshackle show. Journey in train through sand broken by oases of
fertile land. Arrived Cairo and marched to camp at Heliopolis. Arrived
at 2300, dog tired. Was up at 0430.
29/06/15 Hang about all day. 1630 marched to permanent quarters at
Zietoun Camp. Sand everywhere. Went over to 6th Ing. (?) Brigade.
30/06/15 Still unattached? Paid 200 Piastres (2 Pound, 2 Shillings and
01/07/15 Have a rotten cold. Bought baccy, soap and matches. Drinks
cost about 6 Piastres (Pts) a day. Tucker is pretty short here. Note:
routine at Zietoun. Rev: 0500 Fall in 0530 Riding School till 0800
Breakfast Fall in, Parade 1000 Lecture to 1200 Lunch Fall in 1700 -
02/07/15 Picket from 0700.
03/07/15 Picket. Our gunners leave for Alexandria or the Front.
04/07/15 Take on permanent picket. Went into Cairo. Dined 2 dog
biscuits and bully beef
Note: heat up to 125F in the shade. 8.5d per diem is allowed on
rations (extra) by Egyptian Government. Served out with gigantic clasp
knife. Our kit for some weeks is 'what we stand up in' and 1 singlet,
1 pr socks, towel, 2 blankets and shaving kit.
19/07/15 Very hot. One's digestion seems bad, no exercise and hot
weather will ruin one's constitution, I fancy.
20/07/15 Hear we are really to go at 0800 tomorrow. Whither? I wonder.
Feel confident that Xmas will be at home. Released from picket. Sleep
21/07/15 WE ARE OFF AGAIN. We believe for the front. Entrain 0900 at
Zietoun siding. Packed like sardines. Detrain at Alexandria and embark
on Transport: Kingstonian. Berthed in lower hold (three decks down) no
portholes or ventilation and simply crammed in.
21/07/15 Vessel packed with English Royal Engineers and H.G.A (Horse
Guard Artillery?) (4.7's on board) also New Zealander Rifles,
Australian Light Horse, Australian Field Artillery, Australian
Engineers, Army Service Core and A.M.C. (Army Military Core?)- about
1500 men. Note: Boat No. 6180, about 10000 tons. The wharves here are
crammed with hundreds of limbers, gun-waggons and munitions of war.
Two Red Cross ships are in and dozens of transports.
22/07/15 An awful breakfast - porridge with no salt, sugar or milk.
Dry bread and tea. Still in port. Off again! SAIL FROM ALEXANDRIA at
1700 several other vessels and Hospital Ship - 'Rena'. This is 2
months exactly from Newcastle. Note: There is nothing in this barging
about from pillar to post. Soldiering is very filling. I hate it
23/07/15 Rose 0415. Ass! No need for it - we are at sea on the blue
Mediterranean. No law and order, filthy dirty and crawling with
maggots. Slept all day.
25/07/15 Sunday. ARRIVE AT THE ISLAND OF LEMNOS 0600. Harbour a mass
of Transports, Mine Sweepers, Battleships and all kinds of all
nationalities. Move up further in the harbour. Pass A.M.S. Glory.
26/07/15 Still in Lemnos Harbour. FOUR HOURS FROM FIRING LINE and yet,
27/07/15 Still in harbour, men dribbling over to Gallipoli but we are
still on this 'Hell Packet'. At last. DEPART ON MINE SWEEPER FOR
GALLIPOLI PENINSULAR. ARRIVE CAPE HELLES AT SUNSET. Sweeper 'Snaefell'
registered 'Isle of Man'. 3 hours from Lemnos to Cape Helles. Hang
about all night and LAND.
28/07/15 About 0800. WE ARE NOW UNDER FIRE, and are treated to five
shells for lunch at Base Depot - Cape Helles.
Editor's note: The following statement by JEA has been recorded - see
book by Bill Gamage - 'The Broken Years' P.66) 'ONE FEELS NO FEAR,
ONLY AN EXCESSIVE EXCITEMENT. THOUGH ONE IS INCLINED TO DUCK.
Note: There are a lot of Scotsmen with us. Cape Helles Base Depot -
very dusty like cement - dugouts and sandbags. Roads made, lines laid,
motors, horses, mules, aeroplanes, and this land 'had to be invaded by
water?' Aeroplanes are above me now, guns are firing on earth, mines
there are under the earth, ships on the water and submarines under the
water and mines beneath that again. Modern civilisation! One shell
that landed at Base Depot Cape Helles hit canteen and killed 20.
28/07/15 As I write, 60 pounders are flying over head and bursting
half a mile beyond us. We are with 6th Battery - 2nd Brigade, in the
Waggon line. Here we were sent after luncheon. I am less jumpy now.
This is infinitely better than anything we have yet had. There is
'something doing'. Plenty!
29/07/15 Went for swim before breakfast but had to leave water owing
to shells bursting all over head, continued battering further up the
beach. Waked this morn by 'Taube' (German for dove or pigeon) dropping
bombs all round dugout. Went up to Battery in evening - wonderful road
and cliff work.
30/07/15 OFF AGAIN ON TRAWLER FOR GABA TEBEH. Had some near shaves. 2
High Explosive (H.E.) shells missed boat by 5 yards, went just over
us. ARRIVE ANZAC (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps) COVE AT
1500. Went to get water. Shrapnelburst wounding 6 men within a dozen
yards of me. Ugh! Too hot to be pleasant, bullets from snipers. Note:
as I write the blank blank Turks are slinging their beastly shells
amongst us. 1 in our dugout. Infantry captured a trench last night and
advanced a bit on right flank. We do our own cooking ie. bacon, spuds,
bully beef etc... We also get bread occasionally.
31/07/15 Exploding fire from shrapnel and aeroplane bombs make this
place damnable at times. We hauled guns on the beach last night and
01/08/15 Until 0430 this morning since 2000 last night we hauled guns
on the beach to New Zealanders. One has to work here at any time and
all times. Mostly all night and sometimes day too. Shells bursting
interfere with the work a bit but one must not notice them. One gets
but little sleep, since our own guns fire over our heads - and the
concussion is rotten.
02/08/15 Last night/today - guard on ammunition. Rum and lime juice
ration today. No Mum! Daddy won't have too much. The only routine here
is 'fall in' - 2000 hrs. Found shrapnel bullets in dugout today. 'Glad
I was not at home when they called'.
03/08/15 The eve we believe of a great naval and military attack.
Alas! I find thro' a single argument that Hughes - although better
than others I have met, is like them (?) and cannot be trusted. Still
on guard - off 2000, and haul guns to midnight ie. 0400-2359.
04/08/15 1st Anniversary: Declaration of War by Britain. Up at 0500
and carried 4 shells to 5th Battery. Note: it seems incredible, yet it
is nevertheless true, that one actually bathes (? in sea) under
shrapnel fire, it being useless and impossible to dodge when a shell
comes and about 30 to 40 do come some days. The water supply is rotten
and tucker reduced to 4 days rations. 39000 men have landed in the
last 3 nights preparatory for great attack and bombardment. (Addition:
they have since landed as many more).
05/08/15 Guard again on ammunition. Very heavy shelling.
06/08/15 Morning - tobacco 2 ozs and one box of matches served out.
1700 artillery and naval bombardment. Raging all night. Note: sights
have I seen that are horrible to recall... Every day does ones own
self but narrowly escape destruction.
07/08/15 Our boys have captured 4 lines of trenches and 2000 Turks.
The advance continues. The booming of guns and crackling bursts and
whistling bullets make the place an inferno. The Turkish position is a
mass of bursting shells and dense clouds of smoke and dust. Noon: we
hear that the battle is almost won and soon will we occupy Sahr Bair
and thus command the narrows of the Dardenelles. Turkey finished!(?)
We have done five trips up the heights with shells this morning. After
lunch, 4 more trips and after tea 5 trips on beach ie. 29 rounds and
about 20 miles. Worked until we dropped. Finish - midnight. Note: some
100000 men are on this small 4mile front including 3000 to 5000
Gurkhas with their Kirkaris. Also Hindus and Sikhs. The beach is
packed with our poor wounded. Also Turkish prisoners, the latter are
poorly clothed and very badly shod. They appear to be well fed. The
operations have altogether been very successful indeed so far. Oh Mum!
If you could only guess what this is like. There is no safe spot. I
had 4 shaves this morning.
(Battle of Lone Pine: Editor)
08/08/15 Sunday. W.H. Montfort wounded in right arm with shrapnel.
Wrote his mother. This terrific battle continues to rage. We hear of
continual advance, and that R.H.A. (Royal Highland Artillery?) and
British Cavalry have landed in new places by Salt Lake (Dead Sea?) and
are doing magnificent work in conjunction with the Gurkhas.
09/08/15 Work slightly easier but still almost as much as a man can
endure. We sometimes sink down under our load. The left wing continues
to advance. The Wiltshires charged - 2000 men started and about 150
have returned unhurt! The dead of both sides make a most nauseating
10/08/15 We are reported to have got the Turkish Railway, also Maidos
(false) (Bengal Lancers).
12/08/15 We are short of shrapnel and await a boatload.
(Later the loss of this campaign was partly attributed to this
shortage of ammunition - Editor)
Note: in moving the dead they tie a rope to arms or legs and often
pull the limbs off - so rotten have the corpses become. It is now 2
weeks since I have had a wash. There are no people on this part of the
peninsular except soldiers. I have seen 2 English women since I left
Australia and they were in Cairo Zoo.
(did JEA make a funny or was this a fault of pen? - Editor)
No birds or animals have remained here - so awful is the war. At times
the heart longing for home becomes an agony and pain.
13/08/15 0800: dug gun pit for 7th Battery - Highlander Howitzer 6
inch above Victoria Gully. While we were digging a man was blown to
bits about 50 yards off. Note: 4 Monitors are reported thro' narrows
and 17 guns on Asiatic shore reported silenced but neither official.
Maidos not yet ours but expected in 24 hours.
14/08/15 Last night we hauled a 6 inch Howitzer up to Victoria Gully
hill top. 5.5 ton and only 60 men - grade about 1 in 7. My guts are
very crook, all food seems to ferment - even bacon, biscuits or rice
(we get nothing else bar bully beef). I am growing weaker day by day
(This is the beginning of JEA's own fight with illness - 4 weeks in
all - Editor)
15/08/15 Sunday. Dug and made bank by gun pit. Mobile battery, in
afternoon. Carried shells in evening.
16/08/15 Inside (stomach): very very bad. Wonder how long I can hang
out. All food ferments. Gastritis, of course. After 2 trips had to
give in. I fear that the weakness of my stomach has affected my old
gland. 6th Reinforcements have arrived. Fourteenth evening: the
thunder of our naval guns and land Howitzers shakes the very
atmosphere and one cannot but feel a sorrow for our human enemies that
receive those fearful 12 inch shells. Englishmen here that were at
Mons (France) and have talked with Germans were told that the war
would not go through another winter. Note: routine Gaba Tebeh: Fall in
1300 and 1800 or at anytime when called. All cooking etc. done by
17/08/15 See Doctor today. My gland is apparently all right. Gastritis
has caused tenderness. Am still on duty in spite of weakness. Doctor
is pretty blind. Pick and shovel work this morning. As testified by my
writing, poor food, hard work and jarred nerves make me very shaky.
18/08/15 Pick and shovel 0600-1000, feel a bit better but weak as a
rat and really unfit to work. Note: guns etc. very quiet just now,
apparently concentrating on left flank.
19/08/15 Up at 0400 unloading 6th Battery guns from Cape Helles. Pick
and shovel till 1000. Feel much better. Wrote to Mollie, not yet told
her where I am. Got cutting from Argus - June 16th- showing pay 7
Shillings and one and five and four Pence halfpenny and four Pence
Halfpenny. Note: heard Russian big success after Warsaw. Greece
fighting. We are preparing for a big attack on left flank. Troops from
Cape Helles to assist.
20/08/15 We play 'Bridge' every day. Still on 4 hours pick and shovel.
21/08/15 Pick and shovel. Slight bombardment on left. Excellent
progress. Guts - oh, hell!
22/08/15 Sunday. Pick and shovel and, as ever, 'Bridge' - and bacon.
Note: we hear there is to be a canteen (canteen stores sold Q.M.S.
24/08/15 Unloading canteen stores. Note: another bombardment on left
is shortly expected. How I would like a letter. I am truly marooned
from all I care for. Everything is very quiet. I HAVE ONLY HAD ABOUT 6
FRIGHTS THIS WEEK.
25/08/15 Digging a small trench. I shall not yet tell Mollie where I
am as there is a rumour of being relieved (1st Division).
26/08/15 Issue: 13 cigs and 2 ozs of Capstan. Gift of Victorian Red
Cross (V.R.C.). Gee - my guts! Wrote Mollie and told her that I am
here. Something prompted me to do so (I wish I hadn't since). Note:
Told Mollie plans of diary etc.. Weather much cooler now but still
27/08/15 Further V.R.C. donations of 25 cigs and 2 ozs of baccy. Note:
Canteen Stores: bought 6 packets of Eiffel Towel, 12 tins of potted
meat, 12 box matches. Total 2 Shillings and 6 Pence.
28/08/15 We have a cook, confound it. Hear that Battleship Hill is
30/08/15 I am shaking all over from constant diarrhoea and poor food.
Trip with timber (7 by 2) to putter old left (? flank?). In firing
line. Note: our food now is bread once a week, milk and jam every 4
days. Breakfast: half rasher bacon and tea. Dinner: stew (persecuted)
and rice - tea, tea....
31/08/15 Eggs! 1 each for breakfast. Things are brightening. 1 oz of
baccy and 20 cigs. Broke me poip! Begorrah! (JEA smoked a pipe in
these days) Attempted to climb hill to work. Collapsed. Have done my
utmost. Must have spell. Am so weak that I can barely balance on my
legs. Feel fair lying down bar dull pain in back. Note: on Gallipoli
Peninsular 5 weeks today.
01/09/15 Wednesday. Doctor: 1 oz Castor Oil neat! Ugh! 3 tablets
sodium bicarbonate, 3 bismuth, 2 eggs, handful of oatmeal, 1 tin
concentrated milk. Marvellous cure!! Feel done. Can hardly walk. Off
02/09/15 Off duty. 2 eggs, bismuth, quinine and iron. Better, but very
03/09/15 Light duties. Very weak - better. Bismuth and iron, 2 eggs,
arrowroot. Temperature 96F - very low. Right flank quiet. 'Beachy
Bill' lively tonight. Went to beach, weakness beat me to a faint.
04/09/15 Diarrhoea stopped. Not see doctor but weakness will prevent
me carrying shells. Awful nightmare.
05/09/15 Sunday. Everything very quiet. Inside (stomach) gone bung
again. We just play patience all day and occasionally work at night.
Been building cookhouse today. Note: Italy doing very well. 6th
Brigade have landed here. Must find S.J.H. (Hodgson) Sent in
application for clothing. Am living on rice, tea and bread and a
little arrowroot. Thinner, I could not be. Ist Division - Infantry are
being relieved this week for certain. F.A.B.
06/09/15 Wrote to Mollie. No work. No better. Not bothering doctor -
struggle on until really ill.
07/09/15 Tobacco ration day. Big mail in. Will I get one? Cheese for
tea. Luxuries. Cheese! It took 15 minutes or so to remove the maggots,
not larvae of cheese but bluebottles' children bred on the rich
pastures of dead Turks.
08/09/15 Am rotten. Doctor: 2 oz Castor Oil, 6 bismuth's and dark
pill. Put on very light duty on beach, not up hills. I and Sergeant
Guyther sat on what looked like wood inside a bag. Noticed rotten
smell, traced smell to bag. Sgt. said we were sitting on rotten meat.
I then examined without opening bag. The meat was about 50 inches
long. I then made a discovery. It was rotten meat with a boot on one
end! Horror! Stampede! Colonel Linton - 6th Infantry Brigade
(Victoria) died from exposure after torpedoing of troopship. Note: I
heard a funny and true yarn. A certain officer in 1st Field Artillery
Brigade is very fond of having all things carried out to the letter.
One day he, instructing, told two men that in the event of misfire
they should withdraw shell to a distance and hammer it with an axe
until it went off! The men naturally intimated that it would blow them
to bits. Whereupon the officer replied that 'What does it matter, you
are only two men, and if the shell is not finished off it might blow
the whole battery up!! The 'only two men' fervently hoped there will
be no faulty ammunition.
11/09/15 Very weak. HEALTH HAS FAILED. I AM INVALIDED AWAY FROM HERE.
Boat leaves 1600. DIAGNOSIS: CHRONIC DYSENTERY. Bound for Mudros,
Lemnos per Hospital Ship. Put to bed on ship 'Gascon'. Note: Passed by
2nd Brigade doctor - 2nd Field Ambulance - Board of 3 doctors, and
clearing doctor(s) as 'fit' (i.e. unfit, not looking for an easy way
out) for Hospital Ship.
12/09/15 Kept in bed on 'No Diet'. Injections. Very nice Sister.
Sunday - short service tonight.
13/09/15 Left Lemnos 1800 en route for Malta.
14/09/15 Feel considerable better. It is reported that England is our
destination. Had some bread and butter. Encountered a sharp shower of
RAIN (JEA used the capitals. Did he wonder if the reader might think
15/09/15 Worse again.
16/09/15 ARRIVE AT MALTA. We are placed on stretchers and sent by car
up and down hill between great stone walls to Saint Andrews Hospital.
17/09/15 No diet. Very much better. A nice view from bed in hospital.
Verandah overlooking the sea to the north. The air is beautifully
clean and fresh as are also the island and the natives.
18/09/15 Paper: Daily Malta Chronicle, reports economic condition of
Germany as on verge of collapse. Turkey worse. Gallipoli Peninsular
affairs are seemingly more in our favour that we had guessed.
19/09/15 Beef tea diet.
27/09/15 Up again 2 hours. Patient number 3 died.
29/09/15 Better and stronger. Can feel gland very distinctly.
04/10/15 2 Shillings pay. Feel very rotten.
05/10/15 Feel A1 today. Walked to canteen.
10/10/15 Parade 1000 for clothes and 1330 for departure in motor, a
drive for some miles past everlasting stone walls and cuttings and
small harbours, shops, houses and goats, thro' an arch allowing about
3 inches each side to spare to the main dockyard and then aboard a
Hospital Ship. BOUND FOR ENGLAND. Note: routine 'S.S. Dunluce Castle':
0700 Breakfast - eggs, porridge, 0900 Doctor 1100 Medical Officer in
charge Inspection (a stuck up pig this Major), 1200 Lunch - soup,
meat, pudding, 1700 Tea - eggs, bread and butter, tea, 1900 Supper -
cocoa, bread and butter 2030 in bed 2100 lights out.
17/10/15 Sunday. Very calm. Church: First Class Saloon 1030. Very nice
service. The food on board is very short. The bread horrible.
19/10/15 ARRIVE ENGLAND (JEA doesn't mention which port.) Fearfully
cold, no sun. Off ship 0930. Board Hospital Train 1130 for Waterloo
Station (London). Taken off train at Clapham Junction and sent to 3rd
London General Hospital, Wandsworth. Grand tucker at last.
21/10/15 Bitterly cold. Rain. Up for three hours. Bed again with
slight temperature. Gift of writing table and toilet requisites.
30/10/15 Up all day. Went to Concert.
02/11/15 LEFT HOSPITAL for Horseferry Road. After much red tape am
granted 2 sick weeks leave and 2 ordinary weeks furlough ie. until
30/11/15. Tea: Anzac buffet. Went with Cheetham to Haxells and the
03/11/15 Shopping - Selfridges (famous shop). Bought Xmas things.
Lunch: Slaters, Oxford Street. Hippodrome. Dinner: Grand Grill Room,
30/11/15 Off again. Report to Horseferry Road 1000. Drafted to Abbey
Wood. Miserable, wet, hungry and cold. Long walk and heavy kit,
therefore aching feet and legs. Wish almost I had never seen England.
Note: Back again to do something, it will at least be better than
hanging about. I do wonder how the old thing is? Coming back to camp
here is also very beastly and miserable and lonesome. Mud. Inches of
it and water. Tea (after no lunch): bowl of soup, bread and butter. 24
beds - No. 1 Hut - Room 3.
01/12/15 Wrote Commanding Officer re home duties. Am put on 'light
02/12/15 Concert canteen. Good voices but poor choice of music.
03/12/15 Pouring wet again. Mud worse than ever. No parades.
04/12/15 Pouring and very cold. 10 minutes physical jerks.
05/12/15 Sunday. Fine morning - later pouring rain. Songs etc. Note:
routine Bostall Heath: Rev 0700, Break 0800, Fall in 1100, Lunch 1245,
Fall in 1400, Dismiss 1530, Tea 1700, Lights out 2200, but can walk in
and out freely.
15/12/15 Boxing tournament evening.
17/12/15 Hut Orderly. Parade for clothes. Voucher missing. Call again
Monday. Parade for furlough allowance. No damn good. Ugh! I've got
exactly 2 Pence. Still wet.
18/12/15 Parade for ordinary pay. Nothing doing. Woolwich Pictures on
borrowed 3 Pence.
19/12/15 Hear that Meningitis has appeared in one of the huts. This
20/12/15 Total withdrawal from Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay. So all the
suffering is for nothing. 25000 Australians alone in casualties. A
21/12/15 Break up of two days of drought. Pouring wet. Issue scarf,
mittens, cigarettes and writing paper. My throat like a rasp. Voice
nearly gone. 2 deaths: meningitis.
22/12/15 Pouring wet, no parade. Granted Xmas Leave 23/12/15 to
23/12/15 Pass and off to Dorking at midday. Arrive 1730.
25/12/15 Christmas Day. Church and Communion in morning. Shooting
afternoon. Kept smiling all evening for festivities, but felt KEENLY
Part 2. 1916
04/01/16 Muster Parade to catch absentees.
06/01/16 Drafted to Weymouth on 10th. A Class - quite fit.
08/01/16 Paid 30 Shillings. Inoculated. Such an arm.
10/01/16 Up 0600. Depart 0800 for Weymouth. Arrive about 1500. Sent to
14/01/16 Off morning parade. Fine dry weather. I'm nearly broke. Talk
about trick of soldiering. I'm mad to get home. Absolutely.
Volunteered for draft to leave England shortly. Hooray.
17/01/16 Wet. New shoes. No parades. At 1000 to 1400 told to parade
Orderly Room with rifle and blankets. Marched off at 5 minutes notice
for Main Guard, Westham Camp. On from 1900 - 2100, 0100 - 0300, 1300 -
1600. Wet, muddy, beastly. Paid 20 Shillings.
18/01/16 Come off Guard 1600, and march home. Drivers not wanted for
this draft. Got the push. Confound such muddles.
15/02/16 Orders for Draft No. 21. Rev 0530 Blankets 0545 Breakfast
0600 Kit 0615 Fall in 0630 Train 0830. Issued with knife, stationary,
soap, toothbrush, field dressing and Gas Helmet. Doctor Manning:
16/02/16 DAY OF EMBARKATION 'Olympic' - 46000 tons. (Sister ship of
ill fated 'Titanic') By noon at Southampton. Paid 2 Pounds and
sustenance 1 Pound, 4 Shillings and 6 Pence.
17/02/16 Still in port. This ship has Turkish and Swimming Baths,
theatre, electric lifts etc.. There must be 100 different regiments on
board, totalling 7800 men. 2100 LEAVE PORT. GOOD-BYE TO ENGLAND AT
LAST - HOORAY. Tucker rotten and ship overcrowded, but ship has
magnificent appointments, staircases and reception rooms. She is about
90000 horse power. Distance round Promenade Deck: 1150 feet. 4.5 times
= 1 mile.
18/02/16 Enter Bay of Biscay (Cape Ushart) 1100. Very blowy. We have
to wear life belts always excepting when asleep as Submarine danger is
19/02/16 Alarm practice and Gun fired. We travel about 550 miles per
20/02/16 Sunday. No church. Goodness knows where we are? The weather
is warm, the sea calm. Sports are held today as if danger were not
21/02/16 Passed Gibraltar last night. Can see coast of Morocco 0800.
22/02/16 Sports. Passed Malta 2030.
23/02/16 Chased by a submarine at 0900. Three shells fired it (1 fore
and 2 aft). Violent zigzagging and escape. All men standing at their
parades. Captain saw torpedo, took the helm and turned the ship away.
Therefore miss by a few yards. Gunmen claim to have smashed Germans'
periscope. After lunch, sports as usual. Alarm Call Muster: Forward 7
minutes, Amidships 11 minutes, Aft 14 minutes.
24/02/16 We are passing the numerous islands of the Aegean Archipelago
this morning and enter MUDROS HARBOUR, Lemnos at 1000. We never
thought to have got here again.
25/02/16 Breakfast at 0600. Leave 'Olympic' about 0930 and ferried
across to the 'Ivernia', a Cunarder of 14000 tons and speed 14 knots.
Moved to outside of Mudros Harbour and remained all night. Am on 24
26/02/16 SAIL FROM LEMNOS at 0630. On Guard.
27/02/16 Sunday. Back into the sunshine at last. We have a 3rd Class 4
bunk cabin overrun with rats.
28/02/16 ARRIVE IN ALEXANDRIA safely at 0730. Got rotten neuralgia.
Remain all day. Offered a Turkish prisoner 6 Pence for German button.
He spat on the button and returned my 6 Pence and gave me the button
bearing the eagle that he hated.
29/02/16 Leap Year's Day. Still in Alexandria Harbour. There are 14
Hospital Ships here. Entrain 1230. Arrive Cairo 1935. March out to
Ghizeh. Arrive 2100. Presents of half a pound of chocolate and 4
packets Chairman cigarettes from people in Central Queensland.
01/03/16 Australian Overseas Base. 'A' Details - Gezireh. Hooray.
Return rifles and packs to Q.M.S. Went with Battalion to Cairo.
02/03/16 After 7.5 months I have got my old kit bag back. Concert
Y.M.C.A.. Excellent male soprano. Delinquents got Pack Drill. We were
03/03/16 Very hot. Mutiny today thro' Lt. Delaney being an ass.
Charlie Chaplin, Cairo.
04/03/16 Paraded re transfer to Division Artillery Column -
Headquarters at Zeitoun. Arrive 1500. Cabled address and went to
05/03/16 Sunday. Told:- Off as Lead Driver No. 7 - A sub - 1st Section
- 10th Artillery Column. Cairo afternoon.
10/03/16 Leave Cairo for Zietoun and arrive for tea.
11/03/16 Germany declares war on Portugal!
26/03/16 OFF AGAIN. We are to entrain tonight for Alexandria. Very
bung all day. Horses go with us but no waggons. Entrain 2000. Grand
sleep under seat in railway car.
27/03/16 Arrive Alexandria 0430 and embark on Australian Military
Transport 'Huanchaco'. 1st Section, Division Artillery Column only.
Embarked horses by noon and moved into outer harbour. Slept on deck.
28/03/16 LEAVE ALEXANDRIA at dawn. Note: have had boots and clothes on
for 65 hours.
29/03/16 At sea. Very calm. Stables as on A41.
31/03/16 Submarine reported in vicinity. Doctor: re inoculation.
Malta. 1800 Picquet (picket). Note: routine: Rev 0600 Water and feed
0700, Break 0800, Stables 0900, Water and feed 1130, Lunch 1200,
Stables 1400, Feed 1500, Tea 1700, Feed 1800, Lights out 2000. Tucker
very fair to good.
01/04/16 Joan Adlard's Birthday. Pass numerous islands.
02/04/16 Sunday. Church Parade on deck. Pass Sardinia and Corsica.
Plum pudding!! Weather cool.
03/04/16 ARRIVE MARSEILLES (France) 0500. Unloading horses until 1400.
Then (horror) a 9 mile bare back ride through Marseilles to rest camp
at La Valanine.
04/04/16 Camp is situated in most magnificent scenery surrounded by
white rocky and scrub coloured hills. The valley being green, the
orchards in bloom with rocky streams and red-roofed houses.
05/04/16 Took 64 horses to railway and trucked them for 102nd
Howitzers. Bought film 1 Shilling and 1 Halfpenny.
06/04/16 Pouring wet, tent wet, clothes wet, food wet. Lovely! And in
all this misery we get our MARCHING ORDERS and pack up and proceed
back to railway (9 miles). Arrive there 2100 and stand about in mud
and rain loading horses until 0245.
07/04/16 Had a grand sleep in the hat rack of a 2nd Class Car.
08/04/16 After another comfy night in the hat rack we still pass
through lovely country, but agricultural. We arrived at Lyon at 1800
yesterday afternoon 400 miles from Marseilles - 400 to Paris. Plenty
of butter now and we buy bread and a bottle or two of Chablis 1 franc.
50c. This travelling is all right but not worth paying for. It takes
12 hours to do 200 miles.
09/04/16 Sunday. ARRIVE LE HAVRE at 0600 and after detraining ride 6
miles to a temporary camp at Sanvic. The country here is identical
with England. Picquet. We have had 56 hours train journey of 900
miles. 3 nights and 8 meals in the train. Paid 30 francs.
10/04/16 Into Le Havre with spare saddles.
11/04/16 Wet morn. got P.S.'s and .5 pound of tobacco, Chairman for 1
Shilling and 3 Pence. OFF AGAIN - depart camp at 1730. Picquet in
train and depart 2230.
12/04/16 Arrive Abbeville 0900. This is advanced horse transport base.
DETRAIN at 1800 at Godewaersvelde within 8 miles of firing line. Awful
ride of 10 miles, got lost, galloped, wheel off, can see star shells
and gun flashes.
13/04/16 Arrive billet at 0300. Sleep in barn - no straw, pouring wet
and mud to the knee.
14/04/16 Exercise and rain, issue capes and 2 respirators.
15/04/16 Escort for prisoners. Rode Toby about 30 miles.
16/04/16 Sunday. Lovely day, exercise and noticed solitary soldier's
graves in midst of ploughed field. The only sign of past battles. We
can easily hear gun fire which is about 12 miles away.
17/04/16 As usual in pouring rain we again move camp some 3 miles to
permanent quarters at Doulieu. Good stable and beds.
18/04/16 Carted ammunition to B. A. C. at Sailly thro' rain and slush
within 1 mile of firing line. I and Bombardier Skinner are studying
19/04/16 Harness cleaning. Picquet. Wet roads awful, like porridge.
20/04/16 Exercises. Wet. We can amuse ourselves watching shrapnel fire
21/04/16 Good Friday and a fine day. Fetch ammunition to billet.
22/04/16 Pouring wet. Paid 1 Pound, 8 Shillings, and 8 Pence: 40
francs. Stack ammunition.
23/04/16 Easter Day. No parade between 1200 and 1600. Lovely day but
cool and feet wet. Glory, 3 letters from Sally (Mollie) and a photo of
Geoffrey boy. What a scrumptious lil' fellow. He is like Mollie or I
should not have known him. What an Easter. No home comfort or anything
and sound of guns instead. Wrote Sally again and sent 24 p.cs. (pkt
cigs?). Shell lobbed in billet of 9th Infantry and killed 25 and
wounded 50. Peaceful Easter! Bar the war.
30/04/16 Ammunition to Sailly and we are to shift again and travel
some 10 miles towards Merville, near La Baisse - 12 kilometres distant
to La Motte.
01/05/16 Lovely day. Heard a cuckoo and saw a wasp. These are rotten
02/05/16 Fodder fetched about 3 miles.
03/05/16 Went to village and bought letter helmets (?), p.cs.,
dictionary and map. Note: Surrender a few days ago of General Townsend
at Kut. (?) French advance past Verdun.
04/05/16 Issued with overcoats. Inspection of Harness, mine is A1.
05/05/16 Exercise and issue of towel.
06/05/16 Showery. Paid 40 francs. Aeroplanes are common and constantly
overhead. Good news from La Baisse. Leave granted to 1 man in 4 days,
which will mean mine will come next Xmas.
07/05/16 Sunday. Visit by General Hobbs. Feel tired and cannot sleep.
08/05/16 Early trip thro' La Motte, La Souverain to Hasbrouck for
fodder, passing thro' the Foret de Nieppe - very pretty, but cold and
09/05/16 Rotten jaw ache, all teeth are loose. (Known as trenchmouth:
10/05/16 Crook in guts: in bed - milk diet, clorodyne.
11/05/16 Nothing doing. Much better.
12/05/16 A1. Long and interesting ride by Gros Chene de la Forat de
Nieppe. Issue shirt and boots.
13/05/16 Wet. Wrote Vera (JEA's sister) and Sally. On guard over 1
Editor's note: Vera married Basil Kendall Bond, a war hero who was
awarded the Military Cross and 2 Bars.
15/05/16 OFF AGAIN. Drafted to old 1st B.A.C. - now 1st Section -
I.D.A.S.C. (1st Division Ammunition Supply Column?). Joe Skinner goes
to Calais. Damnable this. Lost our horses and mates. Pouring wet and
10 mile walk. Letter from Ken (JEA's brother). Arrived Billet via Neuf
Berguin and Estaires.
16/05/16 Paid W. Horses C.1. shifted to W. Horses A 5 (Stable
jargon?). Still A. Exercise.
17/05/16 Last night 'Taube' dropped 2 bombs near billet. No harm done.
Saw Vine. Frame and Bruer. All children sent from Estaires to Melville
on account of bombardments. Billet is 1 kilometre from Estaires.
Tucker here is splendid.
18/05/16 Exercise and Picquet. Inspection by General Hobbs... Looks
like a big attack coming off. Hope it will hasten the end.
20/05/16 Trip to 21st Waggon Line.
23/05/16 Start of horses inoculation.
24/05/16 Showery. Exercise.
30/05/16 Heavy bombardment. Night call for whole section. One trip,
midnight, to 22nd.
01/06/16 Manure Cart. Trip to 2nd Battery 2200.
02/06/16 Routine. Leave to Estaires. Picquet. 3rd Shift.
03/06/16 Note: peace is in the air, Sally.
04/06/16 Sunday. A sub duty.
05/06/16 Divisional call 1000 rounds ammunition. We did one trip each
1st and 2nd Batteries from 1830 - 0215.
06/06/16 Pouring wet and loading ammunition. Fine evening. Wrote
stacks of letters.
07/06/16 Relieving stableman. Picquet 1000 - 1400.
08/06/16 Stableman. All horses swopped over and classed into matched
trains. A5 is now an all black. Exercise thro' Doulieu. Note: Death of
Lord Kitchener and Staff. Drowned in Cruiser 'H.M.S. Hampshire' -
struck by mine.
09/06/16 A sub duty. Pill box and trip to 2nd Battery.
10/06/16 Whitsunday. Wet.
12/06/16 8 Waggon loads of shells ( motor lorries). Trip to 1st
Battery. Whole section out A & D stand by till 0300. Daddy:
picquet on top till 0630 ie. up all night and pouring wet and cold.
Written 0445. Can hear great bombardment in the direction of Ypres.
13/06/16 Pouring wet. Trip in afternoon to 1st Battery. Loading
ammunition and trip to 2nd, midnight. Note: got lovely watch from
Mollie and cakes and sausage rolls from Gert.
14/06/16 Loading ammunition all day in rain. 6th Battery and 1st
Division Artillery congratulated in orders on night raid. 1st Division
Artillery Column out of action today.
15/06/16 Daylight Saving in France. Got up at 0530 and never knew it.
Thought watch was wrong. Leave to Estaires. Bought magnesia. Boot
polish, gum. Great Russian successes. Can read by daylight at 2200.
One does not notice the earlier rising. Mollie's watch keeps excellent
time. Sold bad one for 12 francs and got pocket made into purse (for
16/06/16 Parade to doctor re dental pass. Dentist at 1st 'A Division'
clearing hospital. 2 molars removed. Bon! Paid 40 francs. Gas attack
17/06/16 Inspection. Picquet 0600 - 1000.
18/06/16 Sunday. Fine. Half day off. Note re Trench Mortars to Officer
Commanding, 1st Division Artillery Column.
19/06/16 Recommended for Commission Trench Mortars. Harness.
20/06/16 Harness. Letter from Sally. Newspapers improving.
21/06/16 Harness inspection.
28/06/16 British Great Offensive. Routine and Leave.
30/06/16 Very heavy firing. Mail stopped.
01/07/16 Firing increase to a roar. Leave stopped. French advance.
04/07/16 Great British and French success. War drawing to a close.
05/07/16 10000 prisoners to date and 15 villages. LEFT La Grande
Ferme, Estaires - travelling towards Neuf Berquin to farm in region of
11/07/16 OFF AGAIN.
12/07/16 Finally arrived at Bettencourt.
13/07/16 This is a miserable poor place. In our cottage one can enter
thro' the walls. Australians introduce themselves by riding dairy
cattle thro' street at full boar.
14/07/16 10 mile route march with loaded waggons. 1800 OFF AGAIN and
after uneventful trip arrive at Vignacourt at 2200. British Cavalry
reported to have advanced 20 miles. Hooray!
16/07/16 OFF AGAIN. Arrive at billet at Pachevillers - worse than
17/07/16 Camp in rain under a hedge.
20/07/16 Trip with ammunition thro' Albert. A devastated and abandoned
city. Houses and streets obliterated.
21/07/16 Called out again 0830.
22/07/16 Out again 2000 - bed, 0100. This is war again, work incessant
day and night. 24 hours in saddle.
23/07/16 Terrific strafing and all greatly successful. 1000 yards of
guns, axle to axle! Behind that 6 and 12 inch, 9.2, 4.5 and 4.7 guns.
24/07/16 Mirror on wall shakes almost too badly for shaving.
25/07/16 Constant working - 4000 casualties, but great success.
26/07/16 Still hard at it. Tucker poor.
27/07/16 Work easier but in spite of night work we are forced to
polish our harness under penalty of 28 days 2nd Field Punishment.
28/07/16 1st Division Infantry terribly decimated in great advance.
Rumours of Austria and peace.
31/07/16 OFF AGAIN at 1200, arriving at Val de Maison at 1900. Bivouac
by a wood, lovely weather.
01/08/16 Recommended for a commission by Lt. Seagraves, Capt Adj Webb,
Capt Mc Gee & Capt Sanford.
02/08/16 DEPART at 1400, arrive Montrelet at 1700.
03/08/16 Sky is all ahum with aeroplanes.
04/08/16 2nd Anniversary of Declaration of War.
05/08/16 Third year of War. 1st Day.
11/08/16 Heard Commission highly probable.
16/08/16 Off again to Albert side of Bouzincourt. Am in a dugout
something like old Anzacs. The news constantly improves and 'home'
seems nearer than ever. I believe this to be the last time in action
for the 1st Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force.
23/08/16 11 aeroplanes in one bunch. 21 balloons up. Allies now hold
all points on Pozieres Front and command German lines.
24/08/16 OFF AGAIN to Anchicule par Dollens.
26/08/16 Depart in horse truck at 2115. Take my hat off and am ready
for bed in hay, between 8 horses.
27/08/16 Wake up to find train at Poperingue 10 kilometres from Ypres.
Beds in a battered barn at Dick E. Busch. Note: (1) Italy declares war
on Germany (2) Roumania declares war on Austria/Hungary (3) Germany on
Roumania (4) Turkey on Roumania.
30/08/16 Wet to the skin.
31/08/16 Very ill. In bed. Treated as for Dysentery.
01/09/16 Captain personally came to see me each day as well as the
doctor. Off duty. Have to buy my diet. Costs 2 Shillings and three
Pence a day to be ill. Eggs = three Pence. Butter = one Shilling and
eight Pence. Milk = 3 Pence.
03/09/16 Weak but better. Move to winter quarters nearer Popoingle
(?). Bulgaria declares War on Roumania.
04/09/16 Upheavals in Greece.
05/09/16 Particularly recommended for training for commissioned rank
at Artillery Cadet School, England.
08/09/16 Carting timber and iron for winter quarters.
16/09/16 Cricket Match.
24/09/16 There is absolutely nothing doing, Q.M.S. and harness
27/09/16 Capture of Combles. Success everywhere. Saw aeroplane attack
a Hun balloon which fell in columns of fire.
28/09/16 Trip to Ypres. Bought Xmas Cards - 3 free.
09/10/16 Nothing doing. Leave to England stopped. Have a feeling that
something good is coming. War news A1.
11/10/16 Went thro' Lacrymal Gas. Smells like pineapples. Cried
16/10/16 MOVED OFF.
17/10/16 Bivouaced again in beastly wet weather at Runinghem.
21/10/16 Leave Runinghem. Had most interesting trip along the canal to
St. Omer. The entrance to this town is lovely. A canal, fenced and
banked by cobbled roads and fine old red roofed houses. Train to St.
Omer. Pass through Etaples, Calais and Boulogne in a horse truck.
22/10/16 Fearfully cold trip. Arriving Amiens at 0500. Have caught a
chill through floor of truck. Some fine old buildings here. Trip thro'
Aubigny, the country is very English, arriving thro' Corbie to
temporary quarters at La Neuville for Tea. Picquet: 2200 - 0200.
23/10/16 Woke up very crook. Doctor says influenza. Light duty. Live
in 4 storey mansion.
24/10/16 Depart and travelling under fire of 8 inch guns for about a
mile, go around Albert thro' Moaultz to Fricourtwood. Camp here in
bivouacs made of Ammunition Boxes. Horses and men are covered with
mud. 14 horses to 1 limber and cannot move it. Mud 18 inches deep.
25/10/16 Leave at 1400 for railhead. Nice day. Go 2.5 miles and are
held up while caterpillars haul lorries out of mud. Wait for 5 hours.
Hungry. No coats and freezing. Arrive home 0430.
26/10/16 Up again at 0800. Obliged to steal coal off railway for
warmth. Had up for not shaving! So took off 'mo' to spite them.
27/10/16 Small arms to infantry. Men and horses often vanish in the
01/11/16 An advance! What does it mean? Miles of country torn, smashed
and pitted with shell craters as with smallpox. Hills and valleys
intersected with trenches, tangled wire, splintered trees, dead horses
and broken carriages. The whole (scene) 18 inches deep in mud,
horrible, gripping, quivering mud.
03/11/16 Mollie I am being looked after by Him. A shell this evening
fell and burst leaving me upside down and only scratched at the edge
of the shell hole, which is 8 feet deep and 5 feet wide. An 8 inch
Heavy Explosive. My nearest to death.
09/11/16 Daily trips are done thro' miles of mud. Thick and deep. So
deep in places that a rider's feet are in it. Horses often get stuck
and have to be abandoned. Men also have to be dug out.
13/11/16 Had to build Officer's Mess. We have to pinch our own roof
(quarters) and have no tea and little food and this is how they try to
help us. The doctor is 4 miles away and if ill the patients must walk.
18/11/16 Have lost count. Shift from Fricourt to Montauban, in wet.
Slept on Waggon and put boots on ground. Had to get a pick. We are
frozen in axle deep. No shelter. This is worse than ever. We have had
no drink for two days. Second morning, after sleeping under a
tarpaulin, woke to find my pants full of snow.
24/11/16 Saw 2 'planes brought down. They fluttered down like shot
25/11/16 Photos from Sally. The kiddies look stunning.
29/11/16 Picked up a skull today with strips of dangling skin and
hair. It looks very comic.
01/12/16 Geoffrey boy's Birthday.
02/12/16 Nothing now but rain and slush. Have worn wading boots now
for 3 weeks. Haven't had a bath for 9 weeks.
03/12/16 Had a shave in frost at 0100.
08/12/16 Fell off Waggon into 2 foot of mud - sweet - lost overcoat
and nearly run over.
11/12/16 Fritz put shells all over and round us last night.
12/12/16 Awful trip 8 miles to Meaulte and 8 miles back thro' driving
blizzard. 1000 to 2200 - no food, cold and wet, could cry my hands are
so painful holding the reins and covered with ice. Cookie very bad and
doctor made him walk to him after being in bed 10 days. Nearly killed
20/12/16 Fritz very busy sending quick armour piercing shells all over
our camp, doing much damage to railway. Great iron huts were thrown
200 feet in the air.
21/12/16 Wrote Sally. Shortest Day. Wrote Pa, Ken, Auntie, Vera, Gert,
Ivy. Guns going a million keep blowing the candle out. Gee they do
24/12/16 Xmas Eve. Festivities commence in 5 men to 2 pound of bread
and 15 to 1.5 pounds of bacon. HELP.
25/12/16 Xmas Day. Issue 5 cakes and 10 puddings to 20 men. Bought 1
dozen whiskey, some fruit and 24 puddings. Lots of bell ringing, all
happy but decent. Whole holiday, bar Q.M.S., ammunition etc. Guns
going without a break. Received no parcels from anywhere. Proposed and
drank health of wives and children.
27/12/16 Interviewed by Colonel Thomson re commission: Royal Artillery
28/12/16 A great day. Sent for by Brigadier Colonel Basil Brown, shook
hands and wished me luck. Am selected as one of 3 from 1st Division.
Expect to go to Blighty (England ) any day.
29/12/16 Bill Murray and his horse blown to bits when taking mortar
bombs to supports.
30/12/16 Parcel gift from Australia. Cigarettes and tobacco. Ginger,
pencil, potted meat, 2 hanks, cocoa, milk and chewing gum. Belting
31/12/16 Get serviette rings and match box and spurs.
01/01/17 Picquet 1400-1900. Many teams in Batteries.
08/01/17 AT LAST. 1530 sudden call to pack up and start for Royal
Artillery Cadet School, England. Got to Albert at 2000.
09/01/17 Left station 0200 and after 26 hours sitting up in an
unwarmed train without any food and snowing, arrived Le Havre at 0500.
10/01/17 Hang about all day, only 1 tin of beef to eat and march to
boat at 1900 and again get no food until arrive in London at 1800.
Then Dinner at Grand Grill, the Colliseum and stayed near Waterloo
12/01/17 Reported to St. John's Wood 1100, and in half an hour am
converted and redressed as a cadet and sent to barracks at Lord's
Cricket Ground. Cabled for 10 Pounds.
14/01/17 Afternoon at Hippodrome.
15/01/17 Sunday Church Parade.
16/01/17 Isolated for measles. Note: during January, I got 4 days sick
leave and had a good time at Dorking. From now on there is nothing to
write but a record of hard work which is found in my note books. I
visited skating rink or theatre about twice a week and had a few
February As each exam comes along I seem to pass alright. Weather
intensely cold, deep snow. Skating for 3 weeks. Rose to 'C' Squad with
March Stayed a weekend with Ivy at Reigate.
April 5.5 days Leave at Easter. Went to Dorking with Doyle. Vera at
home. A very happy time.
13/04/17 Hurray. Passed out of Lords with 86%. Mollie will soon get 3
Pounds and 3 Shillings a week.
16/04/17 Went to Officer's School of Instruction, Lark Hill.
25/04/17 2nd Anniversary Anzac Day. Letter from Sally. She's bought a
POM (?). For 4 weeks we had to swot. Tons of night work. But passed
with 'Very Good' and average of 81%.
17/05/17 'Tis finished. Drew beaucoup money at Horseferry Road. Went
to baths, changed and emerged as 2nd Lieutenant, Australian Field
28/05/17 Reported to Reserve Brigade - Australian Artillery.
30/05/17 Inspection by Secretary: State of War.
31/05/17 Went to a rattling concert, No 26 Camp. Inspected Guards and
picquets. This is better than being on picquet.
04/06/17 0730. DEPART for Folkstone having stayed at Mrs. Hamilton's
at 34, Torrington Square. Catch boat at 1400 and arrive at Boulogne
1530. Depart for Le Havre at 1630. Travelled all night and arrived Le
Havre 0730 and went to beautiful camp.
12/06/17 Shifted to position at Le Biquet, very quiet here, am busy
here checking ammunition. Find no difficulty in working angles etc.
and putting Battery on given target.
19/06/17 Back with the guns. Desolation everywhere, but no evidence of
fighting, it must have been a walk over.
20/06/17 50 'planes do just as they like. Today one machine settled
two of our balloons which came down in columns of flame, observers
escaping in parachutes.
21/06/17 Longest Day. Fritz giving us absolute hell. Had to go for our
lives twice. Set No.1 gun pit on fire. It was extinguished and I saw
that the men were recommended for gallantry. (Later they got 4
Military Medals, 1 Distinguished Conduct Medal and 1 bar to the
Editor's note: JEA as 2nd Lt., under direction of Major Parker put out
fire with 1 N.C.O. and 5 men. While the others received recognition of
their service JEA never received his Military Cross, although he was
mentioned in 'despatches'. A search for this record was made after the
war but never found.
23/06/17 Fritz very busy in the air. His 'planes came over and quite
unmolested burnt 3 of our sausages (balloons). Heavy shelling and gas
after that went to bed.
24/06/17 Fritz's 'planes came over and burnt another balloon.
Anti-aircraft shooting abominable: gave him hundreds of rounds of gun
fire, later an S.O.S. call. Fritz put over a lot of gas. Lay in bed
reading with gas helmet ON.
25/06/17 0700. He had waken early. Has killed a Sergeant, wounded Lt.
Roberts and 2 men of 17th. Blown up 16th and 17th dugouts and played
hell generally. Our dugout simply rocks. This has gone on without a
stop for 14 hours. Very nerve racking. Gave him hundreds of gun fire.
Two Hun pilots shot down one of ours. It caught fire and we saw the
pilot jump out, preferring to be smashed to atoms than be burnt alive.
Ten of our 'planes quite close and turned away. Disgusting.
28/06/17 In recognition of good work done by Brigade. 1 Officer and 1
N.C.O. to Paris. I am the lucky one, and leave Sailleul 1500. Rather a
wet day and go to Boulogne 2130. Had a bon feed at Metropole. Left
again for Paris 0106 and arrive 1000.
29/06/17 This is a glorious city. Magnificent buildings and very gay.
For the few days here I had the time of times. Theatres and all sorts
of things. Even mild flirtations. Bought Sally costume and hat from
Fashion Windows of Galeries Lafayette. 145 francs.
03/07/17 Left Paris 0900, arrive Boulogne 1230. Leave 0400 and arrive
camp 1030. Jolly goods 04/07/17 sports in the afternoon.
11/07/17 Leave 0030 and travelling in moonlight via Rouge Croix,
arrive near Wallon Cappel (?) and camp in pretty good paddock and
perfect weather. Had to commandeer water. My efforts in French were
successful and twice reduced the female 'Horatius' at the gate to
13/07/17 Reveille 0330 and proceed on last stage thro' very fertile
land to Ghyvelde near Braydunes. Brigade all in one paddock and sandy
soil. Thank the Lord and marvellous to relate there is NO MUD here.
21/07/17 We are just lying in wait for a great offensive. May it come
soon. We are in amongst cornfields, potato patches and nice hedges and
no mud. Really a very pleasant place. Fritz chucks the devil of a lot
of stuff over all day, up to 11 inch.
27/07/17 Registering front line for a stunt. Father again damaged by
'Zeppa'. Damn them, it is too cruel. Evening - our dump of 3500 rounds
went UP. Blighters flying all over the shop and all the country alight
in the red glare.
Editor's note: the Adlard's of Westminster and in this case JEA's
direct family lineage had been worthy printers since 1776. In 1914,
JEA's father's (Robert Evan Adlard) place of business at No. 22 (&
a half), Bartholomew Close was demolished by a Zeppelin bomb. While
machinery was being installed in No. 23 Bartholomew Close a further
bomb put an end to this work. JEA was referring to this news ie.
01/08/17 Leave 16th Battery and go to Dunkirk - a fine town, but rain
02/08/17 Slept night at Malo Baine and proceeded by train next day to
03/08/17 Hazebrouck. Spent night there - still wet.
04/08/17 Went to Officer's Mess: splendid variety show by Tommies.
11/08/17 Casualties have been heavy lately in animals and men. This
stunt is too long, drawn out. Blame the weather. Fritz 'planes drop 20
or 30 bombs last night. We could hear the screams of men for hours.
12/08/17 Out all day carrying thousands of rounds of ammunition.
17/08/17 No letters for ages. It is damnable but I seem to be more
content or resigned now.
19/08/17 I have not mentioned before but we are next to a
'Tankadrome', about 20 have passed here tonight. Later. My stars. Some
strafe by Hun 'planes. Huge bombs - 4 men to Blighty. First time I
really got wind up. Ran 50 yards before I took a tumble. 2 letters
21/08/17 Posted to 3rd Battery.
22/08/17 Sent up to position at Sanctuary Wood. Ghastly place. Got
awful gutful of gas (chlorine). 3 men killed.
24/08/17 Fritz 'plane comes near and snipes us with his machine guns.
Scuttled like a rabbit. What a war! Bombs, shells and bullets from air
28/08/17 6 direct hits on O.Pip (?). Indescribable confusion - burst
roof in - outside dead Huns and Tommies all over the show. Men with
legs up by their shoulders, heads missing. Properly dead. No letters
from Sally for a hell of a time. It is feeding. (?) Yes, father, I do
keep my head down. No exhortation on your part is necessary.
08/09/17 Move early and go 22 miles thro' Oudendom to Houdeghem.
09/09/17 Proceed to camp on edge of the Foret de Clairmarais. This is
lovely camp. My tent is right in the forest. The scenery is lovely,
the weather perfect, everything is peaceful. Jays are chattering and
there are deer in the woods. In the stunt that we have just left, ie.
the Flanders Battle: 86000 tons of shells were used in 6 weeks,
comprised of 1800000 18 pdr. and 2700000 total with heavies. 15 inch
guns fired 272 tons in 300 shots. Hear from Sally (dated 1st July),
Joan got a goitre. Poor little thing.
18/09/17 GOT 2nd PIP. Dated August 18th.
24/09/17 Excellent concert by Tommies' Transport in court yard of
Abbey Farm. 2 made up as girls and remarkably pretty even for real
28/09/17 Sudden orders TO MOVE tomorrow and thus from a lovely country
camp to mud and death and War.
07/10/17 Travelled 20 miles in small lorry. 28 men and 28 kits.
08/10/17 Horrible news. The whitest man I know is killed. Captain W.
East. M.C. and Bar, also an old friend in Sergeant Wilson. The guns
are going a million. The advance continues.
12/10/17 An 8 mile walk thro' hell and 24 hours there. Observation
Post smashed by 8 inch, shook me to pieces and was never so terrified.
Two men shell shock. Got hit in face myself with concrete, staggered
to W.L. (?) absolutely knocked up. But we got the Batteries onto the
damned old Hun anyway.
17/10/17 This is becoming awful. Everyone is getting killed or wounded
lately. Today a huge German 'plane came down whop near here. The pilot
was smashed to pulp. The lads dived into his mangled remains for
souvenirs, but I was too late.
(the scene prompted JEA's following poem):
I was sitting at my tent door with the Sopwiths sailing near it,
when I heard something rattle in the air that made me fear it.
I was sure no German gun could fire a shell so frightening,
and felt the pressing need to look for something more enlightening.
Out knee deep in horrid mud, feeling cold and hot in fits,
I stooped and saw a Gothic falling rapidly away in bits.
A whirling, rocking diving thing, with half its white planes missing.
Came headlong down in sheets of flame that seemed with anger hissing.
A hundred yards away I found it lying in a ditch all tangled,
its pilot lay still further on, his limbs and body more than mangled.
And so from day to day I see them fight in battle mighty,
and sometimes our men - and sometimes their men take a trip to
19/10/17 Dugout bombed and shelled. Evacuated. Got back.
20/10/17 Shifting to Anzac Ridge. Got a gun thro' under fire. Roads
and things flying about. Gun in pit blown to bits.
21/10/17 Got a gun bogged and got one moved to new position. Hun put
up a terrific barrage on Westbrook Ridge and creeping back to us.
Cleared out to humpy. Finished a lovely day with shell, gas and bombs.
Got nearly every pit and telephone dugout blown up at new position
before we occupied it. Looks a cheerio spot. I do not think..
22/10/17 Wet. Moved to new position. 50th Infantry tried to pull one
gun in and failed. Hopelessly bogged. Bit of a war on tonight. Hope
Fritz likes it.
23/10/17 Reported to occupy position. Tea with Major Machlachlan. Got
knocked and was carried 5 miles to Ypres. Of all the ghastly horror -
that trip was it. The agony, the cold, the loss of blood,gas and
shock, oh, it was unspeakable.Got to 17th C.C.S. (Casualty Care
Station?) Poperinghe and had two operations there and was sent on to
the 8th General Hospital at Rouen, where I am writing this (with left
hand). Feel beastly stiff and sore.
Editor's note: JEA was 'dangerously wounded' and suffered extensive
damage to his right buttock and right hand and arm. Splinters of steel
were removed from his head. He was very lucky to survive.
Incidentally, after serving once again during WW2 he lived an active
life until his death in 1980 at the age of 92..
29/10/17 Saw some produce of Dorking War Workers. Got plug out. Oh,
30/10/17 Temperature down to 99. 7 stitches taken out. Getting on.
02/11/17 Leave Rouen and am put on board St. Patrick. Managed to see
out porthole and view beauty of the River Seine.
04/11/17 Arrive London. Feeling better, but tail very sore.
05/11/17 Got another lump of steel out of my head, am X-rayed in back,
arm and head. Father came to see me. He looks well.
06/11/17 Tail and right leg ache like blazes. Rest of me feels good.
13/11/17 Finger is no good. Buttock and arm healing. Have been visited
by Gert and Ivy. Pa twice and Harold twice.
Editor's note: JEA refers to his younger step brother: Harold
Challenor Evan who died in the North West Passage, Canada in 1926 at
the age of 27: Scott's expedition to the Arctic - reference books,
'Unflinching' and 'Cold Burial'
06/12/17 Finger cut off. Right hand out of action. Can nearly stand.
10/12/17 Kit arrived intact. My hand gave me hell for a time but is
25/12/17 Xmas Day. And very jolly indeed. Missed Mollie a lot. Got
sticky kissing nurses.
27/12/17 Went to Drury Lane - Aladdin, with Morris. Splendid Show.
03/01/18 Board. (fitness appraisal) Too disgusting. Am hopelessly
unfit. General C. Ryan gave me two weeks convalescence. Said no bone
damaged, ignored fracture. Whole 'board' is a farce.
17/01/18 New 'board'. Another 2 weeks.
28/01/18 Another 'board' Junior. Took a lot of trouble and sent me
31/01/18 Night in Town (London).
01/02/18 Leave London for Devonport at last for 'home' and Mollie, and
go aboard S.S. Balmoral Castle. Passenger ship. Full of civilians.
Beautiful 1st Class accommodation.
03/02/18 Sailed from Plymouth. 3 years today from enlistment.
04/02/18 Fairly rough but am O.K.. Have to look after 'A' Troop Deck.
05/02/18 Doing about 250 miles a day, very slow and very rolly.
07/02/18 1004 miles, smoother, nearing Madeira or rather the Anzores.
Paid 5 Pounds.
09/02/18 Concert night. Wrote Gertie and Pa. Just sit and smoke and
smoke and sit.
11/02/18 2176 miles.
14/02/18 3012 miles. Fearfully hot night. Everyone getting into
15/02/18 Pulled into Freetown, SIERRA LEONE. Very pretty from sea.
Went ashore - far less pretty but very interesting, being entirely
native. Bought films and horn.
16/02/18 LEFT again in evening. Convoy consists of Britannia, Balmoral
Castle, Euripides, Ionic, Argyllshire. Passed the most dangerous mine
field in the world.
19/02/18 4037 miles. Passed Equator yesterday.
20/02/18 Competition Concert. Won prize worth a guinea, ie. Box of
Beechams. Great Fun.
23/02/18 5149 miles.
27/02/18 6232 miles.
28/02/18 Arrive Cape Town - 6500 miles. Orderly Officer for ship. Very
tiring. Leg rotten.
01/03/18 Went to see Dr. Perinquay. Went by train to Maizenburg.
02/03/18 Grapes 2 Pence per pound. Went to 'When Knights Were Bold' at
Opera House, Cape Town.
03/03/18 Expect to sail. LEAVE Table Bay at 1500. Now we shan't be
05/03/18 Filled in Repatriation Forms.
06/03/18 Bought skin cushion. Doing about 350 miles a day.
07/03/18 7801 miles. Concert.
08/03/18 8131 miles. Cricket Match today.
11/03/18 9112 miles. Roaring Forties.
12/03/18 Editor's note: JEA's 30th Birthday
13/03/18 Finished 5000 Picquet, lost by 700.
14/03/18 10081 miles.
15/03/18 Finger opened up. Whew!
18/03/18 Entered FREEMANTLE 1000. Cornet on shore played 'Little Grey
Home' and ' Boys of the Dardenelles'. Beaucoup cheering.
19/03/18 Reveille 1030 and Roll Call. LEAVE Freemantle at 1830.
Doctors say discharge a certainty. Freemantle a rotten place. Took car
to Perth, 12 miles. Perth is a congested sort of place, not at all
nice. LAST LAP. Wired Mollie arriving Sunday: Melbourne.
23/03/18 Arrive PORT ADELAIDE in lovely weather. 0830 train to
Adelaide and then: HOME.
Arrived Melbourne Sunday afternoon and was met by Sally at last....
30/03/18 Discharged from Army.
Top: Robert Evan Adlard with his son John Evan Adlard during WW1 while
on leave in England
Bottom: 1915 Broadmeadows Camp, Melbourne. JEA is in front row, second
in on the right.