Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
This item is in the Public Domain
HFW War Diary No.4, Cover
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (1)
… W’ey South
County & Westminster Bank
(many entries crossed out)
soup soupe Claire
crystalized fruit glace
… … … …
… C.House. C.X. …
HFW War Diary No.4,
page spread No (2)
Carriage Works, Saltley (Washwood Heath Car Corporation St)
(* = ticked)
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (3)
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (4)
(time table, sketches of tents & hut, other non-diary notes)
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (5)
16.12.16 Nothing special. Wrote Mrs Warr & sent 30/-.
16.12.16 Nothing much doing. Wrote Con Frier. Letter from Marj Boys.
17.12.16 To go across tonight. Fell in at 7.30 p.m. Went to Amesbury and train to Folkestone 4 am. Slept in apartment houses on promenade. Not allowed into town. Nothing to do. Good food.
18.12.16. Got aboard the “Invicta” about 2 p.m. Got to Boulogne at 4 oclock. Waited in square & then went to rest camp on top of hill. Decent sleep.
19.12.16 Marched down to station at 9 am. Got aboard train for Etaples about 10 am.
Went away for cup of coffee. Returning met Vin Bertouch & took him back to place. Coffee 1 fr
we came back to train it was gone. Saw R.T.O. & waited for another train.
Went with some Scotties at about 6 pm. Put under open arrest.
20.12.16 Up at orderly room. Fined 7 days pay & 7 days C.B. Costly cup of coffee.
march through Etaples
21.12.16 Went to Bull ring in morning 7.15. Signalling work N.T.B. No wash
for musketry in afternoon
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (6)
23.12.16 Bull ring in morning. Sergeant willing to
take me up with him to 1st Bgde H.Qrs. On fire picquet so didn’t
have to answer Bugle.
24.12.16. Wrote to the Misses Smith – Birm. Saw Adjutant (Lieut. Masters, whom I knew at Abbeywood) He gave me a letter to Lieut Turnbull – 1st Bgde Hqrs.
to church in morning and to communion. It was very nice indeed. Went to Sacred
Concert YMCA in evening. On Draft.
Xmas Day. Was in Birmingham this time last year. Very nice dinner in camp. Roast beef, potatoes, cabbage & onion sauce
Plum pudding & clear sauce, Oranges, Raisins, Dates, cheese – Bread Butter & jam. Cigarettes
Good evening tea. Went to Scottish Concert YMCA. Good
Boxing Day 1916
Bullring in morn. C.B. finish in evening. Bath in afternoon. Wrote Lill &
27.12.16 Bullring in morning. Went to Paris – Plage in
evening with Len Uren. Had a very good time. Very fine promenade. Met some very
nice French people.
28.12.16 Wrote Mother & Elaine. Nothing special
29.12.16 Issued with leather jacket & gloves, underclothes & steel helmet & ammunition
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (7)
Left camp at 4 p.m. Got in carriages 6 p.m. Not much tea, slept a bit in train. Wrote Red Dowling & Aunt Laura.
Travelled all night via Abbeville, Poix & Amiens.
30.12.16. Arrived at Albert about 1.30 p.m. Marched to rest camp 2 miles out. Now we are in tents within sound of the guns for the first time for 16 months. Don’t feel nervous as I trust God to care for mother as He so for me.
We are within sight of a church topped by a large gilt Madonna & Child, which has been struck by a shell and now faces the ground at right angles to the tower.
Wrote Mrs Stubbs.The mud is over the
Albert, France. c. 1916. The war damaged Basilica of Notre Dame de Brebieres at Albert with the statue of the Madonna at a precarious angle on top of the steeple. (Donor British Official Photograph C914) Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
This item is in the Public Domain
uppers of the boots, but not as bad as they say it is on the line
31.12.16 Up at 7 am. Marched to gas test in Albert. The place presents a most desolate appearance. Evidence of the recent bombardment is abundant in gaping roofs and shattered buildings, beside the church struck in numerous places.
Went through gas test with new box respirator.
Started to march in full kit at 1 pm. Got to Div. Hqrs about 3 pm. Drafted into 1st Bgde & after walking and wandering about reached Hqrs about 8,30 pm
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (8)
The guns are going strong, but the ANC man who cooks for the officers has been very good indeed & given me tea & a doss. Feel pretty tired but happy enough. God is very good indeed to me. Heard a band tonight.
1.1.17 Nothing much to do. Very good feeding here. Gunfire brought down ˝ a ton of earth which just missed annihilating my dug out mate. The agility with which he got from his seat by the fire was an object lesson to the wait & see faction
Went across to find 2nd Field Ambce – find they are shifted elsewhere Going over asked a chap if there were a path through the mud – “Oh yes” he said – “come on I’ll show you”. So I followed while he led me through khaki porridge well over my boot tops. I didn’t appreciate his kindness till I picked my way back on my own, when after a few excursions into knee deep mud that took a non-slip grip on my number 10’s and resolutely refused to relinquish its hold, I realized that his was the way.
P.C. to Mother & Miss Pearce
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (9)
Thousands of shell cases, waste 18 pr & larger ammunition & duds, rifle grenades, hand
* Obviously wrong year
grenades, mills bombs etc. lying about.
The boys at the battery living in dug-outs 30 ft or so underground. Came back via “Devil’s Wood”, a very gaunt desolate place. Portions of a man’s leg here, the body of other men in shelholes, where they appear to have crawled weeks ago – hideous looking objects now. German ammunition & 77’s guns and limbers about, while no tree in all the wood stands, but all are cut short – few higher than 20 ft - & even then scarred & blasted with shells. The ground is impassable but for the duck boards, as the edges of the shell
*Obviously wrong year
|Five Australians, members of a field artillery brigade, passing along a duckboard track over mud and water among gaunt bare tree trunks. Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain This item is in the Public Domain|
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (10)
Just at present shells are landing a 100 yds or so to the rear but seem inclined to come closer. Wrote F Green
On horse lines & messages. Wrote … Watt, J Leach & McDougal
Wrote May King, Nan Barbour. Nothing special. Taube came over &
drove one of our scouts down
over our own lines.
11.1.17 Cpl Burnell left & now I’m doing Hqrs clerking.
de Fontenay left. Guns pulled out – got shelled a bit
Got lifts in motors etc. Working till late on return. No wash
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (11)
21.1.17 Wrote Marj & Ena.
22.1.17 Went into Amiens at 9 a.m. Had a bath, dinner, & then went to find Rene Lademell, Patties friend. The family is one of the most charming I’ve met yet. Mother, 2 girls about 20 – 23 & a boy of 22 in 63rd Infantry. Achille Thomas was away. The Cathedral in Amiens is glorious and altogether too grand to describe. High and beautiful. Most of the carving now is protected with sand bags & loopholed. Took a lift on step of a motor home.
Wrote Queen & Patty. Letter from Elaine
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (12)
(24) Moved from Rainneville to Behencourt – 6 Kilos or so.
Feel pretty sad tonight, with the photos etc. Ears troubling me a lot. Wrote Mother & Watty.
26.1.17 Pretty tired. Still very cold. Water bottle solid frozen.
Letter from Min.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (13)
Find the bit of French very handy indeed
30.1.17 Started about 8 am. From Behencourt. Passed thro’ Franvillers, Buire en somme & got to Mametz after dinner (which we didn’t have). Got to position about 5 pm. – no rations. Not far from old position, near Delville Wood. Very quiet & only a few shells at present.
Went on phone duty at 10 pm. It is 1 am now on the
31st Jan 1917, very cold indeed. Everything frozen solid. Can’t write in ink as it freezes & cup of tea goes solid. Boots like iron in morning
Not a bad dug-out. Very small. Can’t wash as water is all ice.
Plenty of live stock in dugout.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (14) (1917)
Vera & Muriel, Comforts Fund box with fags etc. N.T.B.
Letter from Mrs Tardif & Laura
Wrote “When Agnes Phones”.
Wrote Miss Baker.
10th.Wrote Mac & Min. Gas alert.
13th Letter from Mother.
Published Furphy’s Fancies
Williams & I started
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (15)
Out and after a nightmare tramp over rough country pitted with shell holes & many disappointments we found where a 9.2 shell had lobbed on the wire, but we couldn’t find the other end. After hunting till after 3 am. We20th turned into a stable nearby & slept till 6 am, got onto the wire at once & found we were only about 100 yds from the W.L. station. Had breakfast at Hqws & tramped the 4 mile odd home – pretty cold & tired. Found
that Mac is at Becordel.
Deepened dugout. Pinched timber.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (16)
Bayonet & Guerd trenches taken without opposition. Batteries to move forward.
Read “… …”, N.T.B.
Pinched more timber. Went across to FA. Got biscuits from canteen. Had fire & dried goods.
Germany still on the move. Evacuated Bapaume but moved up again under cover of darkness.
Went for a walk to High Wood, 3 tanks stranded there. One had a shot in ammunition boxes & was burnt out by a fierce fire. Still skulls etc about.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (17)
A Fritz is putting shells over just beyond – hope he doesn’t shorten range. News through now that gas shells are being sent over
Bit of a strafe started now.
6.3.17 Went down to W. Lines for night out of action. Parcel from Mrs Frier
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (18)
Mr Hooper. St Hilda Church Sq., West Cliff, Whitby, Yorks.
Mr T Winters, 56 B.R. Nun, S.E. Lond.
Miss Kate Deacon Crondene Norton Way Letchworth, Herts.
Mrs Ashby’s Aunt. 3 Milner Rd. Tony Eaton. Notts
Mrs W Herbert, Conservative Club, Barford Rd Edgbaston, Birm.
Mrs Hooper Jnr, Gillagaer St Cardiff
Glenshalloch Dalbeattie Kirkcudbright-shire
Cable Rates – B’ham – Melbne.
Full rate 3/- word
Weekend 15/- for 20 words or less inc T.W.T. then 9’ word no figure
EFM 9’ per word via Pacific or Eastern
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (19)
Eggs very nice. Eugenie Aguet is the name of the Mademoiselle at the old HQ Billet.
13.3.17 Nothing spec. At the Mayors House.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (20)
Went to Mme Lademell, good lunch & dinner. Rode home about 8 pm. Snowing
28.3.17 Elected sec. of Football Club.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (21)(April 1917)
3.3(sic).17 Played Rugby. Face pretty bad. Blood out of order. Very irritating.
7.3(sic).17 Moved at 9.30 am. Passed thro’ Bapaume & on about a kilometre. Camped on an aerodrome. Bapaume absolutely smashed up. Slept in tent.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (22) (April 1917)
Two others came in afternoon. Letter from Elaine.
10.3(sic).17 Letter from Mrs Warr. Wrote Mother.In evening Ashton & I went into Bapaume, had cocoa at Austn. Comforts Fund, and went on to canteen. The sight of those waiting turn frightened us, & Ashton went back to camp & I went to a cinema show. It was a strange scene. Most of the audience had slouch hats and brought seats for themselves mostly ammunition boxes, lumps of masonry, wood and in one case a (code for bedroom utensil)
(code) on the top of a pile of bricks. The roof looked like the sky on a clear night by reason of shrapnel & shell splinters, and all through the program snow dusted down on the audience.
The pictures were good, despite the frequent breaking of the film. The roar of applause at a film of scenes in New South Wales was only equalled by that for one showing a trip through Melbourne & down to St Kilda. For a time one lived again in the Sunny
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (23)(April 1917)
Places, and when coming out one half expected to hear the cry of the saveloy man and see the lights of Princes Bridge.
But it was the flash & boom of guns, the splashing through ankle deep mud & snow, that reminded one again of war, and this was done by the sight of a tractor drawing a 6 inch howitzer along & by ambulances & motor lorries in a long line thro the gaunt, debris bordered streets of Bapaume.
11.3(sic).17 Letter from Mrs Warr
Nothing doing Books from Smethwick
12.3(sic).17 Nothing special. Still snowing
Goods from canteen & parcel from Miss Barbour
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (24)(April 1917)
15.4.17 Good deal of heavy fire on our front. About 7.30 orders came through to get away as Fritz has broken our line. The F.A. staff came down in odds & ends sans everything but tin hats.
Saddled up & rolled waterproof & a blanket.
Are standing to waiting though believe we have recovered lost ground. Jerry Gerrard hasn’t turned up yet. He was sleeping in a separate dugout & no one woke him.
Things are quiet again now.Went through
16.4.17 Parcel from Min & letter from Herb Misdale, Laura, Trix, Biddy, Naomi, Lucy, May King, Vera & Muriel, Glad & Marj Dowling, Emma Jackson, Patty.
Fritz is slinging heavy stuff over - 2 or 3 hundred yards over.
Went to picture show in Bapaume
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (25)
normal village. Continual shelling with heavies & 5.9’s. Smothered with mud from roads. Shell nearly got place I was in & 2 mates filling sandbags outside.
The air is continually full of the sound of shells. Our guns firing now over my place.
101st pulled out &
we were sent back to F.A. Very good horse lines. Letter from Suzy Lardenelle.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (26)
bombarded some big 9.2’s nearby & got a couple.
Some ammunition blew up & we felt as if something had hit us on the head. None came too near.
Some shelling going on now, very heavy stuff.
27.4.17 Letters from Mrs Warr.
Very quiet with the guns.
Started to round up our horses. Exciting
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (27)
time when Marconi got away. Did John Gilpin act among the batteries of 2nd FAB.
Just as we were tying up after returning some more shells landed about 50 yds away, scattering rubbish & metal everywhere.
Got hit with a bit of earth on wrist. Another landed in 2nd Bde lines.
Only one casualty, I think.
Went up to F.A. in evening for stunt. Fritz shelled position.
At about 3.45 am. all our guns opened at once, till we seemed to be in a circle of flame. Very pretty sight, but noise deafening.
Infantry went over at dawn & have attained objectives, I think. During all the bombardments at dawn a skylark could be heard, and one is singing now.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (28)
9.5.17 Ashton ill so went on phones
Comfortable quarters. Some pretty heavy shelling, with
splinters plentiful. If our cellar got a whizz-bang on the roof it would come in. At the back is a quaint little garden with pansies & polyanthuses, forgetmenots and fruit trees, and some gooseberry bushes & strawberry plots. Wandering here, with a summer house overgrown, one forgot for a while such a thing as war. On looking up, though, the fact was brought home again at the sight of the little tiled roof cottage with only a wall or two left, and the skeleton of a roof.
The guns in the evening awoke again and emphasised the disillusion
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (29)
14.5.17 Nothing special. Very quiet.
Wrote M. Fuller, T M Ashby
Wrote Mrs Lawson.
Went through cemetery in evening. Very great number of shells have fallen here & opened graves. One big vault has been opened & one decends by a ladder
A coffin below contains the remains of a woman & has been smashed open by huns, probably to see if there was any jewelry within.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (30)
(this page too faint to decipher)
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (31)
26.5.17 Went to Amiens on bike. Had quiet lunch & went to Rue Jacques Delille. Had a very nice afternoon & evening. Left at about 10 pm. Got lost on Doullens & got back about 1 a.m. Good practice in French.
31.5.17 Played football with 2nd Bty.
The cathedral has some very wonderful stone carvings. It was raining slightly & all the gargoyles vomited water - some into new iron spouts placed to carry water clear of sand bags. Some very beautiful bas reliefs inside, & fine altars
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (32)
7th June 17 Amiens
Had a very pleasant afternoon. Good French practice - real bohemian place. Front door always open & people keep popping in, talk a minute & away again. A revolutionist editor called in for a moment. Finished a real merry evening by dressing up & Renee powdered my face - got home about 12.30
10.6.17 Nothing special. Letter from Mrs Warr.
Letter from Mrs Frier
Am now sitting in a wood near Montigny & Molliens. Very quiet & cool. Marconi grazing nearby.
Had orders to be ready to move at once today, but
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (33)
Wrote Miss Rosanove, Marj & Mrs Frier & Mr Boys.
Wrote Elaine & Min. Got paid
1115. Huxley William
In the hollow just past a great mine crater the whole place is dotted thickly with little white crosses. Country changed a lot from last year.
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (34)
Browning Jan 1
When get back …
mint (morse = ONE MTU CHOPINS WALSES BNM VERA)
Ammonia biscuits … Coorumbene
Cut out 3’ for Min
Boys pink Girls Blue
altern. “ red “ green
cut 3’ for Mrs Warr
HFW War Diary No.4, page spread No (35)
E Deacon 348 Swanston St
Priestley … Rd
G Wennell - Sig. No1600. 23rd Battn. …