Glosters Posted 8 June , 2019 Share Posted 8 June , 2019 I was able to borrow the diary of 31247 Private George M. Harris, 7th Gloucestershire Regiment, to make a transcription. He was from Stroud, Gloucestershire. Joined up Nov. 21st 1916 at Horfield Barracks. Nov 22nd received full kit except rifle Nov 25th left Horfield for Maidstone to join 3rd Glosters Nov 28th Inoculated had 24 hours off duty Dec 22nd went home on special draft leave for 3 days as waiting man Dec 26th Entrained for embarking Devonport at 3 pm. Marched to the dock. We then went to a rest camp for the night. Dec 28th we was roused up and had breakfast and gave in our blankets etc and marched back to the station and left 10 am for an unknown destination. arrived back at Maidstone 7.30 pm, a hot supper was ready. Told we should be going home again next day for 6 days leave. Dec 29th left Maidstone at 2.15 pm and arrived in Stroud at 8.45 pm. Jan 1st 1917 – at home on leave 2 – at home having a good time 3 – returned to Maidstone off draft leave 4 – found extra parade to be done 5 – we find it very hard work marching around with full packs. We have drill afternoons now. 6 – we have route marches very Saturday now. It used to be easy as we only had kit inspection. 7 – church parade. This is a fine turn out. We have a fine band. Services very good. 8 – We drill now as the Indian Draft. We have a very decent Sgt. Major. 9 – We have had some very bad weather lately, snow and rain but we go on the same then we have a lecture of some kind or another. 10 – not much to note. 11 – the weather very bad again today and very cold. 12 – not feeling very well, sore throat etc. landlady very good to me. 13 – still feeling very poorly but don't want to report sick if I can help it. 14 – church parade. The band have been split up and have to join the Regt. 15 – today was the first time we had been on parade without packs. 16 – Warned for the Indian Draft for the second time. 17 – Entrained for Devonport at 8pm. We had a good send off and was given a Testament and cigarettes. The CO came and seen us off and wished us good luck. 18 – Arrived at Devonport about 7 am. Train took us right into dock, got on board about 8.30 am. 19 – still anchored in Plymouth Sound. 20 - set sail for India under escort of HMS Kent and Torpedo Destroyer No. 17 21 – Not much to note but as to wear lifebelts all day long. 22 – Name of the boat is the Suffolk, she is an old cargo boat turned into a troop ship. 23 – today the sea began to get rough and the boat rocked a good deal. The troops began to find seasickness. 24 – during the day there were some accidents owing to the rough seas and rolling of the boat. 25 – still rough and had to keep myself quiet 26 – sea is worse today and I am feeling miserable 27 – had my first touch of seasickness but felt as right as rain after. 28 – the sea is calm today. I think the last few days we have been on the edge of the Bay of Biscay. 29 – not much to note only the weather is better 30 – beginning to enjoy ourselves 31 – we are told we shall sight land in a few days February 1 – calm and feeling more like myself today 2 – ordered to wear our lifebelts again as we are nearing land 3 – we sighted land about 8.30 am and we arrived in harbour at 11.30 am, it is on the West African coast, it is called Freetown, Sierra Leone. A concert was held on board and was very good. 4 – still in port. We put on our khaki dress for the first time for church parade. We expect our letters to go from here. This port is near what is called the White Man's Grave. 5 – we left port at 3.30 pm for Cape Town which is the next port we call at. We expect it will take 10 to 14 days to get there, we hope to go on shore at Cape Town. 6 – It was very warm but towards night wind rose and it rained pouring. Was inoculated the second time. News came through that America has declared war on Germany, do not know if this is true as there are so many rumours going round. 7 – weather still grand. 8 – it is very hot although rather cool at night. 9 – Practice for competition rifle drills. 10 – Did my first guard for 24 hours. 11 – church parade 12 – not as warm as it was at Freetown 13 – we expect to reach port in 2 or 3 days. 14 – Orders came out how to dress for a route march at Cape Town. Crew hard at work preparing the boat for coaling. 15 – I can't sleep in the hammocks. 16 – we can't see the land yet but the boat is travelling much faster the last few days. 17 – Reached port at 8.30 am Cape Town. S. Africa. Fine sigh to see Table Mountain. Hoping to go ashore today or tomorrow. The Kent left us to go to her base. It is just a month since we left England. We were allowed ashore at 2 o'clock until 10.30 pm. Those who were in team platoons had picket duty. I was stationed at Buitenkantz Street, we did not get much time to look around. We saw King Edwards and Cecil Rhodes monuments. In fact Cape Town is a nice place. Fruit very cheap. Hope to go ashore again. 18 – hopes not realised. Boat left Table Bay at 11 am. Durban next port, 5 days journey. 19 – not much doing 20 – had lifebelt parade and was told that we are nearing most dangerous part of our voyage as several ships had been mined in the last few weeks. 21 – nearing port again. We had to parade with full packs to see if we was anything short. We expect to be at Durban for a few days as we change boats. 22 – expected to go into port today but for some reason we did not. 23 – Arrived at Durban about 7 am. Left boat at 9 am and paraded in the docks. Arrived at Rest Camp 11 am. We were allowed into town from 5 to 10 pm. Interesting to see the natives with rickshaws. 24 – Our company on guard and was not allowed out of camp. A concert was held at YMCA. 25 – church parade held on the beach. Went into town in the evening. We met a gentleman and his wife who came from Bristol, he invited us to his house and he gave us a splendid tea and smokes etc. He showed us different kinds of fruit growing in his garden. 26 - we had gym for an hour first thing in the morning and bathing for an hour. It was a splendid swimming bath. Went out about 5.30 pm and had a trip round the trams on a circular route it takes about 40 minutes. You go right up in the hills and get a view of the town, whole sea front and the bay. 27 - Still at camp. All the Glosters (39) were invited out to dinner at night by a Mr Williams, another Bristol man. 28 - our company on duty so did not go out. We had orders to draw rations for breakfast the next morning as we was going on board for India. March 1 - left camp 8 am and marched to the boat, Went on board 10 am it seems a good boat but we are very crowded. Boat sailed at 2 pm. 2 - Boat seems a lot faster than the Suffolk but we don't have much room, about 2,400 men on board. They reckon to take 12 to 14 days to get to Bombay. 3 - We are allowed to sleep in the saloon. The name of the boat is Kinfauns Castle. 4 - Lovely weather. Church parade. 5 - On guard 6 am to 6 pm - 2 hrs on 2 hrs off. 6 - not much doing 7 - we get lectures and bathing parade 8 - weather changes as we go along 9 - orders to was drill khaki and put it away until we get to Bombay 10 - weather grand 11 - church parade 12 - practice rifle drills 13 - quiet day 14 - marching order inspection 15 - we had our photos taken. Came in sight of Bombay and dropped anchor about 11.30 am. We had to give all English money in and changed for Indian. 16 - left the boat 10.30 and given a towel, blanket and soap to entrain for Belgaum. Arrived at Poona 6 pm, had tea and changed trains. Travelling all night, carriages very uncomfortable and hot all day. 17 - arrived at depot 3 pm, a place called Belgaum. It is a splendid camp. 18 - we had some new Khaki and a slight medical exam. The 7th Glosters, Staffs, Worcesters and Warwicks are stationed here. 19 - our first day for drills. Officer told the instructor to take us in a tent due to the heat. 20 - Helped make a rifle range. Medical exam 21 - Expect to stay at Belgaum for some time. 22 - things here are cheap compared to England. 23 - parade 6.30 to 7.30 am then breakfast, parade 9 to 11.30 am then rest until evening. 24 - only parade in morning on Saturdays. 25 - church parade 26 - life of the natives is very different to ours. It is a dirty place and the stench is rather strong. There are a few places where soldiers can get drinks etc and they are under Government supervision. 27 - Training is very different here than in England. The instructors are not so good. 28 - Lectures on one subject or another. Most instructors have been at the front and come back due to wounds or sickness. 29 - the places where natives live is more like pig styes and the women seem to do most of the work. 30 - we are allowed 5 1/4 per day more than in England but once you have paid for a servant you are no better off. 31 - water is short in the camp. It is brought by natives every day. April 1 - Church parade. The church is like the ones at home. 2 - We get very little news from England 3 - did some firing on the range 4 - had several thunder storms and had to dig trenches all round the tents 5 - a small draft left for Mesopotamia. 6 - Played football but it was a poor game. 7 - Received my first letter from home. It is dated 27th Feb. 8 - church 9 - drills same as usual 10 - drill 11 - a lot of men go down with the heat 12 - drills as usual 13 - Pay day. Drew 3 rupees which does not last long 14 - football today, Glosters lost 15 - church parade 16 - not much to note 17 - Packed for draft to leave end of month 18 - Being rushed about now, did some firing 19 - fired with proper ammunition for the first time. 20 - 4 more letters arrived. Had sad news that wife's mother had passed away. 21 - warned for draft for Mesopotamia 22 - Left Belgaum for Bombay at 1 pm. 23 - went on board 8 am. During afternoon the boat was towed out of docks and spent night in harbour. 24 - Boat steamed out of harbour about 4 pm. 25 - sea is very calm 26 - boat is named Aronda 27 - fairly good food and plenty of bully beef. 28 - boat is about the best we have had 29 - church parade 30 - sighted land. Had mosquito nets dished out to us. May 1 – Went up the River to Basra and anchored just outside. 2 - Left boat 7 am and arrived at camp 9.30. Had medical exam. Dust here is very bad and we had goggles. 3 - Inspected by CO, Lt-Col. C.B. Wood. Had rifle and ammunition dished out to us. 4 - 22 men picked to go with the Staffs. I was marked TB (Temporary Base) and so was not picked. 5 - Had to do ration fatigues with oxen carts. Several Indian Regts, Gurkhas and Lancers here. Indian bands play very well. Another draft packed today. 6 - Draft inspected and left about 4.30 pm. We had hard marching as first time we carried ammunition. We have enough rations on board to last 14 days. Don't know where we are going but some say Bagdad. 7 - Went on shore for about half hour this evening. Saw some Arabs, they are not very civilised. We stayed the night at standstill. 8 - Passing through country where our troops have done a lot of fighting. This evening we got to a place called Amaria. There are a lot of troops stationed here. 9 - Today on our way up the river we could see the old trenches. 10 - We passed Saniyat where the Turks made a stand. 11 - Passed by Kut today, the place we could see by the river was all blown to bits. Went ashore in the evening and saw some of the trenches. 12 - People at home cannot understand how much land our troops have passed through and under what difficulties. It is only by going up the Tigris that you realise. 13 - We are nearing Bagdad 14 - Saw a place called Ctesiphon, now nearly all ruins. 15 - reached Bagdad camp early in the morning. It was terrible with no tents. 16 - moved to another part of the camp. Went on board again and anchored on the river. 17 - Moved off up the river. We are just finding out what active service is like. Had a sand storm. 18 - Marched 12 miles and camped. 19 - Marched to find the Battalion. Arrived at HQ abut 4.30 pm. 20 - met a chap from Stroud who knew me before the war. 21 - I was out in C Company but Harry is in B Company so we parted for the first time since we joined. The heat and flies are awful. 22 - Expect to move down the line this evening. Don't expect much fighting until winter. 23 - we are not allows to use soap in the river as it where we get drinking water. Of course they purify it. Name of camp is Sindiyah. 24 - Rifle drill and lectures from Medical Officer. 25 - Passed fit to join our Companies. 26 - RSM surprised to hear we fired 10 rounds before we came out. 27 – parades 28 - mess orderly today 29 - had 2 medical tests 30 - had a lecture on rifle and bullets 31 - on fatigue works June 1 - fatigue work 2 - trench digging in the evening. Four letters came, dated 29 March, 31 March, and two 2 April. 3 - fatigue work 4 - fatigues. Done what they call listening post duty. 5 - fatigues. Weather is getting hotter. 6 - trench digging. Felt rotten, sore throat. 7 - fatigues. Heat is very trying. 8 - digging trenches. We are just holding the line. Saw some enemy prisoners captured by our patrols. They look some poor wrecks. 9 - more digging 10 - wrote a letter home 11 - parades as usual 12 - fatigues 13 - done firing, I got 15 out of 20. 14 - had to report sick today 15 - still poorly 16 - firing today but I did not go well 17 - church parade 18 - river is getting lower every day 19 - had to report sick again 20 - still feel unwell. Had to take water to the Companies. 21 - not much to note 22 - firing today 23 - fired 20 rounds 24 - water guard 25 - Moved to Company today. Trench digging. 26 - trench digging 27 - do same each day 28 - digging 29 - went to another camp. Whole Battalion is together again. 30 - warned to go an a Lewis Gun course July 1 - church parade 2 - started Lewis Gun course 3 - Letter received from home, dated 1 May. 4 - 500 men from battalion to go through course. 5 - still on course 6 - Lewis Gun in morning and trench digging in evening 7 - arrived back from trench digging at 8 am 8 - church parade 9 - Mother's birthday. Done some Lewis Gun firing. 10 - Still trying to understand the Lewis Gun. It is wonderful but a lot to remember. There is no recoil like with an ordinary rifle. 11 - Lewis Gun morning and a great deal of digging in evening. 12 - Up at 3 am digging. Marched back to camp in 120 heat. 13 - told of we pass out 1st class from course will get extra 6a a day. 14 - Went over different stoppages of the gun and its parts. 15 - Lewis Gun. Got paid 15 Rupees (about £1) 16 - Passed Lewis Gun exam 2nd class. 17 - Returned to Company and did bomb throwing. 18 - digging in evening. Chaps went down with heat. 19 - went sick 20 - on light duties 21 - light duty 22 - church parade 23 - bomb throwing and swimming competition 24 - new draft arrived from Belgaum 25 - digging 26 - back from digging earlier 27 - parades as usual 28 - Battalion parade. Concert in evening 29 - Church parade. Orderly man for the day. 30 - Parades and Guard tonight. 31 - Lectures on scouts by Capt. Clarke. An accident at the bombing through faulty bomb and one of our chaps got wounded in the throat. August 1 – reported sick had light duty 2 – detained in hospital tent. No food, only cornflower and soda water. 3 – still detained. Received 2 letters from home 4 – still in medical tent but was sent out in evening 5 – church parade and general inspection 6 – drills 7 – parade as usual. Received 5 rupees. 8 – parade in morning. Did digging and carrying for REs 9 – bathing in evening 10 – got checked for dirty ammunition. Drill in evening for night operations 11 – ration fatigue 12 - church parade 13 – parade and fatigues 14 – parades 15 – parades and bayonet fighting 16 – lecture on hill fighting 17 – digging 18 – arrived back in camp 7 am 19 – ration fatigue 20 – received 10 letters. Bombing class. 21 – bomb throwing and lecture 22 – digging at night. Paid 10 rupees. 23 – parades 24 – instructor expects us to pass out in morning 25 – Battalion parade 26 – church parade 27 – still bombing course 28 – we were passed out today for throwing and received 2 rupees for being the 2nd best thrower. 29 – passed out on parts of bomb 30 – returned to duty 31 – received letters and newspapers. On Brigade guard. September 1 – no parades today 2 – church parade. Warned for a fortnight course of Brigade bombing. 3 – Started bombing course 4 – learn about explosives 5 – passed out on throwing 6 – we got trench raiding and all the things bomb throwers have to do. Paid 10 rupees. 7 – bombing 8 – had a sham attack on trenches. 9 – church parade. Received 2 letters and newspapers 10 – trench raid lectures. Feeling better the last week or two. 11 – those who pass throwing course have to do fatigues 12 – some of our chaps passed exam on grenades 13 – did exam and got 50 out of 100. 14 – did a night attack. I got captured by the Warwicks. 15 – on water fatigue 16 – we should go back to the company tonight 17 – company drills 18 – warned to pack to move up the line to make a new bombing school. 19 – pitched tent for the day. 20 – marking bombing pits 21 – digging pits 22 – digging. Expect to go back to regiment tomorrow. 23 – returned to regiment 4.30 pm 24 – digging 25 – digging 26 – not very grand today 27 – reported sick 28 – sick 29 – orderly man today 30 – church parade October 1 – digging 2 – not much to note 3 – parades. Paid 10 rupees 4 – some being inoculated 5 – not much to note 6 – digging and guard at night 7 – parade 8 – parades 9 – parade in line picket 10 – digging 11 – parade 12 – parade in full pack 13 – guard at night 14 – church parade 15 – route march as part of company moves up the line. Paid 10 rupees 16 – route march 17 – route march 18 – had my face lanced today for the 3rd time 19 – had a bottle of beer 20 – rifle parade 21 – church parade 22 – route march with full pack 23 – Inspection by CO. We wear our packs in different way. Paid 4 rupees. 24 – Company split into platoons. Have to find guard to escort rations. 25 – escort duty. We are at Deliabus. 26 – kit inspection. Having fairly easy time. 27 – rifle guard. The rifles are buried in pits and the guard sleep on these on each side. This is because we are losing so many to the Arabs who are crafty. 28 – church parade 29 – I am reckoned a bomber as we went through brigade course 30 – started to dig the winter HQ today 31 – HQ will be very comfortable November 1 – digging 2 – building over dugout, it is just bricks of dried mud 3 – route march with full packs 4 – went down the line about 8 miles to take rations 5 – company drill 6 – rifle drill. Paid 5 rupees 7 – inoculated 8 – no duty today 9 – no parades 10 – escort duty 11 – church parade 12 – nothing to note 13 – 18 - 19 – digging 20 – paid 10 rupees 21 – digging. On guard at night. First drop of rain since we came here. 22 – digging 23 – digging 24 – digging 25 – church parade. The death of Sir Stanley Maude was mentioned 26 – parades 27 – digging 28 – expect to move at end of week 29 – digging 30 – started off at 7 am and arrived at strong point at noon. December 1 – stand to 5 to 6 am 2 – doctor inspected our arms. 3 – firing was heard and I had to go with a patrol to make enquiries 4 – very quiet in this part of line we are holding 5 – digging 6 – on light duty 7 – news came through that the Turks have returned again 8 – we move to the old camp tomorrow 9 – moved from strong point at 8.30 am 10 – started dugouts for the men 11 – 12 – digging 13 - rifle drill 14 – parades. Football in afternoon 15 – dummy attack 16 – run before breakfast and march after. 17 – company drills 18 – parades 19 – route march in artillery formation 20 – had some more rain and did not have any parades 21 – football match 22 – had to clear road as mud was so thick 23 – no parades. Football competition 24 – football competition. Winners get a medal. 25 – we had rum in our tea in the morning and a good breakfast. Dinner was roast beef and stew, rice and fruit and xmas duff also a bottle of beer. For tea we had salmon and sardines and tinned fruit. 26 – moved 10 am and arrived at destination 3 pm 27 – digging trench in case of hostile aircraft. Bathing parade 28 – digging 29 – digging and football in afternoon. 30 – allowed an extra hour in bed before inspections. 31 – had a sing-song at night and a drop of rum. 1918 January 1 – working for R.E.s building a bridge 2 – clearing way for bridges as river expected to overflow. Had several letters from home and received sad news that my brother had been killed in France. 3 – company drills 4 – parades 5 – heavy rain. Gifts came up for troops, cake, fruit, sweets, etc. 6 – rained very hard and our dugouts were flooded up to our knees. 7 – still raining and ground in nearly under water. It is terrible and our clothes and blankets are wet through. 8 – moved camp to higher ground. 9 – working in shifts 10 – letter from dad 11 – seem to be doing double work on the bridge 12 – I expect that nearly all the strong point have been flooded and will be more work 13 – parades and digging 14 – still on the bridge 15 – parades. Received 10 rupees. 16 – bridge looking more ship-shape. Got mail including xmas parcel from wife. 17 – work on bridge 18 – more mail arrived including xmas parcel from mum and dad 19 – work on bridge 20 – still working, don't get Sunday off now. 21 – orders came that we have to do half hour musketry a day. 22 – digging 3 to 4 hours 23 – some of our men had to go felling trees for the R.E.s. The Arabs are very put out about it as some of the trees belong to the poor class of Arabs. They do some funny things like throw dirt over themselves. 24 – Some chaps brought back nuts that grow out of top of date trees. Tastes like wall nuts. This is food for Arabs, no wonder they made a row about the trees. We had a visit from a Turk aircraft but it did not bomb our camp. They came at night when the moon was up. Another mail today. 25 – paid 5 rupees. Our aircraft were on patrol today. 26 – had to clear trenches for safety from aircraft 27 – no parades 28 – parades and rain 29 – parades 30 – bridge work 31 – near end of work on bridge. Guard duty at night. Had a drop of beer. February 1 – musketry in morning and on bridge in afternoon. 2 – bridge in morning and football in afternoon. 3 – no parades. Rugby match in afternoon. 4 – our platoon on another small bridge. Rained. 5 – at work on other bridge. Wet. 6 – went to small bridge again 7 – our platoon had a day off. Rained. 8 – left about 9.30 am. It was a terrible job to get along in the mud and water. Arrived at the Battalion about 4 pm. It was the worst march I have ever done, wet through with sweat. Foot inspection. Had a bottle of beer. 9 – We only got our tents in a bit of order today. Armourer inspected our rifles. 10 – no parades today 11 – CO's inspection at 9 am then musketry. 12 – Gas instruction 13 – Started grouping practice. Had some gifts from Ceylon. 14 – musketry and gas instruction 15 – firing. I failed and have to repeat. 16 – parades as usual 17 – CO inspection and then day off. 18 – musketry and gas 19 – same. In afternoon on fatigue making a boxing ring 20 – gas and musketry 21 – early parade then gas and musketry 22 – went on the range early 23 – firing and gas 24 – CO inspection, blanket inspection and church parade 25 – firing and gas 26 – Field day. Route march the dug in. Marched back to camp in rain, it was rotten. 27 – firing in morning 28 – firing again March 1 – digging and gas 2 – On range, marking for those who failed. 3 – CO inspection 4 – marking on range. Kit inspection 5 – digging 6 – marking on range 7 – Inspections and guard at night 8 – On fatigues. A party went to Bagdad for sports. 9 – marking on the range 10 – church parade 11 – many gone to Bagdad for sports. 12 – fatigues 13 – heavy rain 14 – nothing to note 15 – concert party arrived and they are splendid 16 – collecting brush wood to repair strong points damaged by rain 17 – church parade and inspection. Guard at night 18 – fatigues. Concert was spendid 19 – not much to note 20 – done some bombing in gas masks 21 – gas drills 22 – digging to repair trenches where they flooded 23 – digging. Rifles went to armourer for inspection 24 – CO inspection. We are having a holiday as tomorrow is anniversary of the Glosters winning the back badge. We are having sports etc. 25 – sports somewhat spoiled by showers. 26 – digging 27 – digging. Expect to leave soon 28 – Issued with drill clothes today 29 – moved off 7 am but packs was put on Gharries. Stopped for dinner then marched until 4 pm and camped for the night. 30 – worked with sigs as they were laying wire from Brigade 31 – marked the road into camp April 1 – brick making for the latrines. Guard at night 2 – brick making in evening 3 – escort to get bricks from old Turkish barracks 4 – helping brick layers 5 – Parades. Has been very hot today. We are near the river and mosquitos are very bad. 6 – parades and evening off 7 – brick making. Guard at night 8 – helping brick layers 9 – working 10 – rest of battalion arrived 11 – we moved off a little then pitched camp to await orders. 12 – route marching 13 – marched about 10 miles. Then another 4 miles in evening. 14 – don't know how far we marched. A Church of England minister visited, he was from Bristol and told us about conditions in England when he left in October 1917. 15 – march 16 – marched through the village of Abusaida. 17 – Just as we formed up to march off an order arrived to stop. 18 – rained pouring 19 – small route march, hard going 20 – route march and sham attack 21 – marched about 5 miles and rested for night 22 – marched to Delle-Abbas. Bought some stores at an Armenian bazaar. 23 – marched to entrance of Aba Hajar Pass and rested the night 24 – marched through the pass. Was interesting after the countryside that we got used to. 25 – marched about 6 miles to a bridge which was partly blown up. The Turks blew it up in November. Stayed the night. 26 – still at bridge. Our platoon on piquet duty. Marched all night and troops was dead beat when we stopped to rest. Rained and hailed and we got a good soaking. 27 – forced marched without a halt, about 16 miles. Rested for 2 hours then moved off again. 28 – Hard going. Troops had to ford the river and found it very hard going. We expected to go into action this morning but was in reserve. 29 – We forded river and was told that villages were clear. When the Lancs got there they came under machine gun fire but they kept on and drove the Turks out and captured their guns and many prisoners. 30 – resting May 1 – still resting. We are able to get a dip and wash our clothes. 2 – expect to move tomorrow. Told we are going after Johnny again. 3 – joined column again. My feet is worse than they ever have been. 4 – still on road after Johnny but he goes faster than we can 5 – did bog march today and went over a 14 span bridge which the Turks had attempted to blow up but failed. Our company told off to mend roads. 6 – marched again. When we stopped to rest it poured and we were soaked and miserable. Ran very short of rations. 7 – moved to drier spot so we could dry our clothes and blankets. Some of the regts had a rum issue but we had gym to get warm. 8 – we rested but the cavalry, armoured guns and artillery are still pushing the Turks back. The Turks retired from a place called Kirkuk. Column captured the town and we moved up and camped just outside. 9 – we are to garrison the town. 10 – cleaning up. Rations still bad but got some broad beans from a field. 11 – moving bombs for REs to blow up. About 2 pm a very sad accident took place while we was moving boxes of bombs an explosion took place killing 3 men (including my pal) and wounded 4. The cause of which is not known. The ones who was killed was buried the same day in the gardens where the accident happened. ((Note: 15149 Pte John Herbert Smith, 31054 Pte Frank Bressington, 24133 L/Cpl. John Fox - the only 3 men of the Battalion listed as died that day) 12 – moved back to barracks at Kirkuk. 13 – guard duty at Kirkuk 14 – orders to move back. Marched about 10 miles and rested. 15 – crossed the river and camped 16 – ordered back to Abasaida 17 – marched about 7 miles then rested 18 – marched 3 hours then rested then marched 3 hours 19 – marched to Kiffri Pass 20 – rested. Got some stores from baggage 21 – marching. Dust is awful 22 – marched to the bridge which was damaged 23 – moved at 5.30 pm and marched for 4 hours. Through the pass again, it was hard going in the dust. 24 – Stayed at Dele Abbas until evening. Moved at night and marched about 3 hours. 25 – marched 6 am and arrived at camp 8 am. Seems great to be under a decent tent. 26 – A lot of washing up and kit inspection. Troops was in a rough state. Paid 15 rupees and there was plenty of beer. 27 – fatigue duties 28 – fatigues again 29 – started Signalling Class. 30 – parades. The troops are all fed up with these parades. 31 – on class again and it is a bit baffling. Had a church parade June 1 - class again 2 – CO inspection 3 – Still on Signalling Class, it is a good deal to keep in your head. 4 – class. Getting very hot again 5 – Had a couple of deaths in the Battalion. One of them has been with the battalion since it came in the country. 6 – several letters from home. We get little news from France 7 – still working on the camp 8 – not much to note 9 – church parade. Several men have diptheria and are isolated. 10 – class. Had the fire alarm and had to turn out. Think it was done to see how quick we got to scene of fire. 11 – still on signalling class and not making very good progress 12 – class. We had helios but I cannot read the flag very well. 13 – class. Officer asked a few of us to stay back and asked if we was interested as we was not getting on as well as we should. He have me another week to see how I do. 14 – I am not doing well with the sigs. 15 – I see to do better with the buzzer than the flag 16 – CO inspection 17 – bayonet fighting and lecture 18 – Orderly man. I cannot remember things about sigs. 19 – lecture. Officer wants to be able to take our place at a station in 3 months. 20 – digging trenches 21 – signalling course 22 – digging 23 – CO inspection 24 – Gym and bayonet fighting, then sigs 25 – flag drill and helio reading 26 – buzzer lecture. March at night 27 – arrived back in camp 8 am 28 – parades and lectures 29 – done some station work 30 – CO inspection July 1 – parades. Told that Battalion will move soon. 2 – taking messages by buzzer. Not very good at this. 3 – messages again. I don't seem to be able to get on with the reading. They want to get some signallers to take the place of those on leave. 4 – cricket match 5 – sigs etc 6 – route march 7 – CO inspection 8 – gym 9 – bayonet fighting 10 – routine 11 – concert at night 12 – getting messages to read. I don't seem to be doing very well 13 – sigs 14 – inspection 15 – sigs 16 – sigs 17 – parades 18 – parades 19 – sigs 20 – not much to note 21 – CO inspection 22 – 27 – sig class 28 – CO inspection 29 – back with company and off sigs course. I am glad as I could not keep my mind on it and was worrying about my poor brother who is wounded and missing in France and it was going through my mind but I am still without news. 30 – bayonet fighting and bombing 31 – route march and night guards August 1 – parades 2 – company drill 3 – route march 4 – CO inspection 5 – drills 6 – not much to note 7 – 10 – blank 11 – inspection 12 – blank 13 – football 14 – blank 15 – football 16 – blank 17 – football 18 – had orders to pack ready to move 19 – left camp 7pm and arrived at Roose 9 pm 20 – left Roose by motor lorry at 6 am. Arrived at a place called Kanikin and stayed the night. 21 – country we are going through is hilly and very rough. Arrived at a place called Kermashaw. 22 – tremendous lot of refugees passing through. They are all nationalities, Armenians and Russians and Serbs and a lot of them carry arms. 23 – nearing our journeys end. Some of the hills we have to climb on foot. 24 – Expect to reach a place called Hamadan tonight. 25 – This country is every bit as dusty as Mesop. but cooler. Very cold at night. 26 – parades. Had a pass to go into Hamadan. It is terrible to see the poor class of people who are starving and dying in the streets. There seems to be no work of any kind for the people to do and they are full of disease. 27 – route march. Refugees are dying in all places and they are scattered so seems we have to gather them together. 28 – there are thousands of these people around the country. 29 – plenty to do as the people do not understand the meaning of sanitation and our troops are showing them how to dig latrines. 30 - refugees are being sent further down the line. Our men have to keep 24 hour guard. 31 – we are guarding the men who are being trained to soldier. September 1 – we expect to move tomorrow. 2 – moved off 9 am, marched 12 miles and camped for night 3 – marched about 18 miles 4 – another hard day march then had to do picquet. Roads very bad. 5 – marched about 20 miles. Food is not very good. 6 – marched to camp, a lot hills. Troops very done up. 7 – resting today 8 – marched about 16 miles 9 – long march. Country is very rough 10 – hard march. It has been terrible to see the dead lying about the countryside. The Turks and Churds have massacred the Armenians there are hundreds lying about. 11 – there is plenty to do here. We are at Bijar. 12 – guard at night 13 – doing sentry 14 – went into village. Hard to be understood. Got a few eggs which was a treat 15 – feeling poorly with sickness 16 – went sick and on light duty 17 – no duty today, feel better 18 – light duty. This is about the cleanest place I have seen in this country 19 – packed up to evacuate this place 20 – moved out early 21 – moved off again 22 – reached Bijar about 3.30 pm. Journey about 48 miles. 23 – marched 10 mile. My feet are far from doing well. 24 – done about 15 miles. My feet are very bad. We have to make our own bread and it is like pancakes. 25 – done another 14 miles 26 - still on march and done another good journey of about 12 to 14 miles 27 - today we had a very easy march and a good nights rest 28 - we expect to reach our journeys end today. The place we reached about midday and it seems a fairly large place. We passed through and had some tea about a mile out. 29 - we had a days rest and washed some of our clothes. There is plenty of fruit here. 30 - moved to a place 4 miles away and pitched camp October 1 - there is some trenches to be dug and they are digging in relieves of 4 hours. Our turn came in the afternoon. 2 - digging in morning. we got flour issued to us to make bread or cakes. The news we got is great, the Bulgars have surrendered unconditional. 3 - there is a lot of sickness in the battalion 4 - still digging 5 - OC inspection 6 - moved this morning and camped in another place as the sickness is bad and they were afraid the other camp was unhealthy. 7 - I am doing servant to the doctor and he is very little trouble. There is more than half the 2 companies down with sickness. I don't think they really know what the complaint is. 8 - I expect to go back to company today 9 - On RE fatigue party today. Then guarded the aeroplanes. These planes are wonderful machines. 10 - still on guard 11 - digging. I think it is the foundation for a hospital. 12 - digging hole for refuge. Went to town of Lenjan, it is a very decent place. 13 - 21 - blank 22 - guard today 23 - warned for escort to artillery but it was cancelled. 24 - moved from Lenjan at 9 am and marched about 12 miles. 25 - moved again at 8 am and marched about 15 miles, roads are very hard. 26 - marched about 16 miles and I was on guard which is rotten as you don't get your boots off during the night nor have you got a chance to make up your flour issue. 27 - marched another 16 miles. I have been mule leading on the track. 28 - another 12 miles. we make our flour into bread or what Indians call chappatties. I out raisins in mine, they are pretty good. 29 - we expect to reach A Company today. We reached the camp about 2 pm and the camp was ready for us. We got some letters today, the first since August 3rd. I got news that my brother is alive but he lost a leg and is prisoner of war in Germany. 30 - marched about 18 miles due to scarceness of water. This was a terrible windy night and we could hardly get the tent pitched. 31 – it is only a short march today and I think we finish our journey. We arrived at the barracks which was ready for us about noon. It is a place called Kasvin. The Colonel said we had done splendidly and we had marched 400 miles since we left Hamidan. November 1 – these barracks are fairly comfortable and we should have a fairly easy time. We heard today that the Turks had thrown in. 2 – there is a good few fatigues to do until we settle down. 3 – rumours flying around that we are to move tomorrow 4 – Left Kasvin about 8 am and marched 14 miles. Pitched camp. 5 – marched 18 miles. I was on guard at night. 6 – marched 12 miles 7 – still on track. Had trouble with my feet and rode on ambulance. Arrived at place called Windy Corner and it is well named. It blew a gale all night and was very cold. 8 – I hardly know how I got along today but I managed to finish the march. 9 – reported to the MO. When he saw my feet he said you had better ride. 10 – rode again. Had a very wet night. 11 – expect to reach Rasht tomorrow. They say it is a very nice place. Still riding. 12 – reached Rusht and went into huts. Heard the great news that the armistice has been signed and the war was finished. 13 – arrived at a place called Enyali on the coast of the Caspian Sea. 14 – resting today then we will go aboard to go to Baku. 15 – marched to the docks about 10 am and started loading. We boarded about 6.30 pm and went into harbour for the night. 16 – set out 7.30 am, sea was very calm until towards night and I was a bit sea sick as I was on guard and the boat rocked a good bit. 17 – arrived early at Baku and there were crowds of people there and they could not make out who we were. They asked if we were Americans. There was a trouble here about 6 weeks ago when the Turks and Bolsheviks made an attack a small party of our troops. Did not get off today. 18 – rained all night and when we went on deck the streets of the lower part of town were flooded. Got off the boat in afternoon and it was hard as men had to lead mules wading through water up to their knees. We went to a fine place to billet, it looks like a college or a big school. The Turks were here 2 days ago and left it in an awful state. 19 – this is a fine place where we are billeted but there is a lot of work to do to keep it clean. There is 5 men from each platoon allowed into the city each day from 1 pm to 7 pm. There is not much to be seen and things are very dear. Food seem scarce. Rained all day again. 20 – Our company was on piquet duty today and we had to parade in full marching order. 21 – better weather. Plenty of fatigues. 22 – had a route march. It was done to find different ways out of town. 23 – went into the town on a pass today. Things are very dear and bread etc is seems scarce, people were lined up for it. We had a feed of fancy caked and it cost us 125 roubles for 3 of us. But we had a good feed of cutlets and cabbage for 15 roubles. It is all paper money here and the rouble has gone down tremendous in value. 24 – CO inspection. About 4 pm we had orders to pack up as trouble was brewing and we had to go to guard the railway and disarm so men. But in the end they threw the hat in and seemed quite pleased about it. 25 – still on guard at railway station. Waiting rooms are fine and people sleep in them. There are Russians, Turks in fact nearly all races. We had to turn some of them out of a train as they had no tickets. We were relieved at 2.30. 26 – fatigues. The day we arrived a seaplane dropped papers saying we were British and not hostile and asking them to treat us well. 27 – we started the game of cleaning buttons. Of course the troops are very anxious to be on their way home. 28 – company had to parade to hear a full general court marshal. It was a Sergt and a Private charged with drunkness. Sergt was reduced to Cpl and Pte had 28 days pay stopped. 29 – fatigues. Afternoon off. 30 – CO inspection. December 1 – church parade this morning. Was a thanksgiving for cessation of hostilities. It was good to hear the singing. On way back saw a funeral procession with an open coffin. Inside was a young woman whose head was surrounded by flowers. She looked almost like a wax a model. 2 – guard duty on an arsenal. Paraded in full marching order 8.30 am and marched 3 miles to the arsenal. 3 – on guard. It is more a store than an arsenal and there is also a hospital here but it is in a terrible state. 4 – Russian Christmas day and it is very lonely where we are. Came off guard 4 pm. 5 – mounted guard for 14 hours. Got paid some money. 6 – on guard. There is also a Russian guard here over their ammunition and shells. 7 – still on guard. Heard there was a mail, hope there is something from home as we have had only odd letters since we left Mes. 8 – my day off. Hope to get relieved tomorrow. 9 – guard again. Got 7 letters from wife, 2 from dad, 1 from Ethel and several newspapers. Some of our chaps are going home for family reasons. 10 – rations not very good here. Managed to buy some little things and going along alright. 11 – shall be glad when we get relieved from here. It is very cold and we only have serge coats no trousers. 12 – we are expecting A Company to reach the battalion this week. 13 – not much to note 14 – preparing for xmas. They got geese, etc. Don't think it will be so bad. 15 – letters we had up to now the latest date is August 25th. 16 – a fortnight since we mounted guard 17 – was relieved this morning by the Worcesters. Pouring rain. 18 – had all our clothes disinfected this morning 19 – had day off to dry our clothes. 20 – parade and company drill 21 – CO inspection 22 – company duty and guards 23 – went into town on pass. Trouble brewing and one of our companies went out today. 24 – Some of the Bolshies have prevailed on the workmen at the power station to go on strike and the town is in darkness. D Company went and took charge of the station as they were afraid they may try to damage the place. 25 – it had been arranged for the battalion to have a fine time but things spoiled by local disturbances. We had gunfire rum at 7 am. Breakfast was fish and cold meat and tea. Dinner was potato, cabbage, goose, roast beef, mutton and stew and xmas duff and 2 bottles of beer. At 4 pm we had tea and cake. We were to have supper at 10 pm but as there was no lights it was not served. 26 – boats went on strike. Had some more beer in fact not many was sober. I over-stepped the mark for the first time in my life but we were all merry and light. 27 – bayonet fighting and gym. I was feeling the effects of last night. 28 – CO inspection of barracks 29 – church service and coral service in evening 30 – kit inspection in morning. Warned to be ready to go to detonate bombs as there was trouble brewing. But after couple of hours told to stand down. 31 – gym and bayonet fighting. Parades. 1919 January 1 – rifle drills and musketry 2 – fatigue duties. Bad night as we had some drink and I had more than was good for me and had to be put to bed. Good job I can't remember what happened. 3 – Battalion parade and I was in a fine state. They had to shave me and clean my boots and rifle. It was a wonder they did not send me off parade as I was all over the place. I think I have had my lesson. 4 – CO inspection 5 – church parade 6 – Bank guard from 8.30 am 7 – still on guard. Pretty good here. 8 – still on guard. We are not allowed out of the bank at night. We found the sergt at the Treasury was drunk. Officer ordered him to his room. 9 – guard. Had to write a statement about what happened last night. 10 – had to give evidence in summary against the sergt. I felt sorry for him as he is a good sergt. 11 – on guard in strong room 12 – still on guard at bank 13 – gave evidence at court marshal. An officer spoke for the sergt and made a good case. He was acquitted. Was relieved by the Worcesters at 9 am. Warned for Military Police and left Battalion at 3.30 pm. 14 – not on duty today. Received parcels from wife. 15 – not on duty 16 – on patrol 4 to 8 pm. We had to run in 2 Russian sailors who were drunk and wanted to fight us. 17 – Paid 240 roubles. On patrol 4 to 8 pm and was an awful night. Rained and the streets were flooded. 18 – On guard. The officer said we was the worst guard he had ever mounted. Of course he does not consider that our clothes are all old. 19 – Came off guard 10 am. Went to theatre but could not understand it and so left. 20 – Had my photo taken today. On patrol 4 to 8 pm 21 – on patrol 22 – The General of Salonica Forces inspected us today 23 – off guard 10 am. Relieved a chap from my platoon who is going back to England. 24 – had to be cook today 25 – called out last night to get a chap who had been hitting one of the Military Police and had taken his rifle. 26 – duty in morning. Went to fetch my photos and they are not bad. 27 – duty again. Went to try and catch people who have been firing revolvers in the streets but nothing doing. 28 – cook today. Rations run short. 29 – early patrol. Had to go to HQ as the general was inspecting. 30 – late patrol. Quiet in town, hardly any firing. 31 – cook today February 1 - early patrol 2 late patrol. There is good few from Brigade this week. The Cpl in charge of this post was warned to pack up as he was proceeding to England. 3 - cook again. We have a Worcester L/Cpl in charge. 4 - things are very quiet now 5 - we have a lot of rumours about going home. 6 - there is a lot of trouble about our pay as they want to pay us 80 roubles to £1 and of course the troops refused to be paid. 7 - still no pay. I think they have wired to Constantinople about it. Another of our post left today for England. 8 - Played for the police today against the REs and lost 3-0. Ground is too hard for me. 9 - paid today but not at old rate. We received 362 roubles to £3 10 - had a nice evening as a couple of our chums came to visit us. Had 3 letters from home. 11 - warned today that the police were being called in and men returned to their regiments tomorrow. 12 - packed early to return to battalion. I was warned for guard duty tonight. 13 the company is very small now as a good few have gone home and others are on escort duty. 14 went on escort to kits. The fumigator is about today. 15 - CO inspection. Billet guard tonight. 16 - still on guard 17 given a permanent pass today. Went to the cinema in evening but could not understand the picture. 18 – orderly man today 19 – on fatigue taking naval shells into the arsenal 20 – went to the opera. The singing and acting were good but you cannot understand the words. 21 – went to visit the oil field which was interesting 22 - inspections. Warned for escort to Pertrosk in the morning. 23 – marched to station and train left 9 am. This is an awful train service as they stop at every station. 24 – still on the train. We were kept at one station for 7 hours. 25 – arrived at Pertrosk last night but stayed on train. In morning we marched to the Gurkhas camp, we was escort to an officer who was taking some money there. We left about midnight on the return journey. 26 – arrived back in Baku about 12 noon. 27 – arsenal duty. Was very cold. 28 – snowed all day. Arsenal fatigue March 1 – trouble brewing and company had to stand by in marching order. Some of us had to go and strengthen the various guards. 2 – still on guards. Our people captured two boats and made the Boslheviks prisoners. 3 – the trouble started when these people sent us notes to clear out of the place. 4 – fatigues. Terribly cold. 5 – snowed all the time. Troops are fed up. 6 – not much hopes of going home yet. 7 – on L.A.M.B. Guard. 8 – on fatigues at Ordnance today. Warned to go back on the police tonight. 9 – reported to A.P.M. at 8.30 am and was on duty at the casino. 10 – not on duty today. We are able to have a drink of beer here as we have a canteen. 11 – on fatigue. Had a free night so had good time in canteen. 12 – on guard. Tonight the A.P.M. is wishing the police goodbye so expect another good night. 13 – another A.P.M. now and he is not so good. 14 – on duty at a cafe tonight called the Luna. 15 – had a few pals down tonight 16 – doing guard over civil prisoners who our people have sentenced. 17 – asked my company officer to try and get me home. He said he would do his best. 18 – had to go some distance to fetch a prisoner. 19 – we have a prisoner charged with murder of an ASC corporal. 20 – had evening off. Got paid 100 roubles. 21 – on casino tonight. Had a drunk man who would not hand over his revolver and tried to draw it on us. We managed to get the revolver. 22 – not much doing 23 - a lot of firing and no lights. Did not enjoy it much as these people fire anywhere. 24 – electric people returned to work. 25 – guard again 26 – several chaps left the police today to go home. 27 – warned for Luna tonight, but called off. 28 – on casino tonight, much quieter. 29 – had another mail. 30 – guard again 31 – not much to note April 1 – 3 – blank 4 – another draft left for home. 5 - blank 6 – guard again 7 – casino tonight. 8 – troops on police have to raid the brothels now 9 – going to raid a house tonight but nothing came of it. 10 – on guard. We have 2 English prisoners now. 11 – escorted some Austrian prisoners to the railway station. 12 – had to fetch some prisoners who had been stealing supplies. 13 – on guard. Rained. 14 – not much to note 15 – on guard. Duties are heavy now as not so many men left due to demobilization. 16 – had to go see company officer but he did not give my case much chance. 17 – they sent for me to return to the battalion 18 – entrained at Baku at 4 pm for Batoum, to return to England on leave and try to get my discharge. 19 – travelled all night and all day. 20 – reached Tiflis this morning and had a long wait. 21 – guarding some Austrian prisoners on the train 22 – reached Batoum but did not get off. 23 – left train 10.30 and marched to rest camp 24 – rained all day. Had to go on magazine guard 25 – off guard. 26 – marched to docks and went on board midday. Left for Constantinople, boat is very crowded. 27 – voyage is very smooth. Food not very good and not much room to sleep. 28 – arrived at Constantinople midday. Left about midnight for Salonica. 29 – we are now passing through the Dardanelles and saw some of the trenches and partly sunk boats. 30 – arrived at Salonica and left the SS Nile about 10.30 am. Marched to the Reception camp about 4 miles away. Examined for lice, had a bath and clothes fumigated. May 1 – still at camp. They are trying to send 800 out today. 2 – paraded to hear orders. We are messed about a good deal. About 2000 men had to line up for a cup of tea. 3 – quiet day 4 – had vermin inspection and was passed alright. Went to cinema, it was very good. 5 – exchanged our kits today. I am now with my pal. 6 – another quiet day 7 – cook house fatigues. 8 – on way to place in Italy called Taranto. Our boat is very small and everything is black with coal dust. We are packed like cattle. 9 – about 300 to 400 men on board. Passed through a fine canal in night. 10 – reached Italian coast 8 am. Passed through a canal to Taranto harbour. Left the “Rose” and went to camp on the sea front. Passed clean again. My friend had half his kit stolen. 11 – went to enquiry to support my friend but officer made up his kit. Another 2000 me in camp on way home to UK 12 – entrained from Taranto 9 am. There are 27 men and their kits in a baggage van. Travelled all night, did not get much rest. 13 – reached a place called Foggia and stayed a few hours. The people here call our troops Johnny instead of Tommy. This is a very civilised country, far better than anything in the east. These people will give you anything for a packet of fags. 14 – reached a place called Faenya. Went into camp for dinner and a bath and general clean up. There was a bazaar and nice of nice presents you could buy. A lot of these Italians can speak a little English and Faenya is a very nice place. 15 – travelling. At one stop there were many women trying to swap eggs and wine for Bully Beef. 16 – during night crossed the frontier and went through a very long tunnel through the Alps. Today we passed through Lyons. The French people seem quite pleased to see us. Reached a place called St. Germain and went to camp. 17 – passed through several towns and camps here are very different. 18 – travelled all night. Arrived at Boulogne about 3 pm and went into camp. 19 – getting the best food since I have been in the army. 20 – parade 5.15 am and given our papers. Loaded kit into boat and arrived at Dover 10.30 am. It is good to be in Blighty again. Left Dover 11.30 for London. Reached Paddington 4 pm. Left for Stroud 6 pm. Expect to be home at 8.30 pm. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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