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pompeyrodney

8th Battalion AIF Diary Found !

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pompeyrodney

rolleyes.gifI have just discovered the diary of my late grandfather buried in a suitcase in my parents loft. It covers the period of embarking on the SS Benalla and goes through all the training in Egypt as well as the Gallipoli landings and latterly all the battles in France. It makes absolutely fascinating reading and I should like to share it with other members. If anyone is interested to hear from the diary please let me know and I shall be only to happy to type up the relevant period. rolleyes.gif

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Paul Reed

If any of it covers the Somme and fighting at Pozieres in July-August 1916 I would be interested.

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CROONAERT

Ditto the above ,but for 3rd Ypres. :rolleyes:

I'm very interested in whatever you have to offer from this diary especially for the time around 20th september 1917.

Thanks for the offer,

Dave.

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Guest CGI

PPR,

If your grandfather was 8th Battalion, I'm much interested in the Gallipoli part.

Otherwise, contact me via e-mail.

Thanks in advance,

CGI

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Blackblue

Thats fantastic Jules. A great find. Would be very interested in reading the lot if you intend transcribing it.

Rgds

Timo

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petrick

Count me in for the lot aswell. What an excelent find mate, you must be getting some pretty nice insight reading.

coo-ee

patrick

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frev

Great News - congratulations on such luck!!

I'm with Tim & Patrick - love to read the lot - if possible.

I guess this makes up for the long wait for his Service records. When they finally come on line you'll have so much info - it'll almost be like you were there with him!

Cheers, Frev.

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Andrew P

Great news in finding that diary.

I'm with the others, I would also love to read it if you do transcribe it.

Cheers

Andrew

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Krithia

This is really good, a super find. I can't wait until the next installment .... :)

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frev
Nov 14th. Very sultry. Meat rotten, chained up, previous to military burial, very funny.

If anyone understands the Nov 14th entry please let me know. More to follow.

The way I see it:

Imagine someone declaring that the meat was 'done for' - but everyone agreeing that it had fought great odds to survive - and deserved a decent burial - so they gave it a little ceremony - hung it up for all to salute - then chucked it over the side!

I'm finding it interesting at this stage to compare your grandfather's notes to my great uncle's. His diary starts from the day of departure from Broadmeadows Camp, and (unfortunately) ends not long after their arrival in Egypt. He was in the 7th Battalion, travelling on the 'Hororata' in the convoy with the 'Benalla'.

Keep it coming.

And if anyone's interested in a transcription of my uncle's notes let me know.

Cheers, Frev.

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marina
Nov 14th. Very sultry. Meat rotten, chained up, previous to military burial, very funny. 

If anyone understands the Nov 14th entry please let me know. More to follow.

The way I see it:

Imagine someone declaring that the meat was 'done for' - but everyone agreeing that it had fought great odds to survive - and deserved a decent burial - so they gave it a little ceremony - hung it up for all to salute - then chucked it over the side!

I'm finding it interesting at this stage to compare your grandfather's notes to my great uncle's. His diary starts from the day of departure from Broadmeadows Camp, and (unfortunately) ends not long after their arrival in Egypt. He was in the 7th Battalion, travelling on the 'Hororata' in the convoy with the 'Benalla'.

Keep it coming.

And if anyone's interested in a transcription of my uncle's notes let me know.

Cheers, Frev.

Be good to see those too, Frev - maybe start anpohter thread for them?

Marina

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robbie

For those of you interested in more such diaries, I have found another diary of a guy who was also in the 8th Battalion and sailed on the Benalla.

ID Number: PR83/059

Title: Lay, Edward George (Private, 8th Bn, AIF)

Maker: Lay, Edward George

Object type: Diary

Date made: 1983

Measurements: 1 ITEM

Summary: DIARY 1914-1917, COVERS EXPERIENCES EN ROUTE TO EGYPT ABOARD THE "BENALLA", SERVICE ON THE PENINSULA, MOVEMENT TO FRANCE, HOSPITALIZATION IN ENGLAND AND EVENTUAL MEDICAL DISCHARGE

Copyright: External copyright

Copying provisions: Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Access: Open

Related subject: Diaries

Related unit: 8 Battalion; SS Benalla

Related place: Egypt; England; Gallipoli; Western Front (France)

Related conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

I believe it costs 50cents per page + postage so is way over my budget.

Robbie <_<

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Blackblue

Would say this is CPL Craven. What a service number.

Name: CRAVEN, NORMAN

Initials: N

Nationality: Australian

Rank: Corporal

Regiment: Australian Infantry, A.I.F

Unit Text: 8th Bn.

Age: 22

Date of Death: 07/08/1915

Service No: 16

Additional information: Son of George William and Christianna Craven, of "Araluen," Mill St., Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 29.

Cemetery: SHRAPNEL VALLEY CEMETERY

Tim

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Andrew P

Very interesting so far. I've seen a photo at the State Library in Perth of a Victorian battalion of the 1st contingent marching through Albany. I'm pretty sure it was the 8th, but will have to check.

Frev

I would be interested in seeing those notes also.

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frev

Jules, this is brilliant. I hope he keeps up the level of detail all the way through - you know you have to keep going now - you know you'll probably end up with RSI - still, a small sacrifice for a larger cause!

14 of the soldiers I'm researching were in the 8th Battalion, although only a few of them were originals - I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a miracle - that he'll mention one of them - ya never know.

In the 4th installment the ship involved in the collision with the "Shropshire" would probably be the "Ascanius" - it was a part of the convoy carrying the 10th & 11th Battalions. And where he's talking about the pyramids - and you thought the word might be maxon - I'd say it would probably be mason (as in stone mason).

Looking forward to the next installment.

For Marina & Andrew and anyone else that's interested I've started transcribing my great uncles notes in a separate thread - 7th Bn, AIF Diary.

Cheers, Frev

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pompeyrodney
Having examined what I have here now, there are two books, one covering from embarkation to August the 6th 1915, the other covering from the 28th of May 1916 to the 18th of September 1916. I realise there are some unexplained gaps here but at present I don't know if there is any more of the diary still unfound at my parents house. The first installment covers some 134 pages and the second a further 98 pages. The first installment was re-written from the original by my grandmother and the second is written in pencil in an Army Book 136 ? I will transcribe some from the start of the first book to see what people think of it so here goes:

Sailed on troopship "Benalla", destination supposed to be England.

Tuesday October 20th

Off Portland. Glorious weather.

October 21st

Sea still calm, saw whale and any amount of porpoises last night.

October 22nd

Calm as a duck pond.

October 23rd

Raining this morning, saw a shoal of porpoises.

Sat October 24th

6 AM Weather fine. W.A. coast in sight, coast fairly rugged, two other ships in sight. 10 AM Lying off Albany, 4 other troopships around here. 9 pm 9 transports here now.

More to follow later, happy reading!!

Further to the quoted post above I have now been told that the missing parts of the diary have also been found, these I believe cover the periods that are missing in the two books I currently have. I will not be able to get hold of these books for a few weeks so if you all bare with me I will get back to you when I have them. In the meantime I will continue transcribing the current dairy books and by the tiime I get to the missing period I should hopefully have the rest of the diary.

Regards

Jules

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pompeyrodney
Would say this is CPL Craven.  What a service number.

Name: CRAVEN, NORMAN

Initials: N

Nationality: Australian

Rank: Corporal

Regiment: Australian Infantry, A.I.F

Unit Text: 8th Bn.

Age: 22

Date of Death: 07/08/1915

Service No: 16

Additional information: Son of George William and Christianna Craven, of "Araluen," Mill St., Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 29.

Cemetery: SHRAPNEL VALLEY CEMETERY 

Tim

Hi Tim

With such a low service number does that mean CPL Craven was perhaps one of the first to join up into the 8th battalion. Just heard my parents have found some more parts of the diary including the period my grandfather was in hospital recovering from his wounds. Apparently he describes how after a major operation he was out cold for four days and had to get someone else to fill in his diary for him!! Have taken the diary to work with me so I can transcribe some more.

Regards

Jules

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pompeyrodney
Jules, this is brilliant.  I hope he keeps up the level of detail all the way through - you know you have to keep going now - you know you'll probably end up with RSI - still, a small sacrifice for a larger cause!

14 of the soldiers I'm researching were in the 8th Battalion, although only a few of them were originals - I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a miracle - that he'll mention one of them - ya never know.

In the 4th installment the ship involved in the collision with the "Shropshire" would probably be the "Ascanius" - it was a part of the convoy carrying the 10th & 11th Battalions.  And where he's talking about the pyramids - and you thought the word might be maxon - I'd say it would probably be mason (as in stone mason).

Looking forward to the next installment.

For Marina & Andrew and anyone else that's interested I've started transcribing my great uncles notes in a separate thread - 7th Bn, AIF Diary.

Cheers, Frev

Hi Frev

Glad you like what I have written so far, and you are right about the RSI, last night after the last installment my wrists were killing me! How come you are researching so many soldiers of the 8th battalion Frev?. Thanks for telling me the name of the ship the "Ascanius", it is very difficult to read my grandfathers handwriting at times. I guess you are right about the mason as well, it sounds so obvious now but it was late when I was typing, that's my excuse anyway!! Onto the next installment then :)

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robbie
14 of the soldiers I'm researching were in the 8th Battalion, although only a few of them were originals - I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a miracle - that he'll mention one of them - ya never know.

Hi Frev

Did you see my earlier post re Pte Lay? Is he one of the men you're researching? I would love to hear/see his diary, and yes I am enjoying yours re 7th as well.

Robbie

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pompeyrodney

The Sixth Installment

Boxing Day 1914

Marching in the sand from 8 am till 3 pm.

Dec 27th

A beautiful scene presented by the tops of the Pyramids slowly appearing through the fog which was pretty thick. Church parade.

Dec 28th.

A march over the sands.

Dec 29th

Beautiful nights, calm and still with countless stars. Heavy dews are frequent.

Dec 30th

Out all day yesterday digging trenches then on outpost all n night, very cold, no blankets. Had the pleasure of an address from Sir George Reid after he had reviewed us.

Dec 31st

More sand slagging.

Jan 1 st 1915

No holiday. Col McKay (our Brigadier) ran the bde down to the lowest, because a few silly asses took more beer and spirits than was good for them. Box chocolates & half packet of cigarettes issued to each man.

Jan 2nd

Out training on the sand.

Jan 3rd

Passed a caravan of camels loaded with all sorts of commodities. Evidently a tube? on the move; dogs goats and kiddies.

Monday Jan 4th

Called out at midnight to go on a sham fight. Back in camp 9 am.

Jan 5th

Called up at 10pm last night. Wandering about the sands for a sham attack at day light, then digging trenches. Got back about 11 am.

Jan 6th

Today has been awful, the wind blowing like fury and carrying tons of sand with it. We drilled amidst clouds of sand and our mouths were full up with it when we were turned?

Jan 7th

Strong wind today, sand dust something frightful.

Jan 8th

Last night very cold. Wind still blowing. We are having now what is known in Africa as a sorocco? Out training from 8 am to 3 pm. Have to turn out at 7.30pm tonight. Doing 9 hours a day now.

Jan 9th

Very cold march last night. Drilling all day.

Jan 10th.

Went in to Cairo last night and enjoyed the usual luxuries, and saw more of the "sights" Pretty cold coming back to camp. Church Parade and route march today. About 200 Greek boy scouts visited the camp and pitched their tents leaving in the evening.

Jan 11th

Out on a sham fight. Came in sight of 6 smaller pyramids along the Nile which are known as the Saccara ? Pyramids.

Jan 12th

Rifle shooting today. There is a suitable place for this about 4 miles out.

Jan 13th

Out sham fighting, very much sham.

Jan 14th

Half holiday for bathing, parade squad drill in morning.

Jan 15th

A long march today. Along through the irrigation canals in full marching order. The stench and dust in places was awful, as we passed through several native encampments.

Jan 16th

More sham fighting in wind and sand.

Jan 17th

Church parade today, also a visit to the zoo with Sergeant Smith. Giraffes Zebras, Lion, Jackals, Hyenas and all species of deer, also Rhinoceros & dromedaries etc.The grounds are well laid with plenty of tropical foliage. Many of the paths are artistically gravelled with coloured pebbles. Monkeys of all kinds are to be seen here also large numbers of tropical birds. A few Australian specimens here including the Rosella and Cockatoo

More to follow later

Regards

Jules

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pompeyrodney

Seventh Installment

Monday Jan 18th

Drilling and fooling around in the sand.

Tuesday Jan 19th

More sand slagging.

Jan 20th

Rifle Shooting (Field Firing). Shot fairly well.

Jan 21st

Drilling, half holiday.

Jan 22nd

More drilling, very cold wind.

Jan 23rd

Another long route march in full marching order through the irrigation canals.

Jan 24th

Church parade.

Jan 25th

Sham fighting, drilling etc in the sand, very warm.

Jan 26th

Sham fight, night march tonight.

Jan 27th

A beastly night march from 8pm to 12 pm last night.

Jan 28th

Inoculated yesterday so we are in camp today. Some are crook with it.

Jan 29th

Out at 9 am and finished at 11 pm as a result of night attack. Pretty stiff.

Jan 30th

Out again on the confounded sands. The days are now getting pretty warm and everybody is full up to the neck with desert and everything connected with it.

Jan 31st

9 am. Church Parade. Honoured General Birdwood with a march past.

Feb 1st

Out on the desert again. Very hot weather.

Feb 2nd.

Went to Cairo again last night and had a very decent time.

Feb 3rd

Drilling in the sand.

Feb 4th

Awakened about 10pm last night with the news that we are to leave for Ismailia at 11.30 am in the morning, everybody frightfully excited. Got into full marching order and issued with 150 rounds of ammunition. Left camp at 1030, had a stiff march to Cairo, where we arrived about 2pm, but did not entrain till 6 o’clock, arriving at Ismailia about 10 o’clock in the morning. Supposed to be near the Turks.

Feb 5th

British aeroplanes up taking observations this morning, there are four of them. Sleeping in the open. Saw the Hyderabad Lancers, they are very fine. March through the town this afternoon. A small place, but clean and surrounded with lovely gardens and tropical vegetation. This town with its cleanliness bears a marked contrast to other Egyptian towns. We are still bivouacked out on the bare desert. The other shady camps we passed through nearer the town made us quite envious. There are a number of Turkish prisoners in the camps. Aeroplanes busy all day.

Feb 6th

Very cold night. Two heavy marches today with full kit up. Aeroplanes still busy. Went into the town tonight and had an apology for a feed. The town is very nearly eaten out by the troops. No intoxicating liquor allowed by the military authorities to be sold. Went into the Indian Hospital and had a chat with a few of the Johnnies. Some bad cases.

Feb 7th

Church Parade this morning conducted by Captain Dexter. Aeroplanes still busy. Talk of a Turkish general advance, inhabitants leaving the town.

Feb 8th

Entrained at 7am and proceeded to El Ferdan, on the Asiatic bank of the Suez Canal, to relieve a company of New Zealanders in the trenches. El Ferdan is about 6 miles from Ismailia.

Feb 9th

Turks rumoured to be advancing on the right flank.. A large number of boats have passed through here, probably they have been cooped up previous to receiving news of the movement of the Turks. Sandbags piled up high all around the bridges of all the boats. Hospital ship “Loyalty” (Indian) and the P and O mail steamer Maloja? were among them. The fellows are getting any amount of tobacco and cigarettes, tea, cigars etc, which are very acceptable. They are aimed by the passengers to reach the bank but almost invariably fall short, but the “boys” are game and in after them. We are on the Asiatic side of the canal and the other half company is guarding the signalling and railway stations on the other side. All our tucker comes from over there. No 13 platoons turn to occupy the frontage allotted us tonight. I was on guard from 7.30 to 9.30. it was pitch dark and there was nothing to be seen excepting the occasional flash of a searchlight from warships further down the canal.

Feb 10th

Awoke in the morning to find that we had been recalled to Ismailia. Left trenches at 8.30 am and arrived at the station about 9.15 expecting the train would come at 10 o’clock. It did not arrive, however, until 2 pm so we had time to go over and have look at the effects of the Turkish shells on the signalling station. Considering the range at which they were firing the effect is surprising. We were able to collect several shrapnel bullets which were lying about. Several of the lads went into the canal for a swim. We arrived at Ismailia about 4.30 only to find that we were to return to Mena tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock.

Feb 11th

C and D company’s went first, most of the trucks had been loaded while we were away. Rumours that we are going back fit out for the front in France or perhaps Palestine. It is time we moved as we have been training close on 6 months now. We arrived at Mena only to find everything upside down, i.e. tents all struck and packed away in the Mess Rooms, which were in a frightful mess. After a 12 mile march therefore we had to set to and pitch tents, return all ammunition etc. Tea at 7.30 pm. Nearly all turned in by 8 pm.

Feb 12th

Battalion whole day holiday which is just as well, as we are nearly all footsore. Everyone very disgusted at being recalled from the trenches. It is said that the Indian troops are regarded as capable of defending the canal. The old Colonel broke the news gently to us that the hours of training had been reduced to 40 hours a week and one whole day holiday per week. Our pay is a week late and nearly everybody is “broke”, but I managed to muster £1 and went into Cairo and had a look at the nauras? Mosques which are very fine, especially the Mohammed Ali mosque, in which there are 1000 lamps. The roof is a very fine piece of work (inlaid ivory wood), and the Sultan Mohammed Ali took out the eyes of the workman that did it so that he could never do any more work like it! I also went through the native quarter which is vile. Arrived back in camp about 10 o’clock very tired.

Feb 13th

My 21st birthday which I spent foot slogging in the sand, not a very nice way to spend ones 21st. Still I made a point of having a good time yesterday. Left camp 8.45 am and got back at 3.45. Hottest day since we have been in Egypt.

Feb 14th

9 am Church Parade. Service conducted by Captain Dexter, sermon on the difference between unbelief and doubt and the amount of harm done by men impressing opinions as to the bible without first studying them and understanding them. Slept all afternoon and wrote letters at night.

Happy reading

regards

Jules

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pompeyrodney

;)Come on you lot out there, I am getting fed up with all the typing, if you want to here some more then I need to see some feedback coming through this forum, if I can find the time then I am damn sure you can, so get to it people !! :angry:

Regards

Jules

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robbie
;)Come on you lot out there, I am getting fed up with all the typing, if you want to here some more then I need to see some feedback coming through this forum, if I can find the time then I am damn sure you can, so get to it people !! :angry:

Regards

Jules

Most of those who are interested in this type of material are Australians and hence there is a time difference of 11 hours + for Sydney/Melbourne.

Are you REALLY angry?

Robbie

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pompeyrodney

Hi Robbie

Well maybe I am not really angry as such, but a bit miffed. Initially I had loads of responses but they seem to have almost dried up in the last couple of days. The enthusiasm from people to here my grandfathers story is what is motivating me to do all the work required to transcribe it. Some of it is very difficult to read and requires some research to work out what the words actually are in the context of each sentence. Thanks for reading the diary Robbie.

Cheers

Julian

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Andrew P

Don't get downhearted Jules. I'm sure there are more people reading it than there are leaving comments.

Having transcribed many diaries I know the work involved, so don't burn yourself out too much :)

Cheers

Andrew

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