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pompeyrodney

8th Battalion AIF Diary Found !

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marina
You've got to tell me what the word in your last post "snagfrpoid" was supposed to be - I've been staring & staring - and still can't decipher it - I have to know, please!!

Frev - sangfroid (blush!) - put it down to high temperature! Snpwing here - below freezing!

Marina

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pompeyrodney
Hi Jules,

Have you spoken to the War Memorial about this diary? The amount of detail is amazing and probably as good, if not better, as a lot of the stuff they have. I am pretty sure they would be interested in a copy.

Rgds

Tim

Hi Tim

I have not as yet spoken to the War Memorial about the diary, I would not know how, to be honest mate. I am still trying to get my grandads service record out of them at present, still no joy. I need that because we cannot find his medals anywhere and my father cannot remember having seen them.

Hi Frev

Thanks for all the detail it is much appreciated, it makes it easier to understand what is going on.

Next instalment to follow later.

Cheers Jules

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marina

Is there a photo of J.G Pitt, Jules?

Marina

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frev
You've got to tell me what the word in your last post "snagfrpoid" was supposed to be - I've been staring & staring - and still can't decipher it - I have to know, please!!

Frev - sangfroid (blush!) - put it down to high temperature! Snpwing here - below freezing!

Marina

Thanks Marina - No wonder I couldn't work it out - I was still at a loss with sangfroid - until I looked it up in the dictionary - and then realised that I've obviously never seen it written before - I'll know how to spell it now if I ever need to write it!

Great idea about the photo - it would really enhance the story if we could see the story-teller.

Jules, as regards the War Memorial, perhaps you could use the diary as a bargaining tool - you know: "Digitize my grandad's records now & I'll send you a copy of his incredibly detailed diary."

Frev.

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pompeyrodney
Is there a photo of J.G Pitt, Jules?

Marina

Hi Marina

There are a few photos available but could someone tell me how to post them on the forum please.

Regards

Jules :unsure:

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pompeyrodney

Hi All

Here is a photo of John so you can see the man for yourselves

Regards

Jules

post-2-1109159810.jpg

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pompeyrodney

Sorry John is on the extreme left, believe the picture was taken mid 1917 around Pascendale.

Jules

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marina

Thanks, Jules - he's on the left in the front row?

Wonder where he keeps his diary!

Marina

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marina
I'll know how to spell it now if I ever need to write it!

Frev - just make sure you use the second spelling! :rolleyes:

I agree - a transcript of this diary ought to be on show somewhere for people to see - it's quite remarkable.

Marina

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pompeyrodney
Thanks, Jules - he's on the left in the front row?

Wonder where he keeps his diary!

Marina

Hi Marina

Extreme left as in the furthest left, sitting down in the back row

Regards

Jules

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marina

Oh, but what a young boyish face! I somehow imagined him older, the taller man in the front. How old was he at this time? Now I'm even more scared for him!

Marina

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pompeyrodney

If this was 1917 then he would have been 23 Marina, hope this helps.

Jules

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pompeyrodney

Hi All

Next instalment for your delight and education!!

Wednesday May 19th

Very heavy rifle and gun fire all n ight. Turks attacking and concentraating on centre of line. 4.15am. Stand to 4.30 am. Prepare to move off to reinforce 1st Brigade on left. Doubled a mile under heavy shrapnel fire, to where likely to be required, and waited there. 16 platoon reinforced to the right, but the rest of us were not required. A fierce contest was going on whilst we waited, German heavy artillery and rifle fire. The Turks crept up under cover of darkness and got within a few yards of our trenches before the observers discovered them, as soon as they charged however we mowed them down in hundreds and they retired with heavy losses. About half a dozen succeeded in getting over the parapet but were quickly despatched: we evidently had a large number of casualties. 7am. Retuned to camp. Big guns sending huge shells crashing into side of hill 100 yards away. We are camped, praactically under No 1 and 2 guns A.F.A and often get the benefit of shrapnel intended for them, also high explosive shells. Wounded coming down from the left all day. To be ready to move at any minute during the night.

Thursday May 20th

Not called out last night last. 8 to 12am. Throwing up bauts? and trenches on track. Several casualties aroound here recently owing to snipers. Issue of new clothing. To be ready toomove in morning. Rumoured we are going to Lemnos. Reinforcements (Light Horse) 5.30 pm. Battaliion will move offat 6.15pm, fighting order. Went into support trenches in rear of 1st brigade. Shrapnel very lively.

Friday May 21st

6am. Waited for order to return to camp. 7am. Taken into firing line to relieve the 2nd battalion. Network of trench high parapets. Frightful stench of dead Turks, who are lying dead on our immediate front in scores, some are right at the foot of the parapet. Turks firing line 250 yards away, here. Much closer at other points. 10-11am. Observing with periscope, sniper alongside me with rifle. 4pm. To return to camp at 6pm. 6th battalion supports tonight. 2nd battalion relieved us and we returned to camp. News of the death of General Bridges and CO2.M.Sgt Peter?

Saturday 22nd

6am. Rain 7am. Mud and slush everywhere. 10am. Went down to beach and found tide right in, some of the stores had to be shifted. 11am. More rain.2pm.Went for a cup and coming saw a Turkish mounted officer, blindfolded, an Imperial officer (mounted) in front of him, and an orderly leading the Turks’ horse. They had evidently come from D.H.2. where the generals of both sides are endeavouring to arrange an armistice to bury the dead. This is hard to arrange, owing to our mistrust of the Turks and their actual violation of arrangements already made. 7pm battalion moved off and D coy occupied hill commanding gully, known as Shrapnel Gully. It is an observation post.

Sunday May 23rd

Not disturbed through night. Things quiet. Returned to camp about 6am. 11am. Enemy aeroplane dropped bombs on our right, no damage. Big mail, I got a good share of it. Things quiet again today. In line picquet tonight.

Monday May 24th

Not called out. Showers of rain through night. Empire day. Armistice to bury the dead at last arranged. Started at 7.45am. Turks burying some of their dead in parapet of their trench. bombardment going on in the south. News of declaration of war between Italy and Austria. Hostilities mildly resumed about 5pm. Colonel Bolton, who is suffering from a complete nervous breakdown, as a result of the Cape Helles affair, he has gone to Alexandria and we have a new CO (Col Brand). Colonel Wanless of the 5th battalion is acting Brigadier. Issue of Rum. A fairly quiet night.

Tuesday May 25th

Duty coy. 1pm. Great excitement. Enemy submarine torpedoes one of our cruisers just off Gabatepe fort. I arrived just in time to see, keel uppermost, surrounded by dozens of small craft who were rescuing the men in the water. Fatigue till 2.30 pm, then heavy rain till four and work till 4.30. 6pm. Moved of to trenches, D coy split up and sent to strengthen various parts of the firing line. I was with the 4th battalion observing in the firing line. 1st relief. Nothing doing. 3.15 am. Stand to. No sleep. Sorry to hear that the cruiser sank was the old “Triumph”. She eventually went right down. A sad loss. Issue of tobacco.

Wednesday May 26th

5.15 am. Came out of firing line. 7am. Arrived back in camp. Saw a couple of the Japanese bomb throwers last night, they are very deadly. Slept this morning. Recd stylo pen from Win. Expecting part of our trenches to be blown up at any time now. One of our aeroplanes dropped two bombs over the Turks last night. 4th reinforcements and some first day wounded arrived, 30 wounded and 4 killed in landing. Barney Allan and Corporal Craven returned. Things quiet last night, bright moonlight.

Thursday May 27th

Rumoured that “H.M.S “Majestic” sunk off Cape Helles this morning. Captain Dexter came round and had a chat last night. The 5th have suffered heavily. 4pm. More bombs dropping over Turks. In line picquet tonight.

Friday May 28th

5 of 8th battalion picked off on edge of camp this morning. More trenches being dug. 3-5 pm. Digging trenches under fire. Good mail today. 7pm. Farmed? to Viv Brown about old times. How lucky to get through till now.

Saturday May 29th

Heavy rifle and artillery fire last night. Turks blew up a part of our line and broke through, but those who were not mowed down cleared off or were captured. A large number of our wounded have come down since day break. 5.40 am. Stand to arms. 7pm. Discovered that Viv Brown had been hit in the back with a shrapnel bullet. About 8 of our fellows, including Captain Kirby, and several of the 7th got the benefit of shrapnel etc, intended for the guns above us. 8am. Viv’s dug out mate and I volunteered to carry him down to the hospital, all the SB’s being busy. 3 big marquees on beach full of wounded and a lot outside, Viv very game , hopes to be back with us soon. More mail today. 9am. 16 Turkish prisoners passed here. 2 pm.. Went for a dip. 4pm. Tea. 4.30. Moved off to support trenches, usual trudge up the hill. A great exertion in the heat of the day. Very warm here in the daytime. Aeroplanes very busy up here this morning. News that E15 has sunk 2 Turkish ammunition transports. Schemes tonight to draw enemy’s fire. Volley to be fired every 2 hours. 4 am. The whole line to check and make demonstration?. More 4th reinforcements arrived.

Sunday May 30th

4am. A very heavy fire from the Turks as a result of demonstration. Unofficial news that big hill has been taken. Field PC’s ? very scarce. 1-2pm. An hours heavy fighting, our boys charged a portion of the Turkish trenches, drove them out and blew them up, then retired to their own, a few casualties. Further news to hand of submarine uploil? Officers and crew well deserved their reward. Apparently big hill is not taken, advance made and flanks brought round. Battalion off duty tonight. New CO shaking things up. £3/10/- fine and 2-28 days No 1 FP or a field court martial for not turning out at stand to.

Bye for now people, take care and happy reading

Jules

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marina

GReat stuff, Jules! Good to see he was getting his mail through - he never writes as much in the diary when he does, does he? Exciting about the subs and sinkings too. And what happened to Viv Brown - have to wait and see if he reappears.

marina

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pompeyrodney

Hi All

Just a bit more before I go to my bed

Monday May 31st

Things mild last night and exceptionally quiet this morning. Lieut Hardy and other wounded, now fit, returned. Lt H received with cheers. Captain D oflie? Goes away with nervous breakdown after a few days on land. 2pm. Went for dip. Shrapnel started bursting over the waters edge, and we all cleared fro cover under the cliff, clothes in hand.

Tuesday June 1st

Very quiet all night occasional shrapnel shells here this morning. Warned for Brigade H.2 Messenger. Reported 9am, easy job, on for 24 hours, good dug out, 1 hour on and seven off. Nothing doing, things very quiet all day.

Wednesday June 2nd

9am. Relieved. 10am went for a dip. Very quiet all day. To move to trenches at 7.30 pm. Camped in dug outs on track. Captain McKenzie (Chaplain) strolled by and stopped awhile, cheering us up by his cheerful and breezy manner, he says Turks have brought up 16,000 reinforcements on our frontage, expecting attack. Engineers sapping everywhere on both sides. Capt McK is the right man in the right place. Things quiet, some bomb throwing.

Thursday June 3rd

Lieut Bolton returns, to be awarded DCM (dug-out medal) 2.45am. Bathing parade and foot inspection. Pretty cold today. In line picquet tonight to be ready to move at a minutes notice. Our CO received the DSO for his work on the 25th April.

Friday June 4th

Not called out last night, fairly quiet night. Return of “Pompey” (CO 7th Battalion). 2 am Went for dip. Terrific bombardment all day in the south. In line picquet tonight, an alarm during the night said to be a certainty. Apparently a general attack is to be made by us on our left front. Issue of Rum.

Saturday June 5th

Heavy firing all night, especially artillery, not alarmed as expected. Stand to at usual time. Duty Coy. 8am Artillery still going strong. 9am. Lunch digging, towards beach, 9 feet deep in places. 10am. Things quietened down a good deal, a large number of wounded coming down. The strength of last nights scrap appears to be the N.Z's charged Turk trench only 20 yards away from their own at Iuims'? Post, and held it till 8am, when they were bombed out. Rumours of poor old Hec Hallams' death appears to be official, a great pity. 1pm dismissed from fatigue. 2pm. Went for dip. 7pm Battalion paraded by company and listened to a congratulatory telegram from the Mayor of Ballarat and a little war memo. 8 pm. A little war news.

Untill tomorrow then happy readings all.

Jules

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PPCLI

Hello Jules,

It's all your fault! Or should I say, your grandad's. I'm still not in bed yet and it's gone 1.30 in the morning. I stumbled across the start of your thread over an hour ago and was immediately hooked. Imagine going through all that mayhem and slaughter everyday and still having the energy and wherewithall to write a diary. A great story from a great man. I bet you couldn't believe your eyes when you found the diaries.

Keep up the good work,

Stuart

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marina

JUNE 1ST 'WARNED FOR h2 MESSENGER'. 'WANTED'?

Was that the same kind of messenger as was in the film 'Gallpolli'?

How does John keep so level? Off for a dip after all the horors of the day!

No word of Viv yet...This is better than a novel!

Marina

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pompeyrodney

A big welcome to PPCLI (Stuart) and to Egbert. I am very glad you stumbed upon my thread, the larger the audience reading it the better as far as I am concerned. Spread the word when corresponding to other threads please as I would like as many people as possible to enjoy Johns' story.

Many thanks

Jules

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Blackblue

Jules,

I remember the first posting you made looking for information. By gee by jingo by crikey you must be stoked!!! Keep up the great work. I will be very interested to read about his commissioning in the field and how it all came about.

Rgds

Tim

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frev

Jules,

Thanks for adding the photo - I can see his face before me now as I read (if I'd had half a brain I would have checked out the AWM for a photo long ago).

I found it quite fascinating that you were appealing for help in posting it in one breath - and had it up in the next. I wish I could work it out that quick!

On to my usual musings & additions:

May 20th:

Throwing up bauts? and trenches on track. - Could it be dugouts? It almost looks like it could be huts - but I don't think they really built what you could class as a hut - did they?

May 21st:

CO2.M.Sgt Peter? - This was CQMS Campbell McDiarmid PETER, 855, wounded in April, and died of his wounds in Egypt 6/5/1915, age 20 - buried Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

May 22nd:

..... saw a Turkish mounted officer, blindfolded, ....... - One report I've read says that this officer was actually non other than the great Mustafa Kemal himself. Does anyone know if this is true?

May 28th:

Farmed? to Viv Brown about old times. - Most likely Yarned.

May 29th:

Discovered that Viv Brown had been hit ........ - This is L/Cpl Vivian Charles BROWN, 643. - Marina, I didn't look to see if his Service Record was on line - so I don't know if he comes back to Gallipoli - so I can't totally spoil your suspense - but I have to tell you that he did survive!

May 31st:

Captain D oflie? Goes away with nervous breakdown .........

This appears to have been Cpt Campbell Craven DOBBIE - a most interesting character if anyone cares to read his Service Record (which is on-line).

June 5th:

..... the N.Z's charged Turk trench only 20 yards away from their own at Iuims'? Post, ....... - This would have been Quinn's Post.

Jules, have you been typing in your dreams yet - or are you so exhausted that you don't dream??

Cheers, Frev

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frev
Jules, it just happened that I discovered this thread by accident. I am half done and stuck at 15 Feb, but want to post hastily to cheer you up!

Hey Jules,

I just went back to the 15th Feb - to refresh my memory as to why you needed cheering up.

And it hit me in the face - that you started the 8th Instalment that day with your grandad's diary entry of the 15th Feb - 90 years on - spooky!!!!!!

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pompeyrodney

Hi frev

Thanks for the info again and yes that is very spooky indeed. Pass the word around any other threads you subscribe to and get more reading the diary. Thanks again.

Blackblue, what does "you must be stoked" mean. Is that an Aussie expression? I too am looking forward to finding out when he got his commission. Keep reading.

Jules

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pompeyrodney

Hi frev

Thanks for the info again and yes that is very spooky indeed. Pass the word around any other threads you subscribe to and get more reading the diary. Thanks again.

Blackblue, what does "you must be stoked" mean. Is that an Aussie expression? I too am looking forward to finding out when he got his commission. Keep reading.

Jules

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marina
- This is L/Cpl Vivian Charles BROWN, 643. - Marina, I didn't look to see if his Service Record was on line - so I don't know if he comes back to Gallipoli - so I can't totally spoil your suspense - but I have to tell you that he did survive!

That's a relief - I[ve been looking into gas gangrene and wondering if poor Viv's shrapnel wound...

Frev and Jules - where are all the records on line? I don't know much about the ANZACS, but I'm getting very interested!

Marina

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pompeyrodney

:unsure: Hi Marina et al

The records are all kept on the Aussie War Memorial website.

You can find it at Aussie War Memorial. Start there and you should not go far wrong.

Regards

Julian

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