1st November 1916
Fairly dry today. Devil of a strafe on all round. Mr Hun very busy with 5.9s and 8.2 all day and paid us particular attention with the former. Believe there's to be another push here shortly and we're to be in it. Hope so, because the sooner it's over the sooner we can get a 2nd decent wash and into dry clothes once more. Mud still going strong.
2nd November 1916
Still raining like H. Heavily shelled with 5.9 and 8.2 all day. Still up at OP. Recalled to Bty tonight. Believe I am advanced to OO tomorrow for a big strafe. Huh-bloomin-ray.
3rd November 1916
Rotten luck. Strafe cancelled so returned to OP this morning and have amused myself by strafing a working party and knocking a house over on their lines about. Got a hit on the wall with the first round at 4800 yrds. Positions both shelled with 8.2 and 5.9 tonight. They made things very willing.
4th November 1916
A fine day at last. Have been taking advantage of the weather and building a new OP. Ross of the 8th badly wounded tonight. The usual evening strafe tonight. Orders out for the attack at 9.10 tomorrow.
5th November 1916
Gee what a night. Had just about completed the OP when it rained in torrents. Got flooded out again. Everybody wet through to the skin. Went down to the Bty at 12 pm for dry things and a sleep. Bitterly cold but still we're winning this war, so what's the odds. Returned to OP to survey the ruins this morning. Got word that our attack starts at 9.10. Later. Again we win. Although not so decisively as previous. Our left and right got hung up but the centre got there alright. Devil of a H. Got shelled to blazes tonight and suffered a few casualties. Still fine thank Heaven. Worked on OP all night.
5th November 1916
Finished OP this morning sometime. Things still normal. Had a great time strafing Huns. They got excited and came out over in the open and I done what I left Aus to do, namely killed them. Got one party on the road leading to Thilloy and played merry H. Quite a few stretchers were required. Got a few in Trap Trench also along the road behind Thilloy. OP looking awfully decent.
6th November 1916
Raining all day. Dug out standing it well. Sundry hates but nothing much. Slept the majority of the day.
7th November 1916
What about sniping? (This is in the darker script of the 8th) Gee wizz what a day. Got orders to report to Bty HQ at 6.30 this morning. Reported and was sent up to the Front line to register the 8th and 9th Btys on a ticklish bit of Hate. Gen Holmes up here and under his directions brought our fire right down to within 35 yds of our line. Gee it was some shoot. Got complimented on it too. Our trenches are in a Devil of a state. We waded through one sap up to our waists in water and slush. Got back to Bty at 6 pm; came up to OP.
8th November 1916
Decent day today. Sun conspicuous by its presence once more. Still its horribly muddy yet. Reported to the Colonel at HQ this morning and gave him all the information I had got during my trip up forward. Saw Chas. Had a screw at High wood. Knocked about slightly. Got bogged four separate times but am still alive. Decent observation for once. One house over in their lines which I used to love strafing has been turned into a Hospital so won't be able to strafe it any more. Got a ring from the major this afternoon and he passed on the following message: From OC Basket to OC 'Blow' WB15 From General Willis. Thanking the artillery Liaison Officers for the good work done yesterday. Please convey congratulations to Lieuts. Hogan, Shaw, Doughty. Some doings eh what. Glorious hate this evening.
9th November 1916
Sundry artillery strafes but nothing very interesting
10th November 1916
Great day. Bty got heavily shelled with 8.2 this morning. They had to leave the guns and get out for an hour. Blew everything to blazes but never got the guns. Had a strafe this afternoon.
11th November 1916
Very misty today. No good for observing so kicked about the OP all day. Admiring the scenery etc. Down to the mess tonight and the major insisted on Faulkner and myself tossing to see who goes down to the Waggon Line for 2 days to let Robertson come up and I lost so down I go the day after tomorrow. Rotten luck but it's a toss.
12th November 1916
Very misty again. Sundry Bombardments all day. Becks, Harvey, Allan and Hassel went west last night.
Infantry from the 2nd Battalion, Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Division near Flers.
13th November 1916
Huh-bloomin-ray. Nothing doing about the W.L. Robertson came up all right but we've just got orders to shift to the other side of Flers so I stay up and do some more work. Very misty, no good for observation.
14th November 1916
Gee Wizz, what a Hell of a time. We attacked early this morning. Got dashed sudden orders, but hopped into it to time. Results very satisfactory. Our chaps took Bayonet trench, while the Guards had a big advance capturing over 3000 prisoners. On our little sector we took about 700. Bty got Hell today. The whole detachment went west or nearly all. Strafed a Hun aeroplane that happened to come down in their lines also sprayed the road to Thilloy with shrapnel, and the ambulance was wanted several times. Got pasted with 5.9 and 8.2 ourselves later on, but all is still merry and bright. Had another attack tonight but don't know how we got on. Fancy it was OK.
15th November 1916
Bitterly cold. Huns threw over hundreds of Gas shells this morning early, result, we had to wear gas bags for an hour or two. Visited new Position this morning. Rotten 'Posy'. Can't call it anything else. Absolutely unapproachable by road. Horses just sink out of sight in the mud and slush of the shell craters. Got bogged of course. Visited HQ this afternoon. The officer of the returning Bty staying with us.
16th November 1916
Handed over to returning Bty at OP. Reported to new Position during the afternoon and took over four guns etc. Bitterly cold. Major got over late at night.
17th November 1916
Major crack on the head. 'Knocked' Funny things that happened . . . 18th November 1916 to 8th February 1917 [These pages are pinned into the diary.] Don't remember much about getting knocked with the exception of seeing a beautiful 'solar' sun then somebody turned out the light. Got to the 8th General Hospital in Rouen after being carried out from the line during a snow storm and after a short 14 hours there, was sent direct to England via Boulognestraat on the way across. Channel run Hospital ship picked up survivors of the City of Mexico, a steamer which had just been sunk by a Hun Sub. Managed to get a glimpse of the Sub, but it didn't molest us. Arrived in Southampton and was put in 'Z' ward and got special attention. Thanks to it and decent constitution managed to get out in three weeks or so. Also able to get out of going to a Convalescent Home, but got a fortnight leave instead. Met the train and went to Manchester. Stayed at 48 M R then went back to London for another Board. Stayed out with Capt. Richardson whom I met in Hospital. Had a gorgeous time. Was given another weeks leave and made the most of it. Had Xmas dinner with Dr. John Broadbent. Left for Perham Downs about New Year time. Tried to get straight back to France from London but no go. After annoying everybody and with assistance managed to get away on the 1st. Went up to London at night. Left the next morning for Portsmouth. Stayed at the South Western while awaiting a boat. Visited Capt (I of M) one day. Left next day for Le Harve. Detained there for five days also received a request which was sent by the CO on Dec 31st for my return to the Bty in reply to my application to be sent back. Swore a few. Major worked a good scheme and we got to Le Harve by passenger boat. Got to Rouen and told that it would be at least seven days before we could get back to our unit. Anyhow we were desperate and by further scheming managed to get back on the 8th via Paris and Amiens. Had a great 24 hours in Paris. Saw quite a good bit of the city. General Brown motored us from Amiens to our HQ. Find on my return that we are made into a 6 gun Bty and have another officer available to us. Cooper is his name. Anyhow here we are and Hurrah for more strafe.