Daily Diaries
Diary Four
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2nd March 1916 to the 11th August 1916
 
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29th July 1916
Got the order for a further attack at 12.15 am. Opened up and supported the 2nd Division in their attack on the German positions north east of Pozieres. Our friends found our Battery and strafed it rather well but missed getting the guns. Our chaps had to abandon the attack owing to the wire being too thick in front of Frtiz's trenches. Up at OP all day. Pozieres and Contalmaison getting their full share of shells. Artillery hates all day.


Reserve line at Pozieres

30th July 1916
Very hot day today both as regards to heat and getting strafed. Nothing much doing. In action up 'til 5 am this morning. Down at Battery all day. Had 3 hours sleep this afternoon. At 6.10 pm the English troops out in Maretz Woods way attacked. Don't know how they got on. Paid Randall a visit this evening.

31st July 1916
In action all night and half the morning. Our friends sent over quite a number of gas shells, some of them Lachrymatory which make your eyes and nostrils smart like blazes. Had to get into helmets again which is a rotten performance all together. Ordered to report to 19th Batt. HQ near Pozieres this afternoon. Got there at 5 pm. Just in front of BHQ there's a team of German horses hitched to an ammunition waggon which one of our shells found out. Sat up half the night and yarned to the OC and his commanders. They are all Sydney chaps so passed quite a merry night during which Fritz was quite annoying with his barrages.

1st August 1916
Ordered to report to Bty today. Got down here at 12.30. Had a 'strafe' this afternoon, also a bath. Don't half need it after kicking around the trenches. 1st and 2nd Brigades are relieved today. As a matter of fact our Brigade is the only 1st Division unit not yet retired. That's what comes of being a 'pet' Brigade. We're to stay here until another big push takes place and if successful we go out immediately afterwards. At least what's left of us. Fritz done an awfully silly thing this evening. Attacked in mass and we got him just as he left his trenches. Never got within bombarding range of our lines.

2nd August 1916
In action all night. Got 'strafed' again. Went up to OP at 6.30. Nothing much doing only 10 minute hates until this afternoon when we started a devil of a strafe. Opened up with pretty nearly every available gun along our 3 mile front and blew Fritz's trenches to blazes. Several good aeroplane duels today. Got an SOS from the front line at 9 pm and created merry H. Complimentary orders out tonight. Reproduced at end of 'Diary'.

3rd August 1916
Down at Bty all day. Usual night stunt last night. Got 'strafed' three times again today. Artillery duels most of the day. Expecting trouble within the next 36 hours.

4th August 1916
In action all night, managed to get to bunk at 4 am. Had a fairly quiet day today. Orders out this afternoon to the effect that we are to advance again. Hoo-bloomin'ray.

5th August 1916
(At least I am able to get into the old dug-out and write up this in my diary.) Well, we score another big win. OG1 and OG2 are both captured by us and now the way for another 10 miles towards Hun territory will be comparatively easy. At present we occupy the biggest ridge around this part of the country so can observe their every movement. The scrap lasted about 4 ½ hours and was intense in the extreme. At 2 am I received orders from HQ to go up to the front line to map out our gains and try and get communication through to Brigade. Got stopped by their barrage before reaching Copse Av but managed to get to Advanced Batt. HQ a little later and from there went into the firing line. The Huns suffered enormous losses. Their dead are thick between and in the captured trenches. We took hundreds of prisoners. At 4.30 they counter-attacked in masses but our maxims and Lewis guns just mowed them down as they advanced. They only reached our trench in one place where our chaps awaited them with the bayonet. Their supports couldn't face it so returned and came under our artillery barrage and were mown down in scores. Some of the prisoners who came in later were just about mad. One party in particular about 60 strong walked in with their hands up. When the German artillery opened on them and got the lot. All day long their artillery have been raining shells from 7.7 to 9.2 on our new position and at 3 pm we had to come out of OG2 and back into OG1. The majority of our casualties occurred while hanging on. Couldn't touch our wounded at all because the barrage put up between the trenches was too thick. The fire died down about 5 pm when our chaps went back into OG2. The 4th Division (Australian) took over from the infantry at night. Expecting word for our own shift. Got down and reported to Brigade HQ tonight. Had the unique experience of being buried today.

6th August 1916
No rest for the wicked. Gee how bad we must be. Last night (and this morning) from 11 pm 'til 4 am we have been paid particular attention to from a 77 Bty two 4.2 guns and two 9.2s. Our Battery position is just a shambles. Three of our pits are just about level with the ground and the whole place is one mass of craters. Several of our boys got buried but managed to get them out all right. Orders out this afternoon to advance another 1500 yds and dig fresh position. The major and Faulkner have gone up with support guns. At present I am OC Battery here. Have my two guns in action and am thoroughly enjoying myself. Believe we are to be relieved during the next 3 or 4 days. We've had the position of honour during all the scrapping of been in action since the stunt commenced, and well up in advance of the other batteries.

7th August 1916
In action all night and got heavily shelled by 5.9, 9.2, and 11 inch guns. They came over every 4 minutes so between times we used to get off a few rounds gun fire and then 'streak' for cover usually in one of the craters because our pits were blown away. Huns attacked in mass at 5 am and succeeded in getting into and holding OG2 until we dropped onto that and blew them about. Then the infantry charged and advanced another 150 yds over OG2. Our position is in an awful mess. There's one crater here made by an 11 inch shell that would accommodate a railway engine. Orders to hand at 2.30 that we are to be relieved. The Lahore (Indian) Division are taking over from us. Left the position at 5.30. Got on to the road and got shelled to blazes. Got to waggon line and came to Albert via Maretz Wood. Camped in a tent at night. First decent night's sleep I've had for ages.

8th August 1916
Up with the larks this morning. Made an awful mistake last night by thinking I would have a night's rest. Got pulled out of bed at 12.30 to attend to Bde orders and also out at 5.30 to prepare for another hate. Left Albert at 9 am and arrived at Le Val de Maison in the evening. Roads coated with 6 inches of dust which all but chokes you but it's much better than gas.

9th August 1916
Left bivouac at 9.30 and trekked to our new posy, St Legerles Domant. Great joy. Met most of the old boys of the 1st Brigade. Gee, but we've lost some good men during this last scrap and the taking of Pozieres. Great quakes here. Slept out under the stars at night but hope to get billets now as the 1st and 2nd Brigades are moving out.

Extract from Brigade Order issued on the night of the 9th August 1916.

1st Australian Division
3rd Field Artillery Brigade
HQ
St Seger
9/8/1916
To BCs
Officers
and all other Ranks

Simply expressing, most sincerely, to every one of you my grateful appreciation of your work during the last twenty days.

(signed) W.L.H Bung . . Leuit. Colonel Commanding 3rd FA Bde

10th August 1916
Raining. Inspected by General Walker and Hobbs this morning. Got warmly congratulated on our work which makes up for a deuce of a lot of hardships. Saw Chas at night.

11th August 1916
Getting straight most of the day. Enjoying this spell immensely. Chas, Richardson and myself went for a glorious ride this evening. Great to be able to cruise around the country without having to dodge shells and craters.

Thanking the Artillery who made the taking and holding of Pozieres possible.
H. B. Walker (General)

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