Anzac Day Memorial Service, Little River, 25 April 1917. Source: canterbury100.org.nz

Anzac Day Memorial Service, Little River, 25 April 1917. Source: canterbury100.org.nz

Thurs 29 March 1917

Revalli 6.30. Breakfast seven. We had small piece of bacon & bread & butter for supper.  Tea is drunk out of large bowls.  We were paraded for our equipment this morning it is all new gear.  The list of our shortages was taken for a new issue,  All our badges had to be taken off & our hats peaked.  We was inspected by Colonel in Charge of our camp.

We are in D Coy N.Z.R.B. 5th Res Batt.  This is a very large camp here & is divided in to different camps.  The huts are very dirty they are never scrubbed & the bunks are only 3 ins off floor.  The roads & parade grounds are mud to the ankles.  The big event happened we got our first mail from “Home”. I got one letter from Nan & nine from Ivy also Nans photo & four from Ivy.  We were issued with rifles this afternoon.  We had a hail storm & rain & it is very cold.

My letters are all dated Jan. * some of the fellows got papers dated Oct.  We was paid last night I was paid £5.

I went to canteen & bought a Dincum writing pad 1/- fountain pen 5/- Pcds 1/- box of stationery 1/- wallets 6d.  Went to bunk at 10 oclock.

Fri 30 Mar 1917

Got up at 6.30.  Very cold but it is a nice day.  Woke up through the night very cold although I had .... blankets on.  We put our equipment together & packed valise with overcoat, shirt, singlet, underpants, socks, housewife, holdall etc.

Had strict medical inspection & two of our hut were passed, failed Pvt Loughman & Peapell. Fine day & the sun is fairly warm.

We got our shortages issued today.  I got a woollen jacket that buttons up the front a sheath knife & lanyard, a razor a pair of laces & a tooth brush.  They issue good hats to anyone whose hat is torn so I tore the brim off mine to get a new one but I couldn’t get one.

We were told today that rifle brigade drill is cut out for us & we were transferred from No.1 Plt to No 3 Plt.

I bought cards to send home at Salv. Army Inst. Tonight.  No. 1 Plt were issued with short rifles for musketry.

We were shifted to another hut today.  Our O.C. is a returned man & had been wounded twice.

Went to bunk at 9.45.

Sat 31 Mar 1917

Got up at 6.30 Revalli.

We have to make our bunks up & wash shave & clean the hut out by seven.  At seven we fall in for mess & at ten to eight we fall in for drill till twelve fall in for mess straight away & then fall in again from ten to one to 4.30.

This morning we were paraded through mud & slush to a paddock about two miles from our parade ground & we were put throug extended order drill.  We had ten minutes smoko & then carried on with drill.  This afternoon we went for a route march about 4 miles each way & we were dismissed at 3 pm. 

We were issued with blazers for our tunics.  The ground was covered with snow when we got up this morning.  I had to parade six men to Y.M.C.A. for fatigue at 3.30.  I had a cup of Bovril there they charge 2d, per cup.

Had cup of Bovril & piece of cake at canteen & they charge 3d for Bovril & 3d for a very small pie.

Went to bunk at ten.     

Sun 1 April 1917

This morning we fell in & it came on to snow heavily.  We went out to the parade ground & had an hour at squad drill then physical drill & bayonet fighting & the instructors shake you up a treat.  Then we had instruction in the Mills No.5 hand grenade & its uses & throwing.  This afternoon we had instruction on barb wire entanglement & also on gas helmets & how to use them & all about the different kinds of German gases & how to clear the trenches & dug outs of gas after the attack is over.  When we get to our parade ground we have to take our equipment off & take our overcoats out of our valises & put it on as it is perishingly cold standing in the wind being instructed.

The ground is frozen hard by 6.30 at night.  I went to Salvation Army Inst. & had two cops of coffey 2d & ten 10d. Went to bunk 9.45.

Took up collection for Pvt Edward & got £1.5.6 as he lost four pounds his wages.  Took up collection for presentation for our old platoon officer Mr. D. Lambert & I got £3.

Mon 2 April 1917

Revalli at 6.30.  Six inches of snow on the ground & was snowing when we went out on parade, fell in at ten to eight.  Had gas helmets on for ten minutes.

Had section & battalion drill,  Went through a course of barb wire entanglement.  Had first course of bomb throwing.  Done bayonet fighting etc.  Started snowing tonight & I got up covered in snow going to Salvation Army Ins. For supper.  Had two eggs & three cakes.

Got one letter from Nan & eight from Ivy.  I shave of a night as we have no time in the morning.  There is a play or a pantomime on in the Tommies camp every night & pictures.

There is a concert in our mess room tomorrow night admission 6d.

Went to bunk at 9.

Tues 3 April 1917

There was snow on the ground to the knees this morning & it was hard on the legs drilling in it.  We went through a more advanced class today at bombing bayonet fighting, barb wire entanglements & had gas helmets on for 15 mins.  It was very cold on feet & hands especially when standing in snow.

The snow thawed about two in the afternoon & it was water & mud to the boot tops.

Some of the fellows disappeared to their waists & some to the chest in hollows that was covered with snow.  The instructors practically teach cruelty to prisoners in fact they tell you to take no prisoners.

I went over to the Tommies camp to the canteen things are very cheap there I had faggots & peas & bread 4d one egg & bread 3½d & sausages mashed potato & marrow 6d.

Our fellows go over there every night & come back drunk.

Went to bunk 9.30.

Wed 4 April 1917

Went through usual routine today.  Snow nearly all thawed & fully six inches of slush & mud.  March past today at 11.30.  Concert & light refreshments in the mess room given by the N.C.O.s & Officers to the men.  There is always a mix up with the tables in the mess room.  We have to fall in & dress now.  Aeroplane came down heavily & got damaged & aeronaut hurt in paddock near where we were drilling.

I bought a belt & badges to make up & send home it cost me 12/6 & it aint filled up properly yet.

Turned in at 10.

Thurs 5 April 1917

Paraded sick at 6.45 with poisoned toe.  Got back from sick parade at 8.30 & had to go to chiropodist for treatment.

They cut toe & bandaged it up & I got back to hut at 10 oclock. & then played patience.  Went to dentist to have bottom teeth filled up.

After dinner I was made parade & I saw the Sgt <ay & got excused as the toe is too sore for marching.  He gave me a small job & I finished it in ten minutes.

I came back to hut & cleaned it up & wrote letters & lit fire in hut.

Received Weekly Press from Ivy.

There was a lecture for N.C.O.s tonight compulsory but I didn't go.

Had hot bath.

The drunks had a wrestling match in hut.  Fellows have been playing poker in hut tonight.  I went to canteen & had a ginger wine & pie & biscuits & a bottle of cough mixture.

Got four more badges for belt & getting three more tomorrow night.

Went to bunk at 9.30.

Got new hat from Q.M.S store for old one.

Fri 6 April 1917

Went on parade as usual today toe very sore but I stuck it out.

Was on wire entanglement, Lewis gun & gas lesson.  Paraded at 1.45 & went out to Bull ring. & had physical drill & went bomb throwing.  Medical inspection at 3.30.  No. 1 Plt have finished their shooting & No. 2 start tomorrow & we go on with the bull ring.

Our Company was paid tonight at 6.30 but I never drew any as I have enough to last till next pay.

Aeroplane came down & was very damaged.

Tonight when some of the fellows came back drunk & they started playing poker & a fight started through paying out & tables & forms were flying everywhere.

Sat 7 April 1917

Went through usual routine of drill today.  Pvt Chitty got 3 days C.B. for having an untidy bunk 7 Pvt Hall C. & Edwards were up for fighting & were remanded to Monday.

Sun 8 April 1917

Went to Mass at 9 am & priest is a hard case & very good natured.  After church we had muster parade of men, rifles & bayonets & we finished at 11.30.

We had the afternoon off & I stopped in the hut & wrote letters & done a bit of washing.  Then I went & had a look at broken up aeroplane & then went to Y.M.C.A. & posted letters & some Scientists were there showing different things through microscopic instruments.  Had to go to Bulford on piquet at 6.30 & it is a good 4½ to 5 miles there & when we got there six of us had to go on to Durrington & the name of the hotel there is the “Plought Inn”.  When we got there we went to the Y.M.C.A. & had supper at 9 pm we had to clean the pub out & it is a great place inside clay plastered walls & the ceiling is only six feet from the floor.  The Australians started breaking up glasses.  I saw girls of 16 years to 20 pushing through the soldiers to get beer at the bar.

We got back at 10.15 & my feet were almost dropping off.

Mon 9 April 1917

Went through usual routine of drill except that we had the small gas respirators instead of the helmets.  We are getting the March winds here now & they bite through you.

Pvt Hall Chas & Edwards got seven days C.B.  We are getting less food than ever now & I get meals at the Tommis canteen.

Tues 10 April 1917

Went through usual routine today. My feet are terribly sore today. I could hardly bear to march home on them.  New Zealanders are not allowed in Tommies canteen after tonight as one fellow kicked up a row there & we are all stopped now.  I am not wearing my stripe as I don’t want it but I was picked out today to take charge of a section for section drill

Went to Salvation Army & had supper & turned in at 9.30.

Wed 10 April 1917

Was out on extended order this morning & our Cpl. Kept us going solid.  This afternoon we went on parade but the weather was that bad that hey had to bring us back to the huts.  We had a hut inspection & then had the rest of the afternoon off & I wrote letters.

Was at lecture tonight.

Thurs 11 April 1917

Was in squad drill & section drill & extended order this morning & it was a fairly easy morning.  This afternoon we went out to the Bull Ring & had ¾ hrs bayonet fighting & then we were brought back to the parade ground in front of the Headquarters for company drill.  At ten to four at came on to snow hard & we were dismissed.  All our platoon that was not on Bullford piquet on Sunday night was on Bullford piquet to night & Pvt. MrCormack never turned up & he is up for Orderly room tomorrow.

Fri 13 April 1917

Was on squad section & company drill in front of headquarters this morning.

This afternoon No 3 Plt of C & D Coy. Went to the bomb store & drew live bombs for bomb throwing.

C Coy drew beforeus & we we waiting about 200 yards away & pieces of them were dropping amongst us.  Bombs are thrown from bays to save accident & it is as safe as throwing stones if they are handled properly.

We all have to wear steel helmets when on the live bomb range.

Out of the thirty three in our platoon only three got A1 throwing & they were Pvt Hall C, & Pvt Kelly Y L & myself.

After bombing we came back & had coy drill for ½ hr at H.Q’rs parade ground & then was dismissed.

We was fallen in again & issued with service rifles for musketry.

Sat 14 April 1917

Started on elementary musketry & we had an easy day.  Went to Tommies camp called Tin Town which is the Army Service Corps camp & there are thousands of motor lorries & cars there.

Sun 15 April 1917

Had today off.  Got ready for church & was then put on fatigues with eleven others & we had to scrub out huts, we finished at 10.45.  I wrote letters till dinnertime.  After dinner five of us took a walk around the country & visited three villages & all houses are clay & straw thatched roofs.  I visited ..... of the old Village Blacksmith & got four leaves of the chestnut tree to send home & had a look at the old iron work etc.  When we visited a church that is over 850 years old & in the cemetery there are grave stones dated as far back as 1620.  Saw aeroplane drop & smash up & pilot & aviator killed.  Went to aerodrome & saw mechanics at work on repairs & building new ones & then looked at the others.  There is over 150 aeroplanes there & I saw a German aeroplane that was captured in France.

We got back late for tea & went to Y.M.C.A. & had it.

Mon 16 April 1917

Was on elementary musketry today again.  Got a letter from Nan & seven from Ivy & also photo of Ivy.  Our platoon was on Bulford piquet but I was not on.  Went to miniature range this morning & I had two fair groups.

Tues 11 April 1917

Was on elementary musketry this morning & this afternoon we went to C. Range & done grouping at 50 yards & I got the possible 25.

Went to Tintown & bought badges, etc.  Went to supper at Y.M.C.A. given to the old 28 Plt. G 21 by Lt DeLambert.

Wed 12 April 1917

Was on range all day at grouping & snap shooting at 100 & 200, 300 & 400 yards range.

I done good shooting.

Had to carry forms to the Y.M.C.A. from our mess room for a concert & then we had to carry them back.

Thurs 19 April 1917

Was on ammunition fatigue & we got to the range late.         

Started on classification shooting today.  Real fine day today.

Fri 20 April 1917

Started our field practice on the range today.  Section firing, .... sportsman & the barrage of the fire & also shooting with helmets on.

 Was paid £2 tonight I put a shilling in for a belt of badges.

Never won belt Pvt Horan of our hut won it.

Handed in short rifles.

Sat 21 April 1917

Was on Batallion drill this morning & this afternoon we through our gas test in helmets.

After we went back from gas we was dismissed at 3 pm & I done a lot of washing & put them in our drying room.

We got issued with long rifles for drill purposes.

Sun 22 April 1917

Went to Mass this morning & wrote letters before dinner, Has a sleep this afternoon & went to S.A.I. for supper.  Polished up brass on equipment.

Mon 23 April 1917

Went out on a 7 mile route march full marching order got back at 11.30 & then went on Straff parade.

We got orders that we are to parade by foot to Codford camp tomorrow at 9 am.  Codford is 20 miles from Bulford.

The Canterbury Barr is full up & all Canterbury fellows in the Dincums are put in to the Auckland Batt.  We never drilled this afternoon but we had to parade for shortages rations etc.

We drew four hard biscuits each man & one tin of bully beef every two men.

Got issues with N.Z.R shoulder plates.

 Tues 24 April 1917

Revalle at 6.30 fell in at 6.30 & carried kits to hd.qrts. then cleaned up hut & went to breakfast.  Left Sling at 9 am & it took only 6 hrs to do the 20 miles to Codford.

The band came about 6 miles with us & then went back to Sling.

The Codford Camp band met us about 1½ miles from camp & played us in.  When we got there we were messed about for 1½ hrs before we got in our huts.  I went to bed about 8 oclock as I was tired.

This camp is prettier than Sling as it is surrounded by trees & is just along side the town of Codford.

On the way here we passed through Lark Hill, Stoneage & a lot of other villages.  We passed the old large stones that were created centuries ago & they are seat fashion one laying across two & they are massive blocks.

Wed 25 April 1917

Revalle 6.30.  First sitting for breakfast quarter to seven & we are on second sitting at 7.15.  As today is Anzac day we had a church service here.

Was put in charge of the R.Cathlics & had to march them to the Catholic church which was built in the town of Codford for soldiers & the Rev. Chaplain Bartley said Mass.  Capt Chap Bartley came over with us on the Waitemata with us.  We are now 15 Platoon, 16th Waikatos Kings Own.

After church we had to parade for rifles & bayonets & we got new ones from the factory & they are the ones we have to take straight through.  Fell in at one & was on bayonet fighting, platoon drill & rifle exercise till four pm.  One sitting for tea.

Comment