Archive for the ‘1917’ Category

26 June, 1917

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

Plenty of work as I am on my own. Our personnel is very low at present. The Colonel is away on Court Martial duty, Bolton in hospital, Mayman on leave, and about three vacancies on the staff. I ran into Salisbury last night.

One thinks nothing of a small matter of 13 miles. I go in on the average about twice a week. Leave here at 6 and get home about 12. Both Pat Auld and Chris are doing well. The former is in a convalescent home having a good time – the latter is still in hospital, also having a good time.

I am getting very fed up with this place. Have been seriously thinking of applying to go overseas. One certainly gets a little excitement over there.

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no relief

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

15 June, 1917

The country is looking beautiful now. There are wonderful shades of green with big patches of buttercups dotted about. You can forget those rumours re Australians being relieved. They aren’t getting any spells. In fact, they are going harder than ever. Chris has been knocked. He was in the Messines stunt and got a beautiful little wound. Shrapnel through the right arm. He is at Wandsworth Hospital. Reinforcements are very scarce and we will soon be out of a job if it continues. The 4th Division is just a skeleton now.

Have been doing quite a lot of rowing lately but can’t get hold of a light boat though. I gave a dinner the other evening at the Country Hotel Salisbury. Amongst those present were noticed Major and Mrs JP Fogarty, MC, Miss Dickenson and impecunious Rhoda. After dinner we repaired to the river and rowed some.

There is a rumour of a mail going out soon.

Lots of love,
Yours, LANCE.

_______________________________________________

Note: some of the text in the last paragraph wasn’t legible so we have made our best guess at the meaning.

news of Bullecourt

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

7 June, 1917

We are melting. Can you imagine it? The temperature isn’t very high, but very steamy and humid. It is much more trying than a decent Australian summer day. We haven’t had any mail for some time although a parcel turned up a few days ago. Socks, cigarettes, tobacco and toffee. All very much appreciated, especially tobacco and toffee. I have the tin on my desk and everyone has a dive into it whenever near me.

Major Fogarty, commonly known as Doc, is about my best pal here. He has his wife living in Salisbury and I have been in with him several times lately. Went in last night and had a row on the Avon. I was very pleased to find that I was able to row quite okay. The Avon isn’t much from a rowing point of view- not near Salisbury any way. The current is very swift and the creek narrow.

I had a letter from Copley, 4th Division, Amn. Column giving me an account of Jack Clarke’s death. He went out very game from all accounts. It was in the Bullecourt stunt. The Huns had got right through our line on to the Artillery. Jack’s Battery had to support them other Artillery and to do so had to take their guns out of the gun pits. The Battery Commander ordered all the men and Jack away to the rear, intending to work the guns himself, but Jack refused to go. These two worked the guns right up until a German shell got them both. There was a ring of 67 dead Germans round Jack’s gun. He was buried with full Military honours in Bapaume. The Battery are all very sorry to lose him.

I have been reading a lot of old diaries of the Doc’s. He has been keeping a very full diary with a view to publishing it. He asked me to review it for him. Heaven knows what I know about reviewing. It deals with a lot of Gallipoli and France. There is a very good description of the Evacuation. I will send you extracts of it. My data of the Evacuation was not too correct, and this is correct in every detail.

I got a letter from Chris a few days ago. They had moved up to where we were when we first went to France and were expecting to “hop out” at any old time.

spring

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

13 May, 1917

I have just come back from a very pleasant walk. It has been a lovely day. Just a trifle too “springified” though. It is a muggy sort of warmth but pleasant for all that after the winter we have had. The Colonel and I strolled round for about an hour this evening. Once after leaving the camp, we entered one of the famous country lanes, and dropped right on to a miniature village. It was very pretty. I didn’t even know it existed it was so well hidden. The church was the main feature. It is an old gothic type building with the usual tower. It was rebuilt in 1834 so it must be some age. There is a very old cemetery there. One moss covered old stone read that a man was buried there in the year 1840 who died at the age of 144 years. Some life eh! The houses are all thatched roofs with tiny little windows.

I have been on a very heavy job lately. Our Mess has been run in a very slip shod method and the books are in a shocking condition. The Commandant has put me on to the job of straightening them out. I have been four days at it now. Devoting most of my waking moments to it and have only just succeeded in effecting a trial balance which looks very shaky.

Our valley is certainly a thing of beauty in summer time. Just across from here is a fine old Manor house surrounded by trees and parks. It belongs to the Bishop of Worcester I believe. All the trees have various coloured leaves, shades of green according to the age of the new foliage. In the middle of this are several copper beeches with their shining brown leaves. If one could blot out the huts, it would be a perfect sight. I must go down the Bath Valley again soon, I believe it is lovely now. The New Forest will be good too.

I am enclosing a few photos and you will notice that I am not fading away yet. The 50th Battalion lost 11 officers out of 14 in their last scrap. Goodman and Loutit are still going strong.

Goodbye.
LANCE.

Visitors from Queensland

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

5 May, 1917

Australian mail today, letters of 11th, 18th, 21st March. The weather has been perfect here for days. The country is all green and the trees are all out in leaf. A week ago they were bare, now they are green.

The Submarine business is very serious now. So are our casualties in France. Poor old Australia is getting it right in the neck. By the way, Edmondson who was in hospital with me is going back to Australia. His wife goes by mail boat and calls at Adelaide. I sent them my card and told them to call on you. I know you will do your best to entertain them.

I met a couple of chaps from Queensland Government yesterday. A Mr Campbell, Trade Commissioner and Mr Dillon, Secretary to Agent General. They both knew people I know here. Campbell lives next door to Mr Masson. I fixed up some business for them here, and was of a little assistance to them.

Up to the present, I have received no word of the War Loan. The only advise has been from the AIF to say it was being looked into. My work here is mostly administrative. Just like being head of an office. Nearly all correspondence about the various Military matters.

Wimbush came out last night with Mrs Fogarty, Misses Burden and Dickenson. They brought out some songs for me. I found that I was horribly out of practice.

Codford

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

3 May, 1917

Things have been fairly quiet lately. Chris disappeared to London in a cloud of smoke. He has since gone overseas. Pinkerton has gone also, so I am rather destitute of friends for the time being. The weather has been perfect for about a week now, almost a drought. All the country is getting green as fast as it can. One can almost see the things growing.

Sunday was a lazy sort of day, no work doing at all, so I pulled out my bike and went for a ramble on it. I rode straight over the downs on a lovely road to Hinton, from there to Shaftesbury. The county was very pretty. Great plains divided by hedges, little hamlets all over the place. The ground rose to a great height in places. The hills formed a cup with a ten mile diameter and I rode all over the place. I ought to know Somerset before I finish. I have been over it quite a lot.

Monday I went up to town on leave. Stayed at Piccadilly and lived on the eighth floor. It is a great hotel. Had dinner Monday night at “Les Gobelins” a French Cafe which was very bohemian. Afterwards, I went to “The Maid of the Mountains”. It was very good with excellent singing. Tuesday I had lunch at the “Rendezvous Restaurant”. A dago place in Soho, very cheap with splendid cooking, also very bohemian. In the afternoon, I saw “Double Dutch” a poor revue, and after dinner at the Elysee, went to see “Under Cover” which was an American detective play – after the style of “Within the Law”. It was very good. The whole time I was in London, it was very foggy. Although the temperature was only 70 degrees, it was quite hot. Ten miles out the weather was lovely.

Jack Clarke was killed the other day but I haven’t any details at all, only the announcement in the paper.

days before Anzac Day

Posted: December 10, 2017 by saraherhodes in 1917

23 April, 1917

I fancy my last letter ended up with the prospects of a Review. Well it came off last Tuesday. The Brigade marched over to Bulford about eighteen miles from here. I was to stay in camp, but managed to creep over on Tuesday on my bike. It was a splendid day. The Parade ground was a great stretch of country, an ideal place for it. Over there I met my friend Wimbush (the “Tank” expert) and two of his friends, Miss Burden and Miss Dickenson.

The Review was one of the biggest ever held for Australians. The King inspected them, and the march past took over an hour for them all to pass the saluting base. Afterwards, the King decorated a number of soldiers.

I put my bike in Wimbush’s Car, and we all drove to Amesbury and had lunch there. Wimbush’s car is about 40 to 50 horse power. He fitted it up as a private ambulance and with the body on, can do 50 miles per hour easily.

Saturday, Wimbush came out again and picked me up and we went into Salisbury to the Palace Theatre, a vaudeville show and poor at that. Miss Dickenson went with us. Afterwards, we went to the Capt. and Mrs Fogarty’s house. Fogarty is our SMO here, and a thorough sport. Wimbush came back with me and I put him up for the night.

Sunday morning, Wimbush, Pinkerton and I set out in the car for a tour. We went to Romney via Salisbury and had lunch there. It is right in the New Forest and very pretty. The forest is a glorious place, splendid roads run right through it. From there, we went to Lyndhurst and had tea. This is still in the New Forest. The forest covers an immense area of country.

Quite a number of people are going, or have gone overseas. We held a send-off dinner last night. Our GSO Major Pollock is going, Chris has already gone, Lt. Smith the RTO is going. Pinkerton went today – so you can see we are getting cleaned up. It was “some” dinner. We brought the ladies out from Salisbury in the car. Mrs. Fogarty, Mrs. Smith and Misses Dickenson and Griffin. We were quite a lively party. Had a fair amount of music etc.

I saw a thing yesterday that is hardly credible, a bush fire. It was in the New Forest. The trees are just starting to bud, so in about another month, it will be splendid.

Wednesday will be Anzac Day again. It seems incredible that it is two years since I first went under fire. I will be going to Fogarty’s to dinner. The doctor lives out here but his home is at Salisbury.

Roy Fordham has been killed. They are all going nowadays. A mail arrived on Saturday letters dated 22nd and 25th February and 2nd and 6th March.

The same day I went for a short ride from here on my bike to Yarnbury Castle. It is an old Roman Castle. There is nothing to see now except big mounds. It is a square with round corners. There are three rows of mounds or ramparts. The first is about 15 feet high, the next about 20, and the innermost 30 feet. There are four gates leading to the enclosure, which is 400 yards across. Considering the age of the ruins, the mounds must have been a tremendous height originally.

I have had two parcels lately, both okay. The tobacco was very acceptable. I haven’t read the books yet. The serviette ring arrived quite safely. Many thanks. It is very good and the envy of the mess. It is a great idea having the old school badge on it. I don’t know anything about the Submarines. The devils are sinking our hospital ships now. I received a letter from Pat Auld the other day. He is at Cambridge, wounded again. Yes I know Essington Day fairly well. My gramophone has refused to budge, fancy it is the spring. I notice that Desmond DuRieu has gone to an Officers Training Corps.

Well I fancy I have finished all I can find to say.

Lots of Love.
Yours LANCE.

___________________________________________________________

Notes:

SMO – Senior Medical Officer
GSO – General Staff Officer
RTO – Radio Telephone Officer