|No 28 Signaller Frederick Ernest Terry Fitts|
Today in Australia is Remembrance Day marking the anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI with one-minute silence at 11 am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.
Today I continue with another extract from my Uncle Ricky’s diaries.
I posted an extract in my Saturday blog and continue that here from July 8 to just after the Battle of Fromelles, when he got to rest on July 21.
I am very thankful that Uncle Ricky survived the devastating Battle of Fromelles – so many didn’t.
In the middle of his entry on July 20, he comments "It is hell on earth here".
What an awful memory to have to live with for the rest of his long life.
I will continue posting (exact) extracts from Uncle Ricky’s diary this week, in case you want to read more.
Saturday July 8th – Bde left Morbecque about 8.30 and marched to Estaires via Merville, arrived in billets at 4.30pm – Full marching order with blankets – very solid march about 14 miles – I dropped out at one point for a short spell and caught up again later – On ?list duty at Bn hqrs for a couple of hours at night –
Sunday July 9th – Left Estaires at 10.45 and marched to Erquinham (about 7 miles) The nearest trenches are about 2½ miles away – Blankets carried on transport – Pay again 15 franks –
Monday July 10th – Advance party (including 8 sigs) left Erquinham for trenches. Arrived at trenches near Bois – Grenier about 10.30pm and dossed with 13th Bn sigs – We live in the “white city”
Tuesday July 11th – 13th Bn Sig Sgt showed us around the trenches to five an idea of the lines – (Tom Morgan, Sid Smith and Vivian) all school mates at Zeitoun) are with the thirteenth) – Balance of 29th Sigs came in about midnight – Took over communications about 8
Wednesday July 12th – Out inspecting lines – Laid new copper line from D50 to C9 –
Thursday July 13th – Laid a D1 line from TM to C35 – We are getting ? in the art of ducking when shells come over – plenty ‘strarfe’ during night –
Friday July 14th Communal line between C( and C27 – Got orders to pack up at 630 – Relieved by New Zealanders about 1130pm – Three of us sent ahead from trenches as guides for the bn to billets – Billeted at Fleurbeaux – Got to bed about 5.30am
Saturday July 15th – Two gas alarms during the night –
Sunday July 16th Packed up ready for another move – mail to hand from home – Moved off from billet about 10pm to another place at a farm about ¾ mile off about ½ mile from Bau-St-Maur – Slept outside under hedge as barn was full –
Monday July 17th – Gas alert during morning – Gas alarm during night –
Tuesday July 18th – Went for walk to Bau-St- Maur where there is a Y.M.C.A. – Gas alarm during night –
Wednesday July 19th – Moved out from billet at 500pm and proceeded to another one near the line where we stayed a couple of hours before proceeding to trenches – Artillery have been bombarding every trenches all day – German prisoners passed along with Aust escort – Left for trenches about 9pm – In trenches at “Cellar farm” – The
Thursday July 20
noise is awful – Carried ? to firing line – All available men called to fire trenches to stand by with fixed bayonets to repel an enemy attack (which ? ? support trench) We lost the two enemy trenches taken earlier in the evening – It is hell on earth here – When fire slackened went detonating grenades then reported at Sig office – The other three battalions have left the trenches for their billets – on phone shift 5 to 7 pm.
Friday July 21st Resting most of day –