War diary of Private Smith

THIS IS THE TRANSCRIPTION OF THE WAR DIARY OF PRIVATE SMITH 

December 16th 1914 : Joined no 10 Field Ambulance CAMC

1915

March 29 : Paraded at armouries at 9 am. Corps known as no 4 General Hospital U of T

May 5 : Paraded to Convocation Hall where chancellor the board and Pres Falconer took formal leave of the unit.

May 14 : Paraded at armouries at 9:00 am Went for a route march got back at armouries 11:10 am. Received orders to parade at the Exhibition grounds at 10:45 am tomorrow (Sat) to proceed overseas. Weather fine and cool.

May 15 : Paraded at Ex at 10:45 am boarded train about 11:15 pulled out at 11:30 are having great time on train. Arrived in Montreal 9:25 pm I went right to the boat the Corinthian. Weather fine and warm

May 16 : Sailed at about 3:30 am the boat is very slow old tub. I have a 3rd class accommodation but I suppose we must put up with it. Passed Three Rivers at 3:30 pm. Weather Fine and cool

May 17 : Paraded out 9:45 am for breakfast. 9:00 am for physical drill till 10:00 am. 12:45 for dinner. 4:00 pm for physical drill. Drill 5:00 pm. Supper 5:45 p.m. . Passed Quebec 2:45 p.m. Weather fine and cool

May 18 : Passe Hatter point 4:00 a.m.. Weather Fine and cool

May 19 : Saw an iceberg quite a big one also a whale. Saw several icebergs and some small one passed quite nearly. Got quite foggy. Fog horn going all the time. Weather Misty and showery

May 20 : Last night we stopped for about five hours. When daylight came several big iceberg were quite close to us. Weather Clearing

May 21 : Was table orderly to day. Lots of men sick. Weather Windy and showery

May 22 : Had a life boat drill. When the “alarm” went we were up on the deck having a physical drill we had to run down to our boats to get our life belts and then take our positions at the life boats allotted to us. Hope we wont have occasion to use them. Weather Fine and warm

May 23 : Had Devine Service at 10:00 am. Saw a school of P. Weather Cloudy with showers

May 24 : To day we had the usual parade fro physical drill at 9:00 then we had a parade at 10:00 am in the honour of the late Queen’s birthday. At 2:30 pm we had sports which consisted mostly of boxing bout. In the evenings a concert. Weather Fine with moderate winds

May 25 : Weather Fine and warm

May 26 : Two destroyers put in appearances about noon to convoy us to port. We were very glad to see then. Weather Fine and warm. Sea calm

May 27 : Docked about 10:00 am at Plymouth. Have to go about 7 hours journey on the train but don’t know where our Platoon has to stay behind to help unload some boxes belonging to our unit. Will go on later. Weather Fine and warm.

May 28 : Left Plymouth about 10:00 p.m. last night arrived at Shorncliffe about 7:00 a.m. and marched to the camp about 1 ½ miles. Things are in general mixup here but I guess it will be OK when we get use to it. Weather cloudy and cool

May 29 : This a.m. we had reveille at 5:30 we have to get up then pile our beds get shaved and washed boots cleaned by 6:30 when we have to paraded for inspection at 7:00 we breakfast 9:00 Parade went for a route march till 12:00. Diner 12:30 then 20 of us had to go on fatigue to the station to unload our goods. Got through about 6:00 p.m.

May 30 : paraded. Went to Church at the YMCA at 9:00 am till 10:00. This afternoon went to Folkestone and had a look around.

June 5 : We were paid today. I received 216.

June 7 : I got my pass to go to London today until rev 11th. Left on the 1:15 train and got home about – 4:30 p.m. Everybody was pleased to see me. Had a sing song in the evening and then went down to Nell’s. Did not go to bed till 3:00 a.m.. Weather Fine and warm

June 8 : Daisie Dollie : I went to see auntie Annie off at Charring. Then went to the National Gallery. Afterwards met Will and had a lunch on Oxford St. We then went to Hammersmith by motor bus and back to home via Putney. Went down to Well’s for the evening Weather Hot

June 9 : Went to Richmond park in the afternoon with Daisy Dollie and Auntie Annie. Went to pictures at night at the Majestis. Weather : Showery and cool

June 10 : Daisy Nell and I went to the cemetery to see dear mother grave. It was very nice but not better than she deserved. Had a send off party in the evening. Every body was there. Left on the 10:00 p.m. train got to camp about 1:00 a.m. early

June 18 : Paraded at 9:00 route march 11:00 for lecture. In the afternoon paraded at 2:00 for an hour drills after we got orders to be ready to move at a minute notice. We got ready by 3:30 p.m. but did not go until 10:00 p.m. to Mooore Barracks Hospital. About a mile away for a weeks training. Weather Fine and cool

June 19 : Was detailed for duty at the admitting discharge office which consisted of conducting the patients from the office to the wards. The sergeant enters the patients name, rank, number disease etc. on a case sheet for that purpose and the sick report is signed by the captain and a diet sheet and the patient are turn over to me. Weather Fine and warm

June 20 : This morning I reported at 7:45 a.m. as ordered and myself in sole charge but as yet no patients have turned up and all we had to do was make up two diet sheets which by the way consist merely of filling in the patients name, rank, number co etc. on top of the sheet. Admitted about 1 C patients during the day. Weather Fine and warm

June 21 : Reported for duty

July 13 : Today everything went as usual till about 6:00 p.m. then we heard a rumour that we would leave for St martins our old camp in the morning. Later it was confirmed and we were soon busy getting our things ready to pack and we were not at all sorry either.

July 14 : We paraded at 8:00 a.m. ready to move off in heavy marching order. Colonel Scott the C.C. made us a speech out side the orderly room and congratulated us on the way we had conducted ourselves and done our work and said we were credit to our unit to which we belonged. Thus we left Moore Barrack Hospital after being there 3 weeks and 4 days.

July 19 : Received orders that we are taking over Shorncliffe Military hospital for a short time

July 20 : paraded at Shorncliffe Military Hospital this a.m. in full marching order, found that R.A.M.C. men whom we were relieving are not going to till Thursday, so after doing duty in the wards till 1:45 we paraded back to St martins in full marching order.

July 21 : Paraded over to the hospital at 7:45 on duty till 11:45 a.m. paraded back to St martins for dinner paraded back for duty at 2:00 p.m.. Home again 4:45 p.m.

July 22 : Paraded to Hospital 7:45 back 11:45. In the afternoon paraded over to hospital in full marching order. This time we stayed. I am on duty as ward orderly in B 1 enough said

October 7 : Left military Hospital Shorncliffe and proceeded to the Plains. 50 of us received orders to hold ourselves in readiness to proceed to Southampton at a half an hour notice as an advance party

October 8 : Left Shorncliffe for Southampton on the 12:55 p.m. train via London. Arriving there 7:45 marched about 5 miles to the rest camp getting there about 9:00 p.m.

October 9 : Spent the day waiting for orders, we were allowed to go “down town” from 9:00 a.m. till 11:45 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:45 and from supper to 9:30 p.m.. Southampton is a very nice little place we quite appreciated the leave.

October 10 : Still waiting for orders and leave the same as yesterday. Got orders to proceed to the dock to load our stuff in the morning (monday)

October 11 : Left the rest camp at 8:00 a.m. and marched to the docks where we formed that instead of loading our stuff on board a boat. We loaded it on the railway car and much to our surprise found we were going to sail from Plymouth. We worked hard loaded 47 car in 6 hours.

October 12 : Left Southampton for Plymouth on the 9:25 a.m. arriving there about 5:00 p.m..The rest camp was under canvas and as it had been raining hard most of the day there was a lot of mud and wet blankets after supper we got leave to go downtown till 10:30.

October 13 : 25 of us went to the dock started to help load our boat the SS Minnewaska. I was working down in the hold at noon we went back to the camp and the other 25 went down to the docks. We had orders to pack our kits and proceed on board the boat but when we got back to the docks. The other said we had loaded the wrong boat.

October 14 : Received orders at 2:30 p.m. to proceed the boat and worked in shifts 6 hours each. I was down in hold

October 15 : Finished loading our stuff all but few cars, went down town, Davenport at night

October 16 : Finished loading and got leave to go downtown from 1:00 to 10:30 p.m.. I went with Kim a chap. We had a hot bath (which we needed) in Davenport. Then took the train to Plymouth 2nd ride had supper and went to a theatre, first house come out 8:30 . Went to a picture show and landed on the boat at 11:15 p.m.

October 17 : The rest of the camp arrived and also other troops, were busy all day getting aboard and allotted to our places which one of the fellows described as follows. Officers 1st class Horses 2nd class and men 3rd class and he was not far wrong.

October 18 : Sailed at 1:15 convoyed by two destroyer weather rather misty and we quickly lost sight of the land. Boat running nice and steady.

October 19 : We are on our own now the destroyers having left us at mid night. However we have a gun of our own mounted at the back of the boat and several canons (part of the cargo) on the forward deck so we would rather like a sub to show up.

October 20 : everything going well OK some of the fellows have been sick but are nearly all better now. Sighted the coast of Africa but too far away to make anything out.

October 21 : Called at Gibraltar at about 7:00 p.m. only stayed about ½ an hour and off again for our next call Malta. As it was dark we could not see much of the place but it looked very pretty with the lights living poling here and there and every now and then one of the several search lights would seek the boat and make it like day.

October 22 : Our daily routine consist of the following reveille at 5:30 hammocks and blankets packed away in the racks and ready for breakfast at 7:00 Lecture at 10:15 muster parade at 11:00 for O.C. inspection dinner at 12:00 supper at 5:00 lights out at 6:00 except when in Port.

October 23 : Today we got scare. I with a lotmore where up at the front of our boat talking when Bang went our gun of course we made a bee-line to find out what was up but before we could see or get anywhere near the gun Bang again off it was again Nothing doing just practise

October 24 : Sighted Malta this a.m. arrived in harbour at about 11:30 it is very picturesque and also very hot. Number of the natives come out to where we anchored in small boats with ll kinds of stuff for sale also little boys who would dive in the water for money thrown to them

October 25 : Today have been busy coaling up. The coal is brought to the boat in lighters each containing about 60 tons and carried aboard in baskets by the natives jabbering like monkey all the time

October 26 : Are all ready to go having finished taking on coal and water just waiting for orders

October 27 : Sailed at 9:00 a.m. and quickly lost sight of land there is quite a big swell on and we know it.

October 28 : Last night was very rough and the boat seems doing its best to stand on end _________ my word laying in one hammock it gave the impression that she was really going down just like an elevator but today it’s just nice the most of the boys are better again.

October 29 : Sighted land again an inspect to get to port aboard 5 o’clock. Dropped anchor in Alexandria 5:30 and its certainly a nice looking place. Oh by the way about 120 of us where placed under arrest to day for refusing to take a bath which consisted of standing in a tarpaulin and having a hose placed on one.

October 30 : About noon we put into dock and took more coal at night 5:30 p.m.. We received an order to parade tp the dockin full dress and went for a route march in the town, we very much appreciated it but it was hot and we got lost and had quite a time getting back to the boat.

October 31 : This a.m. while at church parade 9:30 we left dock and everybody thought we were off to Solonica where we expected to go in first place but we were much surprised when we put in another dock and we found we were going to unload. A party of nine of us were told to be ready in full marching order in 15 min. we marched to a rest camp about a mile away but when we got there, were sent back to the port.

November 1 : Our equipment is being unloaded by natives (arabed) so all we have to do is guard duty. This afternoon we had a bathing parade. This time on shore. The water was not as clean as one could wish but still it was not bad. We appreciated our little swim very much.

November 2 : This a.m. we all paraded up to the “rest” camp and had our first meal of army ration. Bully Beef and biscuits some tea, sugar and two cube of Oxo in a tin. The only drawback, being we have no hot water to make it with 24 of us went back to the boat for a guard duty at 5:00 p.m. 2 hours on and 4 hours off.

November 3 : Parade back to camp from guard duty 8:30. We are under canvas in bell tent 8 men + 1 NCO in each. The ground is sand and it’s quite a job to keep things clean and it’s hot. The flies and the mosquitos nearly eat one alive. To say nothing of ants who by the way are big enough to run away with me. We had another bathing parade this afternoon and enjoyed it very much.

November 4 : This afternoon a party of 20 of us paraded to the dock to cover off our stuff but after waiting an hour and a half we paraded back without doing it. My goodness it’s hot.

November 5 : This am I had a shower and then washed my clothes. At 10:30 a party under open arrest were paraded before the OC and our sentences consisted of a fine of 10 days pay. Some fine. We had a bathing parade again this afternoon and the water was dandy when we got back to the camp. We formed the orders had come for us to move once more. This time to Salonika?

November 6 : Reveille 4:30 a.m. breakfast 5:00 tents struck 6:30 paraded to boat 7:00 worked hard all day and finished about midnight. This is a hospital ship run by RAMC so I guess we’ll have a safe passage. She is not extra big but still she is fitted up very nicely and has I understand a speed of 17 knots.

November 7 : Sailed at 6:45 from Alexandria on the “Carisbrook Castle”. This is the first time this ship has made this trip. Either to she has run between France and England and once or twice as far as Malta. I understand she is the fastest single screw boat afloat.

November 8 : This a.m. we paraded at 10:30 for an inspection by general Baptic who was onboard after the inspection we were presented wit ha box containing tobacco, cigarettes and pipes by the UCML Co very nice of them but I would have appreciated chocolate better. We are having a very nice trip and the boat is as steady as a rock and the weather fine and warm.

November 9 : Just after breakfast this a.m. we fouled a submarine net but got away OK. We expect to get to port some time to day.

Arrived at Salonika at noon and dropped anchor in the harbour.

November 10 : At 8:00 a.m. we moved into dock but it was after 9:00 before we had “made fast” our men divided into two gangs day and night. I was very in the night shifts. The day started in the right away we went on at 8:00 and worked though till 5:00 a.m. assisted by the natives (Greeks) Had a regular thunderstorm and got slightly damp.

November 12 : Started to put into tents and get the stuff sorted out and put under cover. We have a fine site for a camp we are fairly level stretch of country and all around in the distance are mountains with snow on the peeks. The weather is warm in the day and cool at night and turned up like summer again.

November 13 : Started moving the stuff as per usual when along came the SM asking for men to go on guard. I was one of 15 chosen. We have two bell tents 8 men in each including the cpl in charge. We have four hours on and eight off night and day. Our duties are to keep order in general and guard the equipment and see no strangers enter the line.

November 14 : Duties as per usual

We are situated right on the main road to the fighting line is about 40 miles off. The Salonika nish railway runs just the other side of the road and there is just constant stream of troops and suppliers going all the time by both rail and road.

November 15 : Duties as per usual

November 16 : Duties as per usual

November 17 : Duties as per usual

November 18 : Duties as per usual

November 19 : Duties as per usual

This a.m. big guns could be heard off the S.W. that is in direction of the Dardannelles

No more entries after that date

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