This page has already been transcribed. You can find new pages to transcribe here.


[Page 3]

Copy of diary of late F. W. Roberts, Private. C.Co. 9th Platoon
21st Battalion Australian Imperial Force

From 1st July to 30th August, 1918

Monday 1st July. – Lewis Gun work in afternoon. Washed sox, towel etc in morning. Very hot day. Swimming after tea.

Tuesday, 2nd. Preparing to move out to trenches. Packing up gear etc in morning. Handed in blanket and overcoat. In afternoon Ted Heath "Norrie" and self went for last swim in lagoon. Moved out about 9.30 p.m. – just on dark – and proceeded to support line (Digger's Support) on left of Villers Britonneux. Shortly after arrival went on wire carrying fatigue. Salvaged old "Tommy" overcoat so managed to get 2 or 3 hours sleep in early morning. Poor accommodation in trench so little chance to sleep during the day.

Wednesday, 3rd – Put in poor day, thinking of "hop over" to-morrow morning leaves us all rather "screwed up". After tea busy in preparations. No Sleep - cold and anxious – but NOT funky.
Thursday, 4th. – Overcast during very early hours, but got a glimpse of "lucky" star and felt brightened. Left support trench at 1.40 a.m. loaded up like a mule. Usual fighting order, 120 rounds of S.A.A. and 2 bandoliers – in all 220 rounds: 2 mills bombs: extra water bottle: shovel – down back, and a pannier for Lewis gun – all hellish weighty. Long struggle through trenches to front line. Out on tape about 2.30 and took "Tommy" overcoat with me to keep cold out as we were given to understand we would be on the tape for an hour. Only out a few minutes however when barrage opened. In excitement left pipe from Rouen in overcoat pocket on the tape. Advanced in second wave: first wave consisted of 2 lines in extended order: 2nd wave sections in artillery formation, lastly moppers up and in rear of all 3 tanks to our Battalion sector. Knees knocked when barrage opened, but after the start all trepidation vanished. Wonderful barrage put up, ground shrapnel shell on explosion lit up the scene and we caught glimpses of Fritz going for life. No return barrage and no machine gun fire in return. An easy walk over. Slung my gun and stumbled across old "no man's land – got caught in wire entanglement and tore my pants at knee badly. Fell in many shell holes and swore horribly. Experiencing none of the "blood lust" nor became "another man". A most prosaic affair. Met no Fritzs myself until near final objective (3rd line of his trenches) Spared his life to rat him but found nothing – he wore an iron cross ribband too! On reaching objective tanks went out ahead and also mopping up party. Rest created fire steps and prepared trench quickly to withstand a sudden counter-attack but it didn't come. Splendid co-operation from aeroplanes – dropped M.G. ammunition per parachute but a few boxes went into Fritz's territory. One casualty from 9 platoon caused by pellet from own 18 pounder shrap. and he walked out. Very busy ratting dug-outs and packs but self and Heath had very poor return. Some got revolvers and watches but our quarter yielded nil. Spent rest of day in digging in little posts along the line. On our left 4th Div. had harder work but all units reached their objectives with remarkably few casualities. On dark our artillery put over a barrage and cut up a counter attack on the 4th Div. who got fifty odd prisoners from survivors. Fritz sent over 2 counter barrages during the night and gave us many anxious moments and much ducking and diving.

Friday 5th. – Another barrage in morning from us and a counter from Fritz. Usual trench life. Managed to get a little sleep. During Fritz's barrage in early morning – about 2.30 a.m. had several close shells on parapet and parades but no harm done. Close shave for Ted Heath. More ammunition etc brought up during day so feel

Current Status: