Diary transcript of Sergeant A.W. Dallas: 12-17th September 1916

 

Tuesday 12th September

Getting ready for the trenches. 48 hours rations. Rested all day. Left for front line at 5pm and relieved 3 N.Z.R.B who had been in 48 hours and lost 350 men. Trenches battered about and dead Germans and Tommies lying everywhere. Had to dig in all night and received small artillery fire. 

 

Wednesday 13th September

Still digging in, about 2pm a terrific artillery fire was opened on us and we had 5 casualties. Bombardment ceased about 4pm and our artillery opened up a terrific fire on Fritz lines. Our fire kept up all night and about 2am we received another dose of hell.  About 8am things quietened up.

 

Thursday 14th September

Our fatigue parties working on saps in forest. Aeroplanes flying over Hun lines. Received word to be ready for an advance the next day. Jack Mitchell was killed by a shell. Buried him at night. Got ready and had a little sleep.

 

Friday 15th September

Up and filed into assembly trench at daybreak. Our guns kept up a hellish fire. About 5.45 the barrage and heavy guns opened up and at 6am we hopped over. The Otago and Auckland Battalions with the Tommies on our right and Guards Div on our left were the first to assault. We were met by heavy shelling and machine gun fire and had heavy casualties. The Germans didn’t put up much of a fight and we…

 

Saturday 16th September

…took their first two lines easily enough. The Rifle Brigade continued the advance for about 1 1/2 miles assisted by the Tanks. We dug in about 100 yds from advance of the German switch trench which we had taken. Myself and Dick Travis were the sole survivors of 5 platoon. Were relieved about 3am this morning by Canterbury and went back to reserve. 

 

Sunday 17th September

Ordered back into support. Fritz using plenty of heavy stuff. Brits not doing much damage. Dug a bit of a bivvy and had a little sleep. The Rifle Brigade had captured the village of Flers in the advance. We had only 32 men left out of 250 who went over in the 8th Southland.