Jack's Diary

The diary of Sergeant Samuel John "Jack" Drew M.M., August 1918 to January 1919.

My Photo
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Over 60, with a son 32 and a daughter 22. Retired on 26 October, 2007, after 37 years with the company. No matter, I've led an interesting life with much travel in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Region, and a little bit of Africa.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Morris Chair

Jack was a carpenter and joiner by trade, so it is no surprise that he took the opportunity to sketch this chair at the camp in Codford, Wiltshire on his way home from France.

An address

c/o Mrs Munn
62 Marne St
Queen's Park Estate W.10

Who was living c/o Mrs Munn? I suppose we'll never know. However, the handwriting is not Jack's and looks very much like Madge Dyer's.

Multimap is a very handy tool. Marne Street, Queens Park Estate, W.10 is not too far from the infamous Wormwood Scrubs Prison. Better to say, maybe, that it is also near the Linford Christie Stadium, or Hammersmith Hospital, or St Charles Hospital or, for that matter, Lords Cricket Ground (in the other direction).

Railway Timetables

Amongst the little notes scattered through the book are railway timetable excerpts.

Waterloo to Salisbury 9am 3pm 7:10pm
Salisbury to Portsmouth 9am 3:20pm
Swindon to Paddington 8"25pm arriving 10:30pm
Bristol to Salisbury 8:45 arriving 10:35pm
Swindon to Bristol 5:30pm arriving 8:26pm
Swindon to Westbury 7:27pm arriving 9:45pm
Change at Trowbridge
Westbury to Salisbury 9:48pm arriving 10:35pm

Yet another poem

She sits on the arm of the old leather chair
Her two yellow eyes kept locked on the gate
For someone some day will be turning in there
She doesn't forget and she knows how to wait.

She yawns and she has a good wash till her coat
Is a shining example of ebony fur
Though I cuddle her close there's a faraway note
And an absence of mind in the tone of her purr.

Her kitten comes stalking & leaps on her tail
But carries such antics a trifle too far
For temper in wartime is apt to be frail
And the frolic ends up in a family jar.

Of waiting & hoping she's doing her share
And I've made up my mind unreluctantly that
When somebody sits in the old leather chair
I'll leave one of his knees for the little black cat.

(Parts of the last verse are very faint pencil, but I think that is what is written.)

Some thoughts, by Jack

Foresight is when we are able to blunder into sucess without looking surprised.

Fear is a condiment like cayenne pepper, a little is an excellent relish.

The path of the aviator is Plane sailing.

Another Poem

We would send a Xmas greeting
Men on land & men on sea
Though we folks may not be meeting
Thoughts can travel far and free.
Though old England's Christmas party
May be broken here and there
Still we send our wishes hearty
To the absent everywhere.

Soldiers, Sailors, men out flying
Women nursing far away
Plucky laddies wounded dying
May God bless you all today.
May the coming Xmas morning
Be a time of gladness true
And the New Year brightly dawning
Lay a kindly hand on you.

(Undated, probably 1918)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Page 23-24 - October 23rd

Wednesday Oct 25th was a rather quiet day, spent in cleaning our gear for the trip to the Corps School in a Motor Lorry, arriving at 1:45 & then played the competitors round the town. Eventually we arrived at the sports ground & played ofr a couple of hours & all we got was a drink of coffee, which greatly improved the boys none too sweet tempers.

No way of checking whether this was Wednesday, or 25 October (which would have been a Friday). Anyway, something interrupted the diary here, because the next entry is Monday November 4th.

Monday Oct 23rd more like a normal spring day than the gale conditions over the weekend. My normal route to work again operating more-or-less as normal, which is good. Blogger has been playing silly buggers this morning, which accounts for the late posting.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Page 23 - October 22nd

Tuesday Oct 22nd found us up at 7am in our new home. After cleaning up we went on a mornings route march. After about 2 hours rest, 4 of us set out for Vergies to visit our friends there. We arrived at 5pm, & left again at 9. Had a good time, but a long walk.

Sunday Oct 22nd is fresh and damp. Yes, it rained last night! First a storm then, a short while later, steady soaking light rain. Everything looks much better, but we need something like this every day for weeks to really make any inroads into the drought. And that just isn't going to happen.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Page 23 - October 21st

Monday Oct 21st brought us out once again ay 7am after which we had breakfast, & then started to pack our traps to move to t he 41st Battn at Warlus. Moved off at 1pm, & arrived at about 4pm & made things as cosy as possible, & turned in for a well earned rest.

So, the breakup of the Battalion begins, after all.

Saturday Oct 21st starts off very warm. Storms are promised (maybe) this afternoon. Full page announcements of the details of Level 4 water restrictions in the paper this morning, to start from November 1.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Page 23 - October 20th

Sunday Oct 20th broke warm & mild. No Reveille, spent a very quiet day.

Friday Oct 20th dawned after another dry night. A line of storms did pass yesterday afternoon, but with no benefit to us.

Page 23 - October 20th

Sunday Oct 20th broke warm & mild. No Reveille, spent a very quiet day.

Friday Oct 20th dawned after another dry night. A line of storms did pass yesterday afternoon, but with no benefit to us.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Page 23 - October 19th

Saturday Oct 19th found us out at 7am, to look upon a bright blue sky. At 9am we started out for a route march , to Wiry - Allery - & back to Vergies, a distance of about 5 miles. Had to play another programme in the square during the afternoon. A jolly fine day & a fine bundle of home mail.
Thursday Oct 19th remains rainless, though the Bureau is talking possible storms today. Braved the traffic chaos, and found it not too bad.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Page 22-23 - October 18th

Friday Oct 18thdawned very nice & rather mild. Went into Allery for Bath. Played a programme in the square during the afternoon. Two players stayed in Allery & got pinched by the Piquet.

Wednesday Oct 18th supposed to be showery, but no such luck. Decided not to venture out of the house this morning because of Riverside Expressway closures causing excessive traffic chaos. My attitude is that, at my age, I don't really need to subject myself to that amount of frustration.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Page 22 - October 17th

Thursday Oct 17th dawned much clearer. Just the usual old routine of practice & play retreat. Another year of my life gone, or just started.

Anniversaries: Grandad's birthday (he'd be 119 today if he was alive) and also my brother's birthday.

Tuesday Oct 17th One small shower during the night. Still cloudy, but not raining. Remembered the plug pack for the laptop today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Page 22 - October 16th

Wednesday Oct 16th Another cold & overcast morning. Rose at 7am & cleaned up. Practiced all morning & played Retreat. Rather a quiet day.

Monday Oct 16th started out with a bit of fine drizzle, but for only a few minutes. Arrived at the office to find I'd left the plug pack for the laptop computer at home, so looks as if I'll be going home early. Legs still suffering from the combined effects of Friday's physiotherapy, new one-legged balancing exercises, and the multitude of stairs and hills negotiated at yesterday's Multicultural Festival at Roma Street Parklands.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Page 22 - October 15th

Tuesday Oct 15th dawned cold & overcast. Pipers played Reveille thie week, so we slept in till 7 am. Did nothing all day except play retreat.

Sunday Oct 15th same old same old as far as weather goes. The backyard Corymbia torreliana is in flower, and last night the fruit bats had a feast. Broken twigs and clusters of blossom all over the lawn this morning. Now, with the sun up a bit, the Rainbow Lorikeets are arriving in large numberd for the banquet. This will mean more borken bits on the lawn and, by evening, a few drunken parrots falling off branches and bumping into things.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Page 22 - October 14th

Monday Oct 14th dawned very cold & clear. Up at 6:30 for Reveille. Once again they tried to break the Battn up but the boys would not budge. The NCOs were marched off, but all sent back again, & were sent out on a route march. After tea, we went into Madam's house across the road & had a jolly fine evening.

Saturday Oct 14th much like any other morning lately. Dry. More water restrictions are but a fortnight away. Really have to make an effort to get started on my Tax Return today - meant to yesterday, but the physio visit left me aching and reluctant to sit at a computer for long.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Page 21-22 - October 13th

Sunday Oct 13th Slept in a little later, as there is no Reveille on Sunday mornings. Went into Huecourt for the church parade, but 44th did the playing. Played a programme in the village (Vergies) at 3:30pm. Rather a rainy sort of day, but cleared up towards evening.

Friday Oct 13th up early to prepare myself for physiotherapy. Some clouds about, and humid, but probably no rain about.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Page 21 - October 12th

Saturday Oct 12th found us up bright & early to play the Reveille. Spent rather a lazy morning, but in the afternoon we went into Oisement & had a fine afternoon. Met 'Li' Shaw & Bunny Lyons there on 5th Div. H.Q. Had our tea & made tracks for home about 8:30pm, dead tired. On the way home we pinched some very nice apples from an orchard near the road.

Good to see that Grandad finally spelled Reveille correctly! It had been annoying me.

Thursday Oct 12th is yet another clear dry day to grind us down even further.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Page 21 - October 11th

Friday Oct 11th dawned warm & close, with a liklihood (sic) of rain. They tried to break the Battn today, but the boys would not march off. Of course they had a few lectures, but it made very little difference to them.

This minor mutiny drags on, in some kind of slow motion.

Wednesday Oct 11th
dry on the north side of town, but wet roads on the southside in the early morning. The gales seem to have died away.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Page 21 - October 10th

Thursday Oct 10th dawned rather milder than yesterday, which made it far easier to turn out at 7am. Lecture from the Col. re the breaking up of the Battallion, after which there was the usual Battn parade. Played from 4:15 to 4:45pm.

Still trying to break up the 42nd Battn, but no luck so far!

Tuesday Oct 10th
- no rain overnight, despite encouraging looking clouds and gale off the sea. All that has gone now.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Page 21 - October 9th

Wednesday Oct 9th broke cold & clear. Just the usual old routine all day. The 11th Bde paid us a visit during the evening. Played "The Lost Chord" for them.

"The Lost Chord" must have been one of Grandad's favourites at one time, as I can remember having the sheet music for it at home when I was a young'un.

Some sites with information about the song.

Monday Oct 9th rather grey from the start. Showers are 'promised' but who knows?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Page 20 - October 8th

Tuesday Oct 8th dawned dull and rainy. The usual routine of playing Revellie. No practice this morning. During the afternoon we marched into a village called Allery for a bath. (An hours walk each way.)

Baths don't appear to feature strongly in the soldier's routine.

Sunday Oct 8th also dull, but by no means rainy. Today, visiting with my third cousin up in Mooloolaba before she returns home to New Zealand. Should be fun - time to try the bottle of Cricket Pitch merlot blend my son brought over.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Page 20 - October 7th

Monday Oct 7th As usual we arone at 7am to play Revellie, which consisted of a march around the village. After breakfast we spent a lazy morning (in fact a lazy day). Again the rain prevented us from playing a programme.

Good to see that rain doesn't stop because of a war .

Saturday Oct 7th A cloudy morning, with a light misting of pre-dawn rain on the car. Today will be the usual Saturday things - shopping and stuff. Daughter has scored a ticket to watch the Socceroos play Paraguay at Lang Park (I will not call it Suncorp Stadium) tonight.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Page 20 - October 6th

Sunday Oct 6th saw us up at 7 o'clock & had our breakfast, after which we tidied up & made things comfortable. Did very little all day. Tried to play a programme during the afternoon, but rain prevented us.

Friday Oct 6th We are hoping that we, too, will have an interrupted afternoon due to storm rain. But the early morning is a typical summery day.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Page 20 - October 5th

Saturday Oct 5th found us up and doing at 6am. After breakfast we packed up & marched to the light railway & boarded the train, which took us to Perronne, where we entrained & travelled to a place called Airaines where we detrained & marched to a small village called Vergies. After arriving at about 8pm we were taken to our billets & settled in for the night. The march out was a bit rough, as we had full packs & had to play all the way.

Thursday Oct 5th bright and sunny from the start.

Page 19-20 - October 4th

Friday Oct 4th dawned nice & mild. Rose at 7am & cleaned up ready to meet the Battn, but a runner brought word to pack up & go to the Battn, so we had our dinner & made way for the mob. On our way over we had to pass through a Yanks camp & they made us stop & play for them. They gave us a good old drink of coffee. At last we arrived at the Battn & found a camp for the night. Played a programme for the boys. Day turned rather dull towards evening.

Wednesday Oct 4th grey skies in the morning. The threatening storms did not develop into rain last night. Usual trip across to the office.

Page 19 - October 3rd

Thursday Oct 3rd dawned upon us bright & clear. 8 o'clock saw us up & doing. After a clean up & breakfast we set to practice. Practiced all day & played for the show in the evening. Had orders to play the Battn home after coming out of the line. Fritz paid us another aerial visit, but as is is his usual habit did no damage.

Tuesday Oct 3rd very sunny right from sun-up. A good morning for the parade of the Broncos through the city to City Hall and then Lang Park after the civic reception. I left early for the office in order to avoid traffic problems - of which there were none, as the Broncos' parade and reception are tomorrow. I was sure it was today! Old Timer's Disease, I think, otherwise known as CRAFT.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Page 19 - October 2nd

Wednesday Oct 2nd Up as per usual at 8am for breakfast. Put another day at practice. As usual, no show tonight.

Looks as if the war was almost at an end, and we know that the armistice was just over a month away.

Monday Oct 2nd had another grey start, but the sun is starting to shine though as I type this.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Page 19 - October 1st

Tuesday Oct 1st broke cold & clear. Winter is coming on now. Spent all day at practice. No show this evening either.

Sunday Oct 1st rather grey to start off. With Mrs D, moved the hoya plant to a new home, out of the tibouchina tree to an archway frame. Not an easy job, but will display the hundred or so flower bunches to better advantage. Just starting to open now. Somehow made my hip hurt during this effort, and had to lie down for a few hours.

The Broncos won the NRL Grand Final, so that made the day a whole lot better.