Duty 2100 to 2400, 0300 to 0600. Still advancing under heavy artillery fire.
Saw running fight between one of our planes and a German but the latter turned tail and fled. Last day of the Ramadan (a period of fasting between sunrise and sunset for the Mahommedians).
Stench of the dead is vile and one can see bodies everywhere rotting in the sun. Heat and flies very bad and water fearfully scarce. Have not had any for two days now.
Later amendment: I’ll just give you a fair idea of the hardships we had to put up with. The food to begin with was not what one would call good by any means. Had those who had the issuing of the rations acted on the square, it would certainly have been better. The ASC had the handling of it and I know for a fact that cases of milk, jam etc were stolen and sold to the boys at exorbitant prices. A tin of milk often bought 3/-. Rhum also was stolen and sold.
I had dinner with a friend of mine a few times. He was in the ASC and told me that they were getting plenty of everything. Well after they had their whack, the rations went to the different Regiments where they were again picked over and the best of everything and more than they were entitled to, went to the officers and Sergts Messes. The troops then got what the QM liked to give them. One QM in particular named Bennett in C Squadron used to keep the milk. He has his little clique and when opportunity offered he would have it sold. Of course one of his clique would sell it so as not to throw suspicion on him. After a time, he went away sick and over 50 tins of milk were found stowed away in his dugout.
As a rule, all we got was Bully Beef and biscuits as hard as iron. Occasionally we’d get a potato or an onion and jam used to run one tin to 6 men. This lack of vegetables, almost everybody suffering terribly from septic sores, dysentery and other diseases. Water too, very scarce. We were usually allowed one bottle full, but very often our issue was cut down by half. Scores of times I remember (I’m not likely to forget it either) having to go three days without a drop.
Another annoyance was the fleas, lice and flies and nothing could keep them down, although one would have thought the Authorities would have supplied us with inspect powder. The flies were terrible. At meal times, try as you would, you could not keep them off the food. The only thing to do was to bolt it and put up with the after effects.
The smell of the dead too, was awful, but it could not be helped. At Lone Pine and Quinn’s Post I have seen maggots crawling over the parapets and falling into the trench and often enough into ones tea.
J. A. Graham
Jack Graham, ANZAC soldier, kept a diary from 1914-1918. Here it is, blogged 100 years later to the day....