02 September 1915

ANZAC - Private Percy Smythe, 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, AIF - Smyth had arrived with a draft for 3rd Battalion on the troopship HMT Ortova landing at Anzac on 28 August. He moved inland into Shrapnel Valley and carried out some training while waiting to join the 3rd Battalion, AIF. Here is the first of a couple of quotes over the next few days with his diary entry of 2 September.

"The 3rd. came out of the firing line about 9am. Eric and I hunted Bert up and we met Vern, who gave us some sweet biscuits and chocolates. We went to Bert's dug-out and stayed there talking, till someone came looking for Eric and I saying we were wanted at the parade ground. They were allotting the men to different platoons. Eric and I were put in No.2 platoon of 'A' Coy. He and I got a nice big dug-out with Tom Board & Barry. It was dug square, and had an iron roof with a little dirt thrown on it. After dinner we amused ourselves shooting flies with cordite in an empty cartridge-case with a hole in it at the thick end for a fuse, which consisted of a piece of cordite. Caught about 40 or 50 flies in one shot once, by exploding a line of jam on a piece of paper. The enemy were very quiet during the early afternoon, scarcely a shot being fired. Heard some rumours about Germany suing for peace. After tea, went round looking for Vern's dug-out to find out any news that might be available, but (couldn't) find it. Wandered round into the firing line trenches. Turned back and came round through the trenches, and again arrived in the firing line, this time at a machine gun position. Went up and looked over the parapet through a periscope at the Turks' trenches. A bullet cracked nearby, and one of the men told me to come down as they were firing at the periscope. An aeroplane flew overhead a good distance up and some of the men fired a few shots at it. Chatted with the men at the machine-gun position till it was dark, when they put a new gun through a short trial. It had an arrangement for suppressing the flash as each shot was fired. Went back to rest trenches, and we were warned to be ready for an attack by the Turks at any time between now and the 5th. inst. We had to sleep in full uniform with equipment and rifle ready for instant action. Met Bert and he told me that Vern had been recommended for a D.S.O. During the Big Engagement he had run out under fire and repaired a couple of telephone lines. Cleaned our rifles and got everything ready for the attack, which was expected at 11pm tonight. Shortly after 9 the Turks began a heavy fusillade of rifle and machine-gun fire. Turned in at 9.30pm Awoke at 11.15pm, and the firing was still going strong."

Internet The World War I Diary of Percy Smythe, http://www.smythe.id.au/diary/index.htm This diary was transcribed by his daughter Betty Smythe