Friday 6th August 1915- Diary of HV Reynolds
Diary of an ANZAC
Please note: Care has been taken to transcribe these entries without alteration to preserve the original language of Herbert Vincent Reynolds.
(Battle of Lone Pine)-‘The noise of very heavy rifle fire and machine gun fire disturbed us about 5.30am followed but the sharp reports of our field guns, we soon realized that the enemy was attacking in force the system of trenches captured from them last Sunday morning in front of Tasmania Post, their attack failed altogether in the first instance, and they never made any very determined effort afterwards. Our own casualties were very light but the enemy seems to have suffered rather heavily. Thousands of fresh troops are camped in all the gullies that offer any shelter, they have been lading during the dark hours of the night for the past week and the small area in our possession seems unduly crowded at present. At midday B section had orders to be prepared to move at 3.30pm, that involved each man sewing a white band 4 inches deep on each arm above the elbow and a patch 6 inches square on the back of the tunic. These are intended as identification marks for our artillery observers and a precaution against our own troops being fired upon by our artillery when the advance is in progress. At 3.30pm with 48 hours iron rations and a full water bottle each we proceeded to a point in Shrapnel Gully at the old 4th Btn aid post where we had orders to wait for further instructions. A little after 4.30pm the7th Btn who has been in support passed us and went on into the trenches. At 5pm various warships that had suddenly come on the scene along with every gun of our field artillery commenced to bombard the enemy positions. The enemy artillery immediately retaliated, the incessant crackle of rifle and machine gun fire commences and the whole atmosphere in a few minutes seemed to be in a regular mad uproar, shells were screaming and whining through the air, exploding everywhere with a tearing crash only exceeded by the deafening report of the big guns on the warships. Shrapnel shells began to explode in large numbers lower down the gully over the hundreds of troops sheltering there in reserve and casualties were fairly numerous. We expected to receive orders any minute to proceed to some part of the line where our services were required, but hours passed and none came, we began to get anxious, particularly over the inactivity of the situation, there was little shelter and every minute large howitzer shells were exploding in our vicinity showering masses of earth over us as they crashed and exploded in the ground at times only a few yards away, one actually crashed among a dozen or more of us, the explosion tossing us in all directions, but fate was kinds and only one chap was slightly wounded but the concussion gave everyone a thorough shaking up. Anything in the way of activity would have been a relief, it was impossible to believe we were not required somewhere, taking risks in performing a dangerous duty is passed by without further notice, but inaction under these circumstances is terribly trying on the nerves. It was a welcome relief when we received orders at about 7pm for 7 squads to report back to our camp and two to remain at the post, it fell to my lot to remain at the post, but for what purpose none of us knew, as there was nothing for us to do, it was evident that the communications above us were blocked and the casualties we were expected to handle were being diverted into other communications. What casualties we did handle had occurred on the communication in our immediate vicinity and none were from the trenches themselves. This state of affairs lasted through the day and we welcomed the opportunity of taking an occasional casualty down to the C.C.Sation just to relieve the effect of this forced inactivity a little. After about 8pm the noise of the continual artillery action abated considerably but it went on spasmodically throughout the night.’