Transcript of diary of Ben William Champion, 1915-1918
Transcript of diary relating to the First World War service of Lieutenant Ben William Champion, 1st Infantry Battalion. In this diary, kept between 11 May 1915 and August 1918, Champion describes life on board his troop ship, the conduct of a burial at sea, the daily military routine in camp in Egypt and details his sightseeing around Cairo. Champion describes his time at Gallipoli, his subsequent wounding and evacuation and the break up of the 1st Battalion to form the 53rd Battalion. He also describes his experiences on the Western Front, in particular the battles of of Lagnicourt, Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendale in October 1917. Champion also details the fighting around Amiens in the early part of 1918. On 15 April 1918 whilst at Pradelles he sustained a shell injury to his left leg, which was consequently amputated, and returned to Australia on 30 June 1918. This diary is also interspersed with copies of military orders, details on the promotions and character of fellow soldiers, and analyses of battles and tactics. Ballads and songs written by the unit about various engagements and personalities are also included. Of particular note, he describes a grave next to his trench on the Western Front of a German soldier that was erected by the Royal Sherwood Foresters. It was the grave of a German soldier that had bandaged an English soldier and who was then killed.