Diary of John Henry Llewellyn Turnbull, 1918-1919
Diary relating to the First World War service of 1295 Driver John Henry Llewellyn Turnbull, 5th Divisional Ammunition Column. This is the last of six detailed diaries transcribed by Turnbull after the war and documents his experiences in the latter half of 1918 and early 1919, originally written between 31 August 1918 and 2 February 1919
This diary contains: a detailed account the capture of Mont Saint-Quentin; fighting in the town of Peronne; comments on the large number of German soldiers captured; the large amount of ammunition and machine guns left behind by the retreating Germans; the German POWs opinions of war; use of tanks in fighting; the fighting style of the American forces; the battle of St. Quentin Canal; the capture of the Bellicourt tunnel defences; the Australian capture of Montbrehain; a detailed account of the American advance in October and November 1918; an outline of how the role of his unit had diversified to include Army Service Corps work transporting rations and blankets and also salvage work; civilians moving back to their homes; the armistice arrangements; the situation in Germany and the fact that it was exactly four years to the day since he had enlisted.
Turnbull then writes of the period after the armistice including: the mass of returning prisoners of war; the reoccupation of villages that had not been in Allied hands since 1914; how the 5th D.A.C. worked to supply food and blankets to the infantry and artillery who were no longer engaged in fighting; the attempt to impose strict dress and presentation standards on the Australian artillery; the account of how Turnbull was crushed by his mule; his voyage back to Australia in December 1918 and his arrival in Melbourne on 2 February 1919, exactly four years to the day since he had enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force.
In addition to his regular diary entries, Turnbull includes a variety of additional accounts and material including: accounts of the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Fleurbaix (Fromelles); the situation around Brandhoek in August 1917; poetry written by Driver George Thomas Gavan (5th D.A.C.); an incident involving Captain Edward Stanley Walker (5th D.A.C.); Gunner John Thomas Markwell and his awards for bravery; map of the Peronne-Bapaume-Albert; a published letter home written by Turnbull about Gallipoli in 1915; an article about the fighting at Villers-Bretonneux; and several articles on military statuettes of the First World War.