24th June (1918)

Some of our infantry were manoeuvring and sending up smoke bombs which emit sprays of fire as the smoke column ascends.  Saw them practice with a charge with much vim and a mighty yell.

Some drunks the other night were entertaining.  Their pleasantries took the form of heaving spadefuls of loose earth over one another and uprooting fruit trees.  They appeared to quite enjoy the earth baths, standing ecstatically under the descending showers, whilst one reclining on a bank, submitted to partial interment.

4.p.m. Out on picquet; the sun setting like a blood orange and the sky a cataract of luminous cloud-puffs. Having competed unsuccessfully with Driver Jones in a hop, skip and jump, I’m off to bunk.

nlnzimage 1-2 013197-G NZ troops training, 11 May 1918

[Image: New Zealand troops practising for an attack during World War I. Shows soldiers advancing in a line over flat fields near Bus-les-Artois, France. Photograph taken 11 May 1918 by Henry Armytage Sanders. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Ref: 1/2-013197-G]

2 thoughts on “24th June (1918)”

  1. Dear John

    Here’s the word ‘picquet’ again. It’s not in my fairly large Cassells Fr/Eng dictionary. What do you understand it means?

    I’m still so enjoying Lincoln’s throwaway lines, whimsical sense of humour and artistic comments.

    How much longer does his diary go on/are you going to transcribe his diary? I’ll miss it when you stop!

    Sincerely

    Angela

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  2. Thanks Angela. Picquet is an alternative spelling for Picket, which is a military term referring to a small temporary military post closer to the enemy than the main formation. I expect what it means for Lincoln, who is deployed behind the front-line trenches, is being on watch.

    The diary runs until late May 1919, when Lincoln finally arrives back in NZ, after a long wait for a place on a troop ship (they returned the NZ Division in reverse order of their arrival – since he was a 1917 arrival, he took a later ship).

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