Jack's Diary

The diary of Sergeant Samuel John "Jack" Drew M.M., August 1918 to January 1919.

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Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Over 60, with a son 32 and a daughter 22. Retired on 26 October, 2007, after 37 years with the company. No matter, I've led an interesting life with much travel in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Region, and a little bit of Africa.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Page 18-19 - September 30th

Monday 30th Sept. Dawned cold & clear. Out of bed at 8am for breakfast. Put the whole day at practice. No show this evening on account of so few troops in village.

Saturday 30th Sept. Up really early for some strange reason. Looks like a fine day out there, but hints of storms this afternoon or evening. This will be a regular Saturday with the weekly shopping taking up a good part of the morning.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Page 18 - September 29th

Sunday 29th Sept dawned upon us cold & miserable & made us stick closely to our beds. Had a real lazy day today - nothing doing.

Friday 29th Sept a bright clear spring morning, fresh after the showers. More afternoon storms predicted for the whole week ahead, so the storm season has come upon us early. Grand Final weekend weather, I suppose.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Page 18 - September 28th

Saturday 28th Sept. Battallion moved up to the line last night, so we looked around and made things cosy for our stay here. Played for the show in the afternoon, but not in the evening. Spent a quiet morning around the fire, writing.

Thursday 28th Sept clear after storms yesterday afternoon and light rain through the night. Welcome, but nowhere near enough to relieve our increasingly dire water situation.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Page 18 - September 27th

Friday 27th Sept dawned cold & clear. Turned out at 7am form breakfast, after which was the usual parade & practice. All the Battllion are awaiting movement orders, but we managed to work things so as to stay here & play for the Blue Gums. Went to the "Cooees" this evening, on account of the Blue Gums not showing.

Note: I will have to look up the Cooee entertainment troupe on the AWM website.

Wednesday 27th Sept started out cloudy with a couple of light early morning showers. All sunny now, as I write this, but with clouds scudding about. At the office, but would much rather be elsewhere.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Page 18 - September 26th

Thursday Sept 26th broke upon us nice & clear. After a clean up & breakfast, we had the usual parade & came back to our billets to practice & continued all day. I played with the 44th band at the "Blue Gums".

What Jack doesn't tell here is that the 'usual parade' was another standoff between the boys and the Colonel. This incident was a frequent Sunday lunch story subject during my youth.

Tuesday Sept 26th was a gloomy sort of day, but only scattered showers and none at home or at the office. Toowoomba started level 5 water restrictions today, meaning that with meaningful rain the town will be out of dam water in two years. Not good.

Page 18 - September 26th

Thursday Sept 26th broke upon us nice & clear. After a clean up & breakfast, we had the usual parade & came back to our billets to practice & continued all day. I played with the 44th band at the "Blue Gums".

What Jack doesn't tell here is that the 'usual parade' was another standoff between the boys and the Colonel. This incident was a frequent Sunday lunch story subject during my youth.

Tuesday Sept 26th was a gloomy sort of day, but only scattered showers and none at home or at the office. Toowoomba started level 5 water restrictions today, meaning that with meaningful rain the town will be out of dam water in two years. Not good.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Page 17-18 - September 25th

Wednesday 25th Sept dawned cold & clear which made it very hard to turn out of bed, be (sic) eventually we managed it. After breakfast we expected a parade but fortunately none came along - so we spent the morning in a lazy sort of way. After dinner we we (sic) all called on parade to move off to our different Battallions, but when the boys were ordered to march off not a man would budge, so the Col dismissed the parade.

So there's the start of the mini-mutiny. Told on Saturday, and left to stew until Wednesday is not conducive to good behaviour in the ranks.

Monday 25th Sept awoken by birds, mostly galahs and other parrots in the neighbours' trees. A few things to do this morning, then back to Brisbane later.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Page 17 - September 24th

Tuesday 24th Sept dawned very cold & clear. The old fire is doing its bit now right enough. Another route march during the morning, but a lazy afternoon. Change of weather has given me a cold.

Sunday 24th Sept and the birds were very quiet this morning at dawn. Over tha past 24 hours, have had contact with two new people with Drew in their ancestry, and one of them is the first I have contaced who was actually born a Drew, and her married name suggests that she might be related to herself through marriage - the name appears regularly through the family history as a 'spouse of'.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Page 17 - September 23rd

Monday 23rd Sept dawned clear & cold. Winter is creeping upon us now right enough. Spent a very lazy day, as our hearts were not in the work when we expected to be smashed up.

Trouble is brewing in the ranks of the 42nd Battalion Band. Idle hands and all that.

Saturday 23rd Sept quite a cool morning here, too. Blue wrens making noise outside my window from sun-up. A light fog over the town.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Page 17 - September 22nd

Sunday 22nd Sept dawned awfully nice. The usual Battn parade in the morning but the rest of the day spent very lazily.

Friday 22nd Sept rather nice here in Toowoomba. Suprising, considering the drought and water restrictions, how green the place is and how good the gardens are for the Carnival of Flowers.

Anniversary: On this date, 21 years ago, was our traditional Sundanese wedding. Lots of people streaming through mother-in-law's house all day. Bruddy hot in the heavy sarong and jacket - my son ditched his early in the day, clever boy.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Page 17 - September 21st

Saturday 21st Sept dawned clear & cool. No Battn parade this morning on account of sports during the afternoon. Played at the sports massed with 41st, 43rd & 44th Bands. Told today that the 42nd was to be broken up so you can guess that we are all in very high spirits (I don't think).

Thursday 21st Sept
a very nice morning. Did some proof reading of my daughter's Uni assignment, then varnished the the latest woodwork project and attached the lid etc. Drove to Toowoomba later for a long weekend of mother-sitting while my sister is in Sydney for a Scrabble tournament and a little time with her daughter. Not a bad drive, but a warm day on the road. Only one road idiot encountered, and that was in Toowoomba.

Anniversary: 21 years ago on this date, my dear lady and I were married in a civil ceremony at the Bandung Registry Office.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Page 16 - September 20th

Friday 20th Sept pushed us out again at 7o'clock. After breakfast we practiced & after dinner we went & played at 20th C.C.S & had a jolly fine afternoon.

Note: C.C.S. is Casualty Clearing Station

Wednesday 20th Sept another beautiful spring day here. Once more, really too good to be sitting inside an office.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Page 16 - September 19th

Thursday 19th Sept found us scrambling out of bunk at the usual 7am for breakfast, after which they pushed us off for a route march. Some of our players were sick & could not come, so of course that made it hard for us. Practiced all afternoon & went to see "Blue Gums" in the evening. Another very nice day.

Tuesday 19th Sept another very nice spring morning, again too good to be sitting in an office.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Poem

This little poem is inside the back page of the notebook. I have done a bit of an internet search to try to find the author, but nothing came up. Maybe Jack wrote it (his Grandfather was a bit of a carpenter-poet, too).

-- Wealth --

One thought the weeping eyes had read
some comfort-word of valiant dead.
Another said "An angel-song,
unheard by us has made him strong".
But no one guessed the heart-balm sweet
was just a greeting in the street!

One deemed a thrilling battle cry
from hero-lips had echoed by.
Another wondered; Has life brought
some heavenly visions, glory-wrought?
But no one guessed the grey day's end
was just a letter from a friend.


Page16 - September 18th

Wednesday 18th Sept dawned very nice indeed. After the usual clean up etc. we started practice & kept going all day, but had no night playing. Quite a number of prisoners passed during the afternoon.

Monday 18th Sept also dawned very nice in the here-and-now. Too nice to be indoors at the office, but needs must. Rather a futile day at the office, anyway, with increasing pain in the knees and some discomfort in the hip the only things being achieved. At night, almost finished off the massive task of updating the Drew family tree to incorporate information received from other researchers in recent times. So many people!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Page 16 - September 17th

Tuesday 17th Sept dawned clear and bright. Turned out at 7am & had breakfast, after which we played for a Battn parade & then went for a short route march. After dinner we spent our time writing & loafing around, & then payed for the officers mess. Today has been a very pleasant warm day.

Sunday 17th Sept. Rain during the night, some showers early then cleared up. Almost finished the latest woodworking project - just the varnishing to be done now.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Page 15 - September 16th

Monday 16th Sept. Up bright & early as usual at 7am. After breakfast the boys were put on filling shell-holes in the parade ground & later on we went for a bath. After dinner we had our usual practice & played in the ev ening for the Blue Gums. Fritz paid us his usual air raid, but did no damage. During the early hours of the morning it rained very heavy.

Saturday 16th Sept. I was up earlier than Jack was all those years ago. Some rain in the wee small hours, and still cloudy just after dawn. The usual Saturday morning shopping trip, and then a fairly lazy day because of the frequent rain showers.

Looking back through Jack's comments on aerial bombing; pretty ineffective in those days!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Page 15 - September 15th

Sunday 15th Sept dawned very nice & warm, which made it easy to tumble out of bunk, so at 7am we turned out & ^ never played revellie, being Sunday morning. Played for a Battn parade during the morning, & then rested all day. Today is a beautiful warm clear day just like the good old Aussie days. Last night as we were playing for the show, two men were called away to return to Aussie. Lucky bounders.

Friday 15th Sept a little foggy somewhere around the town - low clouds lifting when I wandered outside for the paper. Physiotherapist at 8:00am, with some new and interesting pain produced. However, it always ends in something feeling a bit better than it was before, although it might be some hours before the beneficial efffects are felt. Mrs D and the girl went to explore the big Direct Factory Outlet centre out near the airport, so I was able to potter around doing some woodwork and making a stock of soups for the freezer. Nanna Nap in the afternoon for a bit, then some more wood butchery. Coming along nicely.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Page 14-15 - September 14th

Saturday Sept 14th found us up bright & early playing revellie as usual. After breakfast we started practice, but we (were) called away for pay - after which, we resumed practice until dinner hour. Dinner over, we marched the Battn up to the sports & played (combined with the 9th Battn Band) all afternoon. We returned at 4:15 pm & had tea & played for the concert party (Blue Gums). Rained a little during the evening.

Thursday Sept 14th coolish, with clouds coming and going.

Anniversary: Today is the 36th anniversary of my employment with the Coffey Group. To put that in perspective, the company has been in operation for just 47 years.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Page 14 - September 13th

Friday Sept 13th dawned cool and raw. Out again for Revellie at 7am. The usual Routine - Battallion Parade, Practivce & playing for concert in the evening. Beautiful day.

Wednesday Sept 13th is cool and clear, with some wind. More like winter weather than spring, but then we didn't really have any winter this year. Lunch today with colleague on a break from Saigon and another reprobate of similar vintage (and significant shareholder in the company). And a good long lunch it was, with tasty food, a nice botle of red, and convivial conversation (plus a bit of 'How can we change the world?' thrown in for good measure).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Page 14 - September 12th

Thursday Sept 12th Revellie as usual at 7am & the usual Battallion parade at 9am which we had to play for. As usual we practised in afternoon & played for Blue Gums in evening.

Tuesday Sept 12th started out clear, chill and windy although the weather forecast speaks of showers for today and tomorrow. Those showers came to nothing - very scattered. The day could have been warmer. Son visited in the evening - on the scrounge for computer bits and pieces, mainly. Good to see the ratbag.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Page 14 - September 11th

Wednesday Sept 11th found us up at 7am to play Revellie after which we had breakfast. Parade at 8:30am & then cleaned our instruments & shed. Practiced in the afternoon & played for the Blue Gums in the evening.

Monday Sept 11th started out wet after a wet night. Drove across to the office, in rain all the way. Car behaving itself, so it seems as if the gunk poured into the cooling system on Saturday is doing its job in sealing the pesky cracks. Showers cleared after about midday.

Anniversary: Today is the 141st anniversary of the death of Jack's grandfather, Edward George Drew, in Illogan, Cornwall.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Page 14 - September 10th

Tuesday Sept 10th dawned rather fine & mild. Breakfast at 7:30am & parade at 9am & were set on little jobs around camp. The Blue Gums came into the next hut to us.

Sunday Sept 10the arrived with heavy clouds on the eastern and western horizon, but still clear overhead. The outcome of yesterday's state election was such that it was really not worth having one; the odd seat changed hands, but no real effect on Labor's massive majority. Expect some blood-letting in the opposition parties in the next few days, but the Nats will probably end up being led by Seeney who presents a bigger nong image than The Borg. The Liberals lost their leadership candidate most likely to replace Mr Stumbles Flegg, his seat being taken by an ex-newsreader of the sports variety.

Rain swept across about midday, which put an end to the morning's wood butchering. Off to the garden centre (in the rain) to pick up some potting mix and a few plants. Spread some 'food' on the lawn while it was getting a drink: will pay for it in extra mowing later, I suppose, but it really deserved a bit of a treat in repayment for surviving so long on laundry wastewater.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Page 13-14 - September 9th

Monday Sept 9th found us out at 7:30am. After the usual clean up & breakfast we went for another march & finished up in Peronne & set off to the 9the Battallion in search of Arthur Jeays, but found he was wounded, but they did not know where he was. After dinner we set off for another shift & at 3pm we set off and passed through Peronne to a place called Doingt, where we found the Battallion so we set to work to build another home. Found a good shed & made it comfy.

Arthur Jeays was another Sandgate lad. The National Archives records for Arthur Vivian JEAYS show that he suffered severe gunshot wounds to the left thigh and right foot on 19 July 1918, and at the time Jack whent looking for him was safely convalescing in the South African Hospital at Richmond Park, Surrey. He never returned to the trenches, and returned to Australia in 1919.

Albert Frederick JEAYS (Arthur's cousin?) was another Sandgate lad that enlisted in the First AIF.

The Jeays and Drew families were good friends through sailing, fishing and business, and that connection is with us still today - one of my cousins is married to Isabel Jeays.

Saturday Sept 9th came up clear and still, with a hint of moisture in the air. Rain is on its way, according to the Bureau. Knee is still being awkward. Today, we voted in a state election but nothing much changed - it was all over by 21:00. With the looming rain, mowed what there was of the lawn mainly to sweep up the fallen leaves left after the winds. There were a few lanky bits that must have received some stormwater. Anyhow, it all looks much tidier for its trim. Got some stuff to try to plug up the crack(s) in the head of the car - evil looking brew, and a real rigmarole to introduce it to the cooling system. Hope it works, otherwise the wagon is destined for the scrap yard.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Page 13 - September 8th

Sunday Sept 8th dawned cold and raw. At 7:30 we had breakfast & a parade at 10am to go for a march. Naturally we just went out of sight and dispersed. Being rainy in the afternoon we stayed in & wrote letters etc. Early this morning, Fritz paid us a visit, but being a heavy sleeper I never heard them.

Friday Sept 8th was also fairly cold here at dawn. The southwesterlies dropped overnight, but not completely gone. The left knee is playing up something shocking, and did not want to support me when I crawled out of bed at 05:30. Although I had a restful day, the knee did not repay me by improving to any great extent.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Page 13 - September 7th

Saturday Sept 7th At 8am we rose, to find it nice and mild. After breakfast we went out to souvenir dead Germans & found a few little ones. Spent all afternoon fooling around & decided to have a cold bath in the Canal and it was cold too, but very nice (after it was over).

Thursday Sept 7th started off very windy - the August south-westerlies have arrived late, and would most likely blow a dog off a chain. A trip across to the office, despite a very painful knee, to see if the car continues to do its severe overheating trick - it didn't, but was telling me it was very hot; looks like a dud temperature sensor. Knee didn't get any better.

Page 13 - September 6th

Friday Sept 6th Shifted out of old camp to W Lines. At 2am we moved off again & arrived at a point between HALLE and MONT ST QUENTIN & made another home in a trench. Fritz plane over bombing, but missed us as usual.

Wednesday Sept 6th started off cloudy. The car to the workshop today, as there appears to be problems with the cooling system; boiled madly on the way back from the office yesterday afternoon. So, working from home today. Also did a bit of carpentry, finishing off the larger bench stool requested by Mrs D. Turned out OK, too. Just needs varnishing now.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Page 12-13 - September 5th

Thursday Sept 5th dawned dull & rainy again. Battallion left at 1pm to go into the line but band stayed to look after the packs etc. 3rd DAC shifted back to billets opposite our camp. Rained hard.

DAC = Divisional Ammunition Column.

Tuesday Sept 5th slightly cloudy, but doubt if we'll have any rain. Slightly lazy start from home, so the traffic across town to the office was shocking for the second day in a row. Maybe I should have stayed at home and worked from there. Mrs D to Queensland Radium Institute for a check up today.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Page 12 - September 4th

Wednesday 4th was quite a change, as it dawned mild and warm, much to our joy. After breakfast, the usual 9 o'clock parade took place. At 11:15, we had a medical examination & then our lunch. After lunch a couple of us took a walk to the wagon lines for som efresh music. Played for the Blue Gums in the evening.

Monday 4th got off to a lazy start, maybe because of the overcast sky portending more rain, but very little fell (if any). Traffic across town was messy. Daughter had an early start to Uni, with two mid-semester exams to contend with. Her comment on neuro-anatomy exam was "It might have been harder if they had a question What is your name? in it." I bought some more timber on the way home, to make a second blanket box to match the first and to make the other stool Mrs D has requested. (I suppose I should put up some pics soon.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Blue Gums

This photo of a Blue Gums concert was taken at the village of Cerisy (Picardy) on 7th April 1919, not at the concert referred to by Jack in the diary entry for 3rd September 1918.

This is a scan of another rather aged negative that shows some of the 43rd Battalion band lads on the Blue Gums stage. The only person I can (almost) positively identify is the corner player seated centre - Sergeant Percival George ALSON.

This photograph appears to be of another Blue Gums concert, of an evening, with nurses also in the audience.

(All scanned from negatives taken by Jack.)

Page 12 - September 3rd

Tuesday Sept 3rd dawned cold & made the old bed feel about 50% better than it was. Anyhow we had to leave it at 7am to get our breakfast. After that, we made some very necessary improvements to our little abode & then carried some water & wood for the cooks. The Battn is resting after coming out of the trenches. We played a few tunes for the boys. During the afternoon the Blue Gums (11th Bde concert party) gave a show in a shed close handy.

Sunday Sept 3rd is another clear morning. No real plans for today, but I'm sure someone will make some for me. Ended up having a pleasant day of wood-butchering under the trees in the back yard. Indonesians love their dengklek (small bench stools) so I knocked one up for Mrs D out of assorted offcuts. Turned out quite well. Now she wants one a little taller.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Page 11-12 - September 2nd

Monday Sept 2nd broke in upon us with the news of another shift (plenty shifts eh) so after breakfast we packed up & made tracks for our new resting place which proved to be a place called (GURLU) about 1 1/2 miles behind here. Arrived there we made one more home, but a jolly rough one this trip, nevertheless it served our purpose - so we must not grumble.

Saturday Sept 2nd dawned fine and clear. Seems we have seen the last of the rain for the time being. It gave me a chance to finish off the latest little wood-butchering project and to start another, after the weekly shopping trip. A fairly lazy day, really, but the little magazine shelves (for WoodenBoat, Australian Amateur Boat Builder, and woodworking magazines) are turning out quite well.