Sir Joseph John Talbot Hobbs personal diaries, Vol. III. (3 February 1917 to 9 May 1918)
May 1918. The Fog in the morning of which we get so much is a source of great anxiety as it enables the Boche to get close up to our line if he wishes to attack (as he has done repeatedly 21st March & VILLERS BRETONNEUX The bad vis since his attack commenced have favored him tremendously, screening his movement & preventing the action of our Air Craft. The weather always nearly favor the Boche its uncanny. This Div has done splendid work, always with their digging & wiring and especially in Salvaging & cleaning up. The dripping returns are far away above other Divs as a rule. 36000 lbs for March & returns of waste paper too are very good. Men saluting & general discipline is I am sure better than any other Aust. Div. The sick returns have for a long time past been very low, almost a record. It is curious we should be holding a Sector astride the SOMME, truly we are on the SOMME. (5.5.18) The Cards I had printed to send men mentioned in Corps orders or London Gazette & to the relatives of men who distinguished themselves & died in Action are much appreciated. May 8th Heard some weird stories of the fight at VILLERS BRETONNEUX 24/25 Apl. How our men fought with the bayonet & could not withdraw them. also of coming across a pit dug by the Germans in the morning for burying & cremating their dead this pit contained about 20 bodies & the smoke was coming from burning oil etc thrown on the bodies & the faces were plain to view frightfully disfigured an awful sight in the deadly night fighting. (The following is upside-down at the bottom of the page) Wastage from 28/3/18 to 9/5/18. Killed 17 Officers 292 O.Rs. missing 22 O.Rs. Sick 28 " 999 " Total 147 Offs 3402 O.Rs 43 days daily average- Officers 3.4. O.Rs. 79. 59.