Tribe Transcript

The Diary Of Frederick Richard TribePrivate 885 C. Company. Signallers.

33rd Battalion. 9th Brigade. A.I.F.

Frederick Richard Tribe was born 24 January 1892 at Narrabri , NSW, Australia.

He was killed in action at Messines , Belgium, WW1.

This is a Transcript of the diary he kept while serving

With the 33rd A.I.F. France and Belgium.


All the entries were written in alphabetical code.The code is shown below.Letter written   Translation

A = N B = S C = T D = U E = M F = V G = W H = X I = Y J = Z K = P L = Q M = E N = A O = R P = K Q = L R = O S = B T = C U = D V = F W = G X = H Y = I Z = J

1916. November 21st Left Lark Hill - sailed to Havre - 48h train to Bailluel - 3 days went into trenches. 27th 8 days out returned 11 Dec. December 18th Out 23rd Went to Stenwerck. 24th - Fatigue and beer 25th - Fatigue and champagne - 14 bottles. 26th Fatigue. 27th Fatigue. 28th Fatigue. 29th Fatigue. 30th Fatigue. 31st Fatigue.

1917. January 1st Came to Armintieres - YMCA for signalling school. 2nd Buzzer practice lecture. 3rd Buzzer practice lecture - sent letters home. 4th Buzzer practice lecture. 5th Buzzer practice lecture. Received parcel from Pearl and Trix. Lamp reading. *1 6th Buzzer practice lecture - had a bath - went to the pictures. 7th Buzzer practice lecture. 8th Buzzer practice lecture. 9th Buzzer practice lecture - lamp reading - learnt linesman work - running wires and tying knots and splicing wires. 10th Buzzer practice lecture - went to the pictures - paid 40 francs. 11th Buzzer practice lecture. 12th Buzzer practice lecture - lamp reading. 13th Buzzer practice lecture - had a bath - went to the pictures.

1917. January 14th Buzzer practice lecture. 15th Tiny went away to a school signalling - buzzer practice lecture - wrote letters home - lecture on lines and wire repairing also cable wires and sizes. * 2 16th Lecture on wire tieing and wire splicing and testing - snowed all night - very cold. 17th Fatigue till dinner - rifle inspection - received parcel from Pearl and Trix with socks and balaclava cap - heard peace would be declared in week - snowed all day and night very cold. 18th Left school today - in billets 10 min’ walk from trenches named “Looplines” -

Lance Corporal: 968 Claude Edwin MOORE and I took over lines today - good billets here - pictures hanging all around the room. Operators Private: 828 Roy McCUMSTIE.   Private: 862 Edgar Halley ROSE  Private: 710 Frederick George BOYS.   Private: 956 Richard Alexander WHITE. No beer for a while and I am dry - boys playing cards - no bon. 19th I/C linesman Private: 885 Frederick Richard TRIBE - went along lines today all in bad state - almost disc’ - had a lot of work repairing lines and tabbing lines - prepairing a lot of copper wire today for splicing wires - wrote to Pearl and Trix also Mari - big barrage today on both sides - very little tucker today - was very hungry - no Bon eh. 20th Found line disc’ - from G.R.11 to G. q. 2

Lieutenant: William Richard COOMBES instructed us linesmen to do no duty as we are responsible for communications - received a parcel from the “Armidale comforts fund” and it was welcome - heavy barrage with cannon guns on both sides during the day and night - snow everywhere - no bon. 21st - 36th: Lieutenant Colonel: James William Albert SIMPSON. M.C. killed - also 30 men killed by shells - lines all O.K. today - letters received - Pearl 1 - Trix 1 - Alice 1 - Leslie 1 - snow everywhere no bon - heavy bombardment on both sides. 1917 January 22nd Heavy bombardment on both sides from 12pm till 7pm then Germans advanced under their barrage in 3 waves capturing our front trench - I.A. C. Coy’ sector first line got into trench - sec’ got half way across no mans land and third cleared back then Australians advanced driving Germans out - killed all but six Australians loosing heavy our Coy’ - had to go up and stand ready at hand - our house was shaking a treat - terrible cold - snow everywhere - heard Tiny is in hospital today with the “itch” no bon. *3 23rd Private: 956 Richard Alexander WHITE went out to trenches today to take over office - a very quiet day today - two platoons took over trenches at “Looplines” Armintieres - received parcel from Mrs Lowe - tra bon. 24th My birthday today 25 years old - we took over trenches today and sigs’ took over signalling boxes 2.Y. in firing line and 1 in the supports trench - took over lines today - in a bad state nearly all buried - Roy and I nearly got shot - Wiz Bangs and shrapnel flying everywhere - Private: 818 William Herbert "Bert" MATLEY was wounded today and in hospital - night very quiet. 25th ‘Fritz’ shelled hell out of us today and I had to duck - no bon - night was very quiet - one man wounded - very cold night frosts. 26th: Repairing lines and shifting camp from firing line back to C. Coy’ H.Q.R.S. a good pozzieo - a few shots exchanged during the day - nearly got hit 3 times today with shrapnel - snow lying everywhere yet night very calm. 27th Kaizer Bill’s birthday today - Claud and I nearly got shot - Fritz turned his artillery on to us going along following a line - about 30 shells burst around us but we got unhurt - we crawled back along ice and cleared - artillery duels during day - Lance Corporal: 968 Claude Edwin MOORE got word to go to a signalling school - night very calm - received letters from home. 1917 January 28th Fritz very lively today - nearly got killed several times today - line went disc’ while bombardment was on and I had to go out in it all - shells were bursting everywhere - Claud Moore went to school - Fritz shelled us on and off all day - our artillery is giving Fritz hell tonight - there is a raiding party going over to raid the Germans tonight - everyone left trenches except Capt’ and Sgt Major and signallers - very quiet now again - all sigs’ in dug out. 29th Raid very successful - four prisoners taken and heavy casualties on both sides - another man wounded - about 70 casualties in the raid - Bert MATLEY returned from hospital. 30th Bombardment on both sides with artillery shells bursting everywhere - lines disc’ everywhere - night very quiet only rifle and machine guns firing - a few blighties and graveyards today - night very quiet. 31st: 35th took over today - trenches - Billiting in Armintieres - had eight days in trenches - snowing nearly all the time - terrible cold - plenty fatigues for a while - snowed all day - very cold.

1917: February 1st Fatigue all night from 8.30 till 3.30 am - everything quiet. 2nd Fatigue all night - drill during day. 3rd Fatigue all night - drill during day. 4th Fatigue all night - got tooth pulled out - drill during day - America declared war on Germany. 5th Fatigue all night - went to doctor with sore foot - bath parade - had a letter from Tiny - still in hospital with rash - had wild night and saw French brawl. 6th Took over trenches from 35th - very quiet day a few shells flying - Saxtons on our front - I took over telephone lines all in bad state - no rations today no-bon - our Coy’ holding two fronts - B and C. 1917: February 7th Artillery duels during the day also aeroplane fights in the air - day otherwise calm also night - temperatures day --25--night-- 15. 8th Terrible heavy bombardment on and off all day - Fritz shelled hell out of us this evening - killed 2 - wounded 12 including one officer - night very cold - Wounded --- Private: 1853 Arnold Sydney "Darkie" Johnston   and Private: 459 Norman Hall "Snow" Johnston.   Private: 1862 Frederick John LAW received letters.

9th Gave Fritz hell with plum pudding - Temp - night 5 - day - 25 - night very quiet - one signaller killed - Private: 438 Herbert William HARRIS. 10th Great artillery duels on both sides - aeroplane fights in the air - a great sight - fixing telephone wires - night very quiet. 11th Terrible heavy bombardment on and off all day and night - they had me ducking all roads - compre. 12th Came out of trenches today - had rough time - billeted on canal - had a letter from Tiny today he is still in hospital doing well. 13th Everything quiet and no leave - rivers are all frozen - temp-day 30 - night - 8 - heavy bombardment down on our right flank. 14th Day very quiet and cold - heavy barrage down on our left flank. 15th Heavy bombardment along our lines and also artillery duel - forcasts - very frosty and cold. 16th Heavy bombardment all along the line and artillery duels and aeroplane duels - got paid today tray-bon - line went disc between G.1.2. And G . r. 11. 17th Heavy bombardment between the artillery on both sides - shells falling everywhere - night very quiet. 1917 February 18th Took over trenches today in a terrible state water over our boot tops on the duck boards - terrible heavy shelling all day but we gave him hell with flying pigs and trench mortars also artillery - Heavy bombardment on both flanks tonight for raiders - out fixing lines while the barage was on - all lines disc’ - no casualties during the day - night very quiet. 19th Heavy bombardment on off all day - wild night expected - our artillery opened fire on Fritz at 10 pm and continued until 11 pm and gave him hell - but raid. 20th Morning very lively - bombardment started at 12pm finishing at 1pm - all men withdrew from lines no casualties - evening and night very quiet excepting machine gun and rifle fire - Lance Corporal: 968 Claude Edwin MOORE arrived back from school today - two men accidently wounded today - rained all day and night trenches all mud and water - in fact cruel - no-bon. 21st Heavy bombardment throughout the day - night very quiet - had heavy day fixing lines for raiders - Private: 972 Oswald Henry PHIFER wounded raiding - B. Coy’ caught spie in trenches. 22nd Terrible quiet day and night no bombardment - 2 killed on fatigue- had heavy day laying telephone wires for raid - forcasts - cold and raining. 23rd Gave Fritz hell all day today but he didn’t respond - artillery barage - one sniper awarded medal for bravery - he crawled out within 30 yards of German lines and shot 5 Fritz and 3 followed him but were shot - mud half way up to our knees in trenches - Private: 1977 Sydney Clifford "Pretty" WOODHAM joined us today - looks well. 24th Our boys raided Fritz causing him heavy casualties - 25 killed and wounded on our side - quiet during day. 25th Handed over trenches to 35th and went into billets ½ past 11 square - 10 Bde raided Germans very successfully causing many casualties on enemys. 26th Fatigues all day. 27th Fatigues all day - had tooth drawn - pay day today. 28th Fatigues all day.

1917: March 1st Fatigues all day. 2nd Fatigues all day. 3rd Fatigues all day. 4th Took over trenches today - in bad state - mud and water up to our knees - very quiet day today - night also quiet - dad boys went to school. 5th Fritz lively on off all day - had busy day fixing lines - night quiet - snowed all day today - terrible cold. 6th Very quiet all day - Fritz started shelling our trenches tonight but our guns at him and he shut up like a book - lasted about half an hour. 7th Gave Fritz hell this evening with guns and flying pigs but he never responded - night very quiet - day very cold - trenches full of water and ice - in terrible state - running telephone wires for gas alarms. 8th Very quiet day but very cold - night also quiet. 9th Battalion changed over today - 34th took over - signallers had to stay behind - Mat transferred to Batt’ HQRS sigs’ day very lively - snowed all day - very cold - night very quiet. 10th Sig’s went out today at 12noon very tired - received letters today - billeted at half past eleven square. 11th Signallers school started YMCA today - all our boys had to attend - lamp - disc’- buzzer- and flag wagging for seven hours daily. 12th Attended school - Sergeant: 811 Clarence James LLOYD awarded military medal. 13th Attended school - Private: 5136A Thomas David MORTON got D.C.M presented today. 14th Attended school. 15th Attended school. 1917 March 16th Attended school - also finished today - Private: 866 George Frederick SEAGOTT. got his military medal today also quiet Mackenzie Lieutenant: 918 William Douglas McKENZIE. the military cross. 17th Took over trenches today- in bad state - also lines from 35 at square farm - Sandy and I stopped behind sick and followed up in evening - both sides shelled all day continuously - night only rifle otherwise very quiet - Mac’ still helping us - our stating call G.S.6 - gassed old Fritz. 18th 19th Snowed day and night - terrible cold - artillery duels during day and night. 20th Raining all day - trenches in awful state - heavy shelling during the day and heavy rifle fire during the night. 21st Snowed all day - terrible cold and wet - no-bon - very quiet day and night. 22nd Very quiet all day. 23rd 35th took over trenches today and we went into billets near ‘barb wire square’ - rained and snowed - no leave - C Coy’ in reserve. 24th Attended signalling school - rained and snowed - terrible cold. 25th Sig’ school - snowed and rained. 26th Sig school - snowed. 27th Sig school - had leave. 28th Sig school - snowed. 29th Sig school - heavy bombardment - snowed. 30th Sig school - snowed. 31st Sig school.

1917: April 1st. Sig school - snowing - leave - no mails while out this time. 1917 April 2nd. Took over trenches today - Fritz pretty lively - heavy bombardments along the lines - terrible cold and snowing - trenches very cold and wet. 3rd Terrible heavy bombardment on right flank all day - had plenty shells flying on both sides - night very cold - snowed all day - sighted Fritz HQRS. 4th Very quiet all day - shelled Fritz HQRS today - night very quiet - also quiet. 5th Helped to run wires for bombardment which ended successfully - I had to duck - Tiny came back today - very quiet night - Fritz raided ‘plug street’ but he got hell with barrage. 6th Very quiet day and night - rained all day on and off. 7th Very quiet day and night. 8th Relieved by 10th brigade - day very quiet - night very lively - while we changed over few casualties - billeted near YMCA. 9th Rode bikes from Armintieres - camping at Boore with transport - went through a lot of towns - very tired at night - had heavy snow storm - no blankets. 10th Left Boore and went to Berougne and camp - had rough day riding - rained all day. 11th Left Berougne and went to 5 kil from St. Omea and met battalion - snowed and rained. 12th Batt’ marched down to Senninghem to billets - all very tired - camped in pig shed. 13th Signalling practice on hills - heard uncle Bob died. 14th Sig practice. 15th “ “. 16TH “ “. 17TH “ “. 18TH “ “. 19TH “ “. 20TH Sig practice - Batt’n stunt a great success. 21st Sig practice - brigade stunt a success. 1917 April 22nd Sig practice - Brig’ stunt this morning - half holiday in evening - all estaminets closed in Senninghem today. 23rd Had brigade stunt today - saw a lot of deer - 20 in all. 24th Holiday to vote but I didn’t vote. 25th Started back from Senninghem on route march - whole brigade - marched 20 miles - all very tired - I punctured. 26th Had mouse catching competition this morning caught 100 - marching to here today I came on motor transport - name Pradelle - walked back to Hazebrouck - Tiny- Sandy and I nothing doing. 27th Batt’ marched to Armintieres to billets - I came on transport sick - then Tiny Sandy Boys Rosie and I went out for a night out - tra-bon. 28th Muster parade and had to pay YS tax for huts damages at Lark Hill - rest during day - tra bon - Fritz seems quiet today. 29th Shifted billets from Armintieres to Ponte - Neipes - good billets. 30th Attended signalling school.

1917 May 1st “ “ “. 2nd “ “ “. 3rd “ “ “. 4th “ “ “. 5th “ “ “. 6th All specialists moved into trenches - terrible bombardment on right and left flanks - thought Fritz was coming over - after he finished our guns gave him hell - Batt’ couldn’t take over and we had to report back to billets - a wild night - landed home at 2 o clock am. 7th Successfully took over trenches from 35th Batt’ near ‘Plug street’- Fritz very quiet all day and night - signalling station right in front parapet lines in bad state. 8th Very lively on and off all day and night with shell fire - plenty work. 9th Very lively during day and night with shell fire. 10th Very lively again - Fritz raided us about 12 o clock but didn’t get in - one man won military medal for bravery. 11th Heavy shelling all day - night very quiet. 12th Lively all day again - expected Fritz to raid - waiting on him but he didn’t come over - I found one man blown to pieces behind supports - shell fire very heavy. 13th Both sides shelled very heavy all day - changed over to 34th Batt’ and we stopped in the subsidiary lines. 14th Everything Quiet. 15th Day and night very quiet. 16th Day and night very quiet. 1917 May 17th Fritz raided but never reached our lines - otherwise very quiet - Fritz lost very heavy. 18th Very quiet day but Fritz put a terrible barrage and then raided but he got hell fire - men got into trenches - rest of the night was quiet - raid lasted one hour. 19th Day very quiet as yet - expect Germans to raid tonight - night very quiet. 20th 35th took over today - we shifted into scrub behind ‘Plug street’ - day and night very quiet - Batt’ camped in scrub in tents. 21st Very quiet. 22nd Very quiet. 23rd Very quiet - took over ‘Plug street’ from 40th batt’. 24th Day very lively - shells flying everywhere - gave Fritz hell tonight with gas shells and pigs. 25th Very lively all day artillery - night very quiet. 26th Nothing doing. 27th “ “. 1917 May 28th Nothing doing. 29th Tiny went back into reserve with about 50 others - shifted billets to Neippe. 30th Training for stunt. 31st “ “ “.

1917 June 1st “ “ “. 2nd “ “ “. 3rd “ “ “. 4th “ “ “. 5th “ “ “. 6th Resting all day ready to go over the top - started out to trenches at 10.30 pm - Fritz sent over gas and gassed a lot. 7th Hopped over the top at 3 am. Several mines went up then we charged taking Fritz 2 lines and killed a terrible lot of Fritz. - he left a terrible lot of rifles and other things - we gave him hell. - the NZE. Took Messines and blocked all counter attacks - Sergeant: 1484 Donald McDONALD killed - ‘we made him love us’. 8th Lost heavily holding lines - it was a hell on earth - Private: 882 George Thomas TAYLOR was killed - terrible heavy counter attack repulsed - Private: 69 Jack "Joe" FARLEY wounded in the leg. 9th Very heavy shelling all day and night - 33rd Batt’ took on advance post 300 yards advance of our lines and held it - terrible heavy shelling. 10th We took another advance post 400 yards under heavy fire but lost our captain - we lost every officer in the attack also nearly all our Nco’s. 11th Handed over to 35th Batt’ and came back to ‘Plug street’ - good to rest - heavy shelling all day and night. 12th Camped in ‘Plug street’ wood -- all very quiet. 13th Shifted to Neiuve Agleice for rest. 14th Resting all day - Tiny and all reserves came back today. 15th Marched to Doulou for rest 3 miles from Essenes. 16th Had to report to B. HQ. for signalling school - had a tra-bon time. 1917 June 17th Signalling school. 18th Concert at D.Coy’s billet tonight - good turnout. 19th Holiday for sports - very good. 20th Route march out to canal in scrub - 10 miles - for sports and swimming -had good time. 21st Left Doulou to come back to Neiuve Agleice. 22nd Took over Messenes Ridge from tommies - no dug outs made - no-bon - pretty lively. 23rd Pretty lively day and night with artillery and gas shells - Fritz destroyed 3 our baloons - all burnt - I am at D. Coy’s HQRS. Operating on phone. 24th Very lively with shells all day and night - also gas shells - helping D. Coy’ Sig’s. 25th Very lively - shelling day and night - also plenty gas shells - Fritz brought down 2 of our aeroplanes today. 26th Shelling on and off all day and night - also gas shells. 27th Very lively all day and night with shells but no gas on account of it raining - 3 of our boys wounded and 1 killed Corporal: 1425 Cyril Russell EATON awarded the M.M. and Billie the D.C.M. Also a lot of others. 28th Shelling heavy all day but night very quiet - a terrible thunder storm just arrived and washed all hands out of their dugouts - Sig’ dugout got full of water and then nearly fell in - terrific bombardment on our right somewhere about ‘Hoop lines’ - lasted over two hours. 29th Heavy shelling all day but night pretty quiet - I nearly got a blighty - a piece of shrapnel hit me on the arm - plenty aeroplane duels during the day - still at D.Coy’ Sig’ office - Fritz raided 39th Batt’ on our left but was repulsed - they got 109 prisoners of Fritz and leaving a lot of dead - started at 11pm. At night. 1917 June 30th Shelling heavy all day and throughout the night - few casualties - rained all day and night - trenches very sloppy and wet. July 1st Shelling heavy all day but night pretty quiet - Fritz got 4 of our batteries today ( heavies ) - still wet and muddy otherwise tra-bon - still at D. Coy’ Sig’ office. 2nd Handed over to 34th Batt’ - billeted at tents at Neiuve Agleice - a good camp - very bad with cold. 3rd Attended signalling parades all day. 4th Attended signalling school all day - had half holiday today - had open air concert and was very good. 5th Attended sig’ school - held Batt’ concert after tea was very good. 6th Attended sig’ school - had church service band played us off - leaving billets at 12.45 PM. 7th Took over from 35th Batt’ at Messenes hill - in a bad state - no dugouts - slept in trench. - made dugouts today - pretty quiet all day. 8th Very lively with shells - few aeroplanes fights - rolling up cable wires - raining all day. 9th Shelling heavy all day - rolling cable all morning - went up to front lines and they are in an awful state - mud over our knees all along the trenches - shell fell in sigs’ dugout and wounded one sig’r - still raining and very muddy. 10th Shelled all day and night on and off - Dad and Cooper went out to trenches tonight. 11th Took over trenches from 11th Brigade at Messenes - shelled us heavily day and night. 12th Fritz shelled us all day and night very heavily. 1917 July 13th Fritz shelled us all day very heavily - Fritz raided the sector on our right but never got in - terrible heavy shelling - rained all day very muddy - Stan and Bert went to Sig’ school - Private: 818 William Herbert "Bert" MATLEY went away to England to 9th training Battalion. 14th Fritz shelled us all day and night very heavily and an extra share for night - terrible shelling on our - tip- advance - raided heavily all night - trenches in an awful state. Corporal: 911 John Thomas WYNN wounded. Corporal: 704 Stanley Joseph BARROW Killed. 15th: Sergeant: 811 Clarence James "Jimmie" LLOYD and Sergeant: 842 Sidney Raymond NELSON wounded at 3 am. - terrible shelling during day and night. 16th Terrible heavy shelling during day and night along all fronts. 17th Heavy shelling during day and night - a real hell in the sector - 35th took over from us tonight - came back in support to subsidiary lines. 18th Heavy bombardments during day and night - heavy shelling on our left towards ‘Dunkirk way’ raining all night. 19th Heavy shelling during day and night all along the lines - still raining - our artillery bombarded twice during night. 20th Very heavy shelling on our front all day and night - then our guns gave him hell - nearly got hit with 2 shells -duds- going for supper. 21st No entry. 22nd Written in on the 22nd by another hand and not in code was the line The last entry in the diary was written---- F. R. Tribe was killed, I presume that it was written by Bertie his brother.


Private: 885 Frederick Richard TRIBE. 33rd Battalion AIF.

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