Remembering William James Pearce : 1917

The diary of William Pearce, who served with an ASC Mechanical Transport Unit as a mechanic, continues into 1917. My thanks to Mark Pearce.

1 to 3 Jan 1917

Weather fair, enemy planes over ours, over Rupel Pass, heavy big gun firing, plenty of work.

4 Jan 1917

Enemy plane brought down by Lieutenant Green after fine fight in air right over camp. Green got under him, turned machine straight up on tail and fired in his engine and tank, came down about 3 miles from our camp after crashing through trees. Engine broke away, body helped get engine on limber, saw Germans taken away, one badly wounded, hundreds of our own chaps around officer taking photos. Got small piece of frame, got back to camp about dinner time, saw Flying Corps Service take machine away in evening.

5 Jan 1917

Plane over, got away, got paid, scarfs issued.

6 to 13 Jan 1917

Weather wet, snow on mountains across plain, more diffs [differentials?] gone, 22, plenty of work.

14 Jan 1917

Another air flight, enemy brought down by Lieutenant Green between here and Lahana, undamaged.

15 to 21 Jan 1917

Weather cold, some heavy big gun fire, some snow, very muddy.

A convoy of lorries from 689 Motor Transport Company (ASC) halted on the Seres Road whilst the drivers have a tea break, ca.1917. BRITISH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915-1918 A convoy of lorries from 689 Motor Transport Company (ASC) halted on the Seres Road whilst the drivers have a tea break, ca.1917. BRITISH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915-1918 (click on image to see full size) © IWM (Q 32741)

20 to 26 Aug 1917

Very hot. Fire in Salonika burning 5 days, a square mile burnt down, about 100,000 people homeless.

The great fire in Salonika town, 18-21 August 1917: Refugees displaced by the fire rest with their salvaged belongings on the 'Field of Mars' on the eastern edge of Salonika. SCENES IN SALONIKA DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR The great fire in Salonika town, 18-21 August 1917: Refugees displaced by the fire rest with their salvaged belongings on the ‘Field of Mars’ on the eastern edge of Salonika. SCENES IN SALONIKA DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR (click on image to see full size) © IWM (HU 58893)

Cars very busy troops shifting, fires on plain, good concert in camp. Fritz over. Whirlwinds about 100ft high, large flight of storks. 12 planes went bombing.

Photo of two nesting storks in the Struma valley, March 2016, by Marion Braysher.
Nesting storks in the Struma valley, March 2016. Photo by Marion Braysher.

27 to 31 Aug 1917

Fine, hot, went bathing in ravine, big gun fire, made remittance home 3£, whirlwinds, fires on hills and plains, Fritz over, shelled, saw very bright shooting stars, explored Turk village, picked grapes and walnuts.

Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn aeroplane returning to its landing ground near Salonika, April 1916. FRENCH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915 - 1918 Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn aeroplane returning to its landing ground near Salonika, April 1916. FRENCH FORCES IN THE SALONIKA CAMPAIGN 1915 – 1918 (click on image to see full size) © IWM (Q 31869)


1918 follows here …

Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal - 'The New Mosquito' - a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.