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Dad's Diary - Book Five

25.2.1918 - 10.1.1919

February Mon. 25th
Haplincourt back off leave. More fed up than usual. Hear we are going out on rest. * see appendix.
Tues. 26th
Getting ready for move out.
Weds 27th
Ditto yesterday.
Thurs. 25th
Bapaume. First stage of rest. Weather rotten. Had to take a pair of horses for journey.
March Fri 1st
Dernancourt arrived at our destination for rest. Rotten show, no comfort, plenty of work.
Sat 2nd
Rest over. Left D'court this morn: to come back up line. Pulled into Beaulencourt on Peronne-Bapaume Rd. after dark. Rotten journey. Extra fed up. Put my name down for transfer to home establishment. Hope it comes off.
Sun 3rd
More snow, beastly weather. Heavy firing up the line last night. We are standing by for orders.
Thurs. 7th
Still resting Beaulencourt. Weather very decent. Pay 20F
Fri.8th
Went into Bapaume to see the "Tommies" decent show. (inoculated).
Sat 9th
Rest after inoculation. Edgeley came back off leave this morning.
Fri.15th
Sports. 12 Heavy. Weather splendid. Went all over the old German front line trenches at Riencourt on Le Transloy.
Sat 16th
Promotion L/Bdr. Anniversary of marriage.
Tues. 19th
Weather breaks. Wet all day.
Wed 20th
Heavy artillery firing early this morning. Hear Fritz has broke through. This must be his big offensive.
Later
Wed 20th Standing by all ready to push off.
Thurs. 21st
This morning Fritz let go, we were ready to move off all day. I got relieved off my first guard to go up with gun. Went into action left front of Fremicourt so think we must have got pushed in a bit. Two villages in our area were captured.
Fri. 22nd
Gay times. Took up position in the open, working hard all night. Pulled out to go further back about 4 o/c. Got another position on left of Bap:- Haplincourt Rd near Bancourt.
Sat 23rd
All sorts of rumours. Plenty of people on the move H.D. Quarters and such like. Think we are holding our own, as our range has increased a little. Weather splendid but very cold and frosty. At night we sleep on the guns. When we are lucky enough to get any time. Horse lines have moved back to near Le Sars.
Wed 27th
Into action behind Beaucourt near Mailly-Maillet after a very rough time our line of retirement was Grenvillers, Achiet-le-Grand, Miraumont, Puisieux Serre and Mailly. Coming to action at several places, but always moving back. Got to within 8 Kilo's of Doulliens. But returned into the line dropt into action here, fire quite a lot. Our brigade appear to be the only one in the vicinity. 12 heavy lost one gun. The Major was killed by a caterpillar. We stayed in action at several places until we were almost too late. Shelicker and the Major wounded, three men got lost no news of them yet. All called back off leave. Lost all our grub, forage the lorries, hope we have brought them to a standstill. Have got a rotten cold, could do with a good sleep, feel proper done up. One of our fellows shot a pig, some got pork for dinner, quite a treat. All the villagers on the move out of the villages near the line. Fritz has reached Lucirie? Just outside Mailly. Plenty of troops coming up. So perhaps we may push forward. Hope so.
Good Friday 29th
Digging in now, suppose we will stay here. The retirement has apparently stopped. A heavy strafe going on to our right. Showery plenty of reinforcements coming up.
Sat 30th
Fritz dropt several large shell in the vicinity, searching the roads I think. No casualties.
Easter Monday April 1st
Weather changeable. We are dug in. Nothing extra doing. We systematically shell villages, cross roads etc. At ranges from 6,000 to 14,000 yards. Saw about 200 prisoners.
Weds 3rd
Rotten touch of piles picked up on the retirement. Had several letters on our splendid work, during the last week or so.
Thurs. 4th
Fritz dropout a few large shell just around the battery. No one hurt.
Fri. 5th
Had a severe lumping this morning. Got going on a strafe at 5am. Fritz put a few back and again a 8 put a barrage right across the battery for two hours, smashed up all our huts. Two gun pits blown up. Sgt. Callaghan, Lt Charles, Gnrs. Halliday, Humphries, Thomas, Frere. Wounded.
The hottest time since Ypres. Sa a few prisoners.
Sat 6th
Fritz fairly quiet today. Weather absolutely rotten.
Sun 7th
Fritz sent over a few whizzbangs to liven things up. We do a lot of concentration firing.
Mon. 8th
Weather still very wet. Got shelled out of the billets this morning.
Tues. 9th
Weather still very wet. Sent a few gas shell over to Fritz this morning. Got a letter from J Bridges.
Weds 10th
Weather improves, sun quite warm. Makes things seem a lot brighter when we get a bit of sun.
Sun 14th
Fritz dropout several shell of different calibre in and around the Bty: No one damaged. Weather very unsettled.
Mon. 15th
Weather a bit improved. We do the usual corps shoots night day harassing Fritz.
Thurs. 18th
Move today forward position on left of Mailly Maillett. Rain snow & hail, perfect winter weather. Fritz had several concentration shoots to our left.
Fri. 19th
Weather still rough on and off. Bad news from wagon lines, three killed by bombs last night. Jimmy Nash, Strickland & Hortin. Gadsby wounded. We are getting rotten grub.
Sat 20th
Got two letters last night, the first for a week. Weather greatly improved. Plenty of planes about.
Mon. 22nd
Our artillery getting much stronger. Arrousing? News a bit rotten from further north. Weather about the same. Went into Mailly Maillet.
Weds 24th
Still in forward position, nothing much doing. Haven't fired since we registered. Plenty of planes about mostly ours.
Fri. 26th
Wet, thunder & lightening. Heard cuckoo this morning. Digging gun pit for "F" sub.
Sun 28th
Fritz dropout a few spare shell very close here late last night.
Mon. 29th
Fritz shelled the roads just around here, caught party of Norfolk's. 31 casualties, 8 killed, no one of ours hurt. Expect to get relieved tonight. 10 Francs to Mabel (Pay F20)
May Thurs. 2nd
Down at rear position (B-Tran-Ct) going to horse lines tomorrow.
Fri. 3rd
Horse lines tonight for so called rest(Acheux). Hear Fritz drop shell round here.
Sat 4th
Fritz shrapnelled here last night. Killed 5, wounded 5 horses. We moved lines to Authy.
Sun 5th
Plenty of rain & mud. Kip out in the open.
Mon. 6th
Rigging up Bivouacs etc. This is a decent if we get good weather. Went into Doullens today.
Wed 8th
Weather improved greatly. Plenty of troops & arty: around here.
Sun 12th
Weather fine. Dozens of our planes about especially at night.
Sun 19th
Plenty of air raids the last few nights. A Gotha was brought down at St Leger a few yards down the road. I go to rear position tomorrow. 10 Francs to Poll.
Wed 22nd
Up at battery things much about the same not a lot of firing, waiting for Fritz big offensive. 10 Francs to Poll.
Sun 26th
Fritz sent over a few into the village. Going forward.
Tues. 28th
Came forward tonight. Last night Fritz sent over a few rounds, quite close to the battery. Hard a hard nights work.
Weds 29th
Sapping under railway at forward position. Fairly quiet.
June Sun 2nd
Fritz gave us about 50 rounds of gas this morning. Had to walk to the rear position. Weather fine.
Sun 9th
Rear position, Bertrancourt, big raid last night, hear our people did alright,- New Zealanders moving from English division coming in saw 1 Bosch plane and one balloon brought down this week. Our plane very active and keep jumping.
Sun 16th
Horse lines for a rest. Nothing much doing in the line. Air raids every night. Our planes very active.
July Thurs. 4th
Forward position for 10 days. Very quiet up here.
Sat 14th
Back to rear position. Flu rampant, several in dock. 43 original 121 left.
Thurs. 19th
Raids every night. Two of our guns gone forward to fire 30 rounds on Grevilles.
Fri. 20th
Going to St Valery tomorrow. French communiqué very good.
Sun 22nd
St Velery-sur-Somme arrived about midnight. Today have had to parade to hear camp regulations. Splendid weather, went to village, look like having a good time.
August Tues. 1st
St Valery weather continues fair. Len Ashwalls concert party give us a show tonight.
Tues. 6th
Reveille at 2 am, entrained at St Valery 9am arrived at Noyells at 10, found we had to stay till evening. Left about 8.30 got as far as Abbeville stayed penned up in the trucks, 40 of us for the night. Got to Ailly-Sur-Somme about 5am. Taking over 24 hours to about 20 Kilo's. Stayed at A.S.S. until 6.30pm. went by lorry to our wagon lines at Boves.
Thurs. 8th
Our boys have gone over the top today. We have moved forward to Bois-De-La_Ablage? Near Cuchy? Hear some wonderful news, saw plenty of prisoners and captured material.
Fri. 9th
(4th Army) Another move today near Villiers Bretonneux. Our horse lines are between a 4.2 How: position and a 5.9 on our left. In the same valley are two 8 inch all captured by Canadians. Our battery has been out of range nearly all day. Expect to go forward tomorrow. Find on returning from St Valery that I am ACT: Bombardier, another 11p or 1/- per day for me.
Sat 10th
Forward again thro' Marceleave to near Cayeux-en-Somme where we picked up guns, out of range. I joined my sub went forward thro' Caix to a position just behind Rosieres. Can't hear much news. Fritz plane lying here smashed. German Head Qtrs: here left in a hurry by the look of things. Plenty of tanks going up. Plane about by the score.
Sun 11th
Fairly quiet, a few observed shoots. No more news. Letter from home.
Mon. 12th
Fritz plane brought down about 100yds from here, smashed. News very scarce.
Tues. 13th
Expecting to move, weather very hot.
Weds 14th
Weather fine. 3 planes down. Fairly quiet. Plane with 5 engines, 8 passengers was brought down a day or so ago.
Thurs. 15th
Went to see Fred male. 30 Austr'ln F.A. Bty. Plane down. Quiet. Weather fine. Expect to make another stunt in the morning.
Fri. 16th
Going to some 1916 trenches about 5500y to the rear for 48 hours rest. Working in « detachments. Weather fine. No news. Heavy bombardment to the right.
Sat & Sun 18th
Pay up 20F. Rest back on guns tonight. Silent Bty.
Fri. 23rd
Langridge & Burroway wounded today. Hear French are taking over this line. Strong rumours of a move. We still go out for a rest every 48 hours. Occasional artillery bombardments going on. Hear we took a bit of a ridge on our left front this morning.
Sun 25th
Weather still fine. Nothing much doing. Fritz bombs here about every night. Strafes carried out all along the line.
Mon. 26th
Fritz bombed near Bty last night, caught some French, who are taking over line. Hear we are to pull out Canadians going.
Tues. 27th
Rolling out for "somewhere". Good new this morning we advanced 3,000ks fired 350 rounds during the night.
Wed 28th
Staying in a wood near Caix. Don't know yet when we move.
Thurs. 29th
Set out this morning about 8.30 passed thro' Harbonniers, Bayoncourt?, Villiers-Bretonniers to Cagny where we are billeted for time being.
Fri. 30th
Went to Longueau to see about 350 captured guns. All sorts from pip squeaks to 11 inch Hows:. Hundreds of French Hows:
Sat 31st
Left Longueau siding for somewhere Arras way (29 Brigade).
September Sun 1st
Landed at Ecurie? This morning. 2pm. Set off for Guemeppe came into action. Strafe expected in the morning.
Mon. 2nd
Strafe for Douai this morning cavalry went up and the tanks. We went forward (left section) to Vis-en-Artois but not into action, pulled into a yard in village, I'm left on guard. Remainder went back to rear position. Think we have done well today, have seen about 2,000 prisoners. Two planes down, one of our balloons down on fire. March wounded, splinter from bomb last night.
Tues. 3rd
Moved into position on Arras-Cambrai road beyond Haucourt. 3 wounded this afternoon Bernard, Brett & Smith. Fritz gave us a warm time for about two hours. Two of our balloons brought down on fire. Hundreds of prisoners coming down
Wed 4th
Weather fine. Fritz strafed all roads here last night. We are firing on Marquion and Bourlon. "A" sub gun blew up. Only two slight casualties.
Thurs. 5th
Moved along Cam:-Arras road last evening past Villersthro' Jerry's Hindenburg line. Saw some French civvies who had been hiding in cellars. Very little news coming in,
Fri. 6th
Weather fine. Still in same position near Villers-les-Cagnicourt off A&C road, it's a trifle warm at times. Fritz planes very active, one of ours down in flames yesterday. Also a balloon. Two casualties Craig & Horne, making a total of 8 this stunt so far: Arney goes on his month- 2 others.
Sat 7th
Weather changeable. Nothing much doing. Don't like this position at all.
Sun 8th
Fritz bombed all around here last night. Several shell dropout into our position today, Lt Porter hit in head, nothing much. 12 heavy lose a gun, direct hit. Our people knock down Oisy church from which Fritz had direct observation and a snipers post.
Mon. 9th
Fritz put a barrage right along our battery. Most marvellous that no one was hurt. Weather squally. Push finished here.
Tues. 10th
Our gun to ordinance workshop for overhaul. Another hot time during the night. Weather still squally.
Wed 11th
Nothing much doing. Weather to rough for air work we had a few shell dropout round guns. No one hurt.
Sat 14th
Pay up 40 francs, first for nearly a month. Fairly quiet here. Fritz puts across an occasional concentration on the main road towards Villers-le-Cagnicourt. Good news from North & south. La Bussee & St Michiel.
Sat 21st
Horse lines near Cherisy, "A"&"E" in reserve. Weather changeable. Nothing much doing round here.
Sun 22nd
"A" to Bty tonight expecting push shortly. Banham. MM.
Wed 25th
Fritz got very angry with us, shelled our position several times, we cleared. Our off duty « section now stay in some deep Saps in Villers. Relieved every 24 hours. "F"gun out of action. Shell fire. Hall wounded "E" sub.
Thurs. 26th
Fairly decent weather. Nothing much doing. Rest billet in Villers deep Sap (Fritz)
Fri. 27th
Strafe this morning. Saw several batches of prisoners brought down. 56 London division in front of us.
Sat 28th
Have made good advance judging by the balloons on our right. Fritz very quiet. We keep up a steady rate of fire all day & night. Good news from Bulgaria.
Sun 29th
2 guns go forward "A"&"B". weather changeable. Good news from all quarters.
Mon. 30th
We move forward today, to side of lake opposite Ecourt St Quentin passing thro' Saudemont & Rumacourt. Decent position. Found small ring.
October Tues. 1st
Plane of ours down in flames. We are quiet again. Getting ready for another strafe, I suppose.
Wed 2nd
Dug in last night. Missis & Kiddies photo's came tonight. Fairly quiet on front. Hear Turkey has turned it in.
Sun 6th
Nothing much doing. Weather cold & changeable. Went scrounging into Ecourt & Rumacourt.
Tues. 8th
Strafe on this morning. Hear our push was successful.
Wed 9th
Cambrai taken, heavy firing on both our flanks. We are expecting to change with Can: order read out from Com: 22 corps re Central Powers, Armistice & Peace. Weather fair and cold.
Thurs. 10th
Cambrai burning all last night and some other places further south. On our left front another large fire is raging supposed to be Douai. We have swung 3 guns to left, as Fritz is expected to clear during the night. Plenty of good news (20F).
Fri. 11th
Went into Ecourt-St.Q. Fairly quiet. Fritz has gone back over the canal in front of us. Sharkey got M.M.
Sat 12th
Strafe early this morning. All news of fighting is good, we are doing well.
Sun 13th
Strafe again this morning, if only it would keep fine. During the night it rained in buckets full. Aubigney-Au-Bac taken. Fritz countered but it was no use. Hear the Huns have agreed to Pre: Wilsons proposals soon be in Blighty now.
Mon. 14th
2 guns go forward to a position near Hamel. "D"&"B".
Thurs. 17th
We move up to a forward position. Very quiet. Went thro' Ecourt St Quentin., Lecluse, Totesqesne and Hamel near Arleux Wood. Believe we are out of range already. Fritz evacuating all along the line.
Fri. 18th
Out of range. Went into Arleux to get some vegetables. Went Scrounging.
Sat 19th
Parked up ready to move, but bridge across canal is down. We are waiting for it to be repaired. No action around here very quiet. Went scrounging to get some grub.
Sun 20th
Fosse-St-Roche. Arrived last night passed thro' Ferin, Cantin, Roucourt, Erchin, crossed Sensee canal and Douai-Cambrai road. Jerry still going back. We expect to move forward any moment. Haven't fired a round since we left Ecourt-st-Quentin. Weather wet.
Mon. 21st
Roely. Wet journey passed thro' Aniche, Abson. Plenty of villagers in their places . We get billeted with an old couple. Fritz has taken all the animals et. Plenty of vegetables about. Move off again this evening. Following up Canadians.
Tues. 22nd
Near Herin 9 Kilo's from Valeciennes. Very wet. Pulled into action last night. 60 rounds per gun. Our gun out of action today.
Wed 23rd
Same position. Nothing much doing. Weather rotten.
Thurs. 24th
Strafe on our right. 180 rounds per gun during the night. Think we are going forward tonight.
Fri. 25th
Left behind to guard spare ammunition. Nothing much doing. Lumire? Went on special leave last night. We took all our offensives on right Valeciennes.
Sat 26th
Up to Bty: this morning between Aubry & Herin. Bon billets. Good bed and grub.
Sun 27th
Fine time here, plenty of grub, quite a Sunday at home, until Fritz put up a strafe on our Bty, all round our gun. Knocked down three houses in which our fellows were billeted. Two wounded one serious. Snowies leave comes through.
Mon. 28th
Strafed again today. We got plenty of firing to do, we got onto the battery that slammed us. Hope we put it out. A lot of aeroplane work here N.F. targets.
Tues. 29th
Haskel wounded Lunsday? Has since died. Fritz keeps us on the jump. Weather fine.
Weds 30th
Fritz been extra naughty today, Dunn wounded, some most marvellous escapes.
Thurs. 31st
Fritz still strafes all around our battery. No one hurt today. No letter for three days, hope no one has flu at home. Got news Austria & Turkey had given in.
November Fri. 1st
Strafe at 5am. This morning. Fritz turned a battery on to us, we got it hot for quite and hour. 3 wounded, Slater, Trinder & Armiger, two of the old 121. Hear we have done excellent taking all our objectives and several thousand prisoners. Fritz countered this evening.
Sat 2nd
Loading ammo: Very quiet. Weather fine.
Mon.4th
Forward through Valentines to Marly. Lots of Fritz dead lying around. Guns at Saultain.
Tues.5th
UP TO Bty this morning. Moved off this afternoon from Saultain to Rombies near Frontier. "D" gun got in mine crater, had to work in pouring rain all night. Caterpillar pulled us out this morning (Wed) rotten weather cold & wet. Been wet through since last night. Turner in this afternoon, tried to get a bit dry rotten billets.
Thurs. 7th
Weather still bad. Managed to get a bit dry. After being wet through for nearly three days. Strong rumours of and armistice. We are out of range. First letter for 5 days.
Fri. 8th
Weather slightly improved but still damp. Guns pulled out by caterpillars, road to bad to travel. Hear we are having a couple of days rest here.
Sat 9th
Left this morning, passed through Quarouble, Quievrain over the Belgian frontier along Elouges road to Dour. Billeted for the night, parked guns.
Sun 10th
In action on Jemappes road in La Bouverie. Passed through Hornu & Paturages. Cavalry went up about noon towards Mons. Hear good news of war.
Mon. 11th
Jemappes range 5,400 yard. Fired 60 per gun at midnight. Message at 9am. Hostilities to cease at 11am. Great excitement. Days weather fine. Went into Frameries.
Tues. 12th(Mardi)
Cleaning up in general. Nothing much doing. Fine & frosty.
Wed 13th(Merkdi)
Hear we are to move up into Belgium with the Canadian Corps.
Thurs. 14th(Undi)
Scouring and cleaning guns. Hear we are going into Germany with the army of occupation.
Fri. 15th(Vendredi)
Still polishing et. Very quiet here now. Still fine.
Sat 16th(Sarnedi)
Same as yesterday.
Sun 17th(Dimanchi)
Frosty. Ditto.
Mon. 18th(Mardi)
Frosty. D.O. Inspection by Col.Com.29 H.A. Brigade.
Tues. 19th
Inspection by G.O.C. C.C. H.A. some rain.
Weds 20th
Heavy misty weather. Hear we are to move on Sunday.
Thurs. 21st
Still waiting to go to the Rhine. Canadian infantry keep going up.
Fri. 22nd
Same old game, everyone properly fed up.
Sun 24th
No « day today, all troops grousing, to much red tape, grub rotten. Walton found dead along Mons railway line this morning, coming off leave.
Mon. 25th
Waltons funeral today. Maire and civilians attend.
Tues. 26th
Leave early in the morning.
Wed 27th
Morlanwelz arrived here about 6.30, passed thro' Mons and Bray leave again at 7o/c in the morning.
Thurs. 28th
Velaine- rain all day. Passed thro' Gosseliers & Corcelles.
Fri.29th
Namur. Arrived here tonight after a long day. Weather a bit better than yesterday. Came right through Namur, a fine town, to Jambes on opposite bank of Meuse.
Sat 30th
Rest here today, cleaning all wagons, guns etc. On guard. Have a fine billet. Old boy spoke English.
December. Sun 1st
Fine and frosty. Set off this morning. Very hilly. Lots of Fritz transport lorries on roadside, and a couple of guns. Billet at small place Sinsin.
Mon. 2nd
Hotten short journey today. Grub very scarce. 2 Can: Divs. also billeted here. Very hilly country.
Tues. 3rd
Still Hotten. Cleaning up. Black bread, pork & horse for grub our rations not turned up.
Wed 4th
Put of this morning heavy going, through the Ardennes, very hilly. Horses fairly done up.
Thurs. 5th
Les Tailles. Staying here a couple of days to rest horses.
Sun 8th
Beho. Set off this morning from Les Tailles weather much improved crossing frontier tomorrow.
Mon. 9th
Over the frontier this morning, passed thro' st Vith. Billets at Myerode. Heavy travelling.
Tues. 10th
Off again this morning, very heavy travelling. Billeted in a shooting box. Rotten weather.
Weds 11th
A few more miles again today. Very cold. Roads hilly but not as heavy as yesterday.
Thurs. 12th
Still at Blumenstal, having a days rest. Very wet. Civvies treat us fairly well, very civil and want to give us coffee. Not much in the shops.
Fri. 13th
Off again this morning. Good road, but heavy rains. Only two days more journey.
Sat 14th
Set off from Roggendorf this morning, thro Euskirchen to near Bonn.
Sun 15th
Staying here for the day, cleaning up vehicles, harness etc, for our finishing up journey tomorrow(Miggerhausen).
Mon. 16th
Bonn arrived here today after march of 14 miles. Inspected by R.A.General. Weather fine but cold. (Edgley leave)
Tues. 17th
Went into town this evening, fine place, one of the best town I've seen, quite like and English town. Splendid buildings and shops. Pay 60m.
Weds 18th
Settling down here for Xmas. Cleaning up wagons etc.
Fri. 20th
Birthday today. Went into Bonn this morning, one on leave.
Sun 22nd
Enderniche. Nothing doing. Weather fine. Getting ready for Xmas.
Wed 25th
Proper Xmas weather, snow on ground, had fairly decent feed on guard at 6pm.
Thurs. 26th
Boxing day. Weather cold and frosty. Had a decent time with Canadians. On guard last night. Plum pudding, mince pies, and German band.
Tues. 31st
Still at Enderniche, having a fairly easy time. Several went on de-mob yesterday, more today. Hope my time will come soon. Went into Bonn last night.
1919

January Weds 1st
On guard tonight. 4 on leave. Yesterday.
Fri. 3rd
Inspection G.O.C. R.A. 2nd Army. Everything satisfactory. Pay 30 marks. Joining 1oth Corps.
Fri. 10th
Still at Enderniche. Weather fair a cold. Demobilisation very slow. Edgerly back off leave on the 9th.


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