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Dad's Diary - Book Four

29.12.1916 - 11.1.1918

December 29th
Calais rest camp. Left London at 7.11am this morning, rather rough crossing over, marched to Beaumaris. Left at 6.15 next morning for Aubigny, arrived there at 9.30pm. stayed in church Army until the morning, got into Lines about 7am. Found everyone fed up only 3 gone on leave since I left.
Everything going on as usual, went for gas attack this afternoon, no gas, another walk in a few days.
Last day of the old year. Weather rotten. None on leave.

Nothing doing. Big do expected.
Same as yesterday. Still quiet, troops going up all day. Picquet.
*Parades see appendix.
Usual routine.
Weather good. Usual routine.
Lovely day. Usual routine.
Fine day. This afternoon a bit of a do over towards Arras, saw fire in ammunition dump.
Another good day. A couple of Allemande aeroplanes up. Our A.A. guns gave them a warm time, one down. Pay F10
Rough day, wet and windy - usual routine.
Edgeley gets the tape. Rotten cold, sleet and rain. Fire in 145. Heavy firing along the line.
Got 'M' letter from P.O. usual routine. Wet.
Saw D about letter from P.O. usual routine.
Quick turnout with ammo: tonight. A bit of a strafe on over on the left Gouchin Way. (12 Wagon up).
Snow. Hear we did alright last night and this morning, about 50 prisoners and one or two machine guns and trench mortar.
Got my pay book back, with the new allotment fixed up. Should have 1d a day to come from the commencement of the war. Heavy fall of snow.
Heavy fall of snow. Up with ammo: hear we are to move. Snowie still sweating on leave.
Snowing a bit. At a time for Cambligneul 2,5K from Aubigny. Horses out in the open. Men in old barn, roof partly off and weather about 5o below. Freezing.
Sick today - 13 years in today.
Beginning to get settled down ion rotten quarters, have hard job to keep warm, no money, little grub and very little of anything else, bar work plenty of that.
Went to Aubigny for remounts. No luck.
Went up to Bty: with Ammo:, roads like glass. Going out of Mt St Eloi my ride mare fell, threw me out of the saddle, under my off, wagon went over me, unhurt. Luck in Paid up 10F
February 1st
S.G. Knowle on leave last night. Huns shelled Mt St Eloi again, weather still hard.
Nothing much doing. Still preparing for big offensive.
Picquet tonight. Letters and papers from home. Weather fine and frosty.
Up with ammo: saw where shells had dropt in Mt St Eloi. Pay 11F
Big do on early this morning and again about 9.30 terrific heavy Arty: Fire. Hear our Canadian troops done alright. About 60 prisoners taken w8ith a couple of M.G.'s.
Thaw has set in, everywhere in mud & sloppy. Snow not back yet. 1 remittance.
Bath today, first change of clothes etc since I came off leave. Knowie got back today, not looking too grand. 31H coming in next field to us, from the Somme.
Plenty of Bty work to detc. Weather the usual.
March 1st
Weather fairly good. Aeroplanes begin to get out a lot. Plenty of ammo: going up to Bty:
Aeroplanes(German) brought down at Hermaville.
All ammunition going to Bty by rail, roads very bad. Weather a bit changeable.
31 & 129 H'ys, 3 siege take up horse lines in field with us. More snow.
Still preparing. Proper march weather.
Shamrock Day. Lots of rumours about. Harne hurt his foot.
Good news in the papers Bapaume fallen. Our fellows still advancing heard lots of rumours tonight Peronne fallen. Snow storms today.
More good new. Papers are eagerly awaited, as rumours are very thick. We are not doing much just here. Hope to move soon.
Edgeley poked? This evening. Rotten weather. Snowstorms. More good new.
Here Vimy Ridge was taken this morning and St Quentin with German division prisoners. Hope it is all true.
Tues. 27th
Bethune 7.30pm on way to Calais for remounts.
Sat 31st
Arrived back at horse lines (Cambligneul) horse back from Calais. Left there Wd: noon three horses apiece. Billeted at Therouanne & Camblain Chatelain. Weather rotten. Things about the same when we got back, waiting for the offensive to start.
April Sat 7th
Up every night with ammo: get about 4 hours sleep at night or early morning. Saw one of our balloons come down on fire. ME dropt out in parachute.
Sun 8th
Very near the offensive, cavalry & R.H.Q. gone up this evening. So expect its over the top in the morning, hope the weather keeps like it is today.
Easter Mon. 9th
Up we go this morning, weather at present real march. 12 midday. Mt St Eloi dine here saw about 1500 Germans that have been captured in the rush over this morning. Waiting to take guns (right section only) up to new position beyond Bethune, Arras road. Still more prisoners coming down. Not moving guns until tomorrow.
Tues. 10th
Took guns up this evening, came back in a snowstorm. Everybody seem to be on the forward move.
Wed 11th
Such a day, snowstorms all day. Went to Bty with ammo: saw a lot of dead coming back altho', on the whole, I believe our casualties are small. Enemy knocking Neuville-St-Vaast about or the few bricks that's left. Left section goes up.
Thurs. 12th
About 6 inches of snow this morning. Standing by to take up centre section. Here we are still taking a few yards and prisoners. Went to Bty: got stuck in a shell hole with wagon.
Friday 13th
Things quietened down a bit today. Lots of troops and lines moving up. /we expect to go anytime.
Sat 14th
Went to move 'E' gun up to forward position, after pulling out, had orders to unhook wait until tomorrow. Weather nice and fine.
Sun 15th
Awful weather pulled out with last two guns. Got hung up on plank road at Berthonval Farm for about three hours. Rained, hail snow and blowed all the time, we were a happy crowd. Made horse lines just behind guns near La Targette, Neville-St-Vaast sleeping in tents ''No Bon'' This weather. Camp next to us shelled by Boches I killed 3 wounded.
Mon. 16th
Fairly fine today. Several batteries moving to far side of Arras, waiting to take two guns up to La Folie farm. Roads very bad. All battery guns out of range.
Tues. 17th
Awful weather again, cannot man guns as ground is to soft, and no road to move up. Hear French have made a big move on a two mile front. Big gains.
Weds 18th + Thurs. 19th
Still same weather, properly fed up. Took guns up to La Tilleuls Mill. Country is terribly knocked about, one mass of shell holes. Saw a few captured guns. Got in the lines about 5.45am after a night out.
Fri 20th
Day of rest, weather slightly improved. Battery position proves to be a fairly hot shop. On the Lens - Arras road. One gunner hit this morning, in the thigh.
Sat 21st
Up to Bty this morning, got back again about 5pm, after a most exciting journey. Got strafed, nearly, at two different parts of the road, Cpl MLitt, and again while waiting in battery, two of ours hit. Had to clear out one time. Met "De" Rees, first time since Spike? 2'10. He looks well. Hooper is in the same battery (6")
Sun 22nd
Up to Bty to shift guns to another position. Lovely weather. Saw where the Huns strafed the roads yesterday, saw plenty of dead horses, limbers etc. Three wounded in Bty yesterday, making 6 in new position. Saw German balloons come down on fire.
Mon. 23rd
Fine day. Proper uproar early this morning, heavy bombardment all along our front. The news I hear is not at all nice. The 1st division has been badly cut trying to take Lens. On the right (Arras) we have taken about 1500 prisoners in front we stood at ease. All wagons up with ammo\
Tues. 24th
A bad day for us, seems like two years ago. Burdett killed early this morning on guns. Water cart knocked out in La Fargette about noon, Holmes and Buckley wounded. Buckley serious, left arm blown off. Two horse killed.
Wed 25th
Saw some of our chaps being taken to C.C.S. in ambulance. 7 wounded this morning shell dropt on trail of "E" gun. Morgan seriously wounded. Heavy strafing during night. Fritz keeps dropping 5.Gs into the camps and roads all around here. Went up to move guns into new position on the west side of Lens - Arras road. One of four planes down.
Thurs. 26th
Fairly quiet today, fine weather. One of our balloons down on fire, and a plane this evening . Fritz dropt some H.E into La Fargette.
Fri 27th
A fine day. Fritz sent over a few shell just to keep us on the jump. Went up to village of Vimy with ammunition for 3 siege. Fairly Quiet Journey.
Sat 28th
Early morning strafe. Fritz retaliated by sending over a few shells, well in the rear. 2 dropt in our horse lines, one each side of our tent. To close to be pleasant of course we cleared out. No damage. Expecting another big strafe soon. Today our people doing well, saw some prisoners. Hear 4 villages taken.
Sun 29th
Weather continues fine. Still heavy artillery firing all around. Fritz still shells any and everywhere. Aeroplanes active.
Mon. 30th
Capt: Fry and Busty Robinson go to England. Went to Bty: with ammo: Big dump at Thelvs blown up. News that Buckley has died of wounds.
May Tues. 1st
Heavy strafing during the day. Dump at Thelve is still going off occasionally Fritz shells it unmercifully. A big shell dropt in Mt St Eloi doing a lot of damage killed and wounded many.
Weds 2nd
Fritz shelled us last night (shrapnel) but was kind enough to burst them high, doing no damage to us. Battery was strafed this morning one killed (Allyere). Expecting the biggest do of the war to commence any time now. Dozens of aeroplanes about.
Fri. 4th
Fritz kept us lively last night, bombs and shell just missed our lines. ?strafe early this morning and yesterday saw a few prisoners. Up with ammunition. Posted to the guns, handed over harness, etc.
Sat. 5th
Easy day no horses. Very quiet along the front. Hear we are going to Ypres Salient, after the next strafe. Waiting to go on the guns. Will be a change after being with horses so long.
Sun 6th
Easy day, nothing to do. Watch, our gun goes into action.
Fri. 11th
E' Gun, my gun into action this afternoon. This morning Fritz strafed all around our horse lines, 129 BTY cleared out. Burning hot day. Parcel from home. 1st real night as a gunner for 2 « years. Strong rumours of a move further up the line.
Sat 12th
Fritz very angry. Strafed all around our Bty, especially the X roads Les Silleuls we retaliated.
Sun 13th
Hear we are pulling out tomorrow. Lovely day.
Mon 14th
Very showery. Today we pulled out. Leave horse lines for Bruay at 10pm. 'L' section only. Hear our destination is Kemmel S.E. of Ypres. Pay F10
Tues. 15th
Bruay put up for a few hours.
Weds 16th
Bruay leave tomorrow had a decent time. Lots of guns on the move up.
Thurs. 17th
Ham near Lilliers, hear for the night.
Fri. 18th
Near HazeBruck passed through St Venant. Decent journey fine weather.
Sat 19th
St Jans Cappelle back into the old country. Passed through Caestre, Fletre near Bailleul. All places I have been before.
Sun 20th
Leave here tonight for our horse lines (new) near Westouter.
Mon. 21st
Came up to new position this morning through Soare? To Kemmel-La Clytte? Rd 130 Old pos: when they were shelled out in March last. Lovely weather.
Tues. 22nd
Shell bricking and making gun pits. Two of our aeroplanes down.
Wed 23rd
Ditto. Weather fine.
Fri. 25th
Still shell shifting. Expecting 'F' gun up.
Sat 26th
'F' gun up in poss: last night. Calibrated today. Ours 'E' in tonight. Aeroplanes very active, no news of our other sections.
Sun 27th
A whole 2lb loaf per man, the only time since I've been out, fine bread too, lovely and white. Far superior to what we have been having.
Mon. 28th
Put over a few at Fritz. Plenty of digging etc: ready for the other sections expected on 30th. Fritz kept us lively all night and early this morning. All the Bty's round us had casualties. 116 had 9 hit including the Major.
Thurs. 29th
Fritz had another go last. Shelled all the roads and rail lines. Hit one of our battery wireless men. Got a few hits at him back. Fired over 150 rounds during the night.
Wed 30th
Remainder of battery joined up tonight. Had a bit of a strafe at the Huns during the night.
Thurs. 31st
'A' & 'B' came in. Fritz brought down in flames one of our balloons, the other side of Kemmel Hills. Plenty of strafing by the heavies.
June Fri. 1st
'C'&'D' guns came in tonight. Plenty of strafing going on. Fritz don't take it all sitting down but replies with a few rounds rapid, every now and again.
Sat 2nd
Plenty of strafing going on all round. Fritz replies very fully.
Sun 3rd
Plenty of excitement, Fritz bombarded us 3 or 4 times during day putting several in the battery. One blew up my dug out about three minute after I had been called out to unload ammunition 1500 gas shell came up. Fritz has to go through it very soon. 'Nobby Clark' wounded 'splinter'.
Mon. 4th
Fritz gave us another gruelling today. Strafed all the roads round the Bty: hit some of our cartridges & set fire to the cover of our ('E') gun. We had a nice mad five minutes as we were firing at the time. Sgt. Smith hit with splinter, no others hurt.
Tues. 5th
Nothing extra today. Fritz gave us a few intervals. /we returned them the compliment.
Wed 6th
Fairly quiet. Heard we made a raid during the night got some prisoners. Blazing hot weather. Tonight we prepared the gas shell, ready to give Fritz an early morning surprise - taking the ridge.
Thurs. 7th
Taken all our objectives, saw hundreds of prisoners come down. We started off at 3 am. Mines went up, we got going with gas shell, continued until about 7 am. We got a few shell from Fritz in exchange. I with three more of my gun detachment were sitting having a bit of a spell outside gun pit. When a 'Percy' came over and knocked of Georges head, an awful sight. Allibone was slightly hurt. We were all talking together. Luckily the shell was a dud and did not explode or goodness only knows how many of our men would have been hit. Remainder of the day fairly quiet. Toward night the artillery began to get going again. 116 & 129 have moved up through Kemmel. I hear we are pulling out for another part of the line. We are shifted into another group (53) the third since we have been here
Fri. 8th
Fairly quiet. Fired on enemy wire, and a few dozen rounds of shrapnel at 10.000 yards, so Fritz must be nearly out of range. Saw about 400 more prisoners. Got orders for a sudden move. Went by lorries to Poperinghe, where we are staying the night. The ground looks familiar, after being away from this part for over 14 months there are some changes. Destination unknown. More hard work I suppose.
Sat 9th
Rest. Lovely weather. More Bty's on the move.
Sun 10th
Mon. 11th
Wed 13th
Up to new position to dig gun pits. It is off the Lille Rd midway between Ypres and Verpageele on the banks of Ypres-Comines Canal. When ones in this part it can be quite understood how it was Fritz always gave us a strafing as the ridge in front (Hill 60, Bluff etc.) quite overlooks the whole surrounding country. Things fairly quiet on the whole, but I see Fritz has a daily hate on the Ypres rubbish heap. Went past all our old lines and positions that I spent so many happy times in (Vlamertinghe Konistraat & Brandhock). Pay F10
Thurs. 14th
Went on guard to new horse lines. Met Ted Creek in 128 heavy. Went for a look round to old Smithers farm.
Fri. 15th
Today Will Male found me out, after searching all over the country for me, he is now in the L.H.Y. Hear 121 siege who are in position just in front of us, have had several casualties, including the Major (Halifax) that was in Dover when I was. All batteries sending men on leave except ours.
Sun 17th
Up at battery guns coming in tonight. Fritz has been strafing Ypres all day one R.F.A. Bty (3) practically wiped out.
Mon. 18th
Guns in last night ('C' & 'D'). Today Fritz shelled us all day at intervals two killed Lieut: Mansfield & Sgt. Butterily, three shell shock, two wounded, went to burying at Dikkebus.
Tues. 19th
Fritz still giving us a few round rapid. Two or three more go down with shell shock. Spare men go down horse lines for a rest. Great rumours about leave.
Wed 20th
Two more guns up 'A' & 'B'. Fritz not quite so nasty today. Some of our fellows go on leave.
Thurs. 21st
More shelling, very close lot of shell, including gas come up, more on leave. Will soon come my turn for the month.
Fri. 22nd
Our quietest day so far. Early this morn: Fritz dropout two just in front of our dugouts, luckily it was to early for our chaps to be up. 16 more on leave. Heard this morning Sgt. Gutteridge has been awarded the D.C.M. for meritorious war service.
Sat 23rd
Fritz aeroplanes very active. Brought to two of our balloons and 1 plane. We were strafed several times and had to clear out of position. 11 on leave.
Sun 24th
Lovely day . Being Sunday, Fritz was a bit more lively than usual. Strafed all along the canal. Several narrow shaves in Bty: from splinters. Two of 126 siege killed next position to ours. Two of our planes brought down and 1 balloon. Don't like this position at all. 4 More on leave. Making 54 in all since last Wed.
Mon. 25th
Only about 1 hours work today, Fritz to attentive, kept on the jump all day. Hit the Ridge just behind our position none of ours hit, but several in Bty's just around. Shall be glad when the strafe starts, as Fritz is having it all his own way at present. 4 extra on leave, 58 in all.
Tues. 26th
Fritz fairly quiet only had one little strafe all day. No one hurt in ours but several round about. More on leave.
Wed 27th
Fritz was nasty today. Wouldn't let us do a bit. Dropt one in the water just outside our dugout door. Made a beastly mess. We cleared up to the lock. Had just got there when plonk one dropt right in it. Wind up. This is getting a bit thick, and is fairly getting on my nerves. Our gun is to come up late tonight. Hope we will have a bit of luck with it. More on leave. 67 I believe it is gone. Our dump just blown up, been burning all the afternoon we clear out for the night. No guns coming up. One of our balloons been brought down.
Thurs. 28th
Fritz fairly quiet. The dump of our that blew up yesterday, look awful, a hole large enough for a house to go in, it blew down the houses on the offside of the road. 5 on leave. 1 of our fellows hit with a splinter.
Fri. 29th
Went off this morning to lay wire T"O" Post, all alongside Zillebeke Lake. Fritz fairly quiet. 4 on leave.
Sat 30th
Miserable day. Rain all day. Moving ammunition. Fritz fairly going mad, throwing stuff all over the place.
July Sun 1st
Anniversary of the Somme. Fritz specially active blew up a dump in Ypres gas works. Put 3 in the canal in front of our dugouts. Our No 1 got a splinter through the thigh, well away for Blighty (C.P.Hover). 4 more on leave. 7 of my gun team casualties in 3 weeks.*
*See appendix.
A day out for Fritz. Aeroplanes.
Mon. 2nd
Fritz strafed us several times during the day. Had to clear out our position none of ours hurt.
Tues. 3rd
Fritz again done the dirty, dropt two 5.9 H.E. just in front of our cook house. No one hurt. 3 or 4 of our dumps went up in the vicinity.
Weds 4th
Another dump went up in Konistraat this morning. Fritz strafed all around. We are working on another position for "E" & "F" guns.
Thurs. 5th
Very hot day 5in. dump blew up dinnertime, shells dropout all around us. Fritz gave a fine strafing at intervals. 3 Sergt's killed in 126 siege next us. Lieut. Shaw my section officer hit in side. Our gun came in tonight. Our dump in Konistraat siding blew up. We are very unlucky lately with our ammo: Hope I'll soon get a rest. Getting fed up with dodging into holes to save my skin dozens of times a day.
Fri. 6th
Working on left section position. "F" gun coming up tonight. Fritz dropout one or two fairly close while we were unloading ammo: this afternoon. Ridiculous to bring wagons and horses so close. & or 8 sossidge balloons up.
Sat 7th
YOUNG Currell goes on leave. Fritz was extra bad, they fairly got his rag out. The ammo: dump at Belgians Bty corner keeps blowing up as the different stacks get hot. Rather rotten for us with all the shell flying anywhere. Saw 3 planes come down (one of ours). Pay 10 Francs.
Sun 8th
Not much doing today. Saw 5 German prisoners. About 6 this morning after our people had a bit of a strafe. Going down to horse lines tonight.
Mon. 9th
Last night I had the best sleep I've had for some time. Went to look for Will Male, found he had left for his regiment yesterday morning.
Tues. 10th
Moved horse lines, just my luck, because I'm down for a rest. Nothing much doing.
Wed 11th
All our gunners came down from the battery early this morning, were very heavily shelled, but only had casualty. Fritz brought down three of our balloons about 2 o/c, by aeroplane.
Thurs. 12th
Another off day. Fritz put over a few long distance shell. Hear he is dropping 17inc into Ypres.
Fri. 13th
Still resting. 1900 rounds came up (special gas)
Sat 14th
Expecting to up on guns. Strafe expected any time.
Sun 15th
Came up tonight. Snowie and several gunners who have been having an easy time down horse lines for about 12 months go on guns.
Mon. 16th
Gadsby wounded, what luck only left driving for the guns yesterday. Fritz fairly lively, especially his aeroplanes.
Tues. 17th
Fine day. Fritz fairly lively. We are beginning to warm things up for ham a lot. He dropt a few fairly close. We are on duty tonight.
Wed 18th
Wet today. Hope it won't last, as the strafe is expected anytime now. Fritz sent a few quite close to us. No one hurt. Our heavies gave him a lively time today, gradually working up for the strafe.
Thurs. 19th
Fritz fairly active, strafing the roads and bridges. Two dropt just between two guns. Weather wet. We had a raid during the night.
Fri. 20th
Fire again today. Aeroplanes very active. Our people shove a lot of heavy stuff over into the German lines. Fritz keep knocking up our dumps. Young Currell back.
Sat 21st
Gas alarm during the night. Two more of our chaps wounded at the right section. Direct hit on a dugout. Three hit this afternoon. J.Ball looks like losing his leg. Fritz sending over some large stuff. German plane down.
Sun 22nd
Lovely day. Fritz fairly quiet. Sent a few gas shells over. Aircraft very active.
Mon. 23rd
Pay 10 Francs. Fritz sent us a few souvenirs over. We seem to be just a little off the line of fire. Aeroplanes very active both day and night. Strafe must be near. Our people are getting worked up.
Tues. 24th
Fritz gassed us last night, we had our masks on for 31/2 hours. Fire 98 rounds today, we are giving him some more at 1pm. A strafe started and we fairly rattled them over. From 15inch to 18 pounders, in the direction of Hodge, Zannibeke. Saw 70 G'men prisoners come down, and our wounded. Hear we took 1st& 2nd line.
Wed 25th
Fritz strafed us last night, blew up our magazine, gun out of action this morning such a sight.
Thurs. 26th
Salving our guns this morning. Lost all our stores and ammo: gun unhurt and still in action. J Bull has died of wounds. Remit home 8. Fritz gave us a few very heavy stuff. We strafed him with heavies taking part 5o/c.
Fri. 27th
Night fairly quiet. We fired a few hundred rounds during the night. Joe Wardle got splinter in his back (another E sub) not serious. Fritz fairly quiet here. Heavy firing on the left (Boezinghe & Diksmuide).
Sat 28th
Lewis A.D. wounded this morning up in the forward position (E sub) elbow smashed. Strafe going on this evening, another feeler I suppose, on our left front. St Jean, Langemark direction. Pretty hot while it lasted.
Sun 29th
Fired 90 gas shell per gun last night before mi:. Saw Fritz prisoners about 30, his aeroplanes were up overhead all night long, bombing etc. rain today everywhere sludgy. Fritz dropt a 4.2 on the Majors dugout, luckily it did not go through covered the old man with dirt.
Mon. 30th
Bty heavily shelled today. Timber Woods hit in the ribs. Shell dropt under "A" gun. Strafe coming off in the morning. We commence banging away at 4 am. Infantry gone up ready, we go up with first push to Zillebeke. Aeroplanes dropt bombs in our horse line last night. 141 Bty had some casualties.
Tue 31st
2nd Anniversary of the use of liquid fire at Hodge. This morning we got a bit of our own back. We got going at 3.55, after putting over 50 gas shell during night. In action until 12 midday. When we got orders to pull out. Had dinner, got all ready, stores, kit etc. caterpillar pulled guns out. Went to forward position just behind observation ridge, between Zillebeke and firing line saw during the day German prisoners about 700 in all. Weather looks very shaky, heavy mist. Smedley killed premature, Goulding wounded in Z.
August Weds 1st
Heavy rain. Got "B" & "E" guns in action. "A" gun is in a large shell hole up to axle "F" to go in. Rotten night, out in the open last night. Everything is wet through. Hear push is held up, after a good start. Weather spoils everything going back to the canal bank, as there is no accommodation here. Jarrat got a splinter wound this evening, nothing serious.
Thurs. 2nd
Canal Bank, still raining. Centre section went up to forward position, and got "F" gun in. Jarvis wounded. "A" gun still stuck. Fritz fairly quiet. Hope will soon improve. Dozens of tanks waiting here for better weather.
Fri. 3rd
Weather frightful. Everywhere up to knees in mud. Fritz is waking up again and throwing his heavy stuff about. Nothing doing up in forward position. Fairly heavy strafes going on at intervals during last night and today.
Sat 4th
Weather a little better, sunshine during the rain. 122 coming into our position we go out for a short spell. Our guns up beyond Zillebeke, left until the next big strafe.
Sun 5th
Down in barn at Group Headquarters. Weather a lot better. Went into Poperinghe for the day. 122 had 1 killed in our position after we left yesterday.
Mon. 6th
Bath this morning, still resting. Went out and found Snowies brother in 145 A.S.C.
Tues. 7th
Hanging around all day, waiting for our pay got it at 81/2" too late to go out anywhere. « detachments for forward position at 5 am. Of course I am one of the fortunate ones to go up. Expect strafe is to start again. Planes have been very active all day, and the heavies have hammering away.
Wed 8th
Forward position- lively place. Walked from Konisstraat, very pleasant what with the smell of dead horses and such like. Its awful to see the state of things. Dozens of horses and wagons lying around broken up. We had a very quiet day. Aeroplanes very active again.
Thurs. 9th
"Maple Copse" quite a lively time. Fritz made a bit off an attack tonight. Very heavy thunderstorms. We had to dodge a few.
Fri. 10th
Had a very lively night last night. Fritz dropt a lot of mixture all around us. One dropt in "A" sub dugout, Paddy Allen wounded in 4 or 5 different place, took him down to Dormy House dressing station, had to go to group during the night. We strafed Fritz this morning. Hear we are doing fairly well. Hope this wind & sun will last, the country is drying up a treat. One of our planes down. Going out for a rest in the morning.
Sat 11th
Came out for a rest this morning. Rough time last night. Fritz dropt several shell of different sizes in the battery. One just at the trail of our gun. We stop't counter attacks last night. Fritz planes up tonight. Went to see Snowies brother.
Sun 12th
Bressebrum to see Snowie. We took a village and ridge on Friday. Some prisoners. Enemy plane brought down one of our obs: Balloon. Was brought down himself on the way back.
Mon. 13th
A quiet walk round the country. Last n8ight we had some rough luck in forward position, Lieut. Marsh and 6 others wounded. Freddy Waite and Booker seriously. Some more of "E" sub the gun was hit, out of action. Saw some prisoners about 30 came down. Found Ginger Brays.
Tue 14th
Fresh relief on the guns this morning. Wardel hit in the stomach with splinter very bad, this makes 8 in 2 days. Fritz registered on Bty: Pos: Throwing over a bit of heavy stuff. News from Golding, has lost his eye. Lt Marsh, Gunners Evans, Hill, Brooks Arnfield, Vause Wardel & Bdr. Waite. 3 of "E" section and gun out of action. Hit springs.
Weds 15th
Battery strafed again yesterday, several dugouts and two guns hit. Cpl; Uster killed and Currell badly wounded. While out fixing up line to group. Hear Wardel died of wounds.
Thurs. 16th
Weather improved a bit. Hear the boys are going over. Our lot have cleared out and left the guns. 4 out of action.
Fri. 17th
Still at rest. Fairly quiet. Snowies brother leaves today. Our cheap feeds are fine.
Sat 18th
141 H.B. in our group have gone out four a month. Hear we go in a few days. A party to make the road up. Told off for the morning.
Sun 19th
Lovely day. Aircraft very active. Fritz comes over every evening at dusk and stays quite a long time. Our searchlights & A.A. guns keep him on the move. Party went up to pull guns out.
Mon. 20th
I was one of the party to pull out the guns today, only moved one, terrific job.
Fritz put over a dozen or so small shell, right amongst us, none hurt. Most marvellous. One of our pilots brought down a couple of Fritzies in Flames weather lovely for air work.
Tues. 21st
Fritz bombed behind our line again after dark last night. Our people make a bit of an attack every day every day. Two on leave.
Weds 22nd
Another strafe by our people today. Heavy artillery bombardment. Fritz plane down this evening. Our guns ready to be pulled out. Weather topping. Hear we did very well this morning. Seen no prisoners pass.
Thurs. 23rd
Another strafe this morning. We went to pull out 3 guns. 1 went to ordinance workshops at Abele to wait for new ones.
Fri. 24th
Very quiet down here not much work. Dodging around. Fritz makes air raids every night.
Sat 25th
Same as yesterday. Saw 25th Div: Going in.
Sun 26th
Put our guns on the rail for base. Plenty of them here busted up. Big do coming off in morning.
Mon. 27th
Thomas killed on Menin Road. Davis severely wounded. Thomas was one of the old original Bty:, who are going one at a time. Very few of us left.
Tue 28th
Still at ordnance. Weather very stormy.
September Mon. 3rd
Back to Bty: with our "E" gun. Hickson got his foot smashed gun ran over it. While passing thro' Ouderdom.
Tues. 4th
Nothing doing. Find centre section is in action up by Zillebeke Lake. Digging party in preparing positions for the other sections. Strong rumours of move to another front. Taking no guns.
Weds 5th
Gun guard. Weather fine. Fritz aeroplanes come over every night bombing. Ours return the complement.
Thurs. 6th
No mail today. Strafe on early this morning to our left. Fritz plane brought down in flames this afternoon. Three horses killed in our line.
Thurs. 13th
My gun into action tonight near Hill 60 V.M. Weather fair.
Fri. 14th
Strafe very close. Registered guns today "B" sub gun blew its muzzle off, no one hurt. Our planes very active. Country fairly smothered with guns, all sizes 18 pounder to 12 inch, won't their be a hubbub when we all open out. The firing has been fairly brisk with the big stuff all day, keeping Fritz on the jump. All sorts of rumours about.
Sat 15th
Fairly quiet. Our people blaze away for about 15 minutes over 3 or 4 hours. We got a few back Snowie goes sick.
Sun 16th
Registered again today. Weather Fine, same tactics as yesterday. "B" pull out. "F" in. 2 G.planes down.
Mon. 17th
Weather good. Fired 50 rounds H.E. expect to be on all night. Bty: strafed, all tracks and road pretty stiff this evening. We have plenty of shell for the do.
Tues. 18th
Heavy bombardment early this morning and again at noon. Keeping Fritz on the jump. The railway is still being heavily shelled by Fritz. Signs of wet coming on hope not or it will spoil the strafe.
Midnight Wed 19th
Just turning in after giving Fritz 60 of the best, gas. Fine at present, had a lot of rain early on. A shell just dropout in door of dugout, dud. Turn out at 5 am. For the long awaited strafe. The Cup Finals, I hope.
Thurs. 20th
Strafe started off about 5 am. What a din. Saw several prisoners brought down. Weather just it. Hear we are doing well, Fritz put a few large shells over this evening 8 inch. One dropout under muzzle of "A" gun. "C" guns muzzle blown off. Two in a week. Hear the Huns are using 8 inch gas shells.
Fri. 21st
Hear good news of the push, saw plenty of Fritz prisoners. Weather continues fine. Splendid work by aeroplanes, saw a couple come spinning down. Fritz came over on a bombing raid. Day and night. Field Arty: moving up, suppose we will soon be getting another shift.
Sat 22nd
Weather still good. One of our planes brought down this morning. Saw 2 of our super tanks, with 60 pndr and 6 inch Hows: going up this morning. Fritz throwing his shell around anywhere. Getting some lucky hits on ammo: dumps. Tried to bring down one of our sausage balloons was driven off. Brought one down last night by the canal bank. BDGE 26.
Sun 23rd
Fritz kept us on the jump all day, a lot dropout right in the Bty by did no damage. Three of our chaps wounded while up digging forward position just beyond Valley Cotts on Observation Ridge.
Mon. 24th
Fritz stomped us all day on and off. 2 casualties Sgt. Gough killed, Bdr Adamson wounded, two of the old Bty:. Weather good. Hope we will soon start the next strafe. 31 Bty: comes in on our right, from the Bullicourt sector, relieved by the Americans. Sent over a few hundred gas, to liven Fritz up a bit. Kennedy killed by bombs.
Tues. 25th
Weather good. Plenty of aircraft about, several scraps. Expecting strafe. Fritz put up barrage along the tracks and roads. We several shot on the Bty. No one hurt.
Wed 26th
Strafe about 5.30 this morning, went at it fairly hard for a time. Fritz got angry later on and sent over a few H.V. Hear we took all our objectives including Zonnebeke Village and Polygon Wood.
Thurs. 27th
Slight rain this morning. Fairly quiet. We got stomped by Fritz, one shell dropt outside dugout next mine, killed one, wounded 3 (R.F.A.). One of our drivers wounded horses killed. Two guns on Observation Ridge ("C" & "F") D coming into this position tonight. Hear our boys go over again in the morning.
Fri. 28th
Fritz keeps us on the jump all day. Two of our fellows slightly wounded.
Sat 29th
Fritz strafed us unmercifully last night. We were on our guns firing when over came some 4.2. H.E. We packed up under cover, could not move out of magazine for 21/2 hours. Several fires around about. Cartridges hit our camouflage and """"subs burnt down. Several narrow escapes, no one in Bty hurt. Today we have had to run once or twice. Fritz planes very active last night. got a tough of gas.
October Mon. 1st
An attack of ours on the left this morning. Fritz countered about 10.30 put over a lot of stuff. Killed 2, wounded 6 in R.F.A. Bty next to us. We had some remarkable escapes. Plane down this evening (unknown). Weather still very good.
Tues. 2nd
Fritz keeps us on the jump again today. We are like a lot of rabbits or rats, running into our holes. Ripley & Leeming wounded at rear position.
Wed 3rd
Awful night last night. Fritz simply lumped "L" out of us, got direct hits on 4 of our dugouts. Sgt. Berry & Gnr Kirkbright wounded, remarkable escapes. Weather breaking up, raining. Br Cullen wounded in the head. Terrible day. Plenty of dodging and diving. Strafe in the morning.
Thurs. 4th
Strafe this morning. Hear we are doing great. One thing Fritz hasn't chased us into our holes today. Our super tanks went up early. The rain looks like spoiling everything. We have been firing all day.
Fri. 5th
"B" gun put out of action, direct hit on gun. No one hurt. We have to go up in its place, pulled out this evening. Raining. Several S.O.S. targets during the day Wheal of "F" sub died, gas poisoning. Leave started again.
Sat 6th
Caterpillar pulled gun on to main road. Fritz strafing all round valley cottages. We couldn't go up for 2 hours. Hear we are going about Tuesday. Throat still sore through gas last Saturday.
Sun 7th
Rotten miserable rainy weather. Fritz not quite so bad today. We are going to join 3rd Army further south. Will be pleased to get away from here. Pemberton hit, seriously.
Mon. 8th
Still waiting for our relief. Weather improved a bit. Fritz fairly quiet . Our planes out in day.
Tues. 9th
No letters since last Thursday. Our relief arrived about 2.30, hope I've seen the last of the Ypres sector. Fritz put up an heavy barrage across Menin Rd, Maple Copse & Observation Ridge. Weather fair, some rain. Where are we going is the cry by all the troops.
Weds 10th & Thurs. 11th
Hanging around waiting to get away to our new position. Weather damp, cold and miserable.
Fri. 12th & Sat 13th
Horse lines waiting to move.
Mon15th & Thurs. 16th
Move to Arras arrived Tuesday morning, went up to Bty: near Wancourt, Tres Bon position. Going back to horse lines to wait for our gun. Which is at ordinance. Had a good look round this morning. Germans do not shell it very often now.
Weds 17th & Thurs. 18th
At horse lines having fairly easy time, no war on here. Sending two per day on leave. It will be all spit & polish here I suppose. Letters coming in.
Sat 20th & Sun 21st
Weather great, cold & frosty in the mornings. Clipping horses, very quiet here. 2 going on leave daily.
22nd & 23rd
Hear Ripley & Pemberthy had died of wound received at Zillebeke. Hear 113 Bty: have grotto severely handled at ATZ.
Weds 24th
Clipping still. Weather good. Constant rumble of guns going on towards Lens.
Sat 27th
Letter from home first for 5 days. Only 3 since I came here. 2 per day still going on leave. Good news on phone of French victory. Went into Arra on duty. Weather unsettled, some white frosts, some rain, some sunshine, not very cold.
Weds 31st
Weather fine. Still clipping. Nothing extra doing here. Sending 9 per week this month.
Fri. 2nd
Strong rumours of some move on. Rear sections with column.
Sat 3rd
Up to Bty: Right and centre sections to go "somewhere". Very quiet up here.
Sun 4th
Our people moved off yesterday. Believe to the South. Very quiet up here. About 20 of us left to work the left section guns. Leave still continues. Weather very good for time of the year.
Sat. 10th
Nothing doing. Hear we have to join other sections on The Somme. My leave gone west for a few weeks I suppose.
Sun 11th
Horse lines tonight with the guns. Going to join the other sections down south near Ypres.
Mon. 12th
Pushed off about 9pm tonight. First stop Sapiennes.
Tue 13th
Dryasel camp Sapignies. Leave tonight. Weather fine. Several other batteries going in same direction. Appears to be no towns or any people on our route.
Wed 14th
Beaulencourt here for the day. Some rain.
Thurs. 15th
Haplincourt got here late last night, pitched our tent in the mud. Tre Bon.
Fri. 16th
Beaumetz arrived here this morning, via Velu. Pulled into position, only silent battery until the strafe starts. This village is properly busted up, houses blown up, wells blocked, fruit trees cu down and trees by roadside felled across to prevent traffic. Now mostly cleared. Leaning steeple at Buenoy took my notice church had been knocked from under it and it had fell into a slightly leaning position. First letter came since the 9th. Two rum issues today. Sleep all day after all night out. Very quiet here.
Sat. 17th
Quiet. Preparing for strafe - someday.
Sun 18th
Still preparing. Dry but misty.
Mon. 19th
Expecting strafe very soon. Everything points out that it is coming off in the next few days.
Tues. 20th
At least we opened fire this morning on the easiest that I've been on. Haven't seen a shell burst all day. Turned out wet towards evening. Saw 50 or 60 prisoners going down. Out of range at some points.
Wed 21st
Kept at it all day practically extreme range. Saw a few prisoners. The usual rumours flying round about [places captured.
Thurs. 22nd
Weather a bit better than yesterday. Still firing at extreme ranges. Lot of traffic and reinforcements going up. No one going on leave.
Fri. 23rd
Still in action extreme range. Cannot get to know how we are going on, but by the number of reinforcements going up we must be doing well. The guards division is camped in Doignies. Fine body of men.
Sat 24th
Still banging away. A few shells came over from our left. Hear we took Tadpole Wood the other evening. Weather none to good.
Sun 25th
Rotten night had 1700 rounds come up. All night unloading. Firing at intervals.
Mon. 26th
Fairly quiet again. 131 pull out, going back to Arras. Hear offensive is finished round here. We only fire at extreme ranges. Our gun nearly worn out. S 900 rounds.
Tues. 27th
Same procedure as yesterday. Rotten weather.
Wed 28th
Slight improvement in weather. Not much firing. Troops still going towards Cambrai. 3 on leave last night.
Thurs. 29th
Our gun condemned 6,209 rounds fired out of it. Last night Fritz strafed the village, 5 of ours wounded, 4 serious. Our 6 inch Hows got on to it, hope they did a bit of good. One of our kite balloons brought down by Botchaeroplane. Weather fine. Ernie Palmer missing from O.P. all day, search party gone out.
Fri. 30th
Fritz shells Beaumetz at frequent intervals. Several dropout too near our billets, so we cleared to some dugouts. Had a bit of a set back up the line. Hear lots of rumours about Germans breaking tho' at Bourlon. Retaking village & wood that's Tadpole wood. We had a heavy strafe on. Towards evening things quietened down. Reliefs went up as usual.
December Sat 1st
Fairly quiet today. Fritz shells Velu with 8in doing much damage. Can't hear the truth of yesterdays flare up. 4.2s still drop in Beaumetz occasionally. Weather fine. Dozens of our planes are up. Saw two brought down yesterday. Gilmore wounded on Friday taken to hospital. Making 6 of ours in this position "C"&"E" out of action.
Sun 2nd
Nothing extra doing. Hear plenty of rumours, we have retaken ground lost two days ago. Fritz shells Beaumetz & Velu. Weather cold and fine.
Mon. 3rd
Weather fine & frosty. Two infantry killed outside B.Cs HGT. Whizzbangs last night. Nothing much doing.
Tues 4th
Fine & FROSTY. No one going on leave. Saw Snowie last night, up with ammo; first time for a month. Rumours we are on the move.
Wed 5th
Plenty of rumours flying around. Hear we are withdrawing to our original line. Weather fine and frosty.
Thurs. 6th
Three guns now out of action. A.C.E. Rumours yesterday appear to have had some truth in them. We have withdrawn during the night to our original line. What hard luck. Fritz planes very active, our are numerous. Weather lovely but cold we appear to be settling down.
Fri. 7th
Not so fine today, frost disappearing. We look like digging in here for the winter. Sinking the guns into pits and camouflaging all over. No signs of leave yet, none been for nearly a fortnight now.
Sat 8th
Rotten weather. Firing slackening down a bit. Fritz was expected to come over this morning.
Sun 9th
Ordered at 4am. To pull our gun out for exchange. Took it to Bapaume put it on truck at railhead, returned to horselines with carriage. Got rotten wet and muddy, walked all the way about 18 miles or more. Vioa Berticourt, Haplincourt & Bancourt. Green envelope.
Mon. 10th
Haplincourt. Weather fair. Cushy time.
Tues. 11th
Wed 12th
Barastre ordinance workshop, arrived this morning billeted in old house. The village is like all other villages. Fritz evacuated wilfully destroyed. One hole in cemetery where the bones are exposed, has been a German dugout and burnt to prevent us using it. R.N.D. camped here. Two on leave lastnight.
Thurs 13th
Barastre. Quiet here, working in the O yard.
Fri. 14th
Went up to Bty: for a change of clothe. Fritz whizz banged Beaumetz while I was there. Heavy firing for two days on our left.
Sat 15th
Fritz planes over this morning a 7o/c bombed all around our horse lines at Haplincourt. Two more on leave. Frosty & sun.
Sun 16th
Fine & frosty snow this evening. Went to horse lines.
Mon. 17th & Tues. 18th
Hard frost - fine - parcel from home & V'Hall. Pay 10F
Wed 19th
Still frosty & snow on ground, but fine. Nothing much doing.
Thurs. 20th
Birthday. Hard frost.
Fri. 21st
Barastre. O yard, nothing doing. Hard frost.
Sat 22nd
Bombing again last night, quite close here. Hard frost.
Mon. 24th
Xmas eve. Hard frost. Fritz came over bombing again last night. Heard no results. Invited to horselines for tomorrow. No one going on leave.
Xmas Day Tues. 25th
Oh Lp. What a day more snow, some rain, rotten dinner, rotten turnout altogether.
Wed 26th
About 4 inches of snow this morning, sunshine. Several Fritz planes up. Two were brought down on the raid two nights ago. Dolly Gray wounded. D & F guns moved to the right of Hermes. Teddy 4.
Three German planes brought down today. Weather fine, strong wind, frosty. Go back to horse lines Haplincourt.
Sat 29th & Sun 30th
Building store for B.Q.M.S. bit of a strafe this morning. Plenty of troops moving out. Roads rotten for travelling. Thaw set in.

January Tues. 1st
Went to Barastre this morning for gun, then on to Albert, arrived there at 8.30. Rotten journey roads very slippy. Stopping C.A.hut.
Weds 2nd
Left Albert at 1pm. Got to horse lines at 5.30 passing into Pozieres, Le Sars, & Bapaume. Saw about 10 tanks smashed on the advance last year. Acoy: of Americans in Poz: railway engineers. Passed the Butte of Warlencourt where Huns made a big stand. The country is indescribable, never saw such a sight. The B& A road is real and 12 miles long. Saw two old Dover men in A.
Thurs. 3rd
Cleaning gun in horse lines. Hear rumours of a large air raid in Eng: and a big strafe by Fritz at Arras. Aeroplanes very active around here. Still very cold and frosty. Go on leave on the 11th.
Jan Sat 5th
Up with gun tonight a quick move as 141 is pulling out and we go into their position between Havrincourt Wood & Hermies. Roads in rotten greasy condition.
Sun 6th
Nothing much doing. Haven't fired yet. Still hard and cold. Very bleak up here.
Mon. 7th
Rain this morning "D" gun came in last night "F" stuck in shell hole. Thaw having set in, it will take a bit of getting out. Roll on tomorrow, I go back for leave.
Tue 8th
Plenty of snow and frost. Fire 10 rounds calibration.
Weds 9th
Left for Bapaume 2o/c arrived no train until morning. Kip'd down in the Church Army hut nearly froze.
Thurs. 10th
Left Bap: about 9 arrived here Boulogne 5o/c billeted for the night, good billet, good supper.
Fri. 11th
Left for Blighty at 11.30 got to Vic at 6o/c. Found everyone alright at home.

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