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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Diary Entry - 30th and 31st December, 1915

There is one day missing I can't account for.

I spent a day at the guns. It was quite quiet, mainly on account of a gentleman of the high order, who said the division was firing ammunition quicker than it could be brought into the country. We have orders to only fire three rounds now, where we would have fired four. Our average up to now has been about 150 rounds a day. After lunch, the Colonel came round and asked about the pits – when we were going to start on them – and I showed him the timber we had just pinched from some old gun pits this side of Vermelles. The timber is really good stuff, and it is a wonder it has been allowed to remain there so long. Martin Powell seemed quite pleased with it. I forgot to mention that before lunch we got a lot of attach├ęs onto No. 6 pit and took the sandbags off the roof and also the ones at the back of the pit off, so as to be ready to run the gun out at six. There was nothing doing in the afternoon and, at dusk, we ran No. 6 gun into the billet yard and put it half under a small roof. At four, the vet from the wagon line turned up. He had been invited to New Year's Eve dinner and to stay the night. Griffith also came along after tea. He was a guest for the night too. At six thirty, everyone got busy preparing for the meal, and I went to the billet and had a hot bath. Todd turned up at eight, and then we set to. A very fine dinner was prepared, with a good assortment of wine, and it took us nearly two hours to get the better of it. At eleven, we had arranged with the Infantry to have a combined strafe, as by Bosch time it was twelve, so we all sallied forth and some of the guests went into the pits and fired the guns. We gave them four rounds g.f. of the best. At twelve, again we all issued forth for our own strafe, ordered by the brigade, into Haines, and that went off with a good swing. We then came back in and drank to the New Year and sang 'Auld Anxion' [?] very lustily. At twelve thirty, after a few good songs, I went to bed, and I think the party broke up shortly afterwards.

(On Friday afternoon, Siggers was taken from us by the brigade to take Murdock's place as orderly officer. The latter was wounded on the day of the shelling.)


  1. Haines does not sound like an original French name, but an English import. I have tried googling 'auld axion' and 'auld anxion' but not able to unearth anything meaningful.

  2. could he of meant Auld Lang Syne

  3. Yes, I reckon that must be it, Glenn; I think the thing he wrote down must be a family joke or something like that.