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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Diary Entry - 1st January 1916

The day started badly, as there was some bungle made over waking my servant, and it was five to seven when Bates came in to call me. On enquiring from Corporal Rosco the cause of the trouble, I found it was rather complicated, so left for the O.B. post-haste. Bee was up there from the 15th, and he said he saw a large party of Bosch working in the open, to the left and rear of Lone Farm. He said he let fly at them but, if I could have only got there, our guns are registered on those trenches, and we could have both let them have it. I was glad to see that some new crosses had been put up on our rabbit run – one right where my two birds fell, which speaks for itself. We kept very quiet all day, and the Bosch also did very little shooting. It rained in the afternoon, but, after it was over, the air was very clear, although there was a high wind blowing from the south-west, which made accurate shooting very difficult. Suttie and I noticed that the dugout on the fringe of Auchy was still burning, but we could not distinguish what it was that was burning. We saw the flames, but could not see what the material was. It just looked as if the earth was smouldering. The Bosch shelled the battery again in the morning.


  1. In a strange way, his comment here reminds me of that very atmospheric advertisement for the Yarra Valley vineyards: 'Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run'. And continues with a line about the farmer and his gun.

  2. Who the rabbit is and who the farmer with the gun changes from day to day.

  3. Extraordinary diary and letters - and photos. I have an interest here as my grandfather was also a young gunner officer in 36th Brigade (but in 71st Battery) but had been wounded by the time the Manifolds joined. I also recognise some of the names and would suggest:-
    Gunner Forvag = Gnr Sidney Fovargue [69810]
    Corporal Rosco = Cpl John Rescoe [24823]
    Waldron = Captain Victor Walrond - one of the few original officers of the Brigade by late 1915..

  4. Fascinating. Did your grandfather have to come back or was he invalided out? Thank you for the names - invaluable information.

  5. My grandfather never returned to the front and after convalescing ultimately spend most of the war at the Military Academy at Woolwich training regular artillery officers. I now have the names of some 1100+ men who served in the Brigade and will add details on any I know if you are interested. Unfortunately some names are more common - there are at least 3 Bates in the Brigade in 1914 (Edward Manifold's batman/servant), for example. I have a few photos which were taken by Edward's colleague Godfrey Hoyland - who joined the Brigade in April 1915 - including one of the 48th Battery Serjeants, and one of their football team (I think they date to October 1917).