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Monday, 3 January 2011

Diary Entry - 3rd January 1916

The sergeant on duty called me at six twenty, and I had to rise and see that all the men were standing by, in case of an attack at dawn. After a look round, having reported to Suttie, I climbed back to bed, awaiting results, but I think Boschey is too wise to advance in the open these days, without gas to help him. There was rather a chaos in the Mess all day, as the brigade used it as their headquarters for the time being and people were rushing in and out all day. About eleven, when all the men we could spare were working on No. 6 pit, building an experimental 4.2 proof one, Boschey started on his old racket, well over the crest. It would have been all right, if he had not added, but he kept adding, until he finally put one about three yards from No. 4's aiming post. I was in the telephone dugout at the time and I knew he was close, but, if I had known it was only 40 yards short, I would have moved, as it meant the next one would have been about on top of us – but, for some reason, Boschey had finished. Shortly after this an aeroplane flew over and our 9 inch gun got to work, in cooperation with the hows and 60 pounders, but what damage they did I don't know. Except for a few 10 cm shells, all went smoothly till about three, when Boschey put a direct 10 cm shell plumb into the farm behind the 60s. It looked like a lucky shot, but soon afterwards he popped in another, then he started on the Howitzer batters (59th siege) and, with aeroplanes observing, did some excellent shooting. Our heavies seemed to get their blood up and started plugging away, regardless of aeroplanes, especially the unfortunate How. They were firing as quickly as they loaded, but the 10 cm made it very hot for them and knocked out two men, wounding seven by the time it finished. One cannot but admire the German fuzes - their shrapnel bursts beautifully regularly and they gave me quite an interesting afternoon. That evening I had to camp at the O.B. and started out for the brigade dugout with Rodd at nine. This is a nice cosy spot about 600 yards down Wood Lane from Harley Street. We found Colonel Martin Powell having dinner with some of the Infantry, and I stayed there till eleven. The snipers were very busy around the barrier and near the O.B., and one sentry warned me to keep behind the hedge and, needless to say, I followed his instructions and took every precaution, especially when a 'verries light' went up. I slept on the forestry under the 15th ladder. As I did not have much clothing, I did not sleep too well on the tile floor. The rats too were very troublesome, but there was no trouble during the night – everything was quiet.


  1. Getting more serious by the day now. He does admire good work.

    Do you know what a 'verries light' is? Google seems to think I mean 'berries'.

  2. I don't - I was hoping someone reading this might be able to tell me. I imagined a sort of bright magnesium illumination of some kind.

  3. Got it!

    Named after E. W. Very