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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Diary Entry - 1st March, 1916

Maasdorp returns from leave and we meet him on the way down to the wagon line. Suttie and Siggers leave their bed at four thirty in the morning to go to the OB, which is exactly five kilometres in a southerly direction. After breakfast, Kellagher, Hoyland, Cottew and self wander up to see our position which is today occupied with the French 75. The gun is a ramshackle looking affair to the casual observer, but when you see the gun firing you can understand why it is called the wonderful 75 mm gun. These guns all looked dirty looking weapons but all working parts seemed to be kept well oiled and their breech blocks look neat bits of mechanism and are very easily opened. I think what strikes one most is the lack of hand wheels et cetera, which we have on our gun, and also the way the gun traverses, sliding on a hollow shaft across the axle, the whole piece moving across in a parallel line. The position is simply outlined with shell holes, and one gunner showed us the shield of his gun, which had a direct pip squeak hit on it. The one redeeming feature of the position is that there are some good deep dugouts, but the pits are very flimsy. There are hundreds of fuses lying about and, coming back, we picked up one or two. One only has to live here a day to see that the Bosche must have a lot of artillery on this bit of front, as he shells all day.

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