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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Diary Entry - 28th, 29th and 30th April, 1916

I was at the guns on the 28th. That night, the wind being in the east, the gas alert was on. I rose at four thirty and, on going to the Mess at five for breakfast, tried to stop a man on a horse galloping down the road. He simply shouted, 'Gas', waved a helmet in my face and tore on. Well, I could not smell gas, so went on with breakfast, but saw two more men on horses pass. They had their helmets on. At about five twenty, the OP party, consisting of two grooms, two signallers and myself, set out. It was a beautiful, still, warm morning, with a haze hanging about. Just as we got to the centre of Noulette and were coming up to the wood, we smelled a peculiar sweet sort of smell but never took much notice of it, as thought it was the usual French village odour. On reaching the OP, I had a slight pain and also noticed all the buttons of my signaller's tunic and my own, which were polished when I left, were now black and realised that we had had a whiff of gas. The 15th got a fair amount of it and it made a number of them ill. No rounds were fired all day. On Sunday, I went to B├ęthune to have a haircut but, as most of the shops were shut, returned early in the afternoon.

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