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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Diary Entry - 27th September, 1916

Walford: I had to stay at the OP all Tuesday night and, as there was no shelter to be had, I lay me down and tried to sleep on the parados, with very little success, and about nine, when I was relieved by Cruickshank, had had just about enough of the place. As soon as it was daylight, one could see the infantry were rushing about in the open everywhere and no-one seemed to take much notice of them. The prisoners were still coming in and, from what one could see of them, they seemed to have had enough of it and were glad to be prisoners.

Bee: Armytage arrived at the OP early this morning. There was an awful smell as some of yesterday's shells had brought dead people to the surface. Our people were walking about on top all over the place until a machine gun started firing about ten a.m. The stretcher bearers were wonderful the way they brought in the wounded with shells falling all around them. They all carried a white flag. some of them making Hun prisoners carry the wounded. Just after lunch there was a terrific bombardment on our right. At twelve thirty Walrond rang up and told me to reregister the guns on zero point as well as a good many other spots. It took some time to do zero lines as there were a good many other guns shooting there. Anyway, had just finished when Walrond stopped me and said that our worthy Heads had just issued him orders that an attack was in progress and we had better shoot on the 3 phase. I never heard such a scandal in my life. I could see our infantry advancing with hardly any barrage in front of them at all and they went forward without a flinch. We could see Huns in Stuff Redoubt through a telescope firing machine gun and rifle and throwing about bombs but could do very little as our barrage by that time was well over and past it. Anyway we took the law into our own hands and the 71st fired on it with HE, which kept the rifles quiet for a little time. But we could not fire long as our infantry might have possibly got in. Anyway, we never saw them get into Stuff Redoubt, although the Heads maintain we have it. Information is impossible to get; the Colonel of the brigade we belong to is never at his HQ where he ought to be but goes up to the OP, which is absolutely murder. The divisional general is evidently the same – he goes joyriding whenever there is anything on. How our people have done as well as they have is a miracle. It proves the infantry must be wonderful. We are hoping that some of the artillery heads will have to go [illegible]. We had some close ones today and the old 8-inch bracketed us once and our hearts went down to our boots as we had nowhere to go but thank goodness his third one went well over. We also had some plane bombs dropped quite close to us, but on the whole we had a fairly good day, except it started raining about five o'clock. No information. We took a lot of prisoners, I believe. Mouquet Farm, which the Hun has held onto at all costs, was taken. Before we came here, we held half of the farm buildings and they the other half. The dividing line was through the manure heap, the Hun, being in deep cellars below our level. Two of the tanks proceeded to the farm – one was put out of action by an 8-inch and the other got bogged in the manure heap. Our infantry passed this place, thinking they had got it, but the Hun came out of the cellars and mowed down practically two battalions with machine gun from behind. Then I'm dammed if our fellows did not take them prisoners, instead of shooting the lot.

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