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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Diary Entry - 3rd January, 1917

Walford: At ten a.m. we marched thgrough Doullens to Amplai[?]s and I went on ahead with Thorburn to do the billeting. To our horror, on asking the town mayor for a plan of the lines, he said there are no lines, you simply picquet your horses in the main street and also park your guns there. We got the worst end of the town, as the head of the column approached from the wrong side for our point of view. It took us a good two hours to get our lines up as we had to run the wagons into the hedge with their poles sticking through it and simply crowd the horses like sardines. The men's billets were miles away from the horses and all the harness had to lie about anywhere on the side of the road. To put it mildly the whole business was as sanguine as it could be. We had a fair Mess but were all very tired and a long trek had to be made on the morrow with a very early start. Such is life fighting the Hun.

Bee: An early rising this morning, breakfast at six. At Battery, commanders and one subaltern from each battery were picked up by motor lorry and taken to Pozieres. It was a three-hour run and we had a very fast lorry. It was the roughest ride I have had for a long time. The roads are very bad. We passed some hundreds of Huns walking on the roads but they don't do over much. We arrived at Pozieres at eleven a.m. We waited here some time for the colonel as they were coming by RA car, but finally went on to the positions. Pozieres has been cleaned up a lot since we were there. The road from Albert to Pozieres was in wonderful condition, just like a main English road. Also the number of heavies there are there is enormous. Saw a new 8-iunch which is a very neat looking How compared to the old type. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the main Bapaume road metalled. When last we were here there was no trace even of where it went. From Pozieres down to within a quarter of a mile from our new position you can be seen by the enemy from some distance back. We are about 100 yards NW of Bourcellette[?], in a valley (of mud). The path running up to the battery is made of faggots; if you get off this, it is halfway up to our knees. All the brigade batteries are within a 100-yard radius. We are lucky as there was once a road running behind our position but at present it is feet deep in mud. These people are Territorials [?] of the 51st division and have been here six weeks. Came in here straight after the Beaumont-Hamel show, so have had a pretty thick time. After lunch and a look around, Walrond went back and left me here. It rained most of the day and was miserable.

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