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Monday, 27 February 2012

Diary Entry - 26th February 1917

Walford: Go up to the guns, arriving about twelve. Find us shooting on Grevillers trench, a trench some 300 yards the other side of the Pys valley and 5,000 yards range and everyone seemed very worried as to where we should move to. I found that Suttie was at RA taking Carrington's place, as he had gone on leave. In the evening, Kellagher came round and looked us up and I walked over to his position with him, some 400 yards behind our valley, and a very nice spot too, with a splendid mine shaft he had dug. Sloane, Major of 17th Battery, reported missing - he was running a wire out with the infantry and it was very foggy. He was never seen after a certain time and is supposed to have been captured by an enemy patrol.

Bee: The situation is most strange. The Hun has evacuated Serre and we have taken it without any casualties, which is wonderful. And rumour says the Hun is returning to a shorter line and stronger position. From facts one heard, it will take him back about 30 miles in places. That means he goes back from Arras. From information, he is retiring to what is known as his cement line, where he has three of these. The third one is supposed to be in construction by Russian prisoners. He ought to be due to give us a good time, as he knows exactly where we can put guns and where his machine guns are at their best advantage. If he goes back fast, our infantry will have an awful time constructing a new front line without any cover. Anyway, it remains to be seen. I had to go to battalion head quarters, 17th Fusiliers, on the East Maraumont road, in an old German dugout. The country between here and there is desperate, far worse than Trones. How any human lived through that cold weather in shell holes is beyond me. The sights one sees are awful. Every now and again you come across heaps of our men who have evidently all been hit by the same shell. There are very few Huns in comparison. But I think they must have taken great care to bury them. The Hun must be very short of footwear as he has stripped of boots all our dead who are near him.

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