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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Diary Entry - 18th March, 1917

Walford: At eight, I set out for the rear position and found everyone very busy packing up when I got there and all the guns gone. I no sooner arrived than Suttie took me on to meet my horses, which he had ordered. We reached the Bapaume Road and there was no sign of them so we walked on to the WL at Poziere. here I left Suttie as had to go onto Albert to sort out some of my kit that was being dumped there. Suttie had to meet the colonel at Grevillers at one p.m. to reconnoitre gun positions. Well, I got a lorry down to Albert and just on the outskirts met Bob Simpson who belonged to the 17th (14th?)  Division and who was just going out to rest. I found Hoyland and Cruikshanks at the dump, depositing the kit and sent Cruikshanks back to Poziere. As soon as I had squared up, Hoyland and self lunched at the officers' club then I caught a bus back to Pozieres. The lunch was not a great success as the place was overcrowded. From Poziere I made along the Bapaume Road for the battery. Well, I caught them up just as they were trying to get over a track which Siggers had been trying to make passable all day. It was simply impossible and what with weak horses and bad drivers it was not very long before we were in difficulties. One gun got into a shell hole and two wagons and it was about one and a half hours before we got them out. However, we reached the spot where the Brigade were supposed to bivouac with a section and four officers. The rest of the brigade took a different track and ended up on the other side of the town to us. Well, by this, we had four guns at Destremont, eight wagons and the rest of the battery at Poziere, so we were in a fairly distributed state. That night we laid out lines on Behangies[?] in case of accidents and spent a pleasant night under canvas. All the teams had gone back to Poziere to bring the remainder of the battery over the heavy roads and because we were thirty horses short.

Bee: Got orders at four a.m. this morning, saying we had to be at Pozière, so had to alter the time of starting – make it earlier. We had to make a pretty big dump of stuff, but on the whole moved well and got off in good time. I got them settled in our lines at Pozière and everything seemed fine. I rode on to see Walrond and was very bucked as everything seemed to be satisfactory. And I came back feeling very bucked. But had only been back half an hour when Walrond rode in and said we had to move at once. I forgot to say that before this we were told that we were to be at Pozière for four days. Anyway, we got under way. The road was blocked with traffic. We left Pozière a at eleven thirty a.m and got to our destination at five p.m. We came along the main Bapaume road, which was in fairly good condition except the Hun had mined the road in three places but the RE had made a track around them. The Hun had a heavy railway running alongside this road, having carefully mined trucks here and there. We passed through the outskirts of Bapaume, which was still burning. The road from Bapaume to Boeufvillers was mined and blocked so badly that we had to come along railway line, which was a severe test to the vehicles. One water cart was badly smashed and we had to leave it. We were lucky to find a tin house that the Huns had left for a mess. A beautiful night and I slept outside

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