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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Diary Entry - 11th April, 1917

Walford: Wednesday at eleven a.m. Hoyland and I came up to the guns, myself coming up to stay. About two thirty, I and Bee set out in the rain for Carency to find Chettie [Chester Manifold] and several other people. After locating D36 we eventually got onto the 76th Brigade in Carency ruins, just in time to get out of very heavy rain. We found a good chap there, the adjutant, who, funnily enough, used to be a rough rider in the 15th Battery. He rang up Chettie's battery, but found he was on duty at Hill 145, observing. Burston, who was orderly officer to the brigade, was out laying wires, so we had no luck. We talked for about an hour to this man, as it was raining very heavily, and he gave us sad news of Jack Russell, also in the brigade - he had been killed the previous night while in his position outside a dug out  - by a 10-cm shell. When we did set out for home, the rain had turned to snow and it eventually set in to snow hard. I was all right in a British Warm, but Bee would not bring a coat. That night it was very unpleasant going to bed as the dug out, an old one, leaked like a sieve and water was dripping all roads. However, I managed to sleep through it. The latest report of the fighting reads: 'Received at Division two a.m. yesterday - 11,000 prisoners, 108 guns, 160 machine guns and 60 trench mortars have been captured by the 1st and 3rd armies.'

Bee: A very hard frost last night. There was a tremendous wind nearly all day. It dropped about four p.m., then snowed like fun and is still snowing. Walrond came back to the battery. Colonel Groschen arrived yesterday and I went round to try to find Chettie, who is over near Carency. Just as I was starting off I met Walford, who had just come up from the wagon line, and he came along with me. It took us some time to find his brigade, and then the adjutant, who was once a corporal in this battery, rang up and found he was up at the OP. I went out without a coat and got pretty well wet through. He told us poor Jack Russell was killed yesterday, by a direct hit. Burston is also in that brigade. I found when I got back that Chettie had called in at our Mess on his way back from his OP but missed us. This has been a wonderful quiet day in the way of shells. Dozens of batteries moved up today. We are evidently going to join our feet, who are supposed to be a bit south.

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