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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Diary Entry - 22nd April, 1917

Walford: Sunday. A bright sunny day. Bosche took advantage of the light and had 15th balloons up, having a regular field day. He opened on the seven ones on our right about ten thirty a.m. and kept at them solidly around every minute, sometimes quickening. Needless to say, they evacuated to a flank and, although Bosche did some good shooting, he never actually got a direct hit, but must admit he had bad luck having a dud right under No. 2 gun. About two p.m. another five nine joined in from the north and pitched shell in front of the 15th. Fearing that we should be sandwiched, both Bee and I evacuated positions to watch events. He stopped about three but turned on with smaller shell (about 90 mm gun) and threw them all over the place. One could not get out of their way so had to just chance to luck. These shell made it very uncomfortable as one never knew where the next would fall and someone's ammunition went up on our right, making a great flare. About five p.m. an officer and telephonist were wounded just on the left of our position and we had to get them away - the former was all right; the latter bad. In the morning, Bosche brought down one of our balloons near Arras - supposed to have done it with a gun, but I think an airman with tracer bullets was the cause. The previous night to this, the 9th Battery had had 13 horse and two drivers killed by one shell. For some reason best known to Quiller Couch, he had a section wagon lines up behind his guns and an unlucky shell landed plum amongst them, the result being as above.

Bee: Have missed a day somewhere, as today is evidently Sunday. The Padre came round to hold a service. All the OC went to the wagonlines. It was a beautiful clear day and the Hun gave us a hell of a time. He started on the 71st battery who are 600 yards on our left at ten thirty a.m. and kept on firing until five p.m. with 5.9 in one round per minute. He had them registered to a tee. They left their position as had no cover. He put three of their gun out. Our heavies are too far back to do any counter Battery work. We have advanced too far. Splinters were going all ways. At two p.m. he started with two other 5.9-in and put them in front of our battery, so we pushed off to the rear for an hour. Then, at four p.m., until seven p.m., kept up a steady fire with 90 mm and 77 mm all over the country. Got four men on our left, set D36 ammunition on fire and set a pit - the D17 - on fire. Then finished up with a 4.2 in gun (commonly known as a bolter as it comes in at such a rate). He put the wind up us, one landing just a few yards from the Mess. Here endeth a perfect day.

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