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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Diary Entry - 25th April, 1917

Walford: Nothing to do during the morning. Bailly came in before lunch and said he had set the men on digging two places for a section and said that I was to go up with de Vere inthe afternoon to see the road he had reconnoitred so as we should not lose our way. We went down through the railway bridge and across, looking at each pohnt of the road and I can tell you I felt very naked with the Huns in Oppy wood looking right down on top of us. The position certainly looked as if it received a fair amount of atention but did not look too bad. We found one shaft which was unoccupied which was lucky as there was not a stick of cover anywhere. At eight thirty I met the teams at Kellagher's cross roads and as we went down through the bridge the SOS went up and everyone opened up. I can tell you it was very unpleasant as we were on a much shelled road with two gun teams and 30 pack horses. We wandered on over country which, though it seemed easy enough in daylight, seemed covered with shell holes in the dark night. And it was easily noticeable so that as we approached a bridge over a trench we were running into the barrage of a 5.9 battery and a High Velocity 15-cm gun - in fact I had doubts as to whether the bridge was there [?]. Well, to cut a long story short, we got through without a scratch, although every 30 feet a five nine seemed to crash right on top of us. We got the guns in without further incident and I was very glad when all the horses got clear. We had some work running the guns into the emplacements and took great care to cover up well. Then Bailly and I went back, I to the detached section and Bailly to the rear position.

In the afternoon, after coming back from the guns, I went over to the position to see Bailly but he was out and I found Bee there. Bee told me of a gun being blown 20 yards over near the 8 foot by a five nine landing under it and he was taking me over when two shells dropped nearly on us and one of his men Dixon a cook was wounded. I pointed him out and he ran over to attend to him. When he had got him away we went over to see the gun then returned to the Mess. As for the 18 pounder, there was very little of it left, both wheels being blown off and it was a complete wreck. We went back to the Mess and there I left him.

Bee: I went down to the forward position last night. It is only about a mile and a half. I left here at eight thirty p.m. and did not get there until one a.m. There was a gun bogged in the road and had to wait until they got it out. It has been a rather cold wind the last two days. This morning aeroplanes were fairly active. The Hun set three of ours on fire. I saw one of our poor fellows throw himself out. They did a lot of shelling around here today. An 8-in came to earth under an 18 pounds on our right and pitched it 20 yards away upside down and badly knocked it out. Gr Dickson was wounded today. I saw him smile when Walford and I threw ourselves flat on the ground and the next thing he was hit.

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