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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Diary Entry - 5th May, 1917

Walford: We all went to bed about ten forty-five p.m, and soon afterwards Bosche started shelling, plunking the first round plumb on top of the dug out. He kept it up, keeping to about gunfire one minute and putting about every fifth round right on the dug out. I could not sleep as the place was rocking so much and the timbers seemed to be creaking under each shell. At three a.m. while dozing, I awoke to hear Kellagher raise a shout to get up as the dug out was on fire. We all got up and tried to fight the flames, which were roaring badly on the far side of the Mess kitchen. Though we worked like men possessed, it was not until we managed to pull some mine frames out that we got it under control. There were so many entrances that, try as we did to stop the draught, we did not succeed and eventually stopped it just beyond the kitchen. The damage was already done though. The guard had been killed in the gun pit and three sergeants had been burnt alive while they slept. I consider we were lucky to escape as a man sleeping in the passage had his hair singed by the heat and woke in time to save himself, running straight to warn the major. While we were gaining breath outside, the Bosche about five a.m. placed a round right in amongst us, but no-one was hit. On proceeding to the guns, I found a lot of 15th Bty men there. They were to have met Claudet, who was taking them forward to make a position in front of Sucrerie. He eventually arrived about six a.m. and took them on. While waiting for breakfast, I went up and saw our two aeroplanes using the tooth brush on them. On the previous night, we were told we should have to move our guns as had to fire further north. The 31st Div who relieved our infantry wanted to cover their troops and we took over their front. The Sucrerie received its usual dose of scrap iron during the afternoon. We spent the day selecting our new gun pits and found we could leave four alone and swing the remaining three guns out on the left, first of all preparing pits for them.

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