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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Diary Entry - 6th May, 1917

Walford: During the night there was a lot of heavy firing on either side of our zone. During the early morning, we ran our guns into the new pits, covering them with camouflage, and Sandford tried to register them from the back OP, along with Bellew, who had just recently been posted to us. The Hun, however, was too active in the air and kept us well in view, so we had to give it up at two p.m, when 13 Hun machines were floating about, but we got No.1 roughly registered. Towards evening, the Hun shelled the 41st Brigade batteries behind the railway embankment with heavy five nines, from all appearances doing much damage. While he was doing this, Claudet and a new subaltern, Vaisey, called in for some tea. If they had not arrived, I was going to retire to the dug outs, knowing the Hun's method of dropping some 200 + before finishing with a target. Well, the Hun carried out his plan first, getting a round very close, so we made for the dug outs. As we went down, I just remembered a lot of men still wandering about on top, so went up to tell them to get under cover. As I got to the top, I caught the sound of a shell, which told me by instinct would come very close, so shouted, 'Under cover' and dived into the mine shaft again. There was a devilish crash, something struck me on the back and forehead, and the place was black with smoke and dust. Vaisey and Claudet were only a few steps further down and, when we found all was well, we descended below. It was a very close call and, thanks to the timbers standing, I am here to tell the tale. Beyond having a large bump on the forehead, a bruised back and all the buttons torn off my coat by the blast, I was all right and not shaken as would only be natural. My ears are very numb though, with the blast making me quite deaf.