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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Diary Entry - 23rd October, 1917

Pouring with rain when we get up and it continues in showers until two o'clock. Hoyland, Nicholson and I walk over towards Ypres to find a pump for the gun lines. We tried several salvage dumps and eventually got into the town and found a Canadian RE dump but could not get anything out of them. We eventually made for the ninth division CRE which we found on a canal running to the north of the town. The Padre and the colonel were there and we fixed it all up on the spot. It was good to hear the French had sunk 4 Zeppelins and that we, it was reported, had sunk 4, but whether ours are official is not yet known. On our way to Ypres, we passed a lot of tanks and one new kind which we were told was used for carrying guns up over the mud. It was a much longer looking thing than a tank. This country is completely different from what I thought it would be like hearing people talk of it. There are a lot of trees and hedges, whereas I thought it would be very flat and bare. The town has been terribly smashed up and an enormous amount of shell must have been expended on it and the surrounding country as there are shell holes a long way back. As far as I could see there seems to be a ridge about a mile in front of the town commanding a view of all this country. They still shell the town with high velocity guns, usually every second day. Today they are trying to knock out a balloon near by with their new clockwork fuze but so far have been unsuccessful with ten rounds of shrapnel 5.9'. The way the railways have been pushed on here is amazing and there is a regular network of new track over frightful country. The same applies to roads and both are in splendid condition. Of course, armies of men are kept going at them.

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