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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Diary Entry - 29th October, 1917

Some sun in the morning and rather frosty. Hoyland goes up to relieve the Major at ten a.m, Cruikshank having left at four a.m. with pack animals does not get back until half past ten. The Hun puts a few down the road while he is unloading but all manage to get back without casualties. Siggers and I go into Ypres. On the way we looked at a new type of tank used for removing guns out of mud under fire. It is a curious looking beast and has a movable platform which it puts out under the tail of the gun, but first the gun wheels have to be removed. We are pointed out the cathedral ruins and Cloth Hall ruins and take a wander over them. There is very little left of either place but they must have been beautiful old buildings as there are massive heaps of debris everywhere. Siggers would not come away without a souvenir of some kind so we pulled an iron door knob off an old door of the Cloth Hall and he had a bit of glass from the Cathedral. It looked as though it might be a piece of broken bottle. All the town was the same - absolutely flattened - and, as we came away, the Hun put in a few high velocity rounds. On the outskirts of the town we saw the remains of what had been a circus with the old wooden rocking horses lying about. Siggers had to go up to the guns in the afternoon for a liaison stunt as he was the only man who knows the country. The Major lobbed down late in the evening, having spent some time trying to find us, owing to the military police stopping his groom and their not meeting. It was a very bright moonlit night - being known as the Hunter's moon - and the Hun started raining bombs everywhere about ten p.m. The archies and the machine guns were very active and made a colossal racket in the still cold night. Some sort of shell or bomb landed very close to the Sergeants' Mess.

We were all very sorry to hear that Lt Gough, nephew of the Army Commander, had passed away on the previous night, being wounded in the lungs. His family are noted army men, and they all have V.Cs. To keep up the reputation, he must needs try to get one if the opportunity arises. The MC was telephoned through to him, but he passed away before it was received.

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