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Friday, 14 December 2012

Diary Entry - 14th December, 1917

A very hazy day. Vosper and I arrange to go to battalion with Major Claudet at eleven a.m. Battalion was reached without incident and we found them very crowded there. At their directions we set out for the front line, down the main road, but, just as we were topping the crest, Claudet and I jibbed at going down the road for about a quarter mile in full view of the Hun, so we turned back and up towards a trench running over the crest of the 47th Div's front. We found, as is usually the case, the men very ignorant about their front, so we blundered on till we reached an old Hun 5.9 gun position, now occupied by our Stokes guns and they directed us to Company HQ. While inspecting the Hun gun and shells, Claudet and I lost Vosper, taking the wrong turn in a trench, and eventually reached Company just after Vosper left. We were directed to our division from there and had to proceed over the top, as the trenches were not joined up. Neither of us liked this but we wasted no time over it. We eventually found our own division and spoke through from Company HQ, telling our people to fire on SOS lines, three or four bursts battery fire. When we sallied forth to observe our rounds, the Hun started bombing our post just about 20 yards down the trench and, amidst the bombing on one side and one of our guns – No. 2 - dropping short, life was not extra pleasant. It was almost dusk when this was over and we walked along the front line to the canal and came home along through No. 7 lock. I found on reaching home No. 2 gun had the wrong range on, having put on 3,800 instead of 4,800 s,o as the No. 1 was a young NCO, we let him off with a strafe. On reaching the Mess found Vosper had only just got back, he having seen the shoot from the OP and nearly received the shorts on his own head.

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