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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Diary Entry - 21st March, 1918

First day of spring. The German offensive begins at 4.40 p.m. Gunner Levison (left section) killed in action at advance wagon line by an HV shell splinter.

At a few minutes before five a.m. we were woken at the wagon lines by a heavy bombardment in the direction of Bullecourt, Benguy [?] and Moeuvres and a few minutes later shells began pouring into Haplincourt, from direction of Moeuvres, both 5.9' gun 4 10 cm gun shells. They mostly fell up the road in amongst the 41st Brigade. The Hun kept straafing the village with one round about every minute and by seven thirty a.m. there was news that 8 horses had been killed, two men and a number of others inujured. At six o'clock the shelling started on a dump in Haplincourt wood It consisted of SAA tank ammunition (3-pounder) and petrol. It soon got going and there was a tremendous crackling of rifle ammunition intermingled with the bursting of the shells. The fire burnt out in about an hour. The Hun either switched one gun or owing to bad laying got off the original line as shells began to fall in the 15th wagon lines but luckily they got their horses out after the first round. The shelling eased a bit at twelve p.m. but continued right on till dusk. About eleven a.m. a big enemy gun probably a 9.2' naval gun began shooting on Barrastre Wood searching back to a Nissan Hut camp on the left hand side of the road. Siggers and the Padre nearly met their death by inquisitively looking at the hole one of these shells made when another landed only seven feet from them, but they luckily escaped with a shaking.

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