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Friday, 22 March 2013

Diary Entry - 22nd March, 1918

At four a.m. receive orders from guns to fetch up limbers and necessary transport but, as we had moved out our horses from the standings to the top of the ridge towards Bertincourt and there was a thick fog it took about two hours to get the teams turned out. It was as well the fog held or else we should have been for it going up the road in the open. Found, on reaching the rear position, that they had moved all the guns and kit back from Boar Valley with the wagons and transport they had at the forward wagon line early in the morning. But there was still some left up near the Boar position so I took a GS Wagon team up for it. All the gunners and officers were looking very tired as they had had few decent nights owing to mustard gas harassing fire and the recent days continual fire. The orders were to move back to the wagon lines in Haplincourt so Major and Cruikshank went on. Nicholson, Robson and I bring on the battery and meet Mr 9.2' naval gun bracketing the road behind Havrincourt wood, placing one round 24' plus and the next 25' minus every 45 seconds. There was no avoiding the gentleman so we went through at the trot with the result that half the kits fell off an overloaded GS wagon and the cook's cart body came unlimbered at the crucial moment. Ruyaulcourt had by the look of it been treated in the same manner a few minutes before our arrival so we did not linger there and eventually got to the wagon line, avoiding Bertincourt altogether. We thought we were for a day's rest but before lunch was over orders came in that BCs were to reconnoitre positions between Velu Wood and Bertincourt to cover Hermies which was being heavily attacked from the north. So five o'clock found Nicholson and myself leading the battery up in front to Bertincourt and eventually found the Major had a position in an old horse standing along side the seven ones. It was dark when all was ready and we turned in to a deep machinegun dug out but there was no sleep as the Colonel and various other people kept calling in all night and I turned out three times.

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