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Monday, 25 March 2013

Diary Entry - 25th March, 1918

None of us needed any rocking to sleep that night. We all just got down to it in the open and needed kicking up when we were called at three forty-five in the morning. Although orders were to march via Pys and Miraumont, when we got in at night we had to turn round and get onto the Albert-Bapaume Road. As soon as the 41st Brigade got clear, the Colonel led us on through Courcelette, along the east Miraumont Road to Miraumont, but we were soon in the thick of another traffic jam when we crossed No Man's Land – this was the country we had spent miserable months on in February 1917 but it had been somewhat improved and instead of being a sea of shell holes and mud it had a coat of grass on it. We halted for two hours when we decided to try and force our way through the tightly packed road and chance a road down the south side of the Ancre to Grandcourt. I navigated our wagons down this and camped just below Thiepval where the road leads across the river to Beaucourt. We got here about eleven a. m. and were followed by an army brigade and 63rd Div. artillery, the latter seemed to be panicstricken and came past at the trot. Each battery took a section into action near Miraumont and sent the remainder of their guns and vehicles on down to Beaucourt to a point of assembly. The guns caught the Hun about two p.m. as he advanced in column of lamps [?] through Le Sars. We received orders about two p.m. to march on to Auchonvillers and establish our wagon lines and the guns withdrew about five p.m., being chased down the Miraumont Valley by 10 centimetre shells. Lieutenant Shipley was slightly wounded. As they crossed the river the REs blew up the bridges at Beaucourt and everyone made for Engelbelmer, Auchonvillers and Mailly Maillet. The guns drop into action just north of Auchonvillers about five thirty p.m. Robson and I go on duty. We do harassing fire on Miraumont all night shooting at 8000.

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