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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Diary Entry - 9th April, 1918

Set out in the rain or Scotch mist at eight a.m., marching second to D 36 lead. We feed about three miles from Aubigny, the misty rain having cleared about ten a.m., and turn up the main Arras road, which has lots of traffic on it. As we approach Acq we meet several tanks moving out of the village and across country towards Arun. The head of the column had just got into the village Acq when the Hun commenced shelling with his eight inch gun. At first we thought it was just an odd round but soon discovered that he meant business, as he kept sending them over about every two minutes and they were all bursting with a terrific smash, having very instantaneous fuses. We filed on into the village, Sergeant Keegan getting a hard hit on the arm from one chap, which burst close - but it bounced off again - and eventually began to park in a big farmyard. When the horses were all unhooked, one landed just short, 40 yards, and another just over. We began to file to water by sections at the Major's orders, and I thought I was for it, as, when we filed out, one was due to pitch somewhere in the vicinity of the road we had to go. We led out and before the tail of the horses got clear one pitched right on the first line team of F sub, killing five men, wounding four and killing four horses and eight mules. There was a shocking mess on the road and Barrett had been very close to being killed, though he came through, having a man wounded on his right hand and a mule killed on his left hand. As we were watering, a big hunk of metal landed in the water from a short, frightening all the horses, but we filed right out of the village up to the aerodrome to the south of the village. We were there for about four hours, two thirty p.m. to six thirty p.m., and I was lucky enough to get some tea from the officers' Mess of the R F C, which pulled me together as had neuralgia all day and these earsplitting bursts did not improve it. The Hun eased up a bit about six p.m. But he had put some very close to the railway on which a hospital train ran down during the bombardment. We hooked up and got clear of the village about seven fifteen p.m. and made for Anzin via Mont St Eloi, as orders had come through that we were to go into action at night. About ten p.m. we found Siggers, who had gone on ahead, waiting for us in very good covered-in standings with Nissan huts for the men, but it took some getting in as it was pitch dark. The Major and Cruickshank had gone up to the guns about five p.m. and we had to send Barrett up with the guns into action at night and they never got back with the teams till five a.m. in the morning. One gun had been put out of action by an airburst during the bombardment.

Driver Turner Robert Thomas
Driver Gregory George H            1st Line of Sub                                       All killed in Acq by HV gun
Driver Merson Charles Barkus
Gnr Barker William George

Gnr Adams
Gnr Chadwick
Gnr Cook                                                                                  All wounded in action
Gnr Spence T


  1. those killed were
    Gunner William George Barker [31730]
    Driver George H Gregory [103362]
    Driver Charles Barkus Merson [76230]
    Driver Robert Thomas Turner [24894]
    Driver Frank Faulkner [58318]

    1. Thank you. Good to hear from you again. I'll adjust the list in the morning.