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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Diary Entry - 30th April, 1918

Rains all day. Nicholson comes down from the OP in the morning. Barrett comes up from the wagon lines.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Diary Entry - 29th April, 1918

A bright sunny day. The Major rides up in the evening about five p.m. having been round the rear trenches reconnoitring in vicinity of Aubigny. Siggers goes down to the wagon lines after dinner.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Diary - 28th April, 1918

On the night of 27th-28th, the battalion on our left had a large raid, sending over 240 men who remained in the enemy's lines for three quarters of an hour. We put down a barrage for 70 minutes. The show was a complete success and we brought back 1 officer, 54 men, 6 machine guns (destroyed 4 others) and one ganetenwerfer or machine for throwing pineapple bombs. Our casualties were very light, the enemy failing to put over any shells probably explained by good counter battery work by our heavies.

There is still a ground mist. Lambkin goes down to Fampoux from battalion and reshoots the guns on another calibrating point, a house with supposed enemy machine gun in it. Siggers and I take a walk along the railway embankment to look at the site for the new OP and see how the work has been going along. The Canadian Corps general had been round the guns at seven a.m. but as the men had been up firing till three the position was not at its best. The Colonel later in the morning wrote a devil of a stinker to Siggers about it, though must say each grouse he put in writing could be answered with ease and there was no need for any heat at all on his part.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Diary Entry - 27th April, 1918

Gorry of the seven ones relieved me half an hour late, much to my displeasure. On arrival at the Mess find the Major and Cruikshank up on a joy ride. It remained misty during the morning but Siggers is able to calibrate in the afternoon, though only did three guns when he was chased by five nines.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Diary Entry - 26th April, 1918

Go to OP. Quite a party of us set out from the guns, including Lambkin who was going to battalion for three days liaison and Siggers who was going up to try to calibrate. It was very foggy and as no wind got up the visibility was rotten all day. The front was quiet, though expected trouble at night as we were supposed to be making a raid - also the battalion on our left. However these seemed to have been cancelled as the front was exceptionally quiet.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Diary Entry - 25th April

Siggers and self call in at the 15th Battery to pick up Major Claudet on our way to start a working party on the reserve (rear) position. At eleven thirty we reach the spot and find Barrett already waiting with about ten men he had brought up from the wagon lines. On the way home thought we should never get Claudet away from brigade. He would persist in playing the goat in his usual manner.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Diary Entry - 24th April, 1918

The Colonel came round about ten a.m. and took Siggers off to be shown the OP he'd chosen. The Major is relieved at infantry brigade and goes down to the wagon line so as Siggers can complete his week up here. I ride down with the Major soon after two and, coming back about seven, call at brigade to find Siggers had just left, he having been out with the Colonel reconnoitring a rear position. Get caught in a shower of rain as I walk back from Brigade.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Diary Entry - 23rd April, 1918

Soon after breakfast Siggers went out to recommoitre an OP to cover the Thilloy reserve line on instructions from the Colonel. The enemy planes were active all day and two reconnaisance machines were very intent on registering a group of heavies and for this purpose flew very low. We fired hard on them with the Lewis gun and expended 1,200 rounds of SAA but never brought either of them down though am sure we harassed them. Nicholson spent the day at the OP doing 24-hours duty.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Diary Entry - 22nd April, 1918

Orderly dog. The Colonel comes round in the morning and fires off one or two odd remarks about the position. Siggers and Lambkin spend the day in the front line shooting at houses in Fampoux and registering points for an infantry colonel. In the afternoon the Hun puts over some big stuff at our heavies in Blangy on the outskirts of Arras. When the rations came up in the evening one of the mules, being tired of life, lay down and died in the middle of the road.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Diary Entry - 21st April, 1918

Arrive down at eleven a.m. to find Siggers in command as the Major had gone to do senior liaison. Young Scott relieved me. Enemy scouts very active during the morning but our old RE8s take no notice of them and continue shooting the heavy batteries.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Diary Entry - 20th April, 1918

Go to the OP at eight forty-five and eventually reach it at ten fifteen, after walking all over France, and relieve Fleming. A fair amount of shell fall on our right in Pudding and Lemmon trenches, otherwise we are not troubled. The OP is a good one and covers a lot of enemy country. Almost every gun the Hun fired could be seen but a long way back and the heavies had some good shoots on them. We registered odd points, fired on movement and silenced a minnie. An SOS went up on our right about ten fifteen p.m. and things were disturbed on our front for a time but soon settled down again. The Canucks made a raid about three fifteen a.m. without a barrage and there were plenty of Mills grenades bursting and machine guns rattling to our left front about that time and, though we killed a few and had some casualties, don't think we got any prisoner or identifications, which was what we wanted.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Diary Entry - 19th April, 1918

Still cold and inclined to sleet. Except for an odd shell dropping on the road just to our rear, all is quiet. Lt DV Lambkin rejoined his unit from brigade.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Diary Entry - 18th April, 1918

Major and Cruikshank go to the wagonlines, the latter eventually having his kit sent down to stay. Siggers comes up with the Major for tea. It turns very cold and is inclined to rain in the evening.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Diary Entry - 17th April, 1918

A sunny morning so there was considerable activity in the air on both sides. Clouded over towards midday and the Major could scarcely see the zero point when trying to register in the afternoon. We have some revolver target practice in the afternoon.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Diary Entry - 16th April, 1918

The rest of the battery move in towards evening and everyone finds themselves in very comfortable billets, much more so than the position we left, and the Major's billet, which I share, is a palace. According to news, we have repulsed all further attacks up north and have killed hundreds of Huns. Nicholson goes to the OP for 24-hours' duty and I do duty at the guns. At night, go to brigade to take over a working party to load ammunition on a train. There was a mix up about engines as usual and it was one p.m. when we arrived at canteen dump with one load.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Diary Entry - 15th April, 1918

Colonel comes round early and says we are to change position with D36 so there is no use grousing but to get on with it, this being about the fifth move in twelve days. My section swaps over with a How section that afternoon and we move about 2,000 rounds of ammunition. I remain with the section for the night.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Diary Entry - 14th April, 1918

A very cold north wind blowing with a thin fine mist mixed with it. I have to go to guns, and find the position perched up on a high ridge, with the bivouacs and Mess dug into a steep bank in rear - almost too steep even for an enemy How to touch. We register in the afternoon, a difficult shoot, owing to the gusty wind.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Diary Entry - 13th April, 1918

Still cold but there is nothing doing all day. We send up a party to dig new position but, on arriving, they find they are not wanted as we are swapping over positions with Canadians near Blangy and to the north of 41st Brigade on the Scarpe

Friday, 12 April 2013

Diary Entry - 12th April, 1918

Ride to Canadian veterinary section to see about some linseed and bran for the horses, but meet with no success. Spend rest of the day near a fire as there is a very cold wind blowing.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Diary Entry - 11th April, 1918

Siggers and self called up to the guns during stables to meet Major on track where we are to have four guns of the battery, the other two remaining in present position. Find the Major has left an NCO at the new position with instructions for us. Siggers goes on to see the Major and I ride back to Etrun to get authority to draw RE material from the Canadians. Am lucky in hitting the right division and they are very obliging, giving us all we want. On getting back to the lines, I go to the Canadian baths, which consists of a dribbling stream of hot water but it takes some of the dirt out.

Diary Entry - 10th April, 1918

On going round my horses in the morning find there are two wounded ones and poor Mary, who is mates with Dolly in the centre of the firing battery, has a nasty gash in the shoulder. The old gun teams were naturally very tired, which is not to be wondered at considering the march. Siggers and I ride to the guns in the afternoon, with about eight NCOs, so that they will know their way. We were greeted with a shell on arriving and there seemed to be lots of new holes about. We could only find Sgt. Laming and, on asking where the officers were, were told they were away from the position. We looked round and did not find them, so, on the arrival of another shell, again about 30 yards from us, we mounted the horses and rode off.

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

Monday, 8 April 2013

Diary Entry - 8th April, 1918

It rains in the morning and carries on till the evening. Stables absolutely a washout and lines very mucky. Take a walk in the evening and have a look over a fish hatchery nearby where there are some fine big trout swimming about in small pools. Orders came in about eleven p.m. that we are to move up to Acq[?] in the morning and the time of marching is eight a.m. This was somewhat sudden as we were led to believe that we were here for about three days, in spite of rumours coming in at midday that we were to move that same afternoon. They were soon knocked on the head though as it turned out they were for the 2nd Canadians and not us. Orders seem very mixed just now and we are always being changed or cancelled.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Diary Entry - 7th April, 1918

It was a fine morning and there was a church parade in the orchard just near our lines at eleven a.m, at the same time as stables was going on. One of my Gunners, Bamber, performed on the small folding organ he used to play in a cinema at one time - and he played an organ in some church on Sundays. It was stormy in the afternoon and when the Major, Siggers and I set out for Frevent it commenced to rain.We could not get a lift on a lorry so hopped on a train which runs on a small line alongside the road. We could find nothing of any interest in Frevent and as we came back saw a lot of tanks being moved down southwards on trucks, also passed a troop train the occupants of which said they had come from Italy. We got back in an ambulance all right.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Diary Entry - 6th April, 1918

Again all our plans are altered at the eleventh hour and we find that instead of marching for Arras and action we are to join our infantry at Estree Wamin[?] only a few miles away - and they are in a rest area. I march at eight fifteen a.m. with cook's cart and go through a large forest so as to get in ahead of the brigade and get the men's dinners going. The battery went quite a long way round so as to avoid colliding with the infantry. It was a lovely forest I passed through, full of splendid timber, each tree standing very straight, being about four feet in girth and up to 100 feet high. There were also said to be boar (wild) in the forest. Just on coming into Beaudricourt, I ran into the infantry and tacked on behind them. At Estree Wamin found Siggers and helped him do the billeting. There was an old Corps General (X Corps) by Morland watching the troops go through, also GOC Div Perrire at other end of town where they came in. Battery go in and we were at lunch by one fifteen p.m., quite comfortably.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Diary Entry - 5th April, 1918

Friday - I missed one day. Being orderly dog, I rise at five a.m., get the horses watered and fed. We are supposed to march at eight forty-five, but receive orders at the eleventh hour that we march an hour later than previously ordered. It had been raining all the previous day and night and looked as if it would continue all day, but eventually turned off at nine thirty a.m. We march via Ascheux, Marieux and Doullens to Luscheux, watering and feeding at Sarton. There was a lot of traffic on the road, especially near Doullens, and we got into our lines about five p.m. We watered and fed on getting in then gave the men and ourselves an hour to get food and turned in to stables for an hour at six forty-five p.m. We all slept very well at night and I had to sleep on the brick floor in Mess as found Madame was occupying the bed supposed to be allotted to me. It was truly a wonderful household. There were about four daughters and one boy and they were all very friendly - in fact too much so, but produced some topping cider.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Diary Entry - 3rd April, 1918

Go to the OP at six a.m. but take the precaution of moving the wire 200 yards to the left and further forward and gaze through a hedge. The battery was to be relieved at ten a.m. by the 77th Bde. At eleven a.m. the relieving officer was shown up by a telephonist from D36 and brought right across the open plough country instead of coming under cover of the crest. Of course the Hun was watching and we soon had a lot of machine gun bullets whistling about us. I was not sorry to hand over and get out of it. The whole battery was clear by twelve fifteen p.m. and we proceeded to Varennes, where we heard orders had been altered and, instead of entraining, we were to march north and join the 10th Corps.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Diary Entry - 2nd April, 1918

Take stand to at five a.m. while Cruikshanks strikes off for Martinsart at eight a.m. to do liaison with the infantry. Major and I wander up to OP in the afternoon, a nasty spot which you approach in full view of the Hun across the open. We got into the spot without being sniped at and found Tucker of D36 in possession. We had not been there three minutes when a four two dropped to the left of us soon afterwards, another to the right and, when the second arrived, I realised that someone was watching or had watched us. The next was just over. and the fourth, as we left the hole, almost fell in it, so we sat behind a hedge and viewed the country from there.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Diary Entry - 1st April, 1918

Major, Cruikers and Nick go up with battery to relieve the 16th [18th?) battery, who seem in a very guggah state and seem neither to care if they are captured or killed, Cruikers comes back for me and we take four guns up about twelve p.m. The position is behind a ridge to the north-west of Bouzencourt, with not a hole of any sort near it and plumb in an open field. Nick was up at the OP and as soon as we got through to him he registered all the guns on the road running up Usna Hill to Ovillers. I carried on as orderly dog while the Major and Cruikers took a walk round.