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Saturday 14 May 2011

Diary Entry - 14th May, 1916

A busy day as we - I mean the left section - were to move out in the evening, as Maitland Dougal's battery was relieving us. I went to the OB in the morning, scarcely knowing when I would be relieved. To my surprise, Dougal, a subaltern, and Captain Richardson - another BC - along with Kellagher, arrived at twelve forty-five for a look round and then we all left, leaving the subaltern in charge. We all went back to lunch in our Mess and then at three, when everything in the way of kits and mess material was on the GS wagons, I set out for the wagon line with the relieving battery's senior subaltern. As we were not quite ready, I had tea with him and we eventually got under way about five or soon afterwards. In the meantime, the gunners who had marched over from Bully had been getting some grog in the estaminets and, when we moved off with the gunners and dismounted men marching in front, they made themselves rather objectionable.

Soon after we got through Herchin, an empty motor lorry passed and after pursuing it some little way I caught it on a hill. It was empty and going as far as Bruay, so I bundled the whole 35 in, with Corporal Keegan in charge. After they were gone, we went along quietly, having two stops on the way, finally arriving at about nine pm, when it was just too dark to see. At about ten thirty, all the horses were settled down for the night and, on going to the Mess, I found a very merry party consisting of Bee, Claudet, Todd, Murdoch, Kellagher and Siggers, and the two brigade people made an awful noise, keeping it up until quite late.


  1. Todd was the brigade medical officer Lt R W L Todd RAMC from 1915 to the end of the war. Claudie would be 2Lt (?) Geoffrey Francis Claudet of 15th Battery (with Bee), who later commanded that Battery in 1918. Keegan was an old soldier in 48th Bty: In 1914, Gunner Bertie James Keegan (31483), corporal in Feb 1916, Serjeant in 1918.

  2. Invaluable again, thank you, dne1

  3. Hello. I have jsut come across this post. My grandfather was Bertie James Keegan 31483, Gunner and later Sargeant with the RFA. Very much appreciate your posting of this diary, with his name appearing. You've made my day.

    1. You've made mine in return. Thank you.

  4. there any possibility of obtaining a copy of the complete diary? I would love to add it to my genealogy work for my Grandfather - Bertie James Keegan. My home email is

    Look forward to hearing from you.