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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Diary Entry - 1st March, 1917

Walford: Thursday, I was feeling far from strong when I got up, and I stayed at the guns most of the day, while Siggers cut wire from SN2. At four p.m teams arrived with limbers (10-horse teams) to pull the guns up to new position. At five pm Sergeant Major and I set out from Pozieres down the Bapaume Road for a track which we were to find leading off on the lefthand side. There was a lot of traffic all morning, the same way as we, and, as the Hun had been shelling the road about an hour before, I thought we might get it in the neck as it was very clear, so we opened out to 20 paces' interval. Some one and a half miles down the road, we met a guide, and Sergeant Parkes and hit off across country. It did seem funny to be going along this road crowded with lorries and other traffic when only three days ago it would have cost you your life if you appeared down there on a horse in daylight. The infantry had done a lot of work filling in shell holes and making the ground possible to take guns over, but, as we passed through an old Bosch 4.2 position, I was rather frightened we should have an accident by running over one of these shells and we had quite a business clearing a pathway through them. On arriving in the Dyke Valley, a lot of gunners were awaiting our arrival to help us over the really bad ground but am glad to say we did not need their assistance. Hoyland arrived when we had the guns in, along with Bromley. The were breathless as had heard we had missed the guide and were proceeding along the road through Le Sars. That night when we had waded back through the mud, I was very tired and glad to see bed in sight.

Bee: The valley is becoming very lively, a tremendous lot of movement. [Illegible] coming in and 18 lbs going out. Ten horses to our guns. But I never realised our driving was so bad before. Tommie is of course not used to horses, but really he is a perfect fool and will not realise that he has a gun coming some distance behind and generally topples into an eight-inch hole. Six horses, well handled, would take out a gun, in my mind. But I suppose one can't have everything. Bromley and Oakley went off early to the new position. At two p.m Brigade rang up and said I had to man group OP, which was rather a knock, as it left no officer in the battery. It was a perfect night and found the OP crowded with people. Our front was fairly quiet. The people on our right had a bit of a show, which also brought fire onto our front. The Hun sent up no end of green and red rockets, as a result of which some smart person sent into Brigade that our SOS had gone up. But was merely the Hun lights miles behind the line.

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