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Saturday 3 March 2012

Diary Entry - 3rd March, 1917

Walford: I remained at rear position all day. There was a cold east wind blowing and the Bosch planes were very active during the afternoon. After dinner, I went up to forward position to sleep and relieved Barrett, who had been there all day.

Bee: This has been a big day. Hard frost last night and hazy most of the day. Nearly everybody is up at the new position now. The last two guns went up this morning. I was left to get the wagons out. Two guns and eight ammunition wagons. There was 200 yards of mud to get through before getting onto the hard road. The two guns got out splendidly with a 6-horse team when the ground was solid. At eight thirty a.m. we started on the wagons. The first two got through all right with 10-horse teams. About this time we got news of an explosion at the forward position. It appears Sergt Viller, Bomb. Howell and two others were getting some timber out of an old truck. They evidently hit a shell with the pick and off it went. Viller and Howell were both killed and the other two men wounded. Afterwards found this trench was full of ammunition. It must have been an old battery position. Well, we were hard at it with the wagons until five p.m. I have never spent a more tiring day for a long time. I never realised what poor horsemen our drivers are. They seem to have no idea of driving. It took us three hours to get one wagon out of a shell hole. I rode on the off leader in most teams. Every vehicle which came over the track made it worse. And you could not get another track without going into shell holes. The latter are fatal as they are frightfully soft even if dry. One team carefully put a wagon into a shell hole which took us three hours to get out. There was a 60-pounder, which only moved 10 yards in 7 hours, with 8 heavy draughts in. Besides sticking in the mud they blocked our only way. Anyway now our ammunition has to go out on packhorses, eight rounds a horse. It is slow but sure.

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