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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Diary Entry - 28th February, 1918

Take a ride round in the morning for exercise and find a very nice patch of clover over near Bus. The Major comes down for lunch and says the ploughing is going on all right. I forgot to add that it was the Major's idea to cultivate some of the ground so he got permission to carry on from the Corps agricultural officer, an old gunner colonel dug out. In afternoon Barrett, Robson and self do a little revolver practice near the gun park and fire off 50 rounds a piece.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Diary Entry - 27th February, 1918

As orderly officer rise at six fifteen a.m. but there was a frost so ploughing could not be carried on with in the morning. Lose - or rather have wounded - four mules. One so bad it had to be taken away in a float, it being a noted rowan[?] of E sub named Rhubarb. Two of F sub's wee black mules, nice little chaps, were gassed and were very groggy in the wind. They also discharged from the eyes and nose and consumed large quantities of water.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Diary Entry - 26th February, 1918

A beautiful sunny day. Siggers and I and Robson ride up to the guns to let the Major see the new officer. On arriving at the advanced wagon lines, we found the Major and Nicholson down looking at the havoc wrought by numerous gas shell which had been pumped over on the previous night. While walking up to the guns there was a lot of enemy air activity and several reconnaissance machines were well in behind our lines and our archies were hard at it making artificial clouds with the smoke from their bursts, but, often as not, many thousand feet from the planes. We also saw Hun captive balloon floating about the front. It had evidently broken away and was very high up, travelling southwards. We rode back at three p.m. and as we came from the guns the Huns were shelling Trescault Ribecourt Road with HV shrapnel. I was riding Nip, Cruiker's horse, and he was very fresh

Monday, 25 February 2013

Diary Entry - 25th February, 1918

It was raining hard with a strong west wind when we got up for breakfast and I thought Sid who had arranged to run us into Amiens in his car would not turn up. The appointed time ten a.m. came round with no sign of him and we were beginning to think it was a blue duck, in fact even started on foot with the hope of getting a lorry. However, turned back at the crossroads as it was such a rotten morning. Alex turned up with another man, Stokes, at twelve, having been out since nine forty-five a.m. running some officer to an aerodrome.So we sallied forth and found a 25 horsepower Vauxhall awaited us with no starting handle but by a quiet push she started all right and away we went. There was lots of mud about up to Albert and we had a puncture before reaching Bapaume but from Albert we ran in well to Amiens just getting another puncture as we got there. We had to get a pass from APM for lunch as it was after two but we managed that all right. The afternoon was spent in shopping and we bumped into one of the young Lindsays in RFC fancy dress, looking like any man of four letters. After dining at the Gobert Restaurant we set out for the car at nine fifteen p.m. The car was started after much pushing and we got under way with a beautiful moon shining at nine forty-five p.m. There were no lights needed and we made good speed to Albert in spiet of losing a cap on the way. Near Bapaume we just avoided a Mess cart. The driver was very bad and bad as he was the car felt good but when Sid took the wheel for a bit she felt a top notcher and my opinion of Vauxhalls has risen. We found on returning to the Mess a new officer named Robson stretched out on the floor.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Diary Entry - 24th February, 1918

We go to church at nine thirty a.m. and Siggers performs on the goanna playing several amens in the wrong place. After lunch I took Sgt. Head's new horse out for a trial spin but did not like him a bit - being 17 hands he has a tremendous stride and ought to cover the country well but he was too big and clumsy for me.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Diary Entry - 23rd February, 1918

Start for the wagon lines at ten thirty a.m. have a rotten ride though as Ethel being blind refuses to go along at even a walk. In the afternoon walk to Villers au Flos with Siggers to collect the pay from the field cashier.

Diary Entry - 22nd February, 1918

During the night the infantry had put up a lot of wire on Highland Ridge and also dug part of a trench and the Hun had put over a few shells at intervals, meaning to try and catch them or any movement there. It was raining in the morning but lifted at midday though a heavy mist hung about.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Diary Entry - 21st February, 1918

A high wind blowing but very clear and the Huns started shelling the vicinity with five nines and four twos. There seemed to be no particular target but he got several men in the 47th Bty. I went up to Rocket and relieved a new seven one officer. There was a wonderful light and all kinds of movement (such as trains) could be seen well back. An observation balloon could also be plainly seen on the ground north of Rumilly and should think 60-pounders could have easily reached it but did not see anyone fire at it.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Diary Entry - 20th February, 1918

Cruikshank goes to OP to do FOO and the Major with Crawley goes up to register on Le Quennet Farm, getting on to the line all right this time. In the afternoon it began to rain and in consequence things were pretty quiet.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Diary Entry - 19th February, 1918

Remain at the guns all morning. Some scouts come over very low and are fired at with rifle and Lewis guns. Siggers and Nicholson appear for lunch, the latter having just come back from a course of telephony. Major, myself and Major Claudet, who had called in, go off to the 15th for lunch and then on to an OP to the left of Rocket to shoot on Le Quennet Farm. The fifteenth registered first and, as the light was bad, took a long time. We fired one or two rounds but could not see them so eventually gave it up. The Bosche had a gun firing on our small knoll and we weren't too sure whether he saw us and was chucking over sniping rounds ort not but he persisted in putting them fairly close but the gun was shooting at a long range.

Diary Entry - 18th February, 1918

Set out for 7.0.0 post, which consists of a pill box just off Ostrich Trench in the support line. We (Crawley and self) had breakfast at five and got underway at the half hour, with Gnrs Law and Brooks as signalers. We got up about six thirty, just nice time and, as the infanteer got bored with it before an hour had elapsed, he went home. There was a lot of movement everywhere you looked and odd Huns seemed to be walking round picking up copper driving bands and shell cases - at least that's the only supposition we could arrive at. I put a piece of sand bag on the periscope and stuck him up straightaway as had heard all sorts of talk about him sniping as soon as you put your periscope up. However, he never bothered us. The Hun put over quite a number of TMs during the day and we straafed one of his emplacements with D 36 field hows. I also fired two guns on the tanks at the crossroads, one round blowing up a small dump of bombs.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Diary Entry - 17th February, 1918

Still frosty. Major, myself and Crawley (attached infanteer) walk to a rear position which we are making behind the Trescault Ridge and, after choosing places for gun pits, set the men to dig and walk to our forward wagon line, just in front of Metz. We get back late to lunch and Shapland goes out to register but fails to get through on the line. At tea time Cruikers visits us from the 6th infantry brigade where he is doing senior liaison.

Diary Entry - 16th February, 1918

After breakfast Siggers and I rode over to Blagny. It was a cold frosty morning, but there was a bright sun. We found the 244th Siege about half a mile outside the village in a ravine, where there were lots of heavy guns. We found Alex. He was in the best of form and, though busy shooting with an aeroplane, got someone else to carry on while he took us to the Mess. He informed us a plane had been brought down on their front during the morning and, as we rode away, we saw a Sopwith Camel shoot down another Hun reconnaisance machine. After lunch I rode to the guns on Nicholson's 17-hand chestnut called Eve, which did not like passing lorries. Found Cruikshank had gone to do a senior liaison with brigade. On my way up, I chatted with a 63rd Div artillery officer and he told me that the machine we heard on the previous night was a Gotha and had been taken intact with one officer and two or three men.

Diary Entry - 15th February, 1918

Rose at six a.m. Walked to Metz to catch a bus but I lost about twenty minutes - having discovered I had not got my box respirator, I had to return to get it. Anyway, the bus had been gone fifteen to thirty minutes when I arrived so as I had arranged to go to the wagon line for the night I set out along the road on foot, hoping to get a lorry. All the traffic was going the wrong way and I footed it all the way. After lunch, Siggers and I went out with a cook's limber to collect some angle irons for riveting the stables and we found lots of them the other side of Barrastre in an old German line. This line of trenches was full of dug outs and there were gun positions in it as well. One never ceases to marvel at the work the Germans get done. We tea-d with brigade and after dinner the Padre and Siggers played bridge there. Before dinner what sounded like a Hun plane kept circling round about Ytres, firing red rockets. There were lots of search lights trying to pick the machine up, but they couldn't. We eventually heard its engines stop and presume it landed, so reckon it must be our machine.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Diary Entry - 14th February, 1918

Remained at the guns all day. It was very misty and rather quiet.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Diary Entry - 13th February, 1918

Relieved by young Scott of 71st Battery. It was pouring with rain and continued throughout the whole day. The front was unusually quiet.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Diary Entry - 12th February, 1918

Go to Rocket OP at twelve and relieve a ranker belonging to the 71st Battery. Did some revolver shooting in the afternoon as the OP happened to be in an old crater where the Hun had blown up the road.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Diary Entry - 11th February, 1918

Pay out the men after lunch and just as I had finished the Huns hit up on the same battery again, doing little or no damage. It was a bright day and aeroplanes of both sides were fairly busy.

Diary Entry - 10th February, 1918

For some reason one Walker of D36 came up and relieved me at twelve p.m. I should not really have been relieved until the next day. On arriving back for lunch find Vosper and Siggers already started. The Huns straafed a 19th divisional battery in the afternoon, to some tune, with four twos, but don't think they got any hits. We played bridge in the evening. At least it was named bridge but we none of us knew anything about the game.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Diary Entry - 9th February, 1918

Fine, sunny day with a strong west wind blowing. Walk to Brigade and see Mills (acting Colenel in Goschen's absence). A large number of officers congregated at Brigade before I left, including Scott (of TM fame) and Heabit, the former had a great grouse about us thieving his ammunition. While we were there, Claudet rang up to say the Hun was at him with 4.2s and had blown up 1,000 rounds of ammunition, but, when the adjutant got the counter batteries, they said they were dealing with it.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Diary Entry - 8th February, 1918

It rained all day and the Hun was rather offensive and bumped HQ twice from the direction of Marcoing with a 5' 9" battery. At two, the second time, we got the 12" onto him and very soon shut him up. Anticipating more crumps at nine thirty p.m. we got the 12-inch to fire three or four rounds on him at nine twenty five, nipping him in the bud so to speak, and there was no more trouble from that battery while I was there.

Diary Entry - 7th February, 1918

As soon as Cruikshank got back from Rocket OP at twelve thirty, I set out for Battalion HQ (left) where I relieved Shipley of D36. The 17th Fusiliers were in and, as their CO Western was away, Major Hole commanded. They sent out an offensive patrol that night but the Hun was not to be found in the post where they thought he was and nothing happened. HQ was a comfortable spot in a sunken road with good roomy dugouts made by the Australian tunnelers. The Hun crumped us at nine fifty, putting one right on top, but it only shook things about a bit.

Diary Entry - 6th February, 1918

Cruikshank goes to rocket OP at midday. It was misty in the morning but fined up at noon, the sun even coming out. The Hun put over a few four twos in the valley during the afternoon, otherwise nothing took place and I read or wrote letters in the Mess.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Diary Entry - 5th February, 1918

Siggers and the Padre set out for Amiens at nine a.m. to put the money in boxes and from there they were going on to Bethune to hire a piano, taking the IMS and Cannover, the interpreter, with them. I started for the guns at one thirty p.m. and lost my way coming across country to Metz, but the signboards were wrong on the cross country tracks. On getting on the ridge through Trescault, I walked into Boar Valley from there with a RE captain and thence up a light railway in the valley to the guns. Here Cruikshank was installed on his own, Shapland being away at Ballion on a four-day liaison stunt and Barrett, whom I forgot to add is on leave - he went from the wagon line early in the morning. The gun position did not look such a bad place, a good dug-out for the Mess - and the men working hard on one at the guns. It seems we are a silent battery and only fire in case of SOS or for aeroplane calls.