Search This Blog

Friday 31 May 2013

Diary Entry - 31st May, 1918

Go to the farm with Cruikshank in the morning and as we go note that the Hun HV guns are after the 12' gun on the railway, but after a few had been very close they puffed off further up the line. At stables inspect all the harness huts and gun park and eventually give the award of half holiday to A&E subsections.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Diary Entry - 30th May, 1918

Siggers comes down and we all ride over to see Vosper and are pleased to find him well and hearty, expecting to be sent down the line in a couple of days. From Aubigny we go to Camblain l'Abbe to the club for lunch and notice Acq is receiving attention from the Hun HV guns so skirt it to the north, wasting little time in doing so.

Diary Entry - 29th May, 1918

Come down to wagon line for lunch. Walk over with Mike afterwards to see one of our FEs which has come down after being over to drop its bombs. The propellor had evidently stripped the bolts holding it to the engine shaft. Nick goes up to the guns that evening. The news of Vosper is not too good, Cruikshank having been to see him says he was looking very pale and was not allowed to talk much, having to catch his breath each time he did try.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Diary Entry - 28th May, 1918

We were somewhat surprised to hear from Cruikshank that the Major (Vosper) had been hit while in bed by a bullet from an enemy's plane. It appears he had been hit in the chest while sleeping in the Mess and had been packed off to the ambulance murmuring all the time that he had lost the best battery in France. Remain at guns all day to keep shop while Siggers and Barrett go forward to register for a raid which is to come off on 30th. It is quite a cold day again, the wind having a nip in it.

Monday 27 May 2013

Diary Entry - 27th May, 1918

Spend a lively night of it at the OP keeping a keen look out for a raid or any signs of enemy action. The Hun at two p.m. shelled the back areas with gas, sprinkling the forward areas slightly with it, and we had to keep our respirators on for a few minutes. This went on till about dawn and the Hun disappointed us again. I really thought he would make a local attack. As I came down from the trenches met Barrett and Siggers on their way to see the infantry.

Sunday 26 May 2013

Diary Entry - 26th May, 1918

Go to the OP to do a 24-hours duty and notice as we pass the section that No.1 gun has jammmed and not run up - probably some springs smashed. Relieve Gough and find Flemming and an 8' merchant shooting at TM emplacements so don't get a look out till about two p.m. as the Major took hours to fire his 48 rounds. The Hun was also very unpleasant and kept putting them very close to us. In the afternoon the Hun artillery became very active and began knocking our trenches about very badly and what is more we could see most of his guns blazing off. At five p.m. the fire became a regular bombardment ad I really thought the Hun was going to make a small attack. However, after carrying on at gun fire till eight p.m, with TMs and every gun he had, the front quietened down except for a few pepper shell which caught us unawares for a minute or two.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Diary Entry - 25th May, 1918

Warm and steamy. Siggers and I walked to battalion but found the Colonel and General just in the act of going round the trenches and, as the adjutant did not seem very communicative, we came back. I had neuralgia at the back of the eyes rather badly so went to bed before dinner.

Friday 24 May 2013

Diary Entry - 24th May, 1918

Rained heavily all morning, clearing again towards evening. Barrett did roving OP and came back soaked to the skin, only wearing a British Warm.

Diary Entry - 23rd May, 1918

A high wind blows (50 f.s) and signs of a change approaching. Siggers and I go up to the OP in the afternoon to register No 1 as it has been put into a new concrete pit.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Diary Entry - 22nd May, 1918

Siggers comes up for lunch and is shown around by the Major. A beautiful warm day and we bathe again in the afternoon, meeting the Padre on the bank. Both Siggers and the Padre were very amused at the words of encouragement given me on the high diving board, "Go on kid, it won't hurt you", by a Tommie. In the evening the Major goes down, calling in on the way to try to arrange a special leave.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Diary Entry - 21st May, 1918

Do roving OP but spend most of the time in the brigade OP with Tucker as don't fancy wandering around the front line, the Hun making it rather unpleasant, but I got as far as A company HQ in Pudding Trench.

Monday 20 May 2013

Diary Entry - 20th May, 1918

Cruikshank goes down at ten a.m. I remain in at the guns to keep shop. Major and I bathe in the afternoon off the island and meet Majors Claudet and Tucker in the water. To my surprise the water was quite warm and one could stay in a long time. Lambkin comes up in the evening about the middle of dinner, both his horses lathered with sweat. He lost his way and says "the horse took the wrong turning." Before dinner the Major and I strolled up to see the detached gun.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Diary Entry - 19th May, 1918

Come up to the guns after going to church at Madagascar Corner in the theatre, held by our Padre - the colonel and adjutant were there. On arriving at the guns, Vosper walked me up to the detached gun in Athies, telling me on the way that I was a candidate for the captaincy in the seven ones but that the Colonel said that if I was going to apply for six months' leave in August, as I have every intention of doing, it would hardly be worth my while to accept it. It took no deciding, as I had no intention of taking a job in any other battery in the brigade, so I agreed. Major Thorburn goes in a day or two to GHQ as interpreter to the French army and his captain will in all probability get command and leave a vacancy for captain which I think Armytage (Charles) will get. The gun is in a splendid place just having flash cover and that's all (15 feet) and there are large pill boxes with four feet walls for the detachments only a few feet away. In the afternoon I watched the Major and Nicholson bathing in the public gardens lake, not having a towel myself. There were a large number of Jocks bathing off the other bank. What a chance for the Hun, only 300 yards from the front line.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Diary Entry - 18th May, 1918

Go for another semi staff ride with signallers BC's limber and no Nos1, we go out towards St Eloi as Siggers and I intended lunching at officers' club at Chamblain l'Abbe. At twelve we sent the party home and rode on to the village for lunch. Vaisey and Capt. Scott rolled up in the general's car and sat at our table, the former was going on to Aubigny to have his teeth seen to. Again, it being a splendid night, our planes are busy and a few Huns venture over our lines too.

Friday 17 May 2013

Diary Entry - 17th May, 1918

Another beautiful warm day. The Major and Nick come down for tea, I have another knock at cricket with the men in the afternoon.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Diary Entry - 16th May, 1918

The weather seems to have suddenly turned into summer and has become very warm. I go looking for men's baths in afternoon and find none belonging to the 15th Div in Roclincourt but on going to Anzin[?] find what is wanted. Have a great game of cricket in the evening with the men but get very hot. After dinner Siggers and I took an orderly down to Anzin to show him where to get sand. It is fine to hear our bombing planes going over. The air is full of the hum of their engines and looking towards the enemy's lines one could see the special lights the Hun uses for warning the people behind the lines of the approach of hostile planes going up north and south.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Diary Entry - 15th May, 1918

Go to the rear position and out on a staff ride in the afternoon, taking the BC's limber. We take up several positions and get back about five thirty p.m.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Diary Entry - 14th May, 1918

Go to the rear position in the morning. Lambkin takes the map reading. In afternoon, Siggers, McKenna (veterinary officer) and self walk to guns and meet Major on the way down and, as he only wanted to see Siggers, he turned and walked back with us. The Hun was very active in the afternoon and seemed to be slinging shells about everywhere, putting several when we arrived just to the right of the position. It was very warm walking home in the evening.

Monday 13 May 2013

Diary Entry - 13th May, 1918

Start work on our rear position. Siggers and self ride over to it in the morning and find that the infantry brigade out of the line use the ranges to the rear of the position and don't seem to be wonderfully accurate in their shooting. It rains again in the afternoon.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Diary Entry - 12th May, 1918

Major Quiller Couch (son of the author Q) of the 9th Battery relieved me so I came along to the battery, which is only a short walk, and am told to go back to the wagonlines, which I do in the evening. The Major was up the trenches with the Colonel, firing the Brigade on their SOS to see where the shells fall, as the barrage given us is very close into our own front line.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Diary Entry - 11th May, 1918

Very misty. Pay a visit to the 36th Brigade in the morning and find that Jumbo is away distributing remounts at the wagon lines. However, am assured he is coming round in afternoon, to arrange about a straafe on Fampoux and the trenches to the north. In the afternoon, about four p.m, he came round, saw General Hilliam (44th Inf. Bde, they relieved the others) and fixed it up that his infantry should be cleared from the line at a certain hour. The Colonel and self afterwards walked over to the inf. bde on the left to arrange the same scheme with them.

Friday 10 May 2013

Diary Entry - 10th May, 1918

There is absolutely nothing to do on this job but try to humour the infantry if they are being spelled and see that any particular point they want straafing gets attention as soon as possible. In the afternoon I visited 41st Brigade across the river in Blangy and saw Barton, their colonel. He, funnily enough, used to command the battery Nevitt was in and knew him well. He also had been on leave to Australia from India just before the war and had stopped with the Toombies of Warnambool. When the padre and I set out on our way back we were greeted with gunfire from a 77 mm battery and were chased over the bridge at the double, much to the amusement of the many tommies who were spectators a little distance off.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Diary Entry - 9th May, 1918

Ride to guns at nine a.m. to do senior liaison officer as Siggers had to be on a court martial. Took over from Major Bromley of 17th Battery and found the 40th infantry brigade were the infantry.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Diary Entry - 8th May, 1918

A bright sunny morning, rode round to Marveuil to get something from the EFC but found they had moved so went on to Etrun and RAHQ and got my Corian back from Charles Armytage.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Diary Entry - 7th May, 1918

It was inclined to rain in the morning though it eventually fined up about ten thirty. I took the horses out grazing in the afternoon while Siggers took a map reading class. The horses grazed at the usual place down near the 12' gun and amongst the wire entanglements there.

Monday 6 May 2013

Diary Entry - 6th May, 1918

At an order from brigade, a captain or major and subaltern from each battery had to ride the back areas of defence with the colonel, starting from the other side of Marveuil at ten fifteen a.m. We covered a lot of country and just looked at it from different points. Siggers and I lunched at Chamblain l'Abbe and we got home about four thirty p.m., having had quite enough riding. Siggers got back in an ambulance.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Diary Entry - 5th May, 1918

It rained until ten thirty a.m. and when Siggers came back from church we rode to Duissant to get some money but found no cashier there so proceeded to RAHQ at Etrun. They were surprised to hear there was no cashier there as they had directed us there and, on enquiring over the phone, they discovered that the nearest cashier was at Chamblain l'Abbe. The Brigade Major, a new man - Why - wanted us to stay for lunch but we decided to go on and lunch at the officers club in the village. There was a nice club there opposite Canadian Corps HQ but, on going to the cashier at two, were rather annoyed at being told the office would not be open until four p.m. owing to a meeting being called by the OC cashiers. So there was nothing for it but to ride home vanquished, having ridden some twenty miles to no purpose.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Diary Entry - 4th May, 1918

Major comes down at ten a.m. and we walk out to look at the horses grazing. He goes back to the guns for lunch. In the aftenoon, Siggers and I ride over to Marveuil to get some sand for building an OP. Having got what we want, we return by Etrun, call in at RAHQ and find that the brigade has some more decorations: Majors Claudet and Vosper the MC and McKinty the MC.

Friday 3 May 2013

Diary Entry - 3rd May, 1918

A harness inspection (skeleton order) by Siggers at stables. Go for a ride to see the skins grazing in the afternoon and on the way see three large naval guns on the railway, two 9.2s and one 12'. During the morning archies knocked half a propellor off a Hun plane and brought him down. in a spin quite close to Ecurie, the machine crashed but both the occupants were alive though violently ill as a result of the spinning. The Huns late in the evening shelled the balloon at Ecurie with HV HE air bursts, getting some very low bursts in too. The balloon kept moving up and down on a light railway, bringing us right in the line of fire and one shell burst right over the lines, with an awful smash, and the Brigade MO Capt Todd and his two horses were wounded.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Diary Entry - 2nd May, 1918

Cruikshank arrives up from the wagonlines. He has not been feeling fit just lately. The Major goes to the OP and shoots all the guns on some tree which the topographical people say they know the exact position of. They finish up with a peculiar registration which is useless for calibration purposes. I get down for a few days at the wagonlines and soon after arriving we have a knock with a cricket bat and ball picked up during the retreat.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Diary Entry - 1st May, 1918

Nicholson goes to the wagonlines in the morning to stop for a few days. All quiet through the day and Siggers pays us a visit in the morning.