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Wednesday 31 July 2013

Diary Entry - 31st July, 1918

I spent the day at Apple OP for the twenty-four hours and, except for a few odd rounds of harassing fire, had a quiet time. Everything else as usual but, on hearing Sanger had applied for six months, I sent mine in.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Diary Entry - 30th July, 1918

Am somewhat surprised to see in orders that Siggers becomes acting Major of 15th Bty and I acting captain of the 45th and go round to 15th Bty position after tea to discuss life with him. On the Monday night, the King's Liverpools did rather a successful raid, taking six prisoners, including an officer - and caught the Hun in the middle of a relief, so the barrage probably shook them up a bit.

Diary Entry - 29th July, 1918

Funnily enough the Huns did fire at the gun as soon as it started the usual night harassing fire so we had to pull it out and put it in our old man position, but it had received a nasty blow on the buffer from a five-nine.

Diary Entry - 28th July, 1918

Hearing the forward gun had been shot at most of the night we decided to move it and went up to select a position in the morning. We find one across the Cojeul Valley not far to the rear, which Saunders informs the Major has no flash cover - not a bad start for a shop boy who has had exactly forty-eight hours experience and, being the CRA's son, not much was said.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Diary Entry - 27th July, 1918

Major takes Saunders to the OP and they do a little shooting.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Diary Entry - 24th to 26th July, 1918

On Wednesday, the Major and Cruikshank went to the WL and on Thursday I spent the day at Dorris OP (daylight only) but there was little or no movement to be shot at so we tickled up some Hun OPs and in turn had a few rounds fired in our direction. On arriving back at the Mess, find Nicholson and the General's son have arrived, the latter having come on from RAHQ. General Saunders and Roberts (DTMO) arrived round in the position soon after breakfast on Friday. Otherwise everything is as usual but good news keeps arriving from the south where the French have pushed in behind the right flank of the attacking Hun and taken a lot of prisoners and guns.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Diary Entry - 23rd July, 1918

Got in for breakfast at five a.m. then went to bed and got up at eleven a.m. It was a beautiful sunny summer's day and everything was as usual.

Diary Entry - 22nd July, 1918

Register after lunch as the Hun rather spoilt our plans in the morning. The men were working with the ammunition, carrying it out from the ravine to the pits, and I was on my way out to lay out the line of fire with a director and ruminating in my mind as to whether a Hun balloon sitting on the crest could see us or not when over came a pip squeak landing 25 yards over. It was a good ranging round and we thought it a fair enough warning so went for the dug out with four or five more rounds after us. The old Hun then shoved over a few rounds onto the dug out, then gave it up. It was four in the afternoon when he went down and we finally got registered. After dinner we went to D36 and played some bridge and there was a deal of revoking when the Hun started popping 5.9s and pipsqueaks into the same valley and they seemed to be almost bouncing off the concrete walls of the Mess. As soon as it grew quiet, the Major and I got back and turned the men out for action. We fired the barrage all right and pulled out without molestation at three fifteen a.m.

Sunday 21 July 2013

Diary Entry - 21st July, 1918

In the evening we take the guns forward to what was our old position to register for a raid which is coming off during the following night. The Major and I go up with the guns, get them in without incident and live with the TMs

Saturday 20 July 2013

Diary Entry - 20th July, 1918

Nothing doing all day. The Major rides his small pony up the line on his way to the OP, leaving it in a gun pit at TMs. Siggers comes in for tea and I take him along to the 15th Bty about six p.m.

Friday 19 July 2013

Diary Entry - 19th July, 1918

Remain at the guns, my only job being to hunt round for some timber for the gun pits. Am rather sorry to hear from the Major that Siggers is to go to 15th Bty to command it, as Major Claudet has gone down with appendicitis. His captain is evidently considered incapable of commanding the show.

Diary Entry - 18th July, 1918

Set out for Dorris OP at four fifteen a.m. and am somewhat fed up after walking the two miles to find I have come on the wrong day. A horse artillery merchant holds the fort so there is nothing for it but to walk back again. As I left Douchie on my right the Hun was dousing it with gas shell. After breakfast find a useful windlass for the mine which we left. Cruikers came up in the evening.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Diary Entry - 17th July, 1918

At ten a.m. I set out for the wagon lines on Julia. Lunched there, and Cruikshank, Siggers, McKenna, Thornburn, Crabtree, Graham and I all rode over to RAHQ at one thirty p.m. to play cricket against them. Of course they had played quite a lot and we had not seen a bat and ball for three or more years. They went in first and we tried nearly every one in trying to bowl them out, eventually getting them out for 162, Armytage making 50 not out with a wonderfully effective mowing stroke. We were about prostrate on the field when the last man was bowled and, in batting, put together 84 but am sure with any practice we would have a really good team as there is good material - even the Colonel seemed to have played a lot at some time or other. On the same field in which we played a tank demonstration was going on before a division of infantry and these wretches used to come rolling down on us but am glad to say they kept off our matting wicket. Stayed at the WL for dinner then rode up to the guns with Bill Westcote.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Diary Entry - 16th July, 1918

At the guns. A warm steamy day with thundery clouds hanging about in the morning. Our chaps downed a Hun plane and two camels downed a German balloon in the evening. The Major goes to the wagon lines in the afternoon.

Diary Entry - 15th July, 1918

Go along the FOO wire in the morning and mend five breaks and then have it cut behind us before reaching No. 10 post. Major goes up to cover the daylight raid done by 60th. It consists of two men and an NCO, their objective being an enemy's post which he occupies at night only. He fires all the afternoon with hundreds of heads up over the top watching the men crawl across no-man's land. As a matter of fact they even stood on top and the Hun took no notice, so they consolidated the post and stayed there.

Sunday 14 July 2013

Diary Entry - 14th July, 1918

Brig General Ironside who commands the 6th inf bde comes round the guns with the Colonel, he and Jumbo were at the shop together and are great friends. Ironside, commonly known by the infanteers as Tin Ribs, is a tremendous man, with the VC and a very fine record behind him, one of his stunts in South Africa being a fine piece of work - disguised as a Dutch bullock driver he gained a lot of information of the Boers' movement. He also speaks about a dozen languages. The Major lunches at brigade and I go to liaise with the 1st Royal Berks at six p.m.

Diary Entry - 13th July, 1918

Do orderly at the guns. Barrett back from OP. Major goes up the line to meet Howard who commands the 60th KRRs to arrange about some daylight stunt he is to have. The Colonel comes round at eleven a.m. and has a look round.

Friday 12 July 2013

Diary Entry - 12th July, 1918

In the afternoon, stroll southwards, along what was the old German frontline in 1917, to the Essarts Hannaschamp road, in search of C124 battery, which Rus Bell is in . Eventually find them, dug right in in the old Hun front line. Find Rus away and a Major Cutbush, who used to be in our division in the 47th(?) Bty, in command. He did me very well and said he would tell him where we were.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Diary Entry - 11th July, 1918

Go down to the wagon lines at twelve, Siggers and I go off to Corgneaux in a Ford box car to see Russell. He sent it over for us. He had called on us a few days previous and I found that he is a Major, much to my surprise, and commands an 8' battery just south of us. It was not a nice day, being thundery and showery, but after lunch he ran us into Doullens and I had a spin on the Triumph he rides. We had quite an amusing time in the old town, shopping, and motored to our lines in St Amand for tea and it simply poured with rain on the way and when we got there.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Diary Entry - 10th July, 1918

Remain at the guns all day and have to wear my gas respirator from seven to eight, as an order came out they were to be worn an hour each day for a week. The new triplex glass put in the respirator is a great improvement to them, though they are no more comfortable things to wear.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Diary Entry - 9th July, 1918

Get back at twelve p.m. having had an uneventful night. Get a bath and shave and feel much refreshed. It is very thundery and close, and late in the evening a Hun scout flying down the line in a south-westerly direction gets well peppered but finally sinks one of our balloons when it is almost on the ground. We could hardly see him when he did this as he was well south of us and there was a lot of stuff flung at him.

Monday 8 July 2013

Diary Entry - 8th July, 1918

I am informed at ten a.m. that someone is due at OP from us and, as it is my turn, off I have to push, with two signallers on a three-mile walk in the hot sun. The relief should have been carried out at ten and I did not get there till twelve thirty, but Gow was very good about it. It is very quiet and I watch the Major shoot the FG from No. 10 post. He also registered one gun of the rear position and found the line all right.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Diary Entry - 7th July, 1918

Brigade move out in the afternoon. Barrett and Lambkin arrive down soon after lunch from the position. The Major stays up there for the night. Three guns are brought back at night and they are all given a line on the mushroom tree at 7,000 yards.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Diary Entry - 6th July, 1918

Commence on two more pits, getting some men from the advance wagon lines to help. Also go into Monchy to arrange about baths. Send up a GS wagon to the guns during the day to move some of the ammunition back and manage to evade the military policeman in Monchy who is to stop traffic by day in the village, but General Willan asks for the unit's name on seeing the team going up the Cojeul Valley.

Friday 5 July 2013

Diary Entry - 5th July, 1918

Come down to brigade to stop till our guns come down. HQ, who move out in the direction of Bienvillers, intend handing over their accommodation to us.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Diary Entry - 4th July, 1918

After lunch walk down to the rear position to get the men working on it. The Major also goes down to see brigade and we eventually spend most of the time there, stopping for tea, and I arrange to come down and stay there and live with brigade.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Diary Entry - 3rd July, 1918

At six p.m. relieve Pocock at the batallion and find the 1st KRRS in and soon after I arrived a new Colonel - Howard - stepped in to take command from a Major Orfrey. During the afternoon an infanteer arrived being attached for a fortnight. His name was Banner of the 1st Royal Berkshires

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Diary Entry - 2nd July, 1918

Major and self go out after breakfast and reconnoitre the Purple Line and OP, covering same and have about a five mile walk. We went past Duesnoy Farm, a very favourite spot of the Hun's - in fact all that crest is very badly scored with holes and there is nothing there. We also found a lot of red and black currants in the garden of another old farm which also seemed to have received a lot of attention. They were quite good eating. We found the spot we were looking for - Sausage Rise - and found that it commanded a good field of view. Roberts (DTMO) and Gorry came to tea and seemed full of life, the former making a great noise.

Monday 1 July 2013

Diary Entry - 1st July, 1918

Remain at the guns. Major and Lambkin go down to the WL to see how our section got on in the show. The latter had to act as section commander in Nicholson's absence. Keith Thorburn won it by one mark from us, in spite of the fact he had a leg over the whole time in the driving drill but both the judges being on the wrong side did not notice it and of course he won it on his horses as we licked him to pot in harness and turn out. It was another beautiful warm day.