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Saturday 31 August 2013

Diary Entry - 31st August, 1918

Move off at five a.m. as ordered, intending to join guns and move forward but, on reaching brigade, are told we are not required so return very crestfallen and angry at someone having given a wrong order.

Diary Entry - 30th August, 1918

Shells fall near by during night but never in our line. We move off at five a.m., or rather had orders to, which are cancelled during night.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Diary Entry - 29th August, 1918

Shelled by big velocity gun from two a.m. Shells only just dropping over but all the time wondering whether Hun whon't shorten range and get our horse lines. The Column catch it, losing several horses, and by nine a.m. we were on the road to the gun and lock stock and barrel pitching our lines in front of guns as Hun was falling back through Vaux Vraucourt.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Diary Entry - 28th August, 1918

Rise at five a.m. to make sure of water from a pump in Commiecourt, but things are very congested, as a lot of transport has moved up in the night and an ammunition dump been established on road to Behangier.

Diary Entry - 27th August, 1918

We move whole wagon line to a copse to East of Courcelle le Comte and about 8,000 yards behind what was German line. Water very scarce and poor but get a little in Gommiecourt and Achiet le Grande.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Diary Entry - 26th August, 1918

Get quite a decent night's rest in a dugout but have an awful scrum for water in the morning as a whole cavalry brigade congest things badly and seem to think they have priority.

Sunday 25 August 2013

Diary Entry - 25th August, 1918

A peaceful day, haul up six wagons of ammunition, look for better watering, as demand had become greater than supply at Douchie, but fail to find anything worth moving to. The Huns are retreating through St Leger and Mory, closely pursued by our infantry, supposed to be assisted by cavalry.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Diary Entry - 24th August, 1918

Move wagon lines to Douchie where RE had water and troughs in full swing and the whole world seemed to be concentrated round about Douchie even before we arrived there and thousands more horses came crowding up all day. We had a section and one howitzer standing in readiness to advance from guns all day and it was some job trying to supply all wants for guns and wagonlines, especially as I had to stand by at the guns with the teams for the section ready to go forward, but felt very pleased at having Hoyland with us again as of course he knew the ropes from A to Z, although only holding subaltern rank now. The forward or galloping section was withdrawn to wagonlines at dusk, and I got back to Douchie about nine p.m. feeling very dusty and tired.

Friday 23 August 2013

Diary Entry - 23rd August, 1918

Rode to St Amand directly after lunch, the guns having pulled back to the wagon lines to await orders. When we arrive at the town mayor's, find him out, and he has arranged nothing, but this is the usual way that sort of person treats you. As we are wondering what's to be done, some infantry march up and bury two officers and, on approaching one of their officers and stating our difficulties, he gives us some men to dig a grave, and their Padre offers to take the service. When the grave was finished, we carried on, but before we could place poor Cruikers at rest had to lengthen it as he was a good six foot one and the grave was not quite long enough. On returning to the wagon lines, found guns had to be moved forward again to a position to north west of Courcelle-le-Comte, which the Major was reconnoitring, and we got guns and ammunition in at dusk.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Diary Entry - 22nd August, 1918

Guns are evidently moved up to within 300 yards of our trenches on Tuesday night. Attack commences at dawn. Cruikshank, poor chap, killed by a premature during first phases of the barrage, from some battery in rear. He was seen to fall and when examined it was found a shrapnel bullet had penetrated back of his steel helmet far enough to push a piece of his skull onto his brain, thus killing him at once poor chap. He was a fine young chap who had joined a mounted rifle regiment at 16 and fought through the German East African campaign then sailed to England and joined the RFA, and we are all very sad to lose him. By nine a.m. the battle had progressed so well that wagon lines were ordered up to Monchy. That evening as I rode away from the lines towards St Amand to arrange about Cruikers' burial, an old BE crashed, killing both pilot and observer. Evidently they were just circling round Divisional HQ, while the observer finished his reconnaissance report preparatory to delivering it by parachute, when they crashed into a balloon wire, tearing off a wing, cutting the balloon loose and crashing on the main road not 20 yards from our horse lines. It was late when I returned from St Amand and really could not make any arrangements, as all troops were in the forward area, so left it in the hands of the town Major to have a grave dug and padre ready to officiate at the burial service on Friday afternoon.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Diary Entry - 21st August, 2013

Go to guns and thence to brigade and see much evidence of an attack on our part, tanks everywhere, but of course no-one knows anything or dares to mention it as Corps have people on the alert to catch people talking about future events - a new and much needed measure in our army.

Monday 19 August 2013

Diary Entry - 19th August, 1918

Cruikshank comes down to the WL and General Martin Powell, who was commanding 48th Bty a few days before I joined it, dropped into the Mess after lunch for a few minutes, but I just missed him as had to attend a funeral (?) Cruikers and I spent the evening playing some sort of whist he introduced to us.

Diary Entry - 18th August, 1918

The Colonel came for a trot round the battery wagon line, giving us a good chit on our appearance, and he sent Hoyland up to the guns to help Major Scott.

Saturday 17 August 2013

Diary Entry - 17th August, 1918

The same dumping of seventeen wagon loads of ammunition goes on in the forward area, all batteries taking part at dusk. While unloading, Cruikshank says 77 mm dropped almost on top of them, killing two horses in C subsection's team, later another horse had to be destroyed and yet another evacuated. During the morning Hoyland turned up at the wagon lines, having found his way to the 2nd Div, even though he was ordered at the base to some other unit.

Diary Entry - 16th August, 1918

We really start on the ammunition racket in earnest and send out eleven wagons along with six wagons of the DAC. I deliver the wagons to 2nd Lieutenant Cruikshank at gun position and he takes it on, returning about eleven p.m.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Diary Entry - 15th August, 1918

Take a walk round in the morning, visiting the Colonel with Scottie. Coming back via D 36 we discovered there was to be a BCs' meeting there at two thirty so Scottie stayed to lunch with D 36 and I went to lunch with Barrett and the TMs. The meeting over, we went back and I went to the wagon lines after tea with my kit. The meeting was to arrange about the carting of ammunition right forward about 1000 yards from the front line. When we turned out our eleven wagons and had them at the dump, an order came cancelling it all.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Diary Entry - 14th August, 1918

I got rather a shock when, just turning out for breakfast at nine a.m., see the Colonel looking down into the trench, along with Vaisey and McKinty, and hear him ask why the parade wasn't ready. It seems Scottie had forgotten to tell me about it. Anyway, it all blew over with a few sparks. I took Sergeant Higgins up to see a new camouflage position we had to build and showed him where to dump the material. On returning to lunch find, on ringing the brigade up, there is much excitement, as the Hun is supposed to be going to fall back. He has already given up Serre and Bucquoy. Daylight patrols go out, and I am ordered to move two guns up to the old position near Adinger Wood. Barrett goes up with them. In the mean time, Brigade HQ moves up to Inf Brigade in the Purple Front line and the Colonel spends the afternoon in No. 13 post. The patrol find one or two machine gun posts with the Huns asleep and scupper them, going on to the main line, where the Hun suddenly wakes up and lets them have it. Up goes the SOS at once, but of course no-one knows where to put their barrage down with safety, until the Colonel rings through from the post. I had just given the forward guns the lines when Scottie appeared with his kit. In the mean time, we had received orders to stand by and be ready to move within two hours notice.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Diary Entry - 13th August, 1918

Came up to the guns to stop and relieve Major who goes for a rest to the wagon lines.

Monday 12 August 2013

Diary Entry - 12th August, 1918

Parade in a mist at forward wagon lines at seven forty-five a.m. The manoeuvres go on all the morning, finishing up with a pow wow at one p.m. on the hill, with Ironside and all officers. Cruikshank and I ride down to the wagon line and I have a hurried lunch and go on to RA on a bicycle to play cricket. The match was RA v RGH, the Colonel, Vaisey, Armytage, some other officers and myself were playing. We beat them by about thirty runs after a very interesting game. On the same field as we played, baseball and polo were being played and the American were making a great fuss over their ball game.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Diary Entry - 11th August, 1918

The usual routine at the wagon lines. I go to the show at night.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Diary Entry - 10th August, 1918

Go up to see the Major in the morning about the open warfare stunt to be carried out with the 99th Inf. Brigade on the Sabbath and meet the Major at brigade HQ. From there we ride to Berles-en-Bois to see the country we are to work over.

Friday 9 August 2013

Diary Entry - 9th August, 1918

Go to the Barn Owls in the evening with Todd and DJ36 and Roche Kelly honoured us with his presence at tea. He is ADVS of the division, a peculiar little worm who wears the French Agricultural Medal. The show was fair to medium, run by 37th Div.

Diary Entry - 8th August, 1918

A beautiful day for the show, a lovely bright sun which made the wagons and horses look topping. Naturally, there was great competition for the best wagon team and turn out, which was the second event, and it was funny to see the wagons being put together on the ground so as no dust would mar the appearance of the vehicle. Brig General Ironsides and Colonel Parrie were the judges, the former was very thorough,, even looking at the men's respirators. We won three of the five events with the turn out of team and wagon, best turned out NCO and the jumping won by the Major. These results thoroughly held up the belief in the battery that we are first in the brigade, also the division.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Diary Entry - 6th to 7th August, 1918

No entry for 6th August.

7th August: The Major came down again to put on the finishing touches.

Diary Entry - 5th August, 1918

Inclined to be wet. I have somewhat of a tiff with Keith, all on his side, because I would not allow him over our jumps as they were not finished.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Diary Entry - 4th August, 1918

Have a good look round and the Major comes round about eleven a.m. and spends most of his time pulling the show horses' tails and trimming their legs.

Saturday 3 August 2013

Diary Entry - 3rd August, 1918

I go to the wagon line for lunch and Barrett comes up in the afternoon.

Friday 2 August 2013

Diary Entry - 2nd August, 1918

Find it raining heavily on getting out for breakfast. The Major makes for the wagon line early in the morning. Otherwise everything as usual.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Diary Entry - 1st August, 1918

Come down from the OP through the wood, as the Hun was five nining the usual track and round the corner of the wood. There is a peculiar horse fly in all the woods about the Somme which sucks the blood out of you and on some people they raise huge swellings. They were very bad this morning. Have a breather at the 15th Bty with Siggers.