Return to Borre
21st April 1916
This morning got orders to go back to Borre on duty. Left base at 9.30 walked to Outtersteene (about 6 miles), boarded a goods train and got out at Hazebrouck and walked from there to Borre. Saw Chas who is looking anything but well. Left on the return journey in the midst of pouring rain at 4.30. Rode Phyllis down to the station. Boarded a passenger train at 6.30 and arrived in Steenwerck at 7.15. Got hold of some Tomey Ambulance Sergt and after Sunday drinks bribed him into getting a motor waggon and running me part of the way home. Got home at 10 pm wet through.
22nd April 1916
Ordered to go with the Adjutant to get the rest of our Bty billeted in Gestaves. Raining like old nick. Got a horse from the 15 Bty and "used it". Billeted the Battery all right and got home at 6 p.m. Chas has gone into hospital.
23rd April 1916 (Easter Sunday)
Up with the larks this morning. The Major and self went up to the OP. and watched a bit of "hate" on our friends trenches. Afterwards, not to be done out of any fun they opened on to ours, and we got the "overs". Tons of aeroplane scraps during the day. A plane has hardly time to get up nowadays before it's got about 30 or 40 shrapnel and stie puffs around it. We brought down one of theirs yesterday and today they equalised the score by winging one of ours. This afternoon Major and myself rode into Le Pailly after pay and a few other things. Successful thank heaven. Got back at 5.30pm. At present am up at Kalallin at 2. G.A.O. for the 14 and 15 Btys. Had quite a pleasant time this evening so far. At present there's a Rosch M.G. making a fine target of this old house. Awfully interfering "cuss". Doing no earthly good but riddling the tiles on the roof, making an awful dust. The first really fine day since I've been in France.
24th April 1916 (Easter Monday)
Another fine day. Ye gods. Got down to the pay Bty at 8.30 had breakfast and look over my guns and store from the 15th Bty and put my own gun's crews on them. This afternoon located a new OP. and spent several hours mapping out a scheme whereby we can make it habitable. Its in an old ruined farmhouse about 300 yds in rear of our first line trench and its shelled out of all recognition of a house. This afternoon we had our first "hate". Stuck in about a dozen rounds for luck. Our anti-aircraft guns brought down a Taube today. Sunday artillery duels the order of the day otherwise quiet. Its just 12 months back when we were all anxiously waiting for our first scrap, and here now after one year of scrapping we are considered quite veteran soldiers.
25th April 1916 (Anzac Day)
Just 12 months ago today since I had my first baptism of fire at sea. Was on board the S.S. Indian then lying off Anzac waiting to land. Another glorious day today. This morning had to go to Bac St Maurit to locate a temporary waggon line for our Battery. Did so. Was also out after the Field Cashier, missed him but found Chas who had just come out of Hospital, and was looking for H.Q. Had dinner together at our billet, and then went up to our OP. and look over from MacPherson of the 15th Bty. Sundry artillery "hates". We fired on one battery and shut them up with 16 rounds. Came down to our billet at 6.30. Chas came to dinner. Cracked a bottle with the Major and Chas to celebrate the "Day" and came up here to Battalion H.Q. Thank someone I am not 6 ft long.
26th April 1916
Left Batt H.Q. at something to 7. Got to David House and had breakfast. Afterwards went up to our forward OP. Was employed making ourselves comfortable when our friends started throwing 5.9s into us so we had to get out. They fired 60 rounds into it and then shut up. Blew things about a bit but I can still use it as an OP. Got back to the Bty on being relieved by the Major and went down to Bue Sis-nair and guided the Bty into their new W.L. Got back to the Bty at 9.30. Coming home "they" threw some of their gas shells about. This gas makes your eyes water and smart like one thing. The appearance of my eyes this morning was such as would suggest that I had a glorious beano, or night out. Orders through that Randall has been transferred from our Bty. Our next officer is Lt. Richardson from the 7th.
27th April 1916
Glorious day again. Been working like a bugger all day. Down at the waggon line all the morning straightening things out. Up at the Bty all afternoon. Missed a trip to England today by just a hairs-breadth. Anyhow that will keep. Faulkner came up today which relieves me somewhat. Tonight Chas, Adj. and CO had just finished a little "stunt" and were just preparing for bunk when we got the SOS signal from the front line, signalling gas attack. Donned our gas helmet and got into action in no time and strafed for an hour and a half. Have just come in from our stint. The wind has changed so I reckon "they" will have to don their gas bags. Everything perfectly quiet save for an occasional burst of machine gun fire. Had a bath.
28th April 1916
Chas and myself went for a short cruise this morning around Fleurbaix. Found something. Down at waggon line in the afternoon checking gun stores etc. Have to take my two guns somewhere near Armentieres tonight. Left W.L. at 7 got to 12 Bty position when we had a gas attack signalled. Turned out to be only a scare. Picked up an officer of the 12th who guided us to our rendezvous where I handed over guns etc. Got back to Fleurbaix at 11.45 p.m. Got two letters. My mail has gone mad and got lost somewhere.
Fleurbaix battle front
29th April 1916
Up at OP. all morning, but not in it all the time. Got shelled out of the forward OP. so went back to the reserve D.O (dug out) and got shelled out of that. So spent a comfortable 2 hours peaking about the trenches while "they" carried on and amused themselves. My Sergt Brown and self nearly got buried by the roof and a few beams, I don't mind how many shells they throw about, but I bar sand bags. Reported to Batt H.Q. tonight.
30th April 1916
Got down to the Bty from B.H.Q. at 9 a.m. Have been working like a beggar all day. Visited waggon line this afternoon. Tonight at 7 p.m. "they" opened up on one of our heavy batteries and pushed out about 50 5.9s. Made an awful mess of things but didn't get the guns. Last night "they" made an attack north of Armentieres preceded by a gas stunt but gained nothing. Artillery hates all day.
1st May 1916
Up at OP. all day. Strange as it may seem, its true that we never got a shell at us today. An occasional artillery hate and rather good target practise made at aeroplanes, but apart from that nothing much doing. At night we got the gas signal. Pumped in a few rounds, but found out finally it was a false alarm.
2nd May 1916
Glorious day. My turn at the Bty today. Had to go down to the waggon line this morning. This afternoon had two hates of 20 rounds each. The Major controlled the first one, but got blown out of his OP. station 5 minutes before the second one started, so I carried on. Nothing much doing barring a few more farmhouses being strafed. Wrote M and Mr Blikeli tonight.