Daily Diaries
Diary Four
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2nd March 1916 to the 11th August 1916
Page - 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05
Page Seven
Page - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10
2nd June 1916
Glorious day. Orderly Officer today. Went out exercising this morning and had to stay in camp the rest of the day. Something unusual occurred tonight. Got a letter. Chas visited us tonight. Wildly excited about his approaching leave. Wish it would be kind to use once in a while and let us both get away together. Never mind mine comes 20 days after tomorrow. Considerable strafing going on up ahead although we don't hear much of it down here except the dull roar of the guns. Would sooner be up into it again though. Gets awfully monotonous down here. Anyhow will be up amongst it tomorrow. The Major and myself are going up to pick out new gun positions if fine.

3rd June 1916
Glorious day. The Major and I left here at 9 a.m. this morning and went looking for reserve positions. Visited the old 2nd Bty in the course of our wanderings and had morning tea with Captains Olding and Sandford. Saw some of the old boys again. Got into Estaires about 2.30 p.m. and had dinner at the Hotel De Ville. Visited our English officer friend and had the rest of the afternoon with him. Managed to get on to my base kit today. Not before I wanted it either as I've been going about in rags for the last month. Richardson leaves here tonight for his furlough. Chas was in a great state of excitement because he leaves here tomorrow night. General Hobbs visited us today. I've had about 6 hours in the saddle today and am as stiff as a poker.

4th June 1916
Had a visit from Generals Hobbs and Birdwood today. Chas came along and had dinner at night and left for England afterwards. Very heavy bombardment on right Group all night. Expected a call but none came.

5th June 1916
Orderly "dorg" all day. Went out exercising this morning and got caught in a heavy shower so had a ripping gallop home. Nothing very interesting here. Wish we were in position.

6th June 1916
Raining like old nick. Cleaned up towards evening so got on Phillis and went and saw Capt. Raymond (RAC). Had a lovely ride. Brigade orders out tonight bring rotten news re leave. Lord only knows when I get to England now. Just feel like getting up to the OP. and starting a war. Major got a late call last night. Glorious night.

7th June 1916
Took the Battery for a 10 mile route march this morning. Thoroughly enjoyed it. This afternoon Faulkner, Raymond, myself went on to Estaires for a little diversion. Had it. Mrs McKeon and the 4 of us went and had dinner at the Hotel De Ville. Glorious ride home.

8th June 1916
Kicking about the Bty all day. Randall paid us a surprise visit bringing with him the news that he was just going on furlough. Morris Fame had dinner with us. Sent the Major into Estaires with the Colonel. Handed over one of my guns to 6th Bty. Raining like old nick.

9th June 1916
Visit from Raymond this morning. Exercised horses and served my county well by getting waggons and guns cleaned ready for handing over. Sent for by the Colonel and told to report with Faulkner and 6 O.R. to 2nd Bty gun position. Left Waggon Line at rest billets at 8 p.m. arrived 9 p.m. Reported to Capt. Olding so here we are arranging to take over position and guns. Billeted in a farmhouse just about 40 yards away from the guns.

10th June 1916
Too misty today for any observation work so went down to the waggon line of the 2nd Battery. This afternoon we had a nice little strafe. Fired about 200 rounds on to their first line. They replied rather feebly.

11th June 1916
Sunday again. Went down to report to the Major who is acting Colonel at present. Stayed to dinner and had a "small" gram afternoon. Got back at 3.30 p.m. About 4.15 we got mixed up into rather a neat little scrap. Went on a visit to nest at night. Quiet night.

12th June 1916
Raining old boots. Four of ours reported here last night. Put them in the pits this morning. This afternoon went for a gallop into Estaires. Got lost for a while. Had a lovely little "hate" later on this morning. Dry heavy firing towards Armentieres. The good old 6th are out on a raid tonight. Expect something doing about 1 a.m.

13th June 1916
Something happened last night or this morning rather. Things rather busy down Fluerbaix way, but although we expected something up this way it didn't come off. Rotten luck because we stood to from 12.30 p.m. Report from Army corps to hand. Congratulations on the success of the raid also for the co-operation of artillery fire. This morning went up to OP. Came down to the Bty again and carried on as battery fire control officer. This afternoon the programme, by laying and firing 5 rounds. Am taking the case of one of them to England. Major came up tonight but returned to waggon line later.

14th June 1916
Had a bit of variety today. Shot the old 2nd on my own. The climax of a being a gunner from Cpl Sgt of 2nd Bty. Major came up and he took over at 3.30 p.m.

15th June 1916
Had a lovely little 'hate' at 2.30 a.m. Got a "wire" from the 10th Batt and strafed heavily all and sundry in trenches and dugs on my sector. CGP (Charles George PEARCE) (Chas) arrived back from England today. Just getting out of bunk when he blew in. All this day he has been yarning over his trip and is everlasting by quoting leaders and its people. We yarned up till 12.15 a.m. (after a phonograph evening). Major's stiff again. Got his leave stopped to for the second time. Don't know when I'll ever get mine. Heaven help some of the Bosches if they open tomorrow.

16th June 1916
W.L. B70 I don't know if Heaven did help the Bosches today. I hope not, but they "opened" and our shells left this end all night. Chas came up today. Eccles, Eccles, Eccles. Nothing more. Got things ship-shape today. Hate this afternoon the Major got a message saying he could go on leave tonight so that's why I am down here at the W.L. Richardson being the senior is O.C. Bty while I at present am Acting Captain and its no good to me. Not much of a joke being strafe and not being able to retaliate. Our friends opened on us tonight, but they got slightly mixed. The 101st opened the same time as we did and they fill in for the strafing. Jove these Huns do get annoyed when they start. Threw 77 mms and 5.95 over until they got too tired. Don't know how the 101st got on but think they've had a bad time. Wrote Nellie.

17th June 1916
Very first real gas attack and it was a beauty. Had just gone to bed and fell asleep when the sentry on guard woke me up and gave me the message. Didn't need any messages the smell was quite enough. Roused everybody up and managed to get 3 glorious whiffs of the blankey stuff. Coughed and spluttered a bit but got my helmet on before it done me any harm. Several of our chaps got slightly gassed, but nothing serious. The gas was quite visible just like a thick morning mist and white in colour. Passed off after about an hour. Gave them as good as they gave us. For every cubic foot of gas they sent over we gave them 1 H.E. so I think someone would be sorry. Our QMS hit today. Stopped a shrapnel bullet in the head from an anti-aircraft gun. Nothing serious. Busy straightening the W.L. all day. Chas came down to dinner tonight. I've got a lovely billet here. Almost resembles the old flat at Lunit Bay. Wrote Annie.

18th June 1916
Sunday again. All the morning. Jove there's some toll to be done to. This Flanders mud is about the most loveable stuff I've yet struck. Sundry artillery duels the order of the day and aircraft fairly busy. Gave the boys and all a days spell they don't half warrant it either.

19th June 1916
Damn all Huns. Don't mind them bombarding of a night because all the noise they kick up never affects the rest of this child, but with gas its different. Got roused out of bed at something past 12.30 this morning by a gas alarm. Had to stay up until 7 a.m. until everything was normal again. Fortunately for us the wind changed ¼ of an hour after they liberated the poison cloud. In fact it blew right back over their lines. I don't wish them much harm, but I hope some of them have a throat and chest similar to mine at present. The last attack has left me with a beautiful cough and sore throat. Been swinging a pick and a shovel the majority of the day to try and get the full use of my lungs again. Had a visit from Randall this afternoon.

20th June 1916
Still another call last night. Some silly blighter at Z8 made himself believe that he could smell gas so the call went all through the line and I had to crawl out at 12.10 till 1.30. Found out that it was a false alarm. Still toiling. Horses and mud are parting company rather well. Rec a letter cousin A. Wrote one in return. Had a visit from Chas Randall and McIndoe today. Our Bty got into a hate today. So much so that two guns are not of much further use for firing out of. Had to send a team to the 2nd Bty at Doullens to get another gun. No 4 arrived at 2 W.L. late last night.

21st June 1916
In stables all morning. Got leave and went into Estaires in the afternoon. Saw McKeown and spent the majority of the afternoon with him. Managed to procure a pair of boots and sundries. Got home about 9.30. Pretty heavy strafing tonight. Saw 6 planes come back from a raid. Must have been 1000 shells tossed at them.

22nd June 1916
Visited the Bty this morning. Got back at 11.15 a.m. Glorious summers day today. Glorious scrap about 5 tonight. Things were warm. Another gas attack from D3 at 11.40 p.m. but it didn't reach this far.

23rd June 1916
If everything had been in order should have been well on my way to Manchester by now. The glorious uncertainties of war personified. The Lord only knows when I'll get leave. At the present rate of going, not for another month or so unless something unforeseen happens. This afternoon it rained like old boots. Chas came down after dinner.

24th June 1916
Still raining. Had to shift our horse lines again. Mud up to your knees. Glorious country this. Either get eaten up by "skeetos" or suffocated in mud and slush. Visited by Hogan, Chas and McIndoe. Artillery duels the order of the day. Major still absent. Believe he is held up at Boulounge.

27th June 1916
Got orders to go up to the Bty at 12 p.m. Reported here in time for a lovely little hate. Major and I went up to OP. and strafed for about 2 hours. Fired about 220 rounds. Set a fire going in Fritz's trench. Still going strong at 8 p.m. tonight.

28th June 1916
Raining like mad. Supposed visit from Gen. Hobbs today which didn't come off. Glorious hate this afternoon in conjunction with trench moves. Up at Battalion H.Q. (51 Inf Bat) tonight. About 11.30 had a devil of a row. A raiding party from the English line out. Shelled consistently for 3 ½ hours. No sleep of course. Just like a fireworks display in Luna Park.

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