Diary Four - May 1916
Diary - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
March April May June July August
Western Front
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.

3rd May 1916
Spent the morning looking for a new OP. old blown out again. At present am observing from a tree about 900 yds in rear of our first line. Got a temporary station at the 24th OP. Up at Batt H.Q. at night.

4th May 1916
Down at the Battery all day. At 11 a.m. I got word to fire on a target that a scouting aeroplane sent down. Got into action immediately and got a hit with the third round. Put in about a dozen more for luck. Aeroplane report to hand says effective shoot. Same believe me. At night the Colonel, Chas and Morris visited our billet. We had a phonograph records and Champagne so had an awfully jolly night.

5th May 1916
Just going to bed after a glorious little 'hate'. Have been up forward observing all day. Our friends ranged on to pretty well every trench in the 24th and our own sections. Thought there would be something doing tonight, and there was. Had just dined, and was having a little bit of music, when someone let hell loose on our sector. Our friends concentrated all their available artillery on us and gee wizz, didn't he knock it in. We've just finished firing. Everything is quite normal again but for two hours it was like old Helles again. Our boys stuck it well. Trust the 1st AIF for that, although for every shell we loosed off, they sent 7 back at us. Were expecting a repetition early tomorrow morning. Hope they come, because we've got such a painful surprise awaiting them.

6th May 1916
Our friends evidently thought better of it and didn't try any more funny business this morning. Rather a disappointment for us because we had several painful surprises up our sleeves but they'll keep. Got more than he expected I fancy. All our chaps wanted to rush his trenches., but unfortunately orders are orders. Up at OP. all day. Had a couple of visits around the trenches. In one small sector they got over 400 shells into it. Got down to the Battery at 7 p.m. Had a visit from Chas. Everything O.K.

7th May 1916
Down at the Battery all day. Sundry little hates the order of things but nothing much. Busy fixing up night lines of fire for our guns. Expect to start registering tomorrow.

8th May 1916
Up at OP. all day. Bitterly cold, in fact it has been hailing most of the day. Started registering this afternoon. Had my first experience of controlling fire from OP. Registered my own which the Major persists in naming after me (Doughty's Road). 10.15 a.m. Just sitting in my dug out writing this. Expecting trouble. To the right someone's lifted the lid of Hell and they're playing the Devil. Its as light as day with the flares and gun flashes. Glorious night for a scrap, nice and chilly, and dead calm, so come on dears, do. Saw Randall tonight.

9th May 1916
Although expected something last night was disappointed. Nothing doing. Turned out to be a bit of a midnight "hate". Down at the Battery up till 6 p.m. During the afternoon had a decent little "hate". Reported to Batt H.Q. at night. Raining like old Nick. Had a most pleasant evening with Col. Bennett. It rages and other officers of the good old 6th. Quiet night.

10th May 1916
Up at OP. today. Nothing doing in the morning, but in the afternoon the Major and I had a little "hate" on our own. Their 5.9s opened on the old OP. and sent over 60 at it. Gee, its in a mess. We were up a tree observing during our little hate and was paid particular attention by one of their snipers. Awfully cheeky chap, but a rotten shot. Glorious evening.

11th May 1916
Down at the Battery all day. Consistent shelling by the enemy of sundry points of our sector. We had a nice little hate this morning and also a sortie this afternoon. "Strafed" a house or two which happened to be occupied also "stroked" a working party or six. Fritz scored one hit today. Brought down one of our "planes" not very far from our position. This evening he nearly got another. Real hard luck he didn't. The shooting warranted it. Saw Chas tonight. Went into Fluerbaix and teased some French girls. The most innocent bit of fun we've had for a long time. Major, Chas and I had a Fizz Supper. Glorious war this.

12th May 1916
Up at OP. all day. Had a "dig" at a working party on my road. Caught a few. Sundry shelling on both sides. Ran No 4 out tonight. Took her up about 1400 yds. 8th Batt turned out in force to help.

13th May 1916
Down at the Battery all day. Raining like Hell. Suture on has by M.O. 2nd Bde. Done a bit of strafing later on in the afternoon. Went up to Batt H.Q. for dinner with Rogers. Had a most enjoyable time up there. Tea and toast at 11.30 p.m. Quiet night up ahead but quite a noise up Armentieres way.

14th May 1916
Up at OP. again. Cold as charity. Quiet morning, but "they" started hideous noises during the afternoon, so gave them something back and shut them up after a few rounds. Got a few direct hits on Maisach Church and house alongside of it with our mobile gun. Bde orders tonight contain a list of officers leave. Wonders never cease. Fancy giving officers to the 1st Art. Div. Leave. Rotten part about it is that Chas goes early next month while I get away on the 23rd.

Australian 18lb battery gun stuck in Flanders Mud

15th May 1916
Down at the Battery all day. Still raining and this Flanders mud is so affectionate. Had a bit of a "strafe" this morning and got something. Lt. Robertson reported for duty to our Battery. The Major insists on it that I go down to the waggon line for a few days spell, and as its an order I go down tomorrow morning. Nothing much doing.

16th May 1916
W.L. Arrived here at 10 a.m. this morning. A little quieter than the Battery, but still within range of their "heavies". Its great here. Everywhere along the road and in Bai St Maurit are little restaurants owned and run by French people where they sell refreshments and a little bit of everything. Both my charges are fine. Haven't had a chance to ride either of them yet. O.C. Waggon Line has too much to do. 8th Battery got their share of "strafe" today. Its going up. 7th first, 8th second, 9th (our turn next).

17th May 1916
Glorious day. Aeroplane duels the order of the morning. Their heavies making hideous noises during the afternoon. Tonight we had to "stand to" on account of receiving a Gas Alarm. The sector attacked is South of us and at present 9 p.m. there is an extra heavy bombardment down that way. Got a letter from Annie today. Gee my mails gone mad. Haven't had a letter for years I think.

18th May 1916
Glorious day again. Aeroplane stunts as usual. Still at Waggon Line and having a deuce of a time. Great night tonight. At the invitation of Madame (our billet proprieties) Grace, young ladies of Flanders come over to entertain us. Sang French songs (in the English version mostly) until I was quite hoarse. One of the visitors was a Belgian girl whose father was killed early in the fighting. Aeroplane squadron after, gone at midnight tonight.

19th May 1916
Major came down today bringing with him good tidings. First of all that we're expecting a real good rough up shortly. And that I can get up to the Battery in a day or so. Mail arrived, but mine "nonest". Wrote Annie. Got shelled this evening. Don't exactly know if they were after us or an observation balloon which was up close to us. Anyhow they didn't get either. Very heavy bombardment down toward Neuve Chapelle.

20th May 1916
Glorious day again. Sundry artillery "strafes" and aeroplane "stunts". This afternoon Chas came down to dinner. Randall also blew in and had a "cup of tea". Big mail arrived last night. Mine still nonest. Nothing much doing.

21st May 1916
A few small hates and aeroplane stunts the order of things. Getting quite hot here. Our friends shelled a portion of Fluerbaix today, but did practically no damage owing to faulty ammunition. Visited Bte 8 H.Q. tonight. Rode up on Phillis. Chas came back with me. Had quite a nice little evening with the aid of three "mademoiselles" and cham. Glorious news tonight . Am going up to the Battery Tuesday morning.

22nd May 1916
Constant strafing all day long by both sides. Still quiet down here until this evening when they ranged on to the road about 6000 yds away from our stables. Thought we would have to "runski" but they soon tired. Put over about 50 shells but didn't do much damage. Chas down tonight. MacIndo, Moody, Chas and I had "a night assisted by the aforementioned mademoiselles.

23rd May 1916
General Hobbs inspected our W.L. this morning. Had a great turn out. Complimented on it in fact. Quite a "dorg" believe me. Reported to the Battery at 8 p.m. and ordered to go and report to Battalion H.Q. at once. They expected a "strafe" this evening, but it didn't come off. At present we have 3 officers and 30 men from the 6th Bty quartered with us. They relieve us when we go out for our spell about the 30th of this month.

24th May 1916
Great day. Got down to the Bty at 7.30 a.m. and just going to have a bath and a few other things when we got into action and strafed at the same time. "They" set one of our billets on fire and strafed the road rather prettily. Anyhow we had a rather hot half hours hate and then knocked off for dinner. This afternoon I was sent up to OP. and had a few "pots" and started a war with some of their Batteries. Located one of them and strafed it properly. Shut them up in rather quick time with No. 4. Chas came up to see me, so we had a war on our own.

25th May 1916
Up at the OP. again this morning . Started another row with our friends. Gave poor old Le Maisnil a few and pasted the cross roads rather well. No 4 seems to have got them thinking. Can't locate her anyhow. Had an accident with her in the afternoon and had to get new springs into the buffer. Have been "strafing" a good deal with her of late. Beano at the billet tonight.

26th May 1916
A glorious little war today. Went up to OP. this morning and strafed all and sundry. Major came up later on and our joint ambitions and doings set things going. Have become quite an expert on knocking houses about. Real top hole on the roofs. Went down and paid the lads at the Waggon Line this evening and came back and done likewise the Battery. During my absence "they" strafed our billet, Battery and No 4. I am (27) Just came back from running No 4 into a new position. Too hot over in the old one.

27th May 1916
Went up and plotted out a new zero line for No 4 this morning and spent two or three hours giving somebody up ahead the benefit of all doubts. Down at the Bty all afternoon getting things ready to hand over to the 6th Bty. Sundry hates the order of the day. Tonight one of our aeroplanes went for a trip over the enemy's lines and caused quite a stir. Must have had 400 shells at it, but it managed to evade all of them.

28th May 1916
Getting ready to hand over the 6th most of the day. With Chas, visited the 2nd Bty and saw some of the old boys. Had dinner with Capt. Olding, Regg Morris. Got home at 8 p.m. Something tells me there's going to be dirty work about tonight. Later just had a champagne supper with Major, Chas, Faulkner, Robertson and 4 officers from the 6th . Bunk at 11.30.

29th May 1916
No rest for the wicked. Behold in me the "wicked". Got an urgent this morning at 2 a.m. and have been supplying the Huns "urgently" since. Got into a beautiful little "strafe" and started quite a small war on our own. I think we won on points because they "ceased fire" first. This afternoon Lt. Duffy and myself rode via Sailly-sur-la-Lys to our new waggon line where we are to "spell". Fixed things up for our arrival. Went into Estaires and had dinner, and a little diversion from being shelled. Got home about midnight after the darkest ride I've ever had. Had to take our bearings by the light of the German flares. Raining.

Street and church interior of Estaires

30th May 1916
Busy getting ready for our move all morning. Handed over to 6th at 5pm. Left Fluerbaix at 7. Walked down to W.L Bac Saint-Maur and left there at 9.15. At 8.30 our friend opened up played the Devil. Thought we would have had to go back and strafe but was disappointed. Arrived at our new W.L. at 11.15. Lovely ride. Am getting to know my way about Flanders.

31st May 1916
Quite settled down in our new billet which happens to be a rather big farmhouse. This place also was used by Uplans early in the war for a H.Q. The father of the family at present living here was shot in his own garden. The morning taken up with getting things straight. This afternoon Chas myself rode into Estaires. Had a pleasant afternoon. Struck an English Leiut in there, and he showed us around. Walked back and got it doing so. Arrived home at 11 p.m.

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