Diary Five - October 1916
Diary - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
August September October November February March
England - Western Front
3rd October 1916
Putting up at the Regent again. Am waiting word for when my boat goes. Hope the German High Sea Fleet comes out and blocks the channel.

4th October 1916
Visited Pay Office and struck Smith of the 8th. After that a blank please.

5th October 1916
Left London at 9.50. Arrived in Folkestone and left there at 4.20PM. Got to Boulognestraat and came right through to Poperinge. Walked 2 miles on a beautifully muddy road (at about 2.30 am) but what's the odds. I've had my leave and enjoyed every moment of it.

6th October 1916
Trying to reconcile myself to things generally but its no go. Major and Faulkner left tonight for the Salient. We take over position from the 3rd Bty tomorrow night. Thank Heaven something exciting is going to happen.

7th October 1916
Had a visit from N.S.H. today. He has also just returned from leave, and like me is feeling absolutely rotten. Received orders from H.Q. to report up at the Battery this afternoon. Came up here via Ypres. Great little position. Hope they don't shift us again for a few months. We relieved the 3rd Bty this trip. Chas came over at night and - well we yarned until some unearthly hour.

8th October 1916
Getting straight at Battery all day. Awfully funny being amongst guns again and hearing noises. Chas came over for dinner.

9th October 1916
Still straightening out the Battery. Faulkner got his leave today. Robertson has been sent to attend a school so that leaves the major and myself to run the Battery. Liaison Officer at 12th Batt H.Q. tonight.

10th October 1916
Left Batt H.Q. at 9.00 this morning for O.P. Stayed up there all day. Our O.P. is in the first line trench. Plenty of "minnies" and rifle grenades floating about. Strafed this afternoon. Got back to Bty at 6.30PM. Gun Officer tonight.

11th October 1916
Gun Officer all day. Nothing much doing only trying to forget London. Tres Bon, I don't think. On duty tonight.

12th October 1916
F.O.O. today. Hated considerably. Blew their front line about and searched the country in rear rather well. They had the colossal hide to blow down a few yards of our line with minnies last night, so we equalled the score. Tonight on getting back to Bty hear that there's a raid on and got mixed up in a neat little set up at 6.30. Quiet night otherwise.

13th October 1916
Raid proved a complete success. Killed quite a few and caught one or two prisoners. Down at Bty all day. Chas came over at night, also received hurried orders to hand over to 17th Bty A.F.A. Their O.C. and one sub came along and are at present staying with us.

14th October 1916
Up straightening out lines of fire and registering barrages. Made a mess of the railway over in their lines. Returned to Battery for dinner and went up to Batt H.Q. for Liaison duty. Done a 300 yds sprint along the line because they spotted us and made things lively with wizz bangs. Very Turkey. About 7pm they bombarded very heavily with artillery and trench mortars succeeded in busting up the trenches rather well and made things dashed uncomfortable for a while. Got word through to our Batteries and had half an hours fun on my own. We won easily. Gave them particular H.

15th October 1916
Returned to Bty this morning. Have been getting ready to hand over. Handed over complete and left Bty Position at 8.30. Major and OC rode down through Ypres. Glorious moonlight ride. Arrived at W.L. later.

16th October 1916
Left W.L. as a complete Div of Artillery this morning. Trekked to within one mile of where we stayed for the night. Slept between sheets once more.

17th October 1916
On the move from 6.30 this morning. Arrived at Bonnay at 7pm. Passed through the Town of Corbie which is some place.

18th October 1916
Still at BOO today. Don't know where we're off to, but we're on our way.

19th October 1916
Raining like blazes. Mud everywhere. Sergt Bradwell and Elliot presented with their ribbons today. Enjoying things all day.

20th October 1916
B.O.O. today. Glorious and fresh after the rain. Frost this morning and some cold too. Orders to hand for our move down the Somme way. Leave on the 22nd. Wouldn't mind staying at this billet for a month. Awfully decent people.

25th October 1916
Ordered into position on the left. The most busy night I had in my life, at least one of them. Got hurried orders early this morning to take my section into position. Given a map ref of the relieved Bty W.L. and set off in pouring rain mud knee deep. Arrived at 13 Bty NZFA Waggon Line at 12.30. Met several Nelson boys I knew. No water or feed for my horses. Left again at 3pm for the Bty Position. Didn't think roads could be so bad. All along for miles they are shelled to blazes. In some places for 50 yards they are just pulverised into quagmire. Got held up by vehicles getting bogged a dozen and one times. Took us an hour and a half to go a quarter of a mile.

26th October 1916
Still having a H of a time. Mud and slush knee deep everywhere. Even our Gun Pits are half under water. Managed to get 'B' Gun up and into position this morning before daybreak. Getting 'A' Gun into a crater and at present she is about 400 yrds along the road, but daylight beat us as we are in direct view of the Huns. Went up to OP and strafed during the day. Had some fun. Battery got shelled during the afternoon and we had to withdraw detachments. Faulkner got up to Bty tonight with his two guns, and as 'A' is in position too, let the war go on. Up at OP tonight. Got lost on the way up, to say nothing of getting 'bogged'.

27th October 1916
Huns got very cheeky last night and early this morning. Threw quite a number of Gas shells about so we had to teach them a lesson again. Things still resembling a Hopeless Dawn etc. Up at OP all day. Strafed a road rather well. Tonight at 4.30 the Huns gave us what oh for an hour, so we sent back quite a few stamped receipts. They got into the Bty and also the OP and blew things about a bit. Still raining and as cold as Charity. Can't walk in the trenches so have got to 'risk it' out over the parapet. Awfully exciting, believe me. Got down to Bty tonight and had a feed. The first one since early morning. Am going to live up at OP in the future I think. Too many shell craters to fall into between the Bty and OP.

28th October 1916
Up at OP all day. Fairly fine but the mud is well rotten. Strafed a bit and got shelled by 5.9 at once. Cold as Charity. Had dinner with Capt Taylor, OC 2nd Bty. Went down to Bty for tea. Sleeping at OP tonight and Gee, isn't it cold.


Map of Ligny-Thilloy showing the trench system

29th October 1916
Still residing in my Palatial Residence. PR amplified means a trench knee deep in mud, a dug out which leaks like mad, and not wide enough to turn around in. Major Rogers came up this morning, and we both vented our sentiments on Thilloy and Ligny-Thilloy. Rain and slush still going strong. Haven't even got a dry change, and have been wet through for the last 4 days. Still, they tell us we're winning, so what's the odds. Some cheerful infantry chaps, hardly recognisable through the ample coating of mud, have just passed singing like mad 'Are we downhearted, no we're not'. Dined at Bty tonight and came up here before dark.

30th October 1916
Gee, what a Devil of a night. Sat up in a dug out with water 6 inches deep. Got an awful cold. Cleared up a bit today thank Heaven but all this trench has fallen in. Quite a war on today.

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