28th August 1916 Monday

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“On August 28th five of our aeroplanes flew over the Hun lines and dropped pamphlets telling the Huns that Rumania and Italy had declared war on them. On the same day I was caught in a Hun bombardment up Stirling Lane close to Dawson City. I lay low for a while and then decided to return to the canal bank! Brave lad! Our relief on the 28th was delayed as a report came in at 8.30pm that the Hun had remade part of his wire defence opposite Coffee Trench – the weak spot of our line. Everybody got the wind-up, and expected an attack, or a raid at least. We all stood-to, with gas masks at “the  alert”. Lewis guns were rushed forward and the Brigadier-General was chasing about all over the place seeing that the weak spots were guarded. Two patrols were sent out as soon as it was dark, and discovered a small gap in the Hun wire made by our shell-fire. Mr Bosche was busy repairing it! We had a good laugh when the patrols got back and gave us this report! But I didn’t get back to Trois Tours Chateau until midnight as a result!

Great artillery duels went on almost every day in spite of wretched weather conditions.

Most of these gun-duels took place at night and one could get very little peaceful sleep for the terrific din. The whole ground shook.

One day I was having a stroll across the fields towards Essex Farm, when our guns began to bombard the German front line trenches. Of course, the enemy retaliated and sent over lots of “pip-squeaks” in the region of Essex Farm. One shell landed beside six men and wounded them all. One poor devil got both legs blown off. What a shambles!  I rushed as fast as my legs could carry me to their aid, and was nearly blown over by the explosion of a big “Crump” en route. Stretcher-bearers of the 129th Field Ambulance cleared five of the wounded in record time but I was left behind with a wounded sergeant in the middle of the road beside a grim pool of blood, a leg, (minus the body) and a stretcher. Luckily, an engineer chap noticed my predicament and speedily came to my aid. We heaved the sergeant, who was hit in the thigh on to the stretcher, but almost immediately had to roll him off it into the ditch by the roadside as some more Hun shells came on and burst uncomfortably close to us. However, we got him on to the stretcher again, but had some job getting him across country to the Dressing Station. He weighed close on 15 stone!

Another day we watched the enemy shell one of our batteries close to the Chateau. The gunners had a cow and it was comical to watch them evacuating the milk-producer from the danger-zone, when the shelling commenced. The silly brute wouldn’t budge, and had to be hauled and shoved by furious and “windy” gunners!”

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