28th May 1917 Monday
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Strombos Alarms (see May 15th) were heard at HQ just before 2am. This sent the whole camp scurrying into a state of nervous alert and all very quickly got into their protective equipment. The state of the alert remained critical until the all clear was given at about 3.30 am. Despite the gas alarm Douglas and his men still had a busy time treating the wounded throughout the night.
“At 2.30 on the morning of May 28th, there was a false gas-alarm which put the “wind-up” most of us. Then at 4.30am after a terrific bombardment the Huns raided 39th Division trenches at Turco Farm, capturing two of our men, one of whom subsequently escaped. We captured one Hun. The excitement was intense, and every gun in the salient was blazing away.
Nearly every day we got large numbers of wounded to attend to, and pass on to the main dressing station by ambulance car after dark, when the cars could come right up to the canal bank. Most nights I was never in bed, and usually got my sleep in the afternoon. Even then I seldom got much rest, as our mess was always a favourite one for officers to drop into to have a drink, and exchange views. Even the Prince of Wales dropped in one afternoon. He was often up in the trenches hereabout, but no fuss was made.
Gas alarms, and artillery bombardments made night hideous, and wounded trickled in all night, and every night and had to be attended to. It was a nerve-racking life. Rumours of intending ‘pushes’ came along each day. Whatever is going to happen, both sides are extremely nervous, and a tremendous artillery ‘straffe’ suddenly broke out on the least provocation. The whole salient is plastered with guns, large and small, and troops.”
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