The date is August 1914. The British Expeditionary Force is in France and You're in the Royal Field Artillery. You're riding alongside one of the battery's gun limbers on its way to the assigned position on the east side of Mons, Belgium. This begins your journey into the Hell they called World War One. To purchase this historical memoir go to https://createspace.com/3649268

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 28-29 Second Ypres

April 28th

Went into action on the edge of a wood on the left of Ypres, this seemed more quiet than the place we had vacated. In the afternoon we ran our wire to a point for observing just over the canal. Everywhere about here was a scene of desolation, half starved cattle roaming about, pigs, and all sorts of farm commodities; many lying about dead. The French Infantry held this front and just in rear of the trenches were 4 of their Howitzers, which showed how far the enemy had advanced. We stopped to observe some big shell bursting near, a kind we had never seen before and promptly named it “Black Jack” on account of the great volume of black smoke they gave off. While we were watching one burst directly over the heads of a few Frenchman, they scattered and I didn’t think any were harmed. We went back, shells of large caliber were continually passing right over the guns, but only one burst near, about 20 yards from where I had made my dugout, at the foot of a large tree – it did no harm.
The night passed uneventful, except for the continual shelling and during night, two batteries of French 7.5’s took up position about 50 yards in our rear.
April 29th

Was impossible to fire from observation, as we could not get to observing point and the wire was broken in many places by the continual shelling. We fired by map and wireless from aeroplane – hostile aeroplanes were very active and one must have spotted us for they gave it to us warm in the afternoon and evening. The officers had made a bivouac beneath a large tree, a few yards on my left. A few shell, and they were real coal-boxes, burst very near. They moved over to the left and lucky they did, a few minutes later a shell hit the tree and snapped it off like a match. Other shells followed and we had to leave the guns for a while. When it was over, we went back, the officers huts had been blown to pieces, two coats that hung on a tree were absolutely in ribbons, almost everything there was irrevocably ruined. One of them had been sitting on a box of biscuits; this box was blown yards away and not even a biscuit that was inside remained. The tin box was like a piece of twisted tin. Everything was almost unrecognizable.
Dowling one of the servants got both arms badly splintered - continually shelling roads to our rear and right all night.

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