Jan 29th to Feb. 5th
A rather quiet period, the enemy seemed to have undecipherable off a little, for at times they never replied to our fire, and the attacks of the previous week seemed to have quieted them considerably.
We bombarded the Germans front line trenches from BRICKFIELD to RAILWAY TRIANGLE. The fire was so effective; the Guards advanced and captured the trenches without losing a man. The Artillery there, were afterwards highly praised in a letter for the splendid work; special inference was given to the way communications were kept by telephone. Undoubtedly which was for our Battery, for at one time I was receiving and sending orders for the firing of three batteries, besides our own, with all their lines being broken by shell-fire.
The Battery received orders to move to relieve 55th Battery R.F.A. next day.
I proceeded with the Captain to CROIX BARBETTE, to take over the wires and communications of 56th Btty. Arriving there about midday, one of the telephonists took me along the observing wire to the trenches. It was rather quiet, save for occasional bullets; - the chap with me was rather merry. He advised me to crawl on hands and knees across a point of ground just in rear of the trenches, as we would get sniped. I followed a little way, but on seeing an R.E. fellow walking about unconcerned, I thought, if it's safe enough for you, it is for me. I walked across much to the other fellow's disgust. He got wild when I insisted upon him helping me to mend a broken wire and prop it up on some trees. He was very angry and crawled back, but it was quite unnecessary, for I walked back and nothing came near me.
We went along some reserve trenches - a few light shell were bursting a little beyond - I traced a wire into a redoubt and dodged inside as one whizzed over.
There was an Infantry telephonist inside, he said, 'Just in time mate, three of ours were put out just outside a few minutes ago.' He was working away quite unconcerned. I had a chat for a few minutes and started back, I think much to the relief of the chap with me. On the way back, the enemy were shelling RICHEBOURG Church with 'coal-boxes'. I stood on the road and watched about 20 go over, but they failed to reach it.
I went into the village at night and had a few drinks of rotten trench beer, came back to the 56th Btty and slept in a loft of the farm, and had the best night' s un broken sleep that I had had since we were at rest, seven weeks before.