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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grandfather's journal March 1915 Part II

All his journal entries are in my book "World War 1 - An Unkept Promise" on Kendle or paperback "The Great Promise" on Amazon

March 11th

We opened at dawn on the BOIS-DU-BEIZ, which was still held by enemy. We learned that the 7th Division had advanced as far as possible on our left, but had failed to take the AUBERS RIDGE. So to cooperate, our Division (Lahore) was ordered to consolidate the position we had won, and to hold it, which we did in spite of numerous counter attacks.
It was awful to see the Germans mowed down by our guns, for they made attack after attack in close formation, and were literally blown to pieces. Every attack, leaving the ground in front of our trenches more thickly covered with bodies.

A column of their reinforcements were caught plumb by our 15’  Howitzer. One round made a gap in the column of about 60 yards – men, horses and vehicles going in the air. In a confused mass, this our most mighty gun, did some terrific work.
My line, marvel of marvels, still held, only being broken once by shell fire. The day was much the same as yesterday – continual firing.
A stream of wounded and prisoners, as one batch, was coming through the RUE-DE-BOIS. Three of their own shell[s] came long into them, [which] killed or wounded about 20 of the prisoners. Strangely enough [they] never touched any of the natives who were escorting them.      

Our artillery observers in the vicinity [said that] it was funny to see the niggers laughing at the Germans, the thought of them being outed by their own chaps seem to amuse them greatly. They made the Germans walk slowly and keep to the road, for it was evident the scared prisoners would have liked to have run across country. 

March 12th

[We] kept up steady rate of fire throughout the night, raising a little at dawn, and throughout the morning [we] engaged various targets. The enemy commenced to bombard RICHEBOURG (which was about 400 yards to our left) with salvos from their 8.2 Howitzers (nicknamed coal-boxes or Jack Johnsons).
In the afternoon my communication broke down; consequently the battery had to stop firing. I went along the line and whilst crossing a main road, shell[s] were falling pretty thick, although the majority were going into the village. I found the break in the wire; a shell had hit it square and chopped a piece out. I took our now favorite cover and got in the hole made by the shell. [I] repaired the line, [then] tapped in and found everything alright. Another line running in the same direction was also broken like mine, so I repaired it, tapped the line and asked who they were, it was the 9th Brigade. They were profuse in their thanks for it had saved them an uncomfortable job.
Was still pretty hot when I reached the battery; the guns were very lucky for nothing fell between us and the village.

They were bombarding the poor old church fiercely.  Three of us (two telephonists and myself) were watching the effect of the fire and speculating which would be the next to go in the air.      

Several splinters [were] whizzing over our heads at every salvo, but we took no notice, until one small piece hit me in the muscle of my right arm, but [it] did not penetrate.
The next salvo, a good sized piece, just grazed my cheek and went about 2 inches into the ground at my feet.  I scratched it out, [but] had it been a couple of inches more near, it would doubtless have given me a nasty knock. 

We thought we had watched the fun long enough, so we went into our little house and had ‘ tea’  – nothing short of an earthquake would make us miss that at this time, for some cows near bye [sic] kindly supplied us with milk, and milk in tea is ‘ bon’ .
In the evening the Manchesters caught 5 spies in RICHEBOURG. They were found in underground cellars and must have been there months. They received scant ceremony, and no doubt were soon put out of the world quickly. For spies, either man or woman, were promptly dealt with, especially by the French.
The night was rather more quiet, only doing little firing; we had gained and consolidated our objective and the Germans seemed glad to keep quiet, as long as we would let them.

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