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, April 9, 2015

Grandfather's journal April 1915

All his journal entries are in my book "World War 1 - An Unkept Promise" on Kindle or paperback "The Great Promise" on Amazon Available in US, UK, EU

We were shelled for quite an hour, 13 to the dozen; it was awful.
Just a few yards from us was an artilleryman and his horse lying dead. A motor ambulance smashed, the driver was killed and burned to a cinder by the petrol which ignited.
A nigger was lying dead in the ditch, and round the end of the building were several others.
After a time it abated a little and we started again. I met George, he had been in a much-like stew as I. We went through the village and it was terrible. I managed to get a drink of water and after a while I decided to go back to the guns, if I could get there.
I hadn't gone far when they started again, and we ran for our previous little shelter, and gained it just in time. Shells burst very near, and I said to Collins, 'What a stink, and strange smell.' My eyes were watering and we all three began coughing and decided to chance it anywhere else. After an exciting half-hour we got to the guns. I felt bad and sick.

We learned from an officer that it was due to the gas shells the Germans were using. It was very lucky we decided to get out of it or undoubtedly the three of us would have been gassed properly, instead of partially, but it was bad enough, sufficient to stop me eating anything for three days. 

April 26th
The guns were getting it pretty warm, but we started firing in good style.
The wire broke three times, but by arrangements we raised the range, while out of communication.
Twice during the afternoon I went through ST JEAN and each time thought I should never get back. I felt quite alright and thought I was bound to meet it somewhere, so I took it easy, but at nightfall I thought I must have been very lucky.
The enemy kept up hard shelling everywhere; it was one continual roar, shells frequently bursting over us and bullets and splinters knocking lumps off my dugout. I really thought it was the finishing touch, for of all the places I had been through in the campaign, this was by far the worst; it seemed impossible for one to live long in it.
I had a few hours sleep, awakening now and again when a large shell burst somewhere near. At daylight we were at it again; the first thing that met my gaze was a shell dropped just the other side of the hedge. It fell among what was left of a Canadian Battery Wagon Line, (most of the men had been killed when the Germans broke through the previous week). They bayoneted them whilst they slept and hung the Ferrier to a tree. Then they crucified a Sergeant of the Canadian Scottish to a barn door with bayonets. This wagon line had about a dozen horses left of 200 - the guns were captured by the enemy, but were afterwards regained by a magnificent charge by the Canadian infantry.

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