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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Grandfather's journal April 27, 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

April 27th
Our Captain was a perfect brick and stuck it grandly, his hat being carried away once by a shrapnel burst.
He had just left the house and was running to the fire trench when a 17" came right into the house. It threw it almost bodily into the air - after the smoke cleared off, the house was a pile of wreckage. Several natives had been killed, Lt Donahue having a lucky escape - three natives were horribly wounded and pinned down under the wreckage. An officer mercifully shot them to put them out of their misery.
We kept up fire by map all day. Several shells burst upon us and one pitched right against the trail of Jerry's wagon, and funny enough hurt nobody.
The thought struck me in the afternoon that it was my birthday - Gee! It was a very grim and bloody one.
Old George and Collins had an exciting afternoon. While going along the wire, they had to take refuge in a shell hole, They had to stay in it for a long while, and they eventually got back alright.
About midnight we got orders to move at once, for the position was absolutely suicidal to hold. The battery got away alright; I remained with my horse holder to wait for George and Collins, who were with the Infantry Head Quarters. They were reeling in what remained of our wire.
Shelling was still going on, and the burst of shells, firing of our own guns, and the rockets from both side's trenches always lights up the Heavens like a gigantic firework display.
I waited a long time behind the shelter of a building for them to come, and I thought that they must have got knocked over. I resolved to go and look for them; it was a nasty job for the road and the village of ST JEAN was still being heavily shelled. The road was deserted as I crept from tree to tree. But every here and there were dead horses and occasionally a dead man.
As I got to the village, two infantry chaps were coming down from the end of the village. I asked them if they had seen anything of my chums, but they told me they had not seen anybody, and advised me to go no further, if I wanted to live.
So I returned to where I had left the horses, thinking that George and Collins were 'goners'. I was greatly relieved when I got there to find them back. They had come back a different way, as it was too hot through the village and road.

I had hardly been back 10 minutes when a shell struck the roof of the building, or rather, shed. We were inside and tiles and bricks fell in a shower on top of us. Collins got a whack in the shoulder, but it was not serious. Another shell followed; 19 burst all within 40 yards of us and not one of the four was touched. 

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