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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Grandfather's journal April 28 - 30th 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 went back, while 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 uneventfully, except for the continual shelling, and during the 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 the 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 shells, and they were real coal-boxes, burst very near. They moved over to the left and lucky they did, for 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 officer's 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. They were continually shelling roads to our rear and right all night.

April 30th
We fired in the morning by wireless, bombardment to support attack by the French, which was said to be successful.
In the afternoon, we were again heavily shelled as we expected.
The 57th got it worse than us, about 50 yards on our right. One shell pitched into a dugout, killed 4 telephonists and several men were wounded.
They got it so fiercely that they were compelled, as we were yesterday, to desert their guns, but they were soon back again.
One 17" dropped by the French guns and they nipped (as per usual). Several fell in front of us and one 30 yards to, and in direct line with, our left gun, just where I was.
It is impossible to describe these monsters coming through the air. The nearest it is like an express train going through a tunnel and the burst is like a terrific clap of thunder.
The earth sways as if it were an earthquake. We measured this hole at night and it was 25 foot deep and 43 foot across; great lumps of earth, like rocks, had been scattered many yards. It seems impossible, even to one who understands artillery that this great eruption could have been made by a shell. We picked up several splinters going anything from a few ounces to several pounds.

The attack was repulsed and towards dark it became a little more quiet, just the usual nightly dozen per hour. The 17" must have put the wind up the Frenchies, for they had moved during the night and never came back.

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