Guided Tours in the Ypres Salient
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He lived in Gloucester where his father was a "deal porter" someone who handled baulks of softwood, unloading them from ships and stacking them sometimes 60ft high in warehouses. InAlbert, aged 16, was a telegraph messenger, someone who delivered telegrams. His brother, Walter, aged 14, was a 'Corporation employee'. Albert enlisted soon after the outbreak of war. He served with the 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, which was raised in Bristol in September The battalion went to France on 18 Julythe day Albert's medal index card says he arrived in France.
He died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station on 31 July The previous day the battalion war diary had recorded: Our attack was held up by enfilade machine gun fire and concealed snipers from the right.
Our men returned to their original front line at 9. Casualties, Officers killed 8, 3 wounded, 3 missing.
The Co Major Thynne was wounded in the body while urging on the second line. Nevertheless, it had been an 'expensive' raid in term of casualties. Albert Hall was most probably one of the wounded; the battalion had not been in the front line for some considerable time before it. Hall's mother, Henrietta Hall, chose his inscription. Whilst there were several hymns that declared Christ "died for me", there are none that say "he died for me and for me only" so it would seem that Mrs Hall was not quoting but giving a piece of her own mind.
It's rather an extraordinary inscription. There are plenty that say 'He died for us', 'He died for others', 'He died for you', 'He died for you and me' but I have not come across another one that says 'He died for me and me only'. Mrs Hall was not going to share her son with anyone else - even his father and his brother. These raids were carried out in daylight, in unaccustomed and very difficult circumstances, and in the face of very determined opposition.
In spite of these obstacles the results aimed at were successfully obtained and great damage and loss inflicted on the enemy. The gallantry, devotion, and resolution shown by all ranks was beyond praise, and the Major-General Commanding is proud to be able to congratulate the West Lancashire Division on the discipline and soldierly spirit exhibited - a discipline and spirit which most seasoned troops could not have surpassed.
When the opportunity comes of avenging their deaths the Major-General Commanding is confident that the Division will not forget them. He joined the army soon after the outbreak of war and was in France in on 6 June He was the son of the late Rev. Robert Stephenson, who for over 30 years was vicar of St Jame's, Birkdale. He possessed marked ability as a pianist and frequently gave classical recitals at Southport. On 15 March the battalion conducted a raid on the German trenches.
Somerville, another officer and four soldiers were killed in the action. Somerville was in fact originally badly wounded in the face. His was being taken back to the front line when he was caught in an enemy barrage and wounded a second time, this time in the left thigh. The support line at present is a road sunken where we are putting in some deep dugouts and cupolas The scheme now is that a new Reserve line be dug and revetted and plans are being made Lt Champion, Ypres: Next day, the winning platoon leaves for Tilques to take part in the competition, Major Burrett in charge of the Brigade details Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Training from am and from pm Raoul Snoeck, Diksmuide: I am promoted to Adjudant, which relieves me of my bag and rifle and it is very practical only to have to carry a sabre.
As Adjutant I can now put my bag on a 'Decauville'-train wagon, relieving me of 30kg: I come back to the frontline feeling down, but soon the feelings disappear. I have spent 10 lovely days in Paris and the Flemish plain is grey as usual: Battalion carries out tactical scheme. Go for a bit of a stroll in afternoon. Meet Maurice Thompson of Alexandra.
Picture show at night Capt Cunningham: I go up with Dilworth to see our new area. I find we are on the left of our old position i. Things seem fairly quiet. Major Mather is acting C. Presnell goes to Blighty on leave on the 13th, and in the afternoon we play the 4th Battalion football or rather Boardman does, as he scores 30 out of the 37 points we win Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Due to the pressure of swelling clay at Seaforth Farm several of the castings have broken in the "I" beam sets.
Both faces are good. The enemy placeS several minenwerfer bombs close to the main entrance to the subway - killing one S. Pioneer and wounding another. We do not suspect that the enemy has noticed our work here, and it is almost certain that his target is the Heavy T. Roodhouse IS wounded in the head by a machine gun bullet whilst on his way to see the M. Dugout at La Hutte.
As the corps are changing fronts, the incoming corps namely the II Anzac is interviewed with regard to new work. The proposition of deep advanced Brigade HQs is put forward and favourably received. I learn from a padre that relations between British and Portuguese soldiers are bad: Many civilians have been given a severe warning as light was seen at night from their houses.
Get another parcel from Mum containing another big cake. Went to concert in hall at night Capt Cunningham: March through Henincourt and Millenecourt to Albert 10 miles where we stuyed. March out to Bazentin- le-Petit where rest of Company is. Find they are in Nisan huts and good and comfortable: A Reverend gentleman, named Elliott, gives an illustrated lecture on Africa, which is well attended, and he speaks well.
In the evening, in the recreation room, the Officers have a party to which all come in fancy dress. Waugh-husband, Graham-wife, Shannon-black son, and aBeckett as the daughter.
It is a scream, especially aBeckett's costume. He had a low-necked dress which only comes to his knees, and short socks held up by suspenders. The party chanted a ditty which ended up, "The blighter never was within a mile of Foray Farm". Doctor Shea has on a complete feminine outfit - nothing missing. I have the duty of lodging the regiment and as we arrive in the small French village it looks very muddy and uninviting.
Progress has been made since the beginning of the war: I drive in a 'Minerva' Belgian motorcar without valves in front of the troops and the inhabitants seem to be friendly towards our predecessors, but finally everything goes smoothly than I had expected Raoul Snoeck, Diksmuide: What a misery; Freddy accompanies me to the station.
I am a poor chap! Co'y route marches with Box Respirators. Great dissatisfaction as the farmers are paid less crates of chicory as they have delivered. Peace between Germany and Ukraine. Get parcels from mum, Oll and Daisy. All in very good order. Have quite a bust up at night. Mum's cake A1 Capt Cunningham: We march out with men and transport men march through Flesselles, VillersBocage and on to Behencourt where we stay the night: I win the Battalion competition with No.
Platoon tactical training - Battalion Drill. Today the Chinese celebrate New Year and have leave. They walk through the streets in better clothing than usual 10th of February Today The th day of war Sgt Peach: Had a good boracic bath and rub down with sulphur ointment for scabies in morning. Rather a dull day Capt Cunningham: Here at Meteren, we cannot have an Officers' mess, but we have a recreation room with a fire burning, and Morley performs wonders on the piano.
Cloudy - clearing to fine in p. Go for a walk to Rickmansworth with a couple of the boys in afternoon. Feel very tired at night. Good concert at night. Get a letter and photo from Gladys Capt Cunningham: The lecture hall only wants about a week now to complete.Nephew Tommy Prank Call Guess Who's moving Next Door
A lot of other small jobs going on round about various villages Lt Champion, Ypres: Brigadier General Brand kicks off in the football match against the 13th Battalion and at half time the scores are: The farmers want to work their land that is destroyed by the fighting and the gunning: They are reimbursed, but have to announce the work 12 days in advance, but trenches cannot be filled up unless they were used for training purposes.
The soldiers explain that many fortifications are built on the other side of Ypres 8th of February Today The th day of war Sgt Peach: Got a bundle of Australian mail. Good picture show on at night Capt Cunningham: Weather still very cold indeed.
These are wonderful days. Meteren is a nice spot, the billets good, clean and roomy, and this seems to be looked on as our own town. The boys have worked the oracle as they say, and are well and truly established in many kitchens, being looked on for the time being as sons of the old Madames pottering about the stove Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Much gunning 7th of February The th day of war Sgt Peach: Hanging about inside all day. Throat feeling rather sore Lt Champion, Ypres: In the match against the 2nd Battalion which we win, Bowes of the 2nd is hurt in the mouth and also evacuated Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Sitting about all morning playing cards and writing.
Go for a stroll round town after dinner. Not a bad turn out considering only half of party turned up Lt Champion, Ypres: I am order to leave my position as gun superior to become liaison between the group and the battery: Finding hospital very free and easy after red tape at whalley.
Four other 7th Battalion lads in same ward as myself. Meet quite a number of others as well. Go to picture show at night Capt Cunningham: I shall be sorry to leave here but we have had a good quiet spell Lt Champion, Ypres: Football being a compulsory afternoon sport, everyone soon becomes fit and many famous games are played Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: I am appointed to take a course on poisoneous gas at Hotel Teirlinck in DePanne.
The course is given by Captain Renard. Again beautiful weather and the ground has dried, so we fear another German assault is coming. Draw kit from Pack Store at 6 a. Dressed up in khaki once again. Leave Queen Mary Hospital about 8. Entrain at Whalley along with 32 more of our boys, and leave for Harefield at 9a. Taken then on to Harefield by motor arriving at hospital about 6p. Change back into blues, have a feed, and get settled down in ward Rains fairly heavy during evening Capt Cunningham: An English Division comes into town today: Work on 2nd position Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Go to the Methodist church down the village.
Not a very big crowd present. Out for a stroll in the afternoon. Warned to proceed to Harefield tomorrow Capt Cunningham: I have men and 30 drivers here at present Lt Champion, Ypres: Details join us up, filling in a few of the gaps in our ranks and spit and polish is now the order of the day Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Work in 2nd position 2 Canadian TnlCmp, Ypres: The staging at S. Shaft is completed and two more sets placed in the drive to the windlass chamber.
It is essential that our work on the surface here be well screened, as snow lying on the ground shows up everything that is not covered. Constant supervision is necessary in the disposal of bags at night.
We have now filled up most of the holes and old trenches close to the work and as far as Anscroft Ave. Yves work has improved very slightly and we are making every effort to prevent further caving. The work of course is very much retarded. At Le Rossignol we have the gallery to the proposed M. The face is hard but the headcover is practically nil. On our right sector the usual pumping, listening and maintenance is being carried on Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: German planes flying over at night.
In Dikkebus houses have now disappeared and 86 have severely been damaged. Before the war there were houses. Our Australian clothing arrives at last. Get fitted out after a wait of about 2 hours or so. Get a letter of receipt from the photographer at Desvres. Go for a walk down village in afternoon Lt Champion, Ypres: Orders were issued to withdraw all men from Russian Saps and shallow workings at and they will be allowed to fill with water Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Heavy gunning during the night.
Go for walk round hospital grounds in morning. Not feeling too bright so curled up in arm chair and have a sleep Capt Cunningham: That is why new Art Reg are created. On furlow to Paris! On and around the 'Vierstraat' Kemmel many tents, but of the village, nothing is left: His tools and machines are gone. Only some badly damaged stumps of his fruit trees are left: Walking around is dangerous as one can fall into wells or sinks.
Sadly it was misty, so I was not able to see the old trenchlines at 'Hollandse Schuur'. It's incredible to see how some of the youngsters are able to speak in English to the soldiers: Spend morning poking around Q. Still no clothing for us. Get a letter from Stan Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Cmy back from coastguarding.
Go to picture show in theatre in afternoon. Not a very brilliant turn out Lt Champion, Ypres: The Battalion de-busses there during the day, and I am pleased to be once more home with the chaps Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Exercises and mounting guard at the coast at 3pm Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: The ground has dried substantialy and we might get the expected German assault soon.
Much gunning in the evening and in the morning. In the afternoon shells near Main Square in Reningelst at farm Derycke and many more near 'Neergrave' and 'Hooggrave': In the afternoon 2 shrapnel between the Square and Ouderdom: At the house of widow Goethals 2 officers and 5 men are killed 29th of January The th day of war Sgt Peach: Got a letter from Jean and spend day inside Lt Champion, Ypres: Individual exercises for the gunner and payday Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Beautiful weather and in the afternoon shells around the farm of the Mayor in Dikkebus.
Go for a stroll down in village in afternoon. Still having lovely spring weather Capt Cunningham: Eggs, ink, milk, meat etc are frozen stiff and solid Lt Champion, Ypres: I go with Forrest, our Quartermaster to Bailleul and in the few days since I am here, it has suffered by shell fire considerably in the area around the railway line Arthur Pasquier, Boezinge: To stop boredom, inevitably hitting us, I study Italian together with Adjt Wauters: Everything helping the soldiers to escape the animal-like urgings is very welcome.
A plane flies over our bunkers and is aimed at with shrapnel, but succeeds in escaping Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Back from guard at 3pm Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Stay in and write letters all day Capt Cunningham: The only water not frozen is from deep wells and when you pump it up if you have it half an hour even in your room it freezes Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Training in giving individual training to riflemen: Misty and at first mass there are already 60 people and at high mass Von Hertling and Czernin speak at both chambers in Germany: Spend morning in bed but get up after dinner.
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Go to picture show in theatre in evening Capt Cunningham: The cold is intense Lt Champion: For the past few days I have been taking stock, checking over supplies, as I am to hand over my job to a 5th Division man on the 1st February. Yesterday at midnight we arrived in this village where dirty lodgings are reserved for us: We change quarters for a few days to make room for the 6DA, coming back from Mailly.
In the afternoon theory for the individual training of gunners Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Get up for breakfast, but am send back to bed again. Get a letter from Stan. Nice fine day, sun shining brightly Capt Cunningham: The village is quite deserted Lt Champion: I command the company in an attack in the dunes. The movement forward of the soldiers, the enforcers and the covering soldiers do their job. For the charge, the men are grouping too close together in the middle.
Afternoon excercises with the bajonet Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Shells behind the Church of Dikkebus and between the quai and farm Dalle and shrapnel at Petrus Storme 24th of January The st day of war. Not feeling too good so have to stay in bed all day Capt Cunningham: We are pretty well the only troops here now Lt Champion: Jensen, Buck, Cruise and I ride to the clearing station at Steenwerk hospital to see Bull, but arrived too late, as he has been sent down to the base Gen Monash, Ypres: You will probably not have forgotten that just before the 3rd Division commenced its march into the third battle of Ypres - at the end of September last, - the whole Division was reviewed, in the field, by the Commander-in-Chief Haigand provided a magnificent spectacle, which will live forever in the memory of all who were present.
On that occasion although I usually fly the Australian flag I had a UnionJack at the flagstaff, in honor of the great Field Marshall Haigwhich was 'broken' at the masthead as he galloped onto the ground.
I have been carrying about this flag ever since, in the hope of being able to send it home by a trusty hand, but having found no opportunity, I am now sending it to you, in a small parcel, by registered post, - by current mail, and hope that it will reach you safely - Will you please let me know when it comes to hand. Leaving for the frontline Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: The children of Dalle evacuees arrive back at home, having been in Wulveringem 23rd of January Today The th day of war.
Down at the Q. Went to concert in theatre in afternoon. Splendid all round show. Singing, dancing, fancy cycling performing, sea-lions, etc Capt Cunningham: The weather is the limit: Bull after days in nomansland was very weak from exposure and cold, he was evacuated Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: On guard at the coast Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: The inhabitant of Kemmel who were evacuated are now allowed to go back 22nd of January Today The th day of war Sgt Peach: Go for a stroll down the village after dinner and manage to borrow an overcoat and boots and a Tommie's cap for the occasion: Find an opponent at draughts so spent the evening having a few games.
As usual able to hold my own Capt Cunningham: After going missing on patrol in nomansland Bull comes into our line two nights after, bringing with him some good information 21st of January The th day of war Sgt Peach: Get up after dinner and go for a walk around the hospital Capt Cunningham: Still at Vignancour Lt Champion: Beignon and Bluey Mensell are missing, patrols go out to look for them, but find no trace Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Leave for Wulpen and arrive in BrayDunes at 3pm.
In the evening meet with Golard, Lambert Vrancken, Jac. Calm day and my brother modest stays for 3 days 20th of January Today The th day of war Sgt Peach: Not allowed up yet. Spend the day reading and writing letters. Had the RedCross man around to pay us a call Capt Cunningham: The weather is very cold, snow falling every day and it is on the ground for days: The patrol with Bull actually gets through the Fritz lines and is fired on by his support line: Since we have foot bridges to go to the trenches.
At the beginning of the war there were no communication trenches behind the lines and we needed to proceed in the evening over the plaines between the bivouacs and the frontline. Our trenches in flooded land now have names like 'Sardine', 'Pike' and 'Carp' and the communication trenches also have names: We even have a small narrow gauge Decauville transporting munition and food to the front lines Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: Interpreters are sent around to make inventory of all the farms in the villages at the back, where people have come back or will be able to come back: But the farmers first want guarantees that their crops will not again be trampled and if they are trampled they will be reimbursed for the damage done: Mrs van Cayseele from Reningelst was reimbursed F, where the damage caused amounts to F.
Station right alongside hospital. Have a good hot bath, some supper and settle down in a nice soft bed for a sleep. Hospital a fine big building, originally built for an asylum. Holds about patients. Ward nicely laid out, and everything lovely and clean Capt Cunningham: The billet where I am has got a bed with sheets on it so I am very swell Lt Champion: Bull takes out a patrol from our line to get information if possible about a large pill box called the Giant.
Beautiful weather and the observations balloons are up. This week is the calmest of the year. Carted off by ambulance about 9a. Have a drive of 3 or 4 miles to boat. After some delay am transferred to boat.
Steam off about Feeling none too good in the head. Manage to doze off to sleep and thus miss half the agony. Arrive at Dover about 2p. Transfer to train and get a start on our journey about 3p. Route via Chatham, London, and Rugby.
Get to our destination Whalley about 1a. The jobs are very scattered and means a good lot of riding round but it is good exercise and keeps you fit and you appreciate the good fire and billet when you come home Lt Champion: We are invited out to dinner by the Canadian Colonel who has charge of all rest areas in this district.
He sends two horses over for us and we manage nicely Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Only sitting cases going on boat today, so have to have a bit of patience.
Raining hard all day. Voice getting ok again Capt Cunningham: Work going on well Lt Champion: Clarrie Lambert of' the trench mortars is with me and later on we have some revolver practise, with the lids of cigarette tins as targets Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Medicine, spray and muzzle wadding sprinkled with some poison, to be inhaled.
Marked up for Blighty, so naturally in good spirits Capt Cunningham: Sappers go away and have arranged with units in the towns they will work in to billet and ration them Lt Champion, Ypres: One of our balloons searching through the rain for enemy movement breaks away and soars over towards the Hun line: Soon two specs can be seen leaving the cage, and then two larger specs above them as the parachutes open and the specs grow larger and larger until they land safely in our lines Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: There are now big shortages of food in GreatBritain: Who would have thought that from the British boasting that there would always be abundance in GreatBritain: In bed all day.
Have Doctor around to visit us. No one for Blighty. Rain heavy all day long. But nearly blows over at night. One ward only about 50 yards from sea Capt Cunningham: Works consist of building lecture hall, repairing wells, brick walls on buildings, water supply job, etc Lt Champion, Ypres: Rain sets in and everything is soaked. I receive bad news from occupied Belgium through Nederland. The Germans requisition the wool, so that our families have to sleep on straw. Worse still, all young men are requisitioned to go and work for them in Germany: If they do not work hard enough they are hit with rifle butts: I hope they will not deport my brother.
We are not able to punish the culprits: I hope that one day we will be able to get revenge. Perfectly succeeded shooting exercises in Onival, but in bad weather conditions. Camp life is very severe: Leave Steenwerck by Hospital train about 9 am. Heavy snow fal ling. Lying on the stretcher and looking through window at it. Travelled via Hazelbrouck, Calais, etc. Quite a treat to see t he sheets, quilts and pillow slips once again. Sisters very nice and anxious to do what they could for us. Had a good night's sleep Capt Cunningham: Good billets and all comfortable.
We have to take over a good lot of work round about Lt Champion, Ypres: Steen and Flannery pass through today, and spend some time with me before going on Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Spent day in bed.
Got a good sounding by Doctor. Artillery Band playing at C. Orders come that half the Company and transport are to go to Vignancour. I am sent in charge and have Collins and Barbat with me. Collins and I with sappers and 54 attached Infantry come straight through by motor bus, Barbat bringing the transport along and will take 2 days Lt Champion, Ypres: Bob Humphreys back from a school, Boardman back from leave and Parkinson and McConnell going to schools.
I make a bargain with a Tommy: The weather is bitterly cold Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Get my plate O.
On Sick parade in afternoon. Evacuated with Scabies and Gas. Taken from 2nd Field Ambulance to C. Comfortably settled down in bed for night Capt Cunningham: Another trip to Dentist.
Met Joe Ryan at Locre Loker. Have a very restless night. Troubled with scabies Capt Cunningham: Across to Dentist again in morning. Find he has lost half my plate, so have impression taken for new set Capt Cunningham: Leave Bulls Run dugouts at 4 a. Load up pack animals with, valises etc. Then we march in Sections down to Sydney Camp. Heavy gunning during the night and again in the evening. President Wilson announces his 14 peace conditions. The moral of the troops and the civilians has not gotten better lately.
Have to trample about 4 miles or so to Loker to dentist with the 3rd Field Ambulance. More snow again in afternoon Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Quite heavy gunning during the night.
Away on fatigue party to reserves at 6. On job wiring, building strong posts etc. Heavy snow falling most of morning and it is not long before we all have the appearance of Father Xmas. Get back to camp about 1 pm Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Snow in the morning. Some shopkeepers start learning Chinese to draw the Chinese to their shops. On duty as ROS. Rick McGregor is evacuated sick today, his old 5th. November wounds have become stiff and sore with this continued icy cold weather.
As he passes, I manage to supply him with a warm feed which helps him along somewhat Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Thaw and everything dirty. Go for a walk and try to get warm.
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Spend afternoon writing letters Lt Champion, Ypres: I come back from the trenches and think about the new year. Many Australians at mass. The British report that the Germans captured a position near Zonnebeke. Family Durein receives a letter from their brother, missionary in China and a Chinese labourer present in the shop looks at the letter, and disappears to fetch a Chinese friend who says he spent some weeks in the village where the letter comes from and met the catholic missionary quite a few times: Have to go across to 3rd field Ambulance as getting plate repaired.
Go to picture show at night Lt Champion, Ypres: Both pass through Kemmel on their way Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: On to the trenches Priest Achiel Vanwalleghem, Dikkebus: Thaw and clouded as many helpers splendidly repair the house of Mr Peirsegaele.
In Reningelst, a daughter of Ploegsteert murders her newly born baby: Out with a fatigue party. Have a good bath at Divisional Baths while crowd at work. Out again in afternoon. Leave party on job and Sgt Marks and self go for walk into NeuveEglise. Find party has cleared off when we get back. Posted photos of platoon group to Oll Lt Champion, Ypres: This is wonderful weather, clear and crisp, but the roads are very slippery. Special studs are put into the horses' shoes to prevent them from slipping.
Told off to attend lecture in morning. Hang around for two hours or so and then find it has been cancelled. Still having trouble with throat and voice. Get a letter from Lil Lt Champion, Ypres: Bathing for the company at 9. The bombing of the planes is particularly heavy in Vlameringen: At 1am at night again many planes, also British planes flying over the line 2nd of January Today The th day of war Sgt Peach, Ypres: Several of us out in afternoon reconnoitring position to be taken up by us in reserves in the event of an attack Lt Champion, Ypres: Heavy gunning in the morning.
I re-open my letter in order to send you my heartiest congratulations upon the news just received, by phone from General Birdwood, that the Honour List, published in London this morning confers on us the honour of Knighthood.
Get put off duty. Have a good lie in Lt Champion, Ypres: The frost is biting and sharp and on the frozen ground our paces are heavier and more tired. In the past months it was raining and raining and from time to time a short period of short sky with a small cold sun.
We occupy StJacobskapelle and are on guard in the middle of the night. The guns are quiet and silence reigns and we wonder what trap the enemy is now preparing: We live in a continuous state of fear and permanent readiness Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: New Year, what a difference with the New Years of peace time!
What will the new year bring, will we have peace? All feeling pretty tired and not at all sorry that we are to be relieved at night. Get packed up and waste no time when 1st Battalion comes to relieve us. Move straight out and back to Rossignol Camp at Kemmel. Have a rough time coming out. Get a bit off track to start with. Get set again and out on to main road. Just like walking on plate glass: Feeling just about done out. Gas making throat very sore, and making wind very difficult.
Get a drink from comforts funds -bucked me up a bit. Put pack on timber, and hang on myself and let it drag me home. Hot meal waiting for us at camp Lt Champion, Ypres: Dave Burrin comes down from the line supports today to go to a Divisional Musketry school.
The line, he says, so far, is a very soft place Jacobus Winters, Boezinge: At 2pm a German plane takes aim at us with his machine gun, but we have no losses. While going on patrol, I see 2 Germans just 10meters away, but have no weapons with me: I go back and fetch 2 grenades which I throw in the hole where they were, and then investigate, but they had fled.
Strength of Company 29 Officers and O. In Elverdinge a bomb drops on the tent of the Mayor Dr Louf and his maid dies, but he is only slightly wounded. He refuses to give up his task and now stays at he vicary. Today, the Chateau of Kemmel burns down, due to uncareful soldiers. This year I baptized 7 children, and in Dikkebus 11 civilians died of which 2 refugees and 3 minors.
At the moment 87 families live in Dikkebus, making people; after the evacuation in July it was only 67 families with more than people 30th of December Today The th day of war Sgt Peach, Ypres: All in good spirits expecting to be relieved at night. Learn later that we hve to put in an extra night.
Tucker sent away to Blighty for 6 months instruction at T. Crow of 25th Reinforcement takes over. First experience under fire for him. In our post of 11 men, six unable to speak above a whisper: Result of gas Lt Champion, Ypres: In the middle of the night, I am awakened by shouts and the crackling of a fire and see the Red Chateau one mass of smoking ruins.
It has been Brigade Headquarters. The old Chateau has a moat all around it and for the last few days, men have been sliding and skating on its surface.