Diary of 2/Lt. A. B. STREET
48 SIEGE BATTERY RGA
Opened 26 December 1915
26th Dec. 1915 Sunday. Paraded at 7.0am. Sgt. Murphy and 25 men to escort guns and caterpillars to Avonmouth by road. Raining hard. Left the gun park at 7.40, weather cleared up shortly after starting. Hutchings who was in charge of the caterpillars and I went to breakfast with Meade King’s whose house we passed. Caterpillars going very well, passed through Bridgewater at noon and on the outskirts stopped for about ½ hr whilst a photo was taken, just after this had heavy shower of rain. Weather otherwise bright and sunny.
Some miles further on Hutchings and I went ahead in lorry to arrange where to stop the night. Decided on Cross a small village 28m from Taunton. Caterpillars arrived just after 6.0. Left a guard of 6 men and 2 NCOs and took remainder into Axbridge about a mile away, billeted the men for the night, it started to rain soon after 7.0 pm. Hutchings and I had some dinner at the Lamb Inn Axbridge then went back to Cross to see that everything was all right. Slept at Axbridge.
27th Dec. Monday. Up at 5.0 am and took all the men back to Cross: Caterpillars got under way about 7.20, raining hard. H & I returned to Axbridge for breakfast. Soon after this it stopped raining and cleared up, paid the billets and followed Caterpillars up in lorry. They were doing fairly well. Very up and down country and pretty; Wind got up and was soon blowing a gale. Trouble with one of the Caterpillars delayed us about noon when the convoy of lorries with Capt. Langford, Meade King and Hill came up with us.
Had some lunch at a Pub Meade King stayed with Hutchings and me. The other two went on with the convoy. Caterpillars were giving some trouble and delayed us; passed through Bristol about 4.0 and at Clifton Hutchings and I went on to Avonmouth to see Langford re arrangements for “packing” etc. A very strong gale blowing. Found I had to send my men back by 11.5 train; arranged for them to have hot meal at 8.45. last gun arrived in about 7.45. Marched the men down to their meal and went and had one myself with the others at The Miles Arms.
Soon after 10.0 went and paid for the mens’ meal and put them in charge of Hill to return to Taunton. Langford, Hutchings Meade King and I motored to the Queen’s Hotel Clifton for the night.
28th Dec. Tuesday. All motored over to Avonmouth shortly after 10. Reported arrival of guns to Embarkation Officer who told us we were to sail in the Hunsgate a 600 ton German vessel captured off the E. coast of Africa.
We received instructions to load next morning at 8.0 and during the afternoon we were told to get the Caterpillars and guns ready on the wharf, this was done easily but on trying to get some of the lorries to the wharf they stuck in the road which was very bad and 2 had to be hauled out by a Caterpillar. The rest were then kept outside on the road. We returned to The Queens for the night.
29th Dec. Wednesday. Up early and over to the Docks by 8.0. It was decided to load the Caterpillars and guns where they were and then to shift the ship to another berth to which the lorries could drive up easily. This was done about midday. Langford with Hutchings and all the men except the 15 who were going with us on the ship returned to Taunton by the 1.53 train. All but about 20 lorries were loaded at the end of the day. Meade King and I returned to Queens Hotel, the men being in the Rest Camp.
30th Dec. Thursday. From a phone message we heard that the whole of the remainder of the battery left Taunton at 2.0 am for embarkation at Gosport.
Over at the Docks again soon after 8.0. They finished loading the lorries during the day. Meade King and I, as all the cars were now loaded, had to use the bus or train for going to and fro. I went to the Hippodrome but it didn’t please me much.
31st Dec. Friday. Went over to the docks. Still loading Tentage but were soon stopped owing to the rain. Nothing to do, cannot get leave to go away as they will not say when the ship will sail, very fed up.