H.E. WITTY Jan 16
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st January 1916. Saturday. OFF DAY. Very wet – played footer in morning. Reading ‘Les contes des collines’ and writing afternoon and evening. Letter from R. ANS.
Gormley’s court martial **holder before Major for shooting a dog in camp – got off with a rep.
2nd January 1916. Sunday. At gun position on telephone in morning, afternoon and evening reading *** letters from Ma, Mrs. Bailey, Dorothy Marshall. ANS. Much rain. DAVIES came in morning.
3rd January 1916. Monday. Barleys shot G “inconnue femme” with revolver 1 am. Bethune Hosp. arrival of 52nd Bty to relieve us. Sent to Mauser Range to point out wire to new signallers (20 J. Gentlemen) 400 yds wire “wiped out”. Returned after dinner to repair it. Smith & I heavily shelled (Shrapnel). Much damage in canteen *** of Garston and parc from BETHUNE. PC from Kathie. Letters Alice, Mr. Dundoon, Gilbert, Peg. ANS. Lovely day. Met HUNSLEY.
4th January 1916. Tuesday. Packing up for departure. Left B. at5.30 pm arrived HAZEBRUCK 10. pm. Slept in vans. Letters from Norman and A. Houshan
5th January 1916. Wednesday. Stayed Hazebrouck until 2 pm. Went into H with Bush and saw Willie F. Gormley left behind. Arrive at Steenwerk 3 pm and N. Eglise 5 pm travelling along old Farm route. 2 engines needed for running gun up ANS. N.T.H
6th January 1916. Thursday. Slept last night in truck. Full day unpacking stores running up gun positions (1 ½ miles) on a trolley – place full of Canadians. Examined lines in morning & next 22 Siege. Settled in huts for night.
7th January 1916. Friday. At Canadian concert last night. On fatigues building huts, drawing water etc. Much rain. Mail up but no letters. On night fatigues emptying motor lorries of wood, trench wire, corrugated iron, bulk rests for mud etc. Listening to R.A. Band in Y.M.C.A. hut.
8th January 1916. Saturday. On hut erection – off colour today with diarrhoea. Fetching water. Letter from Hilda J.B. (W.B. and O.H.). cigarettes from the mum. Old Scholars. Wrote N.T. Municipal & R.
9th January 1916. Sunday. Inspection of Gas helmets Iodine ampoules & dressings. Spent morning digging drains, erecting latrines etc. in afternoon on fatigues with trench cart at Y.M.C.A.
10th January 1916. Monday. On telephone duty with Bottrill Pcd & letter from R. Letter from Scott. J.B. from Carter. ANS. Knight’s departure also Brown & Gale.
11th January 1916. Tuesday. Turned out 6 am. Left 7 am for LE AIZET in car passing thro’ ARMENTIERS en route. In church tower with Hughes, Mallins & Humfries till 5 pm – 21st good shoot – observation of shelling of HOPLINES CH. Battery etc. crossed LYS – much flooded country. Letters from R. & N.T. Katherine.
12th January 1916. Wednesday. Despatch riding on Triumph to BAILLEUL. Vile roads – T clutchless – breakdown coming back with belt. Letters N.T. & paper from Scott. ANS yesterday post also wrote Frank. New Green Envelope order in Force.
13th January 1916. Thursday. On telephone duty at NO 2 GUN not in action as wind was too strong. Letters from Gilbert and Alice Ans. Friday Y.M.C.A. occupied by Canadian XMAS SUPPER.
14th January 1916. Friday. On telephone exchange. In action on Pottery Farm 10 rounds – Good shoot by No 2 Gun. On night duty. Read ”Game” and part of musketeers. Letters Dorothy & West (Pcl). Ans.
15th January 1916. Saturday. Came off duty 9 am. Repaired Rudge multi and brought back Triumph broken down on roadside. Gill trying to go to B-L. went on multi. At Y.M.C.A. in afternoon. Letters F (pcl) R. Gladys. ANS. Sent remittances to FRANK & R.
16th January 1916. Sunday. Assisting wireless operator – also on duty at Exchange. NO mail – at Y.M.C.A. reading EVERYMAN. Very fine and warm.
17th January 1916. Monday. On line visited N. Eglise the MOUND and 22 Siege Bty (12” caterpillar). Had a bath with 8th Canadians. Letter from R. J.B. (cater) ANS. Also wrote Herin, sent Silk cards and P.C.s to Home N.S. (Trio) & R.
18th January 1916. Tuesday. On telephone exchange – line laid to Tocquet O.P. Rain. NO mail.
19th January 1916. Wednesday. . In action on Tocquet – 29 rounds – British Gas attack – Big bomb – preparation. Letters Scott, Frank – Miss Road – Gilbert. Very fine day.
20th January 1916. Thursday. On telephone exchange in morning – After dinner went to TOCQUET O.P. to get wire in 25 yds from Germans. Shrapnel – maxims rifles bombardment. Trenches in good condition. Case of shelled dug out and the “buried leg”! Letters F. Ma, NT. Mrs S. ANS.
21st January 1916. Friday. OFF DUTY – Bottrill and I walked into BAILLEUL – stayed for dinner & returned to camp for tea. No letters. Brought a few pcs and envelopes. Had a good dinner for 1/2. spent evening reading. New order re telephone room.
22nd January 1916. Saturday. On “all day” plate laying, shifting “bearings” of line for Monday’s big shoots. Letters R. Gilbert, James Humbertal. ANS. Bottrill comes into our hut.
23rd January 1916. Sunday. Laying wire to O.P. Le Tocquet – in reserve trenches – In trenches till 7.15 pm. First experience of trench rats – Returned in car about 9 pm. NO MAIL. ANS yesterday’s post. P.C.s Green and Robinson.
24th January 1916. Monday. In action on The Brasserie – a “fort” in German trenches – at O.P., reporting observations – 40 rounds – Excellent shooting – Brasserie blown to pieces. Letters Peg and Frank – JB (O.H.).
25th January 1916. Tuesday. Standing by for O.P. Nothing doing. Ans yesterdays post – NO MAIL. At Y.M.C.A. in evening.
26th January 1916. Wednesday. Aeroplane combat over camp – shells from anti-aircraft guns fall in village 50 yds from us. On telephone exchange with KNOWLE. In action – fired 5 rounds on BRASSERIE. Letter from R. Answered. Rather foggy and inclined to rain. On night duty.
27th January 1916. Thursday. Off duty during the day. Had a good bath in the shower baths. Pcl from F. letters from N.T. and Mrs. Philippson. ANS. Acknowledged Mrs Parker’s socks. At Y.M.C.A. in evening.
28th January 1916. Friday. Replacing wire to the gun – In action 6 rounds on Brasserie. NO 3 reported short and dropping in our trenches. Pay day. Letter from Kathie. Ans. Y.M.C.A. concert.
29th January 1916. Saturday. On No 2 Gun – very warm & fine. Hut inspection by “old man”. Letter from R. Ans. Reported night Gas attack. Stand by with helmets. Y.M.C.A. concert postponed.
30th January 1916. Sunday. Much work – took trolley to Steenwerck Station for a weigh – brought it back – Shunted many trucks to bring forward amn truck – Weighed 50 shells transferring when weighed to empty truck – Dinner (Macaroni) finished 2.0 pm – went off for a Douglas broken down on Baileul Rd. returned for tea 4.20 pm. At Y.M.C.A. Letters Gilbert & Rowell. ANS.
31st January 1916. Monday. On the line – walked through Neuve Eglise to 22 Bty. Line in good order – Huts lined partly with canvass – bon – letter from Frank. Answered – very cold today. Excellent concert at Y.M.C.A. Givenchy Canadian Division.