H.E. WITTY Feb 16
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st February 1916. Tuesday. On telephone exchange – very clear & frosty intensely cold – German aeroplanes over battery – heavily shelled and engaged by British craft – Shrapnel shells & bullets fall in vicinity of camp – Letter from R. ANS.
2nd February 1916. Wednesday. OFF DUTY. Kit inspection to discover the theft of revolver & binoculars stolen from Canadian Police. Bottrill’s bad news. Letter N.T. JB (O.H.). ANS. Sent R’s letter.
3rd February 1916. Thursday. On No 2 Gun. Nothing doing – Lovely weather – Arrival of Schoolchildren’s gift. Letter from F. Crommins. ANS. Wrote Norman.
4th February 1916. Friday. Wet and stormy – Repairing line in the morning. Letter from Scott. ANS. Shippens return (3days overdue – 14 days NO. 2 and 3 days Royal Warrant). Botrill went on leave this am. New cap issued.
5th February 1916. Saturday. At O.P. Le Bizet – Abnormally clear day – rather cold. Excellent for observation. – Turned out 5.30 am and was at L.B. a little after 7 am. Saw my first German – a party working in a corner of a field being plainly visible. Late in afternoon G. transports became numerous on the road leading into Frelinghann – Canadian 60 pounder opened fire on the road with disastrous results to the transports – Flying men plainly visible – broken transports – minus wheels etc left in road. Jolly good shooting. Had a close look at Brasserie – utterly demolished. Interview with “Madame” whose husband was in Salonica – many air duels owing to clearness of observation. Arrived back about 6 pm. Read greater part of 2nd volume of Three Musketeers – Had a letter from Miss Road – Answered 6th. Discovery of Mr. Mallin’s coat (Burberry).
6th February 1916. Sunday. On telephone exchange – bath in the morning – pcl from N.S. letters Hilda & Gladys – ANS. Johnson’s leave comes at 11.45 pm – had to rouse him and the cooks out. Very fine in day but rainy and stormy in evening. On night duty.
7th February 1916. Monday. OFF Duty. No 1 Gun stands by for aeroplane. Knight returns – stormy but sun shiny. NO MAIL. Wrote”the streak”.
8th February 1916. Tuesday. New Era in Signalling – advent of gun drill class – for one hour daily – commonly Known as ”Harry Tate’s Gun Crew” very wet and stormy in the morning but gradually clearing off – cold – Return of Kelly. Letters – Mrs. Underwood and Doris.
9th February 1916. Wednesday. Gloriously fine day – very warm – laying lines to Petit Pont Farm joining up to the 52nd Bde lines using 52nd bty O.P. tomorrow for the great shoot. Returned for dinner 2.30 pm. ”Hot times” for Plug Street, especially the Church. Letters R., N.T., Kathie. ANS.
10th February 1916. Thursday. Weather continues to keep fine. Repairing line from No 1 Gun to Billet. In action in afternoon. Fired my rounds on FACTORY FARM – Major observing. In different shoot. Letters from Housham and Bottrill and F. Pcl from home. ANS.
Arrival of leave passes for Monery and myself.
11th February 1916. Friday. Left N.E. 3 am – Steenwerk 5.31 am. Arrived BOULOGNE 10.30 am – left B 12.30 pm. Stormy crossing – vile seasickness – arrived Victoria 5.30 am. Visited Walter and Edith. Left Kings X 11.45 pm. Arrived home 7 am Saturday.
12th February 1916. Saturday. Went to N.B. in morning in sidecar – then to Bridlington for money and licence. Tea with R. at Taylor’s – Travelled to Filey saw Nell and 21. Returned 9 pm. Had an excellent night’s rest. Wedding unable to be celebrated on Monday or Tuesday owing to necessity of ministers being present at York on those days.
13th February 1916. Sunday. The “day of days”. Arose 9 am – went to Parker’s to see about car – visited School Hs. and Mrs. P. also Mr. Simpson. Left F. at 1.15 pm. Wedding at 2 pm. A.1. Left N.B. at 4.20 arriving at Scarboro’ via Fairview at 6.30. Caught 6.45 arriving York 8.25. Found digs and settled down.
14th February 1916. Monday. Breakfast 9. am. Sat in front of fire most of morning – visited Mr. Underwood’s – did a little shopping – dined at Terry’s. Wrote letters in afternoon – tea at Underwood’s and finished up with “BETTY”.
15th February 1916. Tuesday. Turned out at 9.15 am – spent morning in writing etc. Dinned at Terry’s – shopping and visited COLLEGE. Only 40 students resident. Interviewed TAGGY MOORHOUSE and old caretakers, spent evening in room reading.
16th February 1916. Wednesday. Very stormy – stayed indoors in morning. Left for Leeds 12.20 pm – wired Harry & sent pcs to Westfield. F. & W.B. Visited Leeds Picture Ho. Returned 6.43 – stayed indoors.
17th February 1916. Thursday. Visited Underwood’s – Mrs. U’s present – Left York 12 arrived H. 3 pm. Visited Sch. Tea at F. Mrs C. takes us to N.B.
18th February 1916. Friday. Had brecker in bed – arose 11 am. Stayed till 7 pm – Had Wilson – arrived home 7.45. Left 9.0 pm. Arrived Hull 11 pm.
19th February 1916. Saturday. Arrived Selby 12.20 – King’s X 6.0 am. Walked across London to Victoria. Left V. 9.45 am. Folkestone 12.30. Arrived Boulogne 3 pm and marched to Rest Camp.
20th February 1916. Sunday. Birthday – spent in Rest Camp. Reading ”Way of an Eagle”. Left 5.30 pm and arrived Steenwerck 12.30 am (Sat).
21st February 1916. Monday. Arrived N. Eglise 1.30 am. Found R.X. gone. Slept with Bottrill. Spent day doing nothing.
22nd February 1916. Tuesday. On telephone duty – Left 5.30 pm for to join R.X. Arrived Poperinghe 11 pm. Stayed there the night.
23rd February 1916. Wednesday. Unpacked at crossing and moved stores to camp between Poperinghe & Elverdinge by motor lorry – rotten camp
24th February 1916. Thursday. On telephone duty with Knowles.
25th February 1916. Friday. Off duty.
26th February 1916. Saturday. Laying lines to New Gun position.
27th February 1916. Sunday. Examining lines – very snowy weather & cold.
28th February 1916. Monday. On the line again to Gun No 2 preparing position digging holdfasts etc in a blizzard.
29th February 1916. Tuesday. At O.P. motored – visited 3 gth & 4th passed through Elverdinge & Brielen to neighbourhood of YPRES.
Crossed Yser – very hot. Recommended for DCM