H.E. WITTY 3 Mar 16.
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st March 1916. Wednesday. On telephone duty again.
2nd March 1916. Thursday. Off duty.
3rd March 1916. Friday. Nothing doing much.
4th March 1916. Saturday. Ditto.
5th March 1916. Shrove Sunday. Arrival of Diary – Church Parade – Letter from R. answered. Also Shibbs – cold but fine.
6th March 1916. Monday. Nothing doing much – Very stormy – snow storms – shelling of the O. Balloon by the Germans with Shrapnel. Letter from Mrs. Philippson. ANS.
Infantry heavy shelled by Germans on YSER CANAL Bank.
7th March 1916. Tuesday. A day of continual snow storms – nothing doing. Letter from R. to be answered on the 8th.
Snow battle – repulse of R.F.A.
8th March 1916. Ash Wednesday. On night duty and telephone duty – Nothing special. Wrote R. Major acting as Temp. B.M. for 33rd Bde.
9th March 1916. Thursday. OFF DUTY – Spent the day in putting up 4 beds for Tate, Frost, Bottrill & myself – made of poles – wire netting and canvass. Played Bridge until bed time. Letters from Mrs Road and Kathie.
10th March 1916. Friday. Linesman from OP to 4th Siege. Very little doing – spent morning playing Bridge awaiting orders. Letters Gladys and Carter with J.B. & L.O. Answered.
11th March 1916. Saturday. Repairing wire to gun – line broken thro hop field – mild weather. Arranging stores – Letters R. and Hilda – Answered. Also wrote Kathie and Mr. Carter. Completed bed by strengthening it with wire supports.
12th March 1916. Sunday. Lovely day – fine and sunny – went to Ch. in canteen but found we were too late as we arrived at time of sermon. Letters home and Doris. ANS. – very quiet on the Front. “Knowles Madness”.
13th March 1916. Monday. Parade 9. am – The Major’s “goodbye” – entrance of Maj. Graham – nothing doing in the morning – Laying lines to SPINNEY HOUSE O.P. in afternoon – finished about 8 PM. Letters R. N.T. and Scott to be answered tomorrow.
14th March 1916. Tuesday. On the battery – fired 6 rounds in morning for registration and 35 rounds in afternoon – on KIEL COTTAGE TRENCHES and trench (drawn triangle). Report received 15th says that it was the most successful work on this front of some time 12” deserving special praise. Wrote R. & N.T. Letter from Humberstone.
15th March 1916. Wednesday. On telephone – very busy – letter from Hilda. ANS. Also wrote Scott, Humberstone & School House Hurmanly. 4 Sign assisting R.E.s on laying wires. Night duty with CANDWELL.
16th March 1916. Thursday. OFF DAY – nothing doing – reading – Letters Frank – Ma – Kathie. ANS. Sections Route March – John Bull (O.H. & N.B.) ANS.
17th March 1916. Friday. Walked to Poperinghe in the morning for a bath – had great difficulty in finding place of ablution – returned 1-0 pm. Letter from R. Ans.
18th March 1916. Saturday. At O.P. listing lines with Bottrill. Heavy shelling – especially of French 75”. Returned 3 pm – en route met a gunner of 39th whom I known in Sheerness, in an estaminet. Great thoughts from home. Acknowledge – Had a hair cut.
19th March 1916. Sunday. On telephone duty in morning. Read “The Inca’s Treasure”. Called upon telephone by Skelton – Letters Gilbert Peg. ANS.
20th March 1916. Monday. Inspection of instruments – visit to R.E.s for wood – Jenkinson & Skelton visit – Letter from R. ANS. In action or dug-outs (on battery).
21st March 1916. Tuesday. Cleaning instruments – hand of Bridge – Reading – Letter from home. ANS. No shoot owing to rotten weather for O. work.
22nd March 1916. Wednesday. On duty – rotten day – cold & wet – Letter from Hilda Robinson Crimmins (Boots) and Chronicle. ANS. On night duty.
23rd March 1916. Thursday. Off duty. Went up O.P. in motor to take rations to a working party. Playing Bridge in afternoon. NO MAIL. Cooking Quaker Oats etc.
24th March 1916. Friday. Heavy fall of snow. Had to walk to O.P. in the line in a terrible snow storm. Nothing doing owing to vile weather – Letter R. Kathie and Fred (field pc). ANS. Reading “Spanish Gold”. O.P. shelled after we had left. 2 O.K.s.
25th March 1916. Saturday. On battery in morning – fired 3 rds counter-battery work – weather fine and squally alternately – NO MAIL. Commencement of the Bridge Tournament. 4th Siege Casualties 3 killed & 8 wounded.
26th March 1916. Sunday. Busy day removing stores in morning and lines to new telephone hut in afternoon. Letters R. Gladys and pcl from Mrs Leslie. ANS.
27th March 1916. Monday. Early parade – standing by from 3 A.M. to dawn – no shoot. Went to Poperinghe in afternoon for stores – Pcl from Mrs. Libell and Humberstone – ANS. Letter from Gilbert. ANS. Wrote pa re Renies gift.
28th March 1916. Tuesday. On duty – in new telephone hut – letter from J. Humberstone – very cold & strong gale – broke wires during the night – visit of Childers – (Riddle of Sands) on night duty.
29th March 1916. Wednesday. OFF DUTY – Skelton’s visit. Jenks on pass – connecting R.T.O. with billet. Letter R. NI papers O.H. and home. Ans.
30th March 1916. Thursday. In action – putting battery out of action 4 O.K.s in 9 Rds. At O.P. lovely day – 31 Siege heavily shelled. Many air-fights demonstrating German supremacy in air. At French O.P. – obtained envelope-opener (souvenir). No Mail – Deflate with Bush Palmer & Page on Army System & Inefficiency of Officer.
31st March 1916. Friday. Arose 4 A.M. Two cars to Heigersberg suburb of YPRES. Laid 3 miles wire to Garden Street O.P. YSER CANAL heavily shelled – floating dead fish – line broken on pontoon bridge repaired. Returned 11 A.M. on battery in afternoon. Excellent shooting 4 O.K.s in 13 rounds. New Experience Bty. Shelled by 4.2 guns. No damage. Parcel and letter from home. Letters Ma, Alice, Dorothy, Albert. ANS. Retired early.