H.E. WITTY May 1916
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st May 1916. Monday. Inspection of new gas apparatus – in action fired 10 rounds counter-battery work – gloriously fine again – letter from Alice. ANS.
2nd May 1916. Tuesday. Thunder showers today result in occupation of tents – getting in wire from old gun position this morning – finished at noon. Reading in the afternoon – letter from R. ANS. Also p.c. from Frank. Wrote Cissie.
3rd May 1916. Wednesday. On C.X. line in the morning – reading in afternoon – very little doing – cloudy but fine. Letter and papers from home. Letter from Scott. ANS. Sent P.C. to Mrs. Witty re Ernie. Bott at Spinney.
4th May 1916. Thursday. Another glorious day – on battery – fired 10 rounds – Excellent shooting 5 O.K.s Observer reported a huge explosion the smoke from which covered the wood. Letters from N.T., Mrs. Phillipson & Gilbert. ANS.
5th May 1916. Friday. On line to C.X. – Called on CG2a – very hot – returned at noon – had a dip in the stream in the afternoon – Footer match with Guards won 2 – 0. Note from R.
6th May 1916. Saturday. Turned out at 3.45 – spent day at Spinney with Mallins – very quiet – thundery showers – Letter from Carter – Very good night. Major went on Leave.
7th May 1916. Sunday. Returned in car at 6 a.m. – turned out very wet during the day – Bridge tournament won by Giles and Calley. Nothing doing owing to inclement weather. Letter from Mr. Taylor and Norman S.K. P.C. from Mag. To be answered tomorrow.
8th May 1916. Monday. On duty – much trouble with the lines especially gun line owing to placing of wire round iron supports resulting in ”baring” the line & causing an earth through the wet medium, C.X. line “DIS” Also Gill at CANAL BANK – BOTT on duty with me. In action in morning – fired 12 rounds on trenches – indifferent shooting. Letters from Gilbert. Y. Post from home – arrival of 53 Siege.
9th May 1916. Tuesday. Off duty – very wet and cold – read all the day – Pcl from home. Letters R. Frank M. Mrs. Gill & J.B. from Ma. ANS. Bott went to POP.
10th May 1916. Wednesday. On 4 Siege line – left 9-0 – found line very faulty at NO 2 GUN – Double line from Old Billet to NO 2 – found break near DIRTY BUCKET CORNER – shell had burst just beneath – returned 3-30 pm – Footer in Evening NO MAIL – rather showery but much warmer. Lost with Guards 4-0. Fired 16 rounds – 8 O.Ks – 4 UN –
11th May 1916. Thursday. On gun line – all morning – Signs V Gunners in afternoon DRAW NIL-NIL. Very warm but slightly dull – appearance of 53’s gun on our loop – Letters Home Frank R and N.T. ANS. Wrote R – 12th.
12th May 1916. Friday. On Hdqr line today with Bott – met some of 17th Siege returned from Dardanelles – very warm – Reading in afternoon. Letters Ma and Peg. S.C. from Scott. ANS. Very quiet on front 35 shelled yesterday.
13th May 1916. Saturday. Very heavy rains – nothing doing at all. Spent a good part of the day reading my French Classic. NO MAIL for me. Rotten day for grub – is the shortage only temporary or permanent we are wondering Days rations – bread butter cheese.
14th May 1916. Sunday. Turned out at 5.30 and went on 4th Siege line. Broken at Old Billet. KARTE FARM and around 35 Siege the scene of heavy shelling of recent date. Returned about noon – spent afternoon putting in a window in corner of hut. Parcels from Ma and Crimmis (Books) and letter from Alice. Ans.
15th May 1916. Monday. On duty – much trouble with CX line and 4 Siege. Line laid out to HILL TOP – not used as aeroplane sent a few observations. Fired 20 rounds on Sap 15. Indifferent results. NO MAIL for me. Very nice night. Planes bombed POP early this am.
16th May 1916. Tuesday. OFF DUTY – very fine day – visit to POP. Letters Gilbert & R. ANS. Had a good time in POP – pictures very good. Supper at the “Twins” Stam. They (twins) most interesting. Slept out in field.
17th May 1916. Wednesday. Turned out at 2.45 am and went to CANAL BANK O.P. with Tribe – glorious day very enjoyable – shelled and bombed – bullets very common – things very quiet at battery air craft very active. R.A.M.C. men congenial company. Letters Mother N.T. and Woodthrope. ANS on 18th.
18th May 1916. Thursday. Relieved at 10.20 am. 4 Siege at fault. Returned to camp noon. Episode of two cars. Race on YPRES road. Douglas injured – fractured foot. Rowell killed wiring in No MANS LAND. Letters N.T. (note re Rowell) and Reg. ANS. S.C. from Scott. Glorious day again.
19th May 1916. Friday. On battery in morning and afternoon – fired 3 rounds only in morning owing to presence of hostile aircraft – fired 13 rounds in afternoon – including 4 O.K.s 2 Ys and 2 Zs – Another glorious day. Slept out again and had a good night. P.C. from Gladys. ANS.
20th May 1916. Saturday. On line to battery – poling in morning – had a dip in the brook in afternoon – splendid weather – Gun in action – fired 7 Rds Indifferent shooting. Bottrill at CANAL BANK with Ward. Letter from Scott. ANS. Poor grub day to day – 3 loaves for 18 men daily bread ration. Bully and pickle for dinner. Ugh!!
21st May 1916. Sunday. Gas helmet inspection – otherwise nothing doing. Playing Bridge – another glorious day. Pcl from Renie. ANS. Also dropped P.C. to Frank for shirts pants etc.
22nd May 1916. Monday. Putting up Headquarters wire along the Brook – also tested 4 Siege line from O.B. Returned at noon. 2.30 Bott and I went up to LA BELLE ALLIANCE (trench O.P. finally reached by adopted the snake mode of progression) Campbell and the Thistle. Difficulty in getting C.X. – at last communication established. Opened fire 5 and fired 15 Rds in the ** on HIGH COMMAND REDOUBT. Excellent shooting barring 3 “very” short. Little retaliation. Opened again 6.10 and fired 4 Rds. Left O.P. 7.30. Reached camp (very wet) *** pm. NO MAIL.
23rd May 1916. Tuesday. Testing lines – poling 4 Siege Line – connecting up old NO 2 D.S. line to CG4a. Very fine day. Returned 12.30. In action again. NO MAIL – 10 rounds fired counter battery work – Good. Phell in Infantry Camp *** getting gun away.
24th May 1916. Wednesday. On duty – very quiet day – rainy NO MAIL – night duty with MC.
25th May 1916. Thursday. Knowles left to return to Eng. Porton last Tuesday. Bott at Court of Inquiry – cold and showery. Off duty – Letters Mother N.T. Miss R. (French) & Douglas. Papers Mother – ANS.
26th May 1916. Friday. Off day – nothing doing – played Bridge in morning and footer in afternoon. Right X against L. X. Lost 3-2. Good MAIL. Letters R. Ma and Mr Carter, Humberson and Mr Millington. P.C. R. & Mag. ANS. Bott at POP. Fine day.
27th May 1916. Saturday. Another fine day – testing battery line in morning. Played in married v single in afternoon. Score NIL – NIL. On C.X. line in evening. Much activity in the air. Letter Peg and Alice. ANS.
28th May 1916. Sunday. Turned out at 5.30 Am and went to ROUEN FARM in car to patrol C.X. line. After great difficulty discovered the break inside the insulation. Much shelling with 5.9s in our neighbourhood. Returned to camp after getting line in order at 1 am. Letter Alice. P.C. Frank. ANS. Sent 30/- to Frank Monday. Pop shelled with 4.2s. Another glorious day.
29th May 1916. Monday. In battery putting up lines and putting up the poles with insulators in morning – on battery line at Billet in afternoon. Fired 5 Rds 23s – Aeroplane Wireless gives out. No MAIL – heavy shelling tonight. POP shelled all last night.
30th May 1916. Tuesday. Much rain – slept out last night & was simply washed out – cleared up in the afternoon. Nothing doing. Letters R. and Douglas. ANS.
31st May 1916. Wednesday. On telephone duty and night duty – Excellent shoot – 40 Rounds on two salients. Many direct hits and much debris thrown up. Letters N.T. home – Papers from home. ANS. Bott at O.P.