H.E. WITTY June 16
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st June 1916. Thursday. 3.0 am Enemy plane passed over camp and dropped 9 bombs on POP. OFF DUTY – nothing doing – visited POP tonight – little damage. Letters Scott, Gilbert, R. Mrs. Smith. Pcl from home. To be answered tomorrow. Another fine day.
2nd June 1916. Friday. Standing by all day to “man handle” the gun – fired 6 rounds on trenches. Another fine day – Letters Doris and Kathie (chocolates). ANS. Much activity in the air. Positions shelled with 4.2s – many “duds”.
3rd June 1916. Saturday. Turned out at 10.30 last night. R.X. took gun up into YPRES. We laid a line from Bty to 35 Siege at dawn. Stayed in Vlam for a time & then sent back to billet at POP in car. Had a sleep in the morning and was again sent out to SPINNEY HO with Thribe for observation work. 40 Rounds on trenches. Unsatisfactory shoot. Returned to CAMP 8.30 having a puncture en route. No Mail today. Very fine and glorious. When in YPRES saw wounded from the German attack on Canadians who had to vacate trenches. Serious Report Received Report of Naval Battle of May 31st.
4th June 1916. Sunday. Another quiet day. In morning out on the lines with Bott. Nothing doing in afternoon. LX relieved RX at YPRES. ”Man from Glengarry” from Douglas. Acknowledged. Rain during afternoon. Bott’s visit to POP. Bty returns to Billets from YPRES.
5th June 1916. Monday. Turned out 2.45 went to C.A., with Mallins. Quiet day, accompanied M. to YPRES 7 P.M. Returned for his “tin hat”. First experience of “weeping shell”. Variety of gun shelled – motor car put out of action. Arrival of LX with gun again. Letters R., Gladys, Douglas, J.B. (O.H.).
6th June 1916. Tuesday. 5 pm watching German working parties. Relieved 6.30 by CG4B – returned to camp for breakfast. ANS yesterdays mail. P.C. from Frank. ANS. Repairing HD-QR line across Rly in afternoon. On battery 3 hours during the night.
7th June 1916. Wednesday. Turned out 6 A M and went to YPRES. Stayed there all day. Rather warm at times – Viewed the remains of the cathedral – Disastrous effects. Splendid houses. Amn columns wiped out. Learned of Kitchener’s death. Letters Mother, Hilda to be answered later. Slept in cellar – beastly cold.
8th June 1916. Thursday. Still at YPRES. Nothing doing. Other gun in action at Vlam. 20 rounds on trenches. Very quiet with us. Returned to camp 10 P.M. Letter Ma. Much rain.
9th June 1916. Friday. Out on CX line in morning with Bott. Shelling new emplacement. Nothing doing in the afternoon – spent the time reading. NO MAIL – Showery yesterday slightly cold. Wrote Hilda, Ma and Mother.
10th June 1916. Saturday. Parade 6 A.M – nothing doing all the day. Calley returned from O.P. with his face terribly swollen with mosquito bites. Mail up before noon – draw our own from POP post office. Letters R. Alice. Papers Ma & Scott. ANS. Cold and showery. Good news of Russian successes. Had to write Ma and Hilda again as letters returned by Censor.
11th June 1916. Whit Sunday. Turned out 2 am – left 3.15 am. At O.P. with Tribe – had a very quiet day. Many heavy showers – Spent most of the day studying the countryside from Fusilier Farm to La Belle Alliance. Saw large German working party near Essex Farm – Letters Scott, Gilbert Humberstone, Pcl Gamages. ANS 12th.
12th June 1916. Monday. Ans Correspondence – relieved 5 a.m. arrived camp 7 a.m. after having coffee in POP. – Very wet again. Letter from Kathie. ANS 13th Very cold and stormy. Gun moved to VLAM- fired 18 Rds. Calley at Bty. Bott at O.P. with Tribe. Unsatisfactory communication with CX. Did nothing all the day except read. Arranged to take Frost’s duty as he is destined for Wireless at YPRES.
13th June 1916. Tuesday. On telephone duty 2.30 a.m… New idea 4 hour shift at night 3 hour shift during the day 3 telephonists do duty for 1 week. On telephone duty today. Received orders to pack up for “somewhere” – Note from R. ANS with Field P.C. Heavy rain continues. On duty – up to 2.
14th June 1916. Wednesday. Departure of LX 6 am for the South. Still on telephone. Change to Summer time at 11 P.M. advance watches to midnight. Letter and papers from home. P.C. Norman and Douglas. ANS. Weather still unsettled. Introduction of Daylight saving at 11 P.M. Box of chocs from Gladys. ANS.
15th June 1916. Thursday. On CX in morning – came off duty 1 a.m. Found break in insulation. Many Guards in vicinity. Nothing doing in afternoon – much dryer. Letters R., Hilda. Paper (Scott) ANS. Saw photo of gun in Daily Mirror. June 9th.
16th June 1916. Friday. Much nicer day today – reeling and overhauling cable in the morning. Nothing doing in the afternoon. Letter Walter Coleman. ANS. Making preparations for the move. 6 a.m. parade (Summer time) becomes fashionable. On telephone tonight. Received Postcard of Sergt Clements and his bride. Great Russian successes – Attack near Hooge – Gas reported 12.15 a.m. Turned out 3 A.M.
17th June 1916. Saturday. Battery went up to VLAM with 118 Rds. A.A. and I left our telephone. No firing. Through some mistake gun went up to VLAM when it should have “stood by”. Boys returned 1.0 a.m. On duty during the day. Lovely June day. No Mail. Smash up of Lt. Reid’s machine (the aviator who recently won the M.C. & whose photo appeared in Daily Mirror.)
18th June 1916. Sunday. Had a church service in the Barn – bishop of Winchester ***. Chaplain Revd. Talbot M.C. No early parade. Getting in cable (D5) at old Billet. While waiting for a lorry on the road opposite *** Prince of Wales passed us in search of his car. Hospital Farm burnt down yesterday (shelled). Letter R. and Frank M. (P.C.) ANS. Cold last night – fine day today.
19th June 1916. Monday. On telephone 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also on CX after brekker. Had a bath before noon – Ron. Nice day again, P.C. from Gilbert. Ans. Wrote Frank and Mr. Carter re Maths Books. The dinner “Menu” – a la Francais. Landing of French plane – obtained ‘arrow souvenir’, sent souvenirs to R. The dinner “Menu” – a la Francais.
20th June 1916. Tuesday. Overhauling cable all the day – glorious weather – No Mail. On telephone 9-1 (a.m.). Arrival of 86 – interview with Major Thorpe 11.15 p.m. when he came to HD. QRS. via us. Expect we shall soon be moving.
21st June 1916. Wednesday. On telephone 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – very little doing. Weather fine. No mail – Expected arrival of Capt Hedgeland (Temp Maj) to take command vice Maj. Graham.
22nd June 1916. Thursday. Baths. Arrival of Capt Hedgeland from 89 Bty. – Good first impressions. Early parade – overhauling cable in the morning. On battery and laying line to advanced position on North Loop in afternoon. Shoot cancelled owing to a mistake of targets made by aeroplane observer. Reeled in wire and returned to camp 6 p.m. Splendid ideal June day – Bosches planes very active. Mail in. Letters Mother, Hilda, Kathie. Paper (Scott). ANS.
23rd June 1916. Friday. On telephone 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. – very hot – Thunderstorm – on line to R.E. Good Mail. Letters (R), (Ma), (Frank A.) Housham, Douglas. Pcl from home. Ans. ”Kelly” under arrest for various crimes at CX. Candlin returns today.
24th June 1916. Saturday. On CX line in the morning – repairing broken air line near old No 2 position. Had coffee at farm house – Excellent “driving band” souvenir. Mademoiselle and the Scotch fiancée. Out again after tea on CX. Shortage in air line. Back about 8 P.M. Mail. Letters Scott and Bott. Papers O.H. ANS. Very fine yesterday. 86 opens fire. Arrival of 116 with new guns.
25th June 1916. Sunday. Gun prepares for VLAM. Came on duty 2 a.m. Gun went up to VLAM 3 a.m. unloaded Amm put gun in position. Detachment returned 8.0 a.m. “Badgy” first went up ti VLAM. Then Calley, Shippen, Cardlin. Gill O.P. Bombardment 2 p.m. Pcl from N.B. Letter from R to be answered tomorrow. 50 fired Rds on Salient. Good shooting – Mallins O.O.
26th June 1916. Monday. On CX line in morning with A.A. found line badly broken across line near No 2 Gun. Repaired it in a heavy thunderstorm – Wet through – Partly dried ere return to camp. Letters R. and Gilbert. ANS. Occasional heavy showers of rain. On duty 9 P.M. to 1 a.m.
27th June 1916. Tuesday. On telephone 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – wet and miserable – nothing doing. 86 in action – shelled in the morning. Arrival of 118 – 9.2 howitzers. No Mail. Reading in afternoon & evening.
28th June 1916. Wednesday. No early parade. Still much rain. On line in South Loop. Nothing doing in afternoon. Change in weather – On CX line at night. Mail. Mother, N.T., (Pc) R. Papers Mother & Scott. ANS.
29th June 1916. Thursday. On telephone 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. – also on Gun telephone part of morning. Gun standing by on Nr 3 Posn from 8 a.m. to sun down – nothing doing. Very fine but rather cold and windy. Letters R. and Mr. Carter. Books etc from Mrs. C. ANS.
30th June 1916. Friday. Warned for Kelly’s court martial at H.Q. 10. a.m. in the room of trial as K’s escort from 10 a.m. to 12 NOON. Major’s able defence of K. Maj Orton (22) President. Weak points on both sides. Returned 1 a.m. Out at 4 p.m. laying line to Frascati O.P. Returned 11 P.M. Mail. P.C. (Pant) and pcl from Mrs. Coleman. To be ans tomorrow.