WAR DIARY OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET
48 SIEGE BATTERY RGA
Last entry 30 June 1916
1st June Thursday. Fine day f’ly sunny. The Hun put 6 shells into the Dump at the end of the village between 7.0 a.m. and 8.30. and 4 in the afternoon near the Inf Camp E of the village. The Battery moved out of the village to the Dug outs and a Billet in Albert. The suspected Measles cases were left.
2nd June Friday. Fine sunny day. The Hun 13 or 15 cm. gun was again active about the same time on the dump at Meaulte.
3rd June Sat. Fine sunny day with heavy shower of rain about midday. Hun again did some shelling about 7.0a.m. and off and on throughout the day round about. Went a walk with Young after tea to collect “souvenirs” and obtained some useful information.
4th June Sunday. Fine sunny morning, dull afternoon, windy evening. The Hun was using his 13 cm. gun again. We retaliated with 2 to 1 – 6” Mk VII on Bazentin le Petit dump. Went with Capt. Miller (Signals) after dinner to see one of his digging parties at Trois Meules.
5th June Monday. Fair day sunny at times and showery. Col. Kaye of 34 H.A.G. arrived and dined with us as did also Major Nott. Spent an interesting time piecing together air photos.
6th June Tuesday. Very wet all the morning, cleared in the afternoon and was a fine evening. Busy day in the office.
7th June Wed. Fairly fine but showery, steady rain in the evening. Went with Miller to Amiens at 4.0 p.m. had tea and dinner there and did some shopping.
8th June Thursday. Fine morning but turned wet in afternoon and evening. First day of dumping, train due at 10.30 a.m. and arrived at 4.0 p.m. The Hun was again shooting with his H.V. gun this time at the Balloon in the valley near us.
9th June Friday. Fine sunny day but a heavy shower about 5.0 p.m. The Hun again fired at the Balloon between 7.30 and 8.0 a.m. but without success. Member of the reassembled Court Martial at 10.0 a.m. Very busy in the office.
10th June Saturday. Fine morning but several Thunder showers during the day. Another busy day. The Hun did not give us our m’ning hate.
11th June Sunday. Fine day fairly sunny. Easier day.
12th June Monday. Dull day turned to rain in the afternoon. Went out with the General for the latter part of the morning. Late sitting at the office.
13th June Tuesday. A very wet muddy day. Fairly late sitting at the office.
14th June Wed. Drizzled during the morning but turned fine and sunny after midday. After tea went out with the General and Col. Hamilton to 57, 109 & 40 at Martinsart & Aveluy also to Major Collingwood 10 S. in Albert on the way back. Put the clocks forward one hour from midnight.
15th June Thursday. A dullish day but fine. A fairly busy day.
16th June Friday. The first fine sunny day for some time. After dinner went to Albert and watched Major Collingwood’s Btty put 9.2 in position. Walked back at 1.30 a.m. A lovely night with full moon.
17th June Saturday. Fine day sunny. Very busy in the office, typing out copies of Secret documents for the groups.
18th June Sunday. Fine sunny day. Not quite so strenuous at the office. Three 75 cm. Batteries came into the village last night.
19th June Monday. Fine but dull and heavy. Fairly busy day. The Intelligence Officer Grey and a spare Signalling Officer turned up for duty.
20th June Tuesday. Fine sunny day. The Hun had a long but unsuccessful shoot at the Balloon during the morning. Went to La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) after tea with Major Nott. Dined there saw Hill, Hutchings & White and brought back a motor bike. Late sitting at the office.
21st June Wednesday A fine sunny day. Not over busy in the office but a late sitting. Young, Holden and I motored over to Baizieux and Henencourt after tea. General Rawlinson commanding 4th Army came to see the General in the afternoon.
22nd June Thursday. Fine hot day. Very fairly busy, late sitting. Drove over to the Canteen at Henencourt after tea. The Hun shelled No. 14 Kite Balloon persistently during the evening.
23rd June Friday Hot sultry day which broke into a thunderstorm with heavy rain in the afternoon. Our kite Balloon No. 14 broke away in the storm but luckily there was nobody in it.
24th June Sat. Fine day with a shower in the m’ning. This was “U” day on which our bombardment started. It was quite a normal day on the part of the Hun. Late sitting at the office, mostly due to the cancelling and re-cancelling of orders.
25th June Sunday. Fine sunny and warm. V day. All the guns were turned on Poziers at 10.0 a.m., on Contalmaison at 10.30 and Bazentin le Petit at 11.0 I watched the first two from the top of the hill, appeared very effective and later was reported so by the R.F.C. A fairly active day all along the front. There was a practice lift at 4.0 p.m. and about this time our aeroplanes dropped some special French bombs on 2 Hun Balloons which immediately set them on fire very effectively. 14 allied Balloons could be seen in the air at one time during the day. The Huns retaliated pretty fiercely all day and gave Albert a full share. Fairly busy day in the office but not a very late sitting.
26th June Monday. Fine till afternoon when there was a heavy shower and then it rained hard in the late evening. W day. XV Corps liberated Gas in the morning and we did ditto at 6.0 p.m. but the wind had dropped considerably and it seemed to hang rather, it was accompanied by smoke. We continued bombardment and again had a practice “lift”. Went out with the General after tea, saw 61st S. 8” firing, passed 48 and had a word with Sgt. Robinson. Fairly busy and fairly late sitting. The Hun put a few shells into Dernacourt 2 at about 1.30 p.m. and 6 at about midnight.
27th June Tuesday. Not a very fine day, some rain. X Day. The 12” gun on the Ry fired at 5.0 a.m. and shook so much dust off the ceiling of my billet and also blew out a hole in the wall that I decided to vacate it and go into a tent near the Signal Dug Out. A fairly busy day. We continued our bombardment together with a practice lift in the early morning and a raid at night.
28th June Wed. Y day. A heavy thick damp m’ning. Orders came in about 10.0 a.m. to cancel Y day programme and to ease up. 48 hrs. extension to programme was given. Cleared up in the afternoon and was fine and sunny. An ordinarily busy day.
29th June Thursday. Rather dull m’ning but later was light and fairly sunny. Not over busy during the day but a late sitting. Discovered that some of my kit left in my Billet had been taken away presumably by the French who had the next room, also the wall of my room where my bed stood had completely collapsed burying my kit bag. Went to Heilly and Cerreuil with Miller after tea.
30th June Friday. Dull and rather windy morning but a fine afternoon and evening with the wind dying away. A fairly busy day (Y+2). The 12” gun opened fire on Achet le Grand and Bapaume in the evening and continued on the latter at intervals during the night. Went with Young and Miller to the Group H.Q.s after tea. Fairly busy after dinner.
There are no further entries in the diary.
General Perkins: Brigadier General A.E.J. Perkins G.O.C. Heavy Artillery III Corps.
Gunner Johnston was George Johnson 24591 48th Siege Battery R.G.A. CWGC record.
Meade King was Richard Evelyn Beauchamp. Temp 2/Lt A.S.C. son of William Oliver Evelyn M K of Walford House West Monkton TAUNTON. Somerset Record Office Taunton. See also National Archives officer’s records.