H.E. WITTY July 16
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st July 1916. Saturday. Out at 4.30 a.m. completing last night’s work. Returned to Bty 7.0 a.m. – put out line to Gun position on S. Loop. On battery telephone – fired 20 Rds. Indifferent shooting. Communication good – not a single break. No mail. A lovely ideal summer day. Smash up of Lt. Reid’s Plane (sister to the one which landed in Lille) – the aviator was recently awarded the M.C. and appeared in Daily Mirror.
2nd July 1916. Sunday. Kelly’s sentence read out. 12 months hard labour – Aeroplane takes fire & is destroyed early this a.m. A lovely day. On duty 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. On gun line and CX line also in morning. Good Mail. Letters R., Kathie, Alice and Scott. Ans. Sent to base censor. Good news of British successes down South. Guards took 1st & second line trenches at Cross Roads estaminet early hours this a.m.
3rd July 1916. Monday. Turned out for parade 6 a.m. On O.P. line in morning testing it and inserting new wire when necessary. Returned at noon. Excellent views of the Hun Plane which was flying dangerously low – on battery 2 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. standing by to open fire shd 86 be retaliated upon. No firing. Extremely fine day – gloriously warm. Letter from Humberstone. ANS. On telephone 9 P.M. to 1 A.M.
4th July 1916. Tuesday. Came off telephone 1 a.m. and went on again from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Very heavy thunderstorm in afternoon. “Canal” overflowed and camp field flooded. Good news from South. Little doing. NO MAIL. Reading and “calculating”.
5th July 1916. Wednesday. On CX line in the morning with Candlin. Found “Shorting” near the Mill. Very dull day. Nothing doing in afternoon. Good mail. Letters R., Hilda, Home with papers home and Scott. ANS. Return of Knight from Hazebrouck. Finished “Out of the night.” (Mrs. B. Reynolds).
6th July 1916. Thursday. Cold and dull. Nothing doing. On telephone 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. No Mail. Major’s inquiry into rations – vast improvement. New potatoes yesterday & today. Gill returns from O.P.
7th July 1916. Friday. Out on O.P. line from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Broken badly at Steentje Mill, ***Junction and Paliser Farm. Got wet through being out in heavy rain. Changed on return to camp. Kit inspection in the afternoon by the Major. Good Mail. Letters Ma, Douglas & Gilbert. Pcl from home. Ans. Nothing doing in battery.
8th July 1916. Saturday. On telephone 1 a.m. to5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dull in morning developing into lovely warm weather. Calley & Shippen, Gill & Bushy (Sidecar) on O.P. line. Meeting with Crowther 86 Siege (one of N.T. adherents) last night.
9th July 1916. Sunday. Parade 6 a.m. Gas bag inspection. What does this portend? Left Bty with Gill at 7.15 a.m. for Frascati. Line badly in need of repair especially thro’ shell fire. Arrived at F. line “DIS” since our arrival at Canal Bank. Returned on line and found it “cut” between Les Trois Tours and Siege Junction. Afterwards line O.K. Met 35 (S) and (99) Siege. Lovely day. Rain of shells into YPRES. Shrapnel bullet (spent) on the foot – painful. Returned 8.30 p.m. About 18 miles across country. On duty 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. 10.15 p.m. Hun plane drops 3 bombs in neighbourhood one just outside camp. Letter from Doris. Ans. Hun planes very active.
10th July 1916. Monday. Another fine day. On telephone 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Very little doing. Huns very active in the air again. Repaired my “bed”. Letter from R. Ans. Pop heavily shelled & bombed at 11 p.m. last night.
11th July 1916. Tuesday. Pop again bombed & shelled today. On CA 3 line to Trois Tours. Returned 3.0 p.m. Very fine – on battery line at night. NO MAIL.
12th July 1916. Wednesday. Out on O.P. line changing direction owing to ‘danger zone’ round Siege Junc. Returned 3 p.m. Lovely day – POP shelled every day. Letter Hilda. Paper Scott. Ans. On telephone during the day. 5 a.m.-9a.m. 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Pop still shelled. Letters Hilda. Paper Scott. Ans.
13th July 1916. Thursday. On telephone 5 Collecting wire in the morning with new reel (waist). On bty all the afternoon. Good post. Letters R. Home, Gladys (photo) and books from Crummings. Ans. Percy active. Fired 5 Rounds in retaliation. Wet all day.
14th July 1916. Friday. On telephone 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Nothing doing during the day except gun standing by for PERCY. On duty 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. On HD. QR line after tea. Received photos & scissors from home – two letters from Scott and Douglas. ANS.
15th July 1916. Saturday. On battery during the morning and telephone from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Lovely day. Nothing doing. Sad accident near battery in a bombing school of the “Leicesters” – Officer killed and 6 men seriously wounded by a premature bomb. Hum aeroplanes pretty active. POP deserted after bombardment. Departure of Naval Siege Gun (9.2) to Nieuport. Letters Harry Woodthorpe, J.B. (Ma). ANS. Went up to Frascati to show Mr. O’Kell the way. Shelled near 10 Bdge had to leave car which was hit with splinters & shelter. 6” MK VII. Narrow escape. On return same place shelled with 5.9s – good shooting but little damage done.
16th July 1916. Sunday. On telephone 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. –nothing doing. Still standing by. Much rain. Letter from Bee and pcl from R. Ans letter and acknowledged pcl.
17th July 1916. Monday. Very little doing – still standing by. Very hot – spent greater part of day over-hauling cable. On battery 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Letters R. and Dorothy. Ans.
18th July 1916. Tuesday. Overhauling wire in the morning. On telephone 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nothing doing in afternoon except a bathe. Pc from Douglas who had met C. Lougheed in hospital. Nice fine day.
19th July 1916. Wednesday. Overhauling cable and on South loop line. Very fine day. Still standing by. Letter from Hilda & papers from home. Ans. On battery 1 – 6 p.m.
20th July 1916. Thursday. On telephone 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Lovely day. Still standing by – enemy aircraft very busy – attempt to bomb balloons in vicinity. NO MAIL. Knight on CG1A line – Useless Gun comes in at 10 p.m.
21st July 1916. Friday. On O.P. line. Walked along line to REIGERSBERG – mended 3 breaks. Line then O.K. returned to camp 3 p.m. Letters R., home, Kathie and Peg. ANS. Another lovely day. Much air activity – 4 planes over camp this morning.
22nd July 1916. Saturday. On telephone 1 am to 5 am last night 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Nothing doing today at all – spent a little time overhauling cable. Letter from Mrs. Philippson. Latest promotion Harrington Cpl. Knights and Harper “passed over”. On O.P. tomorrow.
23rd July 1916. Sunday. At Frascati – left here 3.30 a.m. Pretty quiet day. Canal Bank strafed about midnight. Mallins & Tribe. Col. Buzzard’s visit. Letter Humberstone. ANS. Another lovely day. A.A. DRUNK.
24th July 1916. Monday. Returned to camp 6.15 a.m. On South Loop line in the morning – very warm but rather dull. Letters Frank, R., Alice, Mr. Carter, F.A.W. (PC), Gilbert, Bottrill. ANS.
25th July 1916. Tuesday. Laid 1 mile of G 12 up the Brook for new CX line. Finished at NOON. Old CX broken – went out at 1.30 p.m. found break near VLAM. (86 shelled) returned in sidecar. Overhauling cable at night. NO MAIL. 53 Returns from South.
26th July 1916. Wednesday. Put in another 1000 yds to the new CX line finishing up beyond new gun position. Overhauling cable in the afternoon. Fine weather still continues. Letters Mother (also papers) and N.T. ANS. Went up to CA5 (Machine Gun Emplacement) last night with Mallins – returned 10 p.m. Very quiet.
27th July 1916. Thursday. Still on new CX line. Almost completed. Another fine day. Letters Scott and pc from Mag. Wrote Hilda, Scott, Harry and Gilbert today. Very little doing.
28th July 1916. Friday. On telephone 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Had a bon tea as we celebrated Gill’s gift of 28/- from the workmen. Letters Ma and R. ANS. Very hot – had a nice bath. Finished new CX line.
29th July 1916. Saturday. Overhauling cable in the morning. Glorious weather. Arrival of A.A.s letter from Miss G. Winter. Still standing by. NO MAIL. On telephone 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Nothing doing at all. Very monotonous. Wrote Bee and Mag. Premature with 22 (S) Gun.
30th July 1916. Sunday. on duty 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – very hot day. Very little doing. Lovely service in the evening in a field. Letter and photo from R. Pc Mrs. Sampson. ANS.
31st July 1916. Monday. On CG1A line at VLAM in the morning. Lovely weather continues. Much bed-building in afternoon. NO MAIL. Commission to purchase pass for Major tomorrow.