H.E. WITTY Aug 16
18th SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A.
1st August 1916. Tuesday. Went into POP to buy Glass for Major – return for it 2nd. On all lines in afternoon. Gun in position for experimental purposes with aircraft. NO MAIL. Another roasting day. On telephone 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
2nd August 1916. Wednesday. Gas helmet drill 6 a.m. Ugh! Awful!! Anticipation of early gas attack apparently. Out on CX line in morning – bath and Pop in afternoon. MAIL… Hilda, Mother, Doris and R’s “Ebullition”.
3rd August 1916. Thursday. On telephone 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 P.M. On CA3 line in morning. Splendid MAIL. Letters Ma, R., Douglas, Gladys, Mr. Taylor and pcl from home. ANS. Another broiling day. Enemy aircraft active.
4th August 1916. Friday. On CA3 line in morning. Packing up during the day. Expecting to move at 10 P.M. On telephone until midnight when we packed up. J.B from (R) and letter from Alice. Paper from Scott. (ANS). Dull but showery.
5th August 1916. Saturday. Left Camp at 2 a.m. & stopped at ABEELE for the day. Ran up to Ouderdom at 1.30. Left 10.0 p.m. and arrived KEMMEL half an hour later. Unpacked stores. Camp on hill-side – beautiful country – bivouacs (6 each). S. YORKS in neighbourhood – moved 7th.
6th August 1916. Sunday. Spent the day putting up telephone hut – arranging our stores and B.Q.M.S. stores. Excellent Y.M.C.A. in vicinity. Connected up to HQ (BAILLEUL). Gloriously wooded region. Xcellent view of YPRES. NO MAIL.
7th August 1916. Monday. Paraded 9 a.m. for Gas Drill. Spent morning putting bivouac in order – levelling site, and draining etc. Nothing doing in afternoon. Arrowsmith taken first duty. Little line work as lines laid and patrolled by R.E.s. NO MAIL. Cinema in Y.M.C.A.
8th August 1916. Tuesday. Nothing doing all day. Continuation of glorious weather – NO MAIL. Concert in Y.M.C.A. in evening. Dug-out building. Gave a recitation to the boys.
9th August 1916. Wednesday. On telephone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Lovely weather – nothing doing. MAIL UP. Letters Home, N.T., Marshall, Gilbert, Kathie. Papers O.H. ANS. Concert & Cinema in Y.M.C.A. S. Lancs arrive from SOMME.
10th August 1916. Thursday. Off duty today. Had a walk to new gun positions. Much improved on N. Eglise pattern. Letters Peg, Bott, Scott, & Bee. ANS – Weather changeable – slightly wet. Nothing doing.
11th August 1916. Friday. Another idle day. Splendid weather continues. Badge goes to Caestre. Books from R. dug-out digging continues. Visit of Maj. Smith (82).
12th August 1916. Saturday. On telephone and night duty. Very little doing again. Planes very active. Letter from Hilda, (with Group photo). ANS. Weather still fine and hot. Read Christian and Terms of Surrender (Tracy).
13th August 1916. Sunday. Came off duty 9 a.m. Reading all the morning and sleeping in the afternoon. NO MAIL. Lovely weather but gale threatening. Listening to S. Lancs. Band in evening.
14th August 1916. Monday. Showery day with cold wind. N.D. in the morning but round Kemmel O.P.s in afternoon. Letters Bott, Ira and Ma. ANS. End of A.A.s “love affair”.
15th August 1916. Tuesday. On telephone duty – heavy rain showers – NO MAIL – Lantern lecture in Y.M.C.A. on climbing in the Lake District. Y.M.C.A. Library a little shelling of Kemmel. Reported visit of the King.
16th August 1916. Wednesday. Off duty at 9 a.m. – Nothing doing again – Little shelling in neighbourhood. Letter Gladys. P.C. (Mrs. Samford). Ans. Very warm and fine again. Concert by Mr. Sands in Y.M.C.A.
17th August 1916. Thursday. On Station work with ‘Flags’. All MSS sent in Code. Heavy Rains. Good MAIL. Letter R. Home, Dorothy, N.T., HOUSHAM, F.A.W.V. (ANS). Also Book from N.T.
18th August 1916. Friday. Continued Station work with Flags – fine in morning but heavy rain in afternoon. On telephone and night duty. NO MAIL. Reported sentence of Matthews (LX) to be shot. As yet not confirmed.
19th August 1916. Saturday. Moving camp to new billets – heaven save the world – Ugh – Overcrowded in a loft of rotten hay over horses, cows and sheep with the addition of poultry. How long can we stand it we ask? Very busy connecting up with new lines to H.Q. and Bty. NO MAIL – heavy rain – Incendiary shell just short of camp.
20th August 1916. Sunday. Weather breaks fine. No casualties over night to our surprise. Poultry reveille! Finished removing stores and connecting up the lines. Pcl’s from Ma and Crimmins. ANS. Went to LOCKE for a bath. Much rain. Tween goes home for a month’s leave.
21st August 1916. Monday. On telephone with Shippen. Bellis gets 14 days NO 1 for smoking in the loft. Very fine day. Letters R., N.T., Alice, Kathie. ANS. At Y.M.C.A. in Evening. Very little doing.
22nd August 1916. Tuesday. Finished telephone 9 a.m. – went up to Kemmel for washing. Hennessey “creosotes” the water. Pcl from Mrs. Litell. Book and photo from Douglas. Fine day. Concert at Y.M.C.A. “King’s Own”.
23rd August 1916. Wednesday. Another fine day. Nothing doing in the morning – on telephone in afternoon – Letters R. and Bott. ANS.
24th August 1916. Thursday. On telephone and night duty. Nothing to report. Weather fine and windy. Letters N.T. and home. Also books from home. ANS. Heard a good address at Y.M.C.A. on ”Faith”.
25th August 1916. Friday. Off duty 9 a.m. Reeling wire during the morning and doing Calculus in the afternoon – very fine. Letters from Miss Road & Mrs. R. Also ”Calculus” from Mr. Road. Field card from Fred. ANS.
26th August 1916. Saturday. On lines in morning – Working ‘calculus’ in afternoon. Teaching ’Barry’ elements of Trig in evening. Showers but warm. Letter R. ANS. 27th.
27th August 1916. Sunday. On telephone with A.A. Heavy Rain. Budgy ‘nicked’ exceeding speed limit. Letters Reg, F. Cotton (P.C.). ANS. First communion in hut at Kemmel. Sent £1 to R.
28th August 1916. Monday. Much rain – very little doing. Made Switch board. Letter Scott. ANS.
29th August 1916. Tuesday. Connecting up the Mess with telephone cabinet. NO MAIL. Much rain and heavy storms.
30th August 1916. Wednesday. On telephone – wire comes through to join LX. Difficulty in getting gun away thro’ damage to him by rain. Expect to leave tonight. Letters R. and Hilda. Sent field pcs. Storm continues.
31st August 1916. Thursday. Left Kemmel 2 a.m. and travelled to CORBIE via Calais, Boulogne, ABBEVILLE and AMIENS. Lovely scenery – indescribable. Saw German concentration camp en route – also some “spoils of the Somme”. Had a fairly decent night in the trucks. Arrived CORBIE 4p.m.