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A SOLDIERS DIARY: 1916 1918

This is the diary kept by my father, Norman Samuel Holland, from the time of his units arrival in France in 1916, until the Spring of 1918. My niece Pamela Holland Graves has the original diary. Her brother Christopher photographed the pages, and asked me if I could decipher them. With some effort, making the most of my computers image editing software, I could read just about all of it. I remember, as a boy, seeing at home photo albums from that period, with pictures of howitzers, and of my fathers family, and of his soldier mates. My father also had several books, which had been expressly compiled, post-war, to illustrate The Horrors of War (they did a very inadequate job any book that did this realistically, would never have been allowed to be published). But these have, I suppose, been lost. I am glad the diary has survived. The First World War affected my father very profoundly indeed, throughout his whole life. When we were living in Chile, during the 1940s, there were occasions when we would eat a very heavy meal (especially roast pork, which we were all very fond of). On those occasions, our father would often succumb to temptation, and over-indulge. Since his gallbladder had been removed some years earlier, his ability to digest heavy, fatty food was limited; and after any particularly abundant, greasy family meal, we boys would look at each other and murmur: Daddys going to have nightmares again tonight. And sure enough, far more often than not, at two or three in the morning we would be woken by his appalling screams, while our mother would anxiously try to comfort and to calm him. When our father died, the only person beside him was our mother we three brothers were all away, living on other continents. Later, she wrote me that during the last month or so of his life, he was unconscious a lot of the time, in a sort of delirium. During that time, she said, he spent many, many hours talking to his soldier mates. My father once told me that when he joined up, his battery consisted of 110 officers and men; at the end of the war, he said, nine of them were still living. I dont know how precise these figures are: I may not be remembering correctly, what my father told me perhaps half a century ago. What I do know for certain, is that by the end of World War 1, more than eight million of the best young men in the world had killed each other; and many, many millions more were maimed for life --- some of them physically, and many more mentally, like the man who wrote this soldiers diary.

BOMBARDIER N.S. HOLLAND NO. 1553 132(8?)23 161ST SIEGE BATTERY R.G.A. [Royal Garrison Artillery] and 5 Rosebery Avenue Liscard Wallasey Cheshire England Diary 1 Impressions 7 Our dugout 71
[the website below describes the kind of heavy artillery unit (9.2 inch howitzers) to which Norman Samuel Holland belonged.] http://www.1914-1918.net/siege-battery-index.htm

[p.1 - not numbered] FRIDAY 15-9-16. Left Bristol the most patriotic city in England at 12.20. Half battery drunk & an awful crew. Walked from Paddington to Victoria @ 4.30 in morning. Passed Marble Arch and Hyde Park. Weather fine, but miserable walk owing to new boots. Arrived Folkestone at 8 am. SATDY. 16.9.16 Arrived Folkestone 8 am. Excellent rest camp had good breakfast boiled ham. Bathed crew in sea did them much good. Sent pc [post card] home. Paraded 1 pm. Left Folkestone 2.20 on SS Victoria , ????? conveyed by 2 destroyers & airship. Arrived Boulogne at 4 pm. Not much of a place. Marched uphill to St. Martins Camp, on heights about 3 miles back. Issued one blanket, also 1 fcpc [I think this refers to a standard issue official post card Ed.], which sent home. Nice camp, on hill overlooking Channel. SUNDAY, 17.9.1916 Had Church Parade in Hut, then lecture on gas helmets which was very concise & made us realize we were in France. At 5 pm went down to docks on fatigue. Were confined in The Coppins until jobs ready. [p.2] Only got 4d. [fourpence] to bless myself with. Who said we didnt want money in France!!! Coppins a good place to wait for boat. All free to men on leave. Worked on unloading guns from transport S.S. Hunsgrave until 12 p.m. Rained. Came home in pouring rain in motor wagon about 50 of us. Slept with damp coat over no alternative. MONDAY 18.9.1916. Paraded at 7 a.m. for emergency rations. Paraded @ 8 a.m. & went into town on fatigue. Raining steadily & heavily. Worked right through to 2.30 pm at transferring stores & loading shells. Soaking wet. No, France is not a picnic!! Camp one mass of mud. But we move to-morrow. Oh!!!! wrote first letter home. TUESDAY 19.9.16 Up at 5.30. Clean up &c. & parade @ 8 am with 24 hrs. rations bully beef & biscuits. Entrain at Boulogne Stn. in empty trucks, about 30 a truck. Just like English cattle trucks. Picked up our guns & caterpillars at 12 am in a [p.3] siding about 30 miles out of Boulogne (all water in this country is dangerous, & the stuff they issue is full of chloride of lime). Passed through Montreuil, Bougainville, Marisquet between 2 & 3 pm. Blangy-sur-Ternoise St. Pol, & finally arrived at Savy-Berlette. Immediately started unloading guns & did not finish until 12 pm. Then drove in a wagon about 40 of us in the dark out near the line & were fixed up for the night in dugouts. WEDNESDAY 20.9.16 Awoke at 6.30 & commenced walking round France looking for stores. Finally located in ruined village nr. St Aubin, & drew sliced bacon & a few biscuits. Cooked bacon somehow on fire in ruined cottage and ate it as I could about three inches of muck on it. Ah well this is France, & the guns are waiting near by. [p.4] We are now fixed up at Anzin-St. Aubin, not far from Arras, but at present our guns are not at our position. We have a very comfy dug-out & just now (8.30 p.m.) have been told off to stand by to unload wagons &c. Work has started in earnest. Turned out at midnight &

worked in the dark until about 4 a.m. Such a job!!! Unloaded 180 rounds & cartridges also 2 sets firing beams. Previously at 4.0 p.m. walked over to Montreuil for orders. Place still full of inhabitants but smashed to pieces. Boasts of a station. However, finally retired dead beat at 4 a.m. THURSDAY 21.9.16 Turned out at 8 a.m. & had breakfast. Rasher of bacon and biscuits. so far have had no bread whatever. [p.5] Paraded at 9. a.m. & fixed up platforms. Broke off at 12.30 for half an hour for dinner. Bully beef & biscuits as usual. Finished gun platforms & started on moving shells - a killing job. Broke off at 5.0 for hour for tea bully beef & marmalade. as per usual. started in again moving shells & cleared nearly 80. Broke off again for a spell & under orders to start again at any time. Turned out at 10 p.m. and worked through until 8 a.m. moving guns all the time. Had a fine view of enemy trenches & star shells &c. Concealed guns in wood under brushwood. / FRIDAY 22.9.16 After working without a stop until 8 a.m. broke off 2 hours for breakfast. Biscuits & slice of bacon as usual. Getting just a little fed [p.6] up with biscuits. Made a good breakfast off pork & beans hot. Also had a wash & shave for first time for about 5 days. Started again at 10 am & finally finished gun completely at 8 pm after titanic struggles. During day two enemy planes came over & we witnessed an interesting duel. Transpired that one brought down & the other disabled. / Very heavy bombardment commenced at about 3 pm in direction of Somme & still continues. / SATURDAY 23.9.16 Still on biscuits but with a leaven of bread. / started work again at 9.0 am. Finished gun reposition. Enemy aeroplanes over all the time. Glorious weather for flying. Heavy bombardment still continues in the distance. / worked hard all day

[p. 7] & went on duty at 6 pm for 24 hours. Bedded down in temporary shelter made of tarpaulin. Night bitterly cold. SUNDAY 24.9.16 started work at 7 am & continued hard until 8 pm. Gun completed & pickets &c. ????? cross over a grave used as an [continued on page 10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Impressions. This part of France appears to be one huge scene of destruction, poignant with tragedy. Noble chateaux with roofs partly demolished & walls holed, still stand overlooking gardens, once the pride of some seigneur, and now one mass of weeds, choking up the remnants of beautiful plants. Villages, once the scene of peaceful industry, now appear but masses of ruins, interspersed with broken roads. Everyone lives [p.8] underground, like moles in a hole. When walking amongst the ruins, one notices a small hole, seemingly a mere square of Stygian darkness, but in reality the grand entrance to

some dugout, which, maybe, is the sole dwelling place and pride of a few Tommies. We are at present situated in an orchard, attached to a chateau still in a good state of preservation, & the best in the village Anzin-St. Aubin St Pol. The trees are, naturally, devoid of fruit, & the only clue to their identity is their leaves & the straight lines in which they are planted. It is bounded by high walls, pierced with shell holes in many places & pockmarked with shrapnel & bullets. It seems that the village was at one time in possession of the Germans, but was [p.9] captured by the French at a cost of 1000 (5000?) or so. From a military point of view a mere flea-bite. From a sentimental point, thousands of sorrowing relatives. This is war!! We are fixed up in a very comfy dugout, about 50 yds from guns, & we have rigged up tables, benches, stove, beds, &c. Guns are concealed by brushwood & grass & are very hard to detect from above. I came across a peculiar contrivance, which is an idea common only to this country. Outside the threshing &c room, a treadmill is fixed & worked by a horse for hours at a time. Supplies quite a good power. Everyone goes about with a gas helmet slung over the shoulder, & the majority wear shrapnel-proof helmets (see page 18) [p.18] This place is infested with rats. In fact the whole country seems over run with them. They swarm round deserted dug-outs in millions & they multiply very quickly, & when this war is finished, France will be over-ridden. The nearest town to here, Maroeuil, is in a sad state streets full of ruins & yet there are still a number of the French populace who stay by their homes. The church is shattered, & every large building is pierced. The homes are all done in French fashion, - white washed, & the streets are with one or two exceptions, narrow & uninteresting. The estaminets, cabarets, & such are still kept open, apparently with the sole purpose of filching Tommys meager savings by supplying him with vile cognac, vin blanc, and ?????

[p.19] Another town near here, Mont St. Eloi appears to be still in a state of apparently good preservation. It is rather a fine place, very picturesquely situated & well wooded in the vicinity. The homes are built of a very soft white stone chalkstone. The ruins make the mud of the roads a a whitish colour, which gets on everything. The nights are very strange. All lights are naturally screened, & traffic carry none whatever, which makes it very dangerous, especially as all moving is done at night, also all rations, ammunition, &c are brought up. Now & again the place is illuminated by an eerie [p. 20] blue light star shells, & the silence broken by the pop-pop of a machine gun or the louder crashes of a battery of trench mortars. / some nights the whole line of artillery will open fire, & the night is shattered by an intermittent roar, & the sky stabbed with white flashes of the explosions. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[p.10] auxiliary mark (Transpires later that this is a telegraph pole). Hope this is not a bad omen.

Fault found with cover by general & worked hard altering. German aeroplanes compare photos, and should any detail be different, shell position thoroughly to make sure. Today, Sunday, but not observed. How I remember I used to spend it in Blighty before the war!!! Had a swim in stream. really delicious. First time had clothes off since leaving Bristol!!! Grub improving. Bread for b-fast & tea. Fresh meat for dinner. Wrote home. MONDAY 25.9.1916 Paraded at 9 am. had to turn out shaved. First one in 7 days! / Usual hard work. Sods this time. Broke off at 1.0 till 2.0 for dinner. 1 potato, 1 piece worzel. 1 small piece of meat. and this to work on!!! Same again at 2 until 4.20. Managed a swim [p. 11] in stream. Fine!! paraded for duty at 6 p.m. Bombardment in distance now desultory. Weather still fine. / Post arrived but none for me. Seems to take a very long time to arrive. Wrote Roper & Uncle Will. / TUESDAY 26.9.1916. Another fine day. Very quiet in the morning. No bombardment noticeable. Lets hope its a rest day. Heavy bombardment commenced in distance about 10 am continued all day. Must be a huge number of guns firing, sounds an incessant roar. / Wrote Ronnie. Had fine swim at 6 oclock. had supper. French bread & black cherry jam & turned in at 9 pm. WEDNESDAY 27.9.1916. Turned out at 7.30. Weather dull. Fired 10 rounds per gun at 11 am. Whole gun leapt back one foot or so. Boches replied with a few shells, about 1 or 2 miles out. Rained a little. Bombardment [p.12] still continues, but only desultory. Glorious evening, went on duty at 6 pm. THURSDAY 28.9.16 Another fine day. Much as usual. Fired five round in a successful aerial observation shoot. Our aeroplane peppered continuously, but escaped damage. Dud shell dropped a few yards away & put the wind up some of them. Came off duty 6 pm, went walk as far as Maroeuil with Ball & Cowan. Arrived back 9 pm and retired. / Wrote Ethel. FRIDAY 29.9.16 Rotten morning. Raining. Fired, in combination with 60 pdr., 15 pdr & left section, at a German 5.9 battery. Observed by aeroplane. Shoot successful. Finished at 5 pm, 14 rounds the two guns. Went on duty at 6 pm & marching (?) relief. SATURDAY 30.9.16 Heavy trench mortar bombardment commenced at 2.15 am & lasted hour. Glorious morning. [p. 13] No. 1 gun commenced firing at 10.30 am aerial observation shoot. / Fired about 12 rounds. Finished duty 6 pm. Called out 8 pm unloading ammunition. Went with fatigue at 9 p.m. to Mont st. Eloi for elephants. Arrived back at 12.15 am pretty done up. / No word from Blighty yet. SUNDAY 1.10.16 Turned out 7.30 am , glorious morning. absolutely quiet. Just like a Sunday in Blighty. / Had a very quiet day. Rea first letter from home. / In evening, had a short service in A guns shelter by a minister from Wsey [Wallasey], of all places. Must find out his name. /

MONDAY, 2.10.16 Rained all day. everywhere muddy. all quiet. Worked on new shelters & retired to bed 9 pm. / Had long letter from home. / [p.14] TUESDAY 3.10.16. Everywhere thick with mud. Raining. Worked on shelters. Had a good dinner of tinned spuds. Went on duty 6 pm. Very uneventful day. No letters recd. / WEDNESDAY, 4.10.1916. Very damp morning. very dreary & wet. Rained all day. Gun shelter flooded out. Should have fired 12 rounds, but too windy. No letters owing to submarines in the channel. Gorgeous sunset. / THURSDAY, 5.10.1916. Weather brighter, but everywhere still muddy. B.O.. Easy day. Fixed door on dugout. Weather not good enough for aero-observation. Marching relief. FRIDAY 6.10.1916. Still muddy. Nothing of any note doing all day. / Had an easy day. Weather rotten. SAT. 7.10.1916. Aroused at 1 am. owing to gas attack. Turned out with helmets on [p.15] for 20 minutes or so. Supposed to be delivery of own gas. However, nothing doing. No gas arrived / worked all day on shifting limber & erecting shelters. Recd. first parcel. very acceptable. also letter from Mary. Went on duty 6 p.m. / SUNDAY 8.10.1916 Turned out at 7 am. to clean guns. Had church parade at 9 am in ruined concert-hall. Lasted about 30 mins. No piano or anything, only hymn-sheets. Finished day on wire net threading. Had letter from mother. Had a bath in the evening. Small bucket of hot water. Draughty barn, bring-your-own-candles. Still, very acceptable indeed. MONDAY, 9.10.1916. Fired 12 rounds in morning. Partly successful. Weather dull. TUESDAY 10.10.16 Morning glorious, fired 10 rounds in afternoon, 1 bty fire [p. 16] & remainder gun fire at German 4 gun batty. First time I have actually layed. / Turned out in evening at 10 pm. & unloaded 40 shells. WED 11.10.16. Weather dull. B.O. today. Not much doing. No firing. A word must be said about grub. We have received, since we came out, the following for meals: 1 slice of bread (about 5 ozs.) 1 small piece of bacon (2 sq ins.) & 1 cup of tea for breakfast ! for dinner, about one-half pint of skilly-bully, beans & water. and tea, 1 slice bread (about 5 ozs), 1 piece of bung ( ie. cheese) or small quantity of jam, & one cup of tea. / cheese & jam are served alternately, jam one day, cheese the next. Very often biscuits take the place of bread. One never-to-be forgotten day we had rice & prunes after dinner!!! THURSDAY 12.10.16. worked all morning [p.17] on threading grass. Weather dull. had al fresco supper in dug-out - Ball, Danyer (??) Cowin & self. Peaches & cream, pears, many bread & butter, washed down with hot

cocoa. Ye gods!! FRIDAY 13.10.16 Not much doing. prepared gun for new position. went on duty 6 pm. SATURDAY, 14.10.16 started work at 7 am & worked thro with about an hours interval until midnight moving the gun. retired to bed dead-beat./ Arras bombarded big fire showed up at night suppose result of bombardment/ artillery firing again on Somme. SUNDAY 15.10.1916 Turned out at 8 am work as usual. Doesnt seem like Sunday. Bombardment still continuing in Somme direction. (page 25) Worked hard all day. Went on duty at 6 p.m. Had short service in A gun shelter. MONDAY 16.10. 1916 Weather glorious but cold. A gun fired 20 rounds we stood by all day. enemy aeroplanes very active. looking for us, apparently. TUESDAY, 17.10.16 Weather dull. Fired 20 rounds on B gun & 20 on A gun. Aerial shoot on trench mortar battery &c. Very successful was No. 3. [probably means he acted no. 3 man on the guns crew Ed.] WEDNESDAY 18.10.1916. Weather dull. Raining. should have sent over about 50 rounds to sugar refinery about 9200 away, but weather unsuitable for aerial observation / THURSDAY , 19 10.16 Weather bad. Raining all day. Had to thread grass in rain. Got wet. Went on duty at 6 pm. Night bitterly cold. / [p. 26] FRIDAY, 20.10.16 Glorious morning, only bitterly cold. Been freezing during night. Threaded grass all morning. Fired 65 rounds in afternoon at cemetery near La Bal***. A gun 35 & we 30. We fired 3 rounds bty [battery? Ed.] fire and 27 gun fire. I was layer, 60 pdrswere also firing. Fine to hear all guns banging away. Had gas alert at 8 pm. SATURDAY, 21.10.16. B.O. Opened fire at 11 a.m. 24 rounds each gun. Had gas alert all day. Glorious morning. Freezing during night & everywhere white in morning.SUNDAY 22.10.16. Fine day. frosty. Fired 24 rounds at 2 pm. whole bty fire, about 100 rds altogether each gun ranging & then gun fire. / enemy planes active. Battle in the air, German [p. 27] ousted. / should have gone out to OP [observation post Ed.] at 8 pm with timber but fatigue abandoned. Sent first green envelope / MONDAY 23.10.16 Weather misty, a little milder. usual mornings work camouflage. Somme artillery active & have been last few days. / No post owing to movements on the line. 60th Division left here. Rigged up elephant shelter at 6 pm. Fired 24 rounds at 4 pm. TUESDAY 24.10.16. Wet day. Usual job camouflage, all day. WEDS., 25.10.16. Still wet. B.O. Heavy mail. went on duty 6 p.m. heavy bombardment near St. Catherines from 8 to 10 pm.

THURSDAY 26 10 16. No rain everywhere mud. new blanket issued. This makes the 2nd. / Moving shells all afternoon. Went off duty 6 pm. Nothing of interest. [p. 28] FRIDAY 27.10.16 weather dull & a bitterly cold wind blowing. also rain. Moved shells all morning and in afternoon. & went on duty 6 pm. SATURDAY, 28.10 16 Grand day. usual business in morning. Camouflage. Same in afternoon. Nothing of interest. Recd. parcel. / Have to clean buttons and boots in future. What d---- rot. Are we in France, I wonder or in Blighty. SUNDAY , 29. 10.16 BO. Morning fine but turned to rain. Not much doing. No mail owing to sinking of the Queen Cross Channel steamer by German torpedo boat. Germans dropped a few shells in village about 300 yds away. Went on duty at 6 pm. (7 pm just killed a rat which strolled in to pay us a visit.) A [p. 29] Canadian division have taken the place of the 60th. The 17th HA group also left with the 60th & we are now in the 80th M.A.G. MONDAY 30.10.16 Weather showery & cold. Nothing doing. Went off duty 6 pm. TUESDAY, 31.10.16 Weather cold & showery. Not much doing. Digging sods all day. Had a bath at 5 pm (also hair cut) first since about October 8th. Appearance quite changed. / went on duty 6 pm. WEDS. 1.11.1916 Turned out for 7am parade (new idea of OCs) weather dull. / the cook has started a new scheme, sells rice pudding after dinner at 3d. time. / Very necessary as we get little enough otherwise / THURS. 2.11.16 Raining as usual. worked all morning in pouring rain on sandbagging elephant shelter. cleaned up in afternoon & prepared [p. 30] to fire 20 rounds per gun, but it was postponed till the morrow. Went on duty 6 pm. Glorious evening. Half moon shining. FRI 3.11.16 Clear day sun shining. worked making pathway in morning. Fired 10 rounds per gun at trench mortars at 3 pm. Enemy 15 pdr. shells dropped on top road during afternoon. / SAT . 4.11.16 B.O. Morning fine but showery. / Nothing doing during day went on duty 6 pm. Marching relief. SUNDAY 5.11.16 Fine day. Commenced moving gun at 11 am. & worked through until 5 pm. had church Parade at 6 pm. in house in main st. one of few remaining in near perfect condition. / MONDAY 6.11.1916 Fine day but showery. Started on gun again at 8.30 am & worked through until 5 pm. Went on duty at 6 pm.

[p. 31] Tried smoking a pipe wonder how it will go over? Found address, 38 Chester Street Toxteth in tobacco tin & Bob Sawyer wrote. / 2nd address Ive found other on cartridge case green at Bolton -- Bill Ball wrote / Lucky me, eh !!!! // Bob & I had some fireworks !!!!! TUESDAY 7.11.16 started work at 8 am in pouring rain worked right through until 5 pm wet through & up to eyes in mud (who wouldnt be a soldier?) Went to dug-out wet-thro to skin & coated from head to foot with mud. To crown all, Bob was altering beds!!! WED. 8.11.16 worked hard all day putting gun up. Much hampered by mud. Ankle-deep. Very hard to shovel. However, finished at 5 pm. Marching relief & up all night. THURS. 9.11.16 No mail since Monday!!! slept in until 12 am. Fired 14 rounds in afternnon. Enemy dud Archies (Archy = anti-aircraft artillery Ed.) fell round about the positions. Weather improved. [p.32] Glorious evening with full moon. FRIDAY 10.11.16 B.O. Glorious frosty morning. Cut stone for dug-out entrance, Wallasey Grange / SAT. 11.11.16 Weather A1. Worked cleaning gun all morning. Recd parcel, including mouth organ and mothers photo. Just the usual sort of day. Had fine supper in evening. / SUNDAY, 12.11.16 Fine morning very quiet just like a Sunday, Took fatigue party to rear left section, - digging trench. Finished at 1 pm for dinner & returned at 2 pm. Rest of afternoon our own. Turned out beds in dug-out & fixed it rat-proof. Worked hard until 5 pm when job was at last finished. / Marching relief. MONDAY 13.11.16 Had a rotten stomach-ache in morning. Went to bed, but had to turn out at 10 am because General Currie (?) [p.33] was paying us a visit, usual business, & went off duty 5.55 pm. B.O. / TUESDAY 14.11.16. worked all day on making ventilator & window for dug-out. Weather frosty / usual sort of day. WEDS. 15.11.16 . Worked at placing new aux mark. Weather very cold. / worked on ventilator at dinner time. / THURS. 16.11.16 . Went with 4 men & 2 lorries to St. Eloi in morning for timber. Had fine time. Inspected Maroeuil church. Big gaps & a few statues &all windows smashed by shell fire. Saw Isherwood from Wsey at dump / also a large number of Germn prisoners working. / Came back & worked on vent went on duty 6 pm. Marching relief. FRI., 17.11.16 Had morning in bed. [p.34] Previous night, worked about 3 hours from 2 to 4.30 - on sawing timber for shaft. /

worked remainder of day on picket & new shelters. In evening, had gramophone in dugout & had fine musical evening. Rumour we go to Somme. Still, only rumour. / SAT, 18.11.16 B.O. Worked in morning on ventilator. / Big job. / Issued with sheep skin coats. Fine. SUNDAY, 19.11.16 Worked on shelter all day. Weather fine, but much milder. / Not much doing. / Addie complained of pimples. / MONDAY, 20.11.16. Went over to left section in morning with working party. Called back at noon, to find that Adamson had been sent to hospital, with smallpox. (?) Found Ball & Sawyer already there & the whole of us confined to dug-out. M.O. called about 2 pm & vaccinated us. Croydon & Croft arrived in afternoon, bringing our number up to six. / Colonel & CO came to see us. / Had a grand tea, cakes, &c &c. / Had no mail for last 3 days. / Had quite a convivial evening & retired at 8.30 pm. / [p. 35] TUESDAY 21.11.16 Still in quarantine. / Turned out at 8.30 am for breakfast. Grand!! Took the fellows out for a walk at 11 am, round Louez, Etrun, etc., and had a medical exam. on return. / Nothing developed on us up-to-date. / WEDS 22.11.16. Still in quarantine. / Usual sort of day. Had not even the pleasure of a walk. Life getting very monotonous. No mail arrived / Nothing developed / THURS 23.11.16 Still in quarantine. / Fine day. / Had no walk. / Usual sort of day. Had a grand supper of chicken & sausage, which gave us all nightmare. / [p.36] retired at about 11 pm. FRIDAY, 24.11.16 Still in quarantine. Had breakfast at 9.30 am. / Fine day but very windy.. / Did nothing all day, except played outside after dinner. Had nice supper in evening -- fried bacon./ SATY, 25.11.16 Still in quarantine. Wet day miserable out. / Had usual sort of day. Recd. 6 letters!!!! Sent short article for Bulletin. / Addie in 7th Gen Hosp. SUN 26.11.16 Still in quarantine. Had a few mins. footer today. / Recd. parcel from Accgton [abbreviation of town name, Accrington. Ed] / Much the usual sort of day. / MONDAY, 27.11.16 Still in quarantine. / Called out for laying for shoot, but only fired one round. / Others had a bathe in river. Ugh!!! Usual sort of day. TUESDAY, 28.11.16. Still in quarantine. Nothing doing. / Had a game of footer /. [p. 37] WEDS. 29.11.16 - Still in quarantine. Nothing doing as usual. Weather fine. / Had game of footer in morning. / THURS. 30.11.16 Still in quarantine. Much as usual. Nothing doing. / FRIDAY 1.12.16 Still in quarantine. Had fine walk in morning to Arras & came back via

St. Catherines. Were right up to gate, but unable to enter without a pass. / Good look at St. Catherines and St. Nicholas. Weather foggy, but enjoyable walk. / SAT. 2.12.16 Still in quarantine. / Had fine walk weather cold & sharp. / Across country to Arras St. Pol Road, & then turned off to Wagnonlieu (Duisans) & returned via Etrun. / Very enjoyable. SUNDAY, 3.12.16 Still in quarantine. / Had a grand walk to Duisans in morning. Very cold & frosty slight [p.38] rain falling. / Nothing else doing. / MONDAY, 4.12.16. Still in quarantine. / Had a good walk in morning - across country to Dainville &c. Fine walk, nothing doing. / TUESDAY, 5.12.16 Still in quarantine. / Did nothing all day. Weather rotten --- chopped a good stock of wood. / WEDS. 6.12.16 still in quarantine. / Not much doing expecting to come out. / THURS 7.12.16 Still in quarantine. / Turned out at 9.15 before major and told we were now for duty. / Proceeded to Maroeuil baths and had hot bath. --- Bon . / worked in afternoon. / Went to Etrun in evening to see pictures (price 2 1/2d.) Quite a good show --- anyway, a change). FRID. 8.12.16 Turned out at 7 am as per usual now on duty. / Given B.O. job at [p.39] 9 a.m. / Not much doing / marching relief in evening. / SAT 9.12.16 / Rotten day. Off for morning made some toffee!!!! / worked on shelters for rest of day. / SUNDAY, 10.12.16 B.O. Not much doing. . / B.O. Moved into new shelters fixed very comfy with Bill Ball. did washing in evening. / MONDAY, 11.12.16 Very fine in morning. / Big aerial fight 3 Gers. brought down. Turned out dull in afternoon fused 25 rounds but did not fire. / Went down to St. Caths. in evening & had a feed (Fr. 1.80) bread & butter, caf-au-lait & sardines went down trs bon / Came back & slept in shelters for 1st. time. / Very comfy indeed. / TUESDAY, 12.12.16 Turned out at 7 am. [here begins the transcript of the second batch of photos of the diary, sent to me by Chris. I was wrong when I commented, at the beginning, that Norman does not say a word about his fellow-soldiers. In fact, after two months in France (in November 1916) he writes (in a digression, beginning on p. 72) about each of his dug-out mates in turn, portraying them in considerable detail. It is clear that he has studied them closely. He describes each one sympathetically if they have faults, he doesnt dwell on these. This description of Normans mates tells you quite a bit about Norman himself.

This batch of entries brings us up to the beginning of April. The second battle of Arras is about to begin (according to Wikipedia, the infantry assaults began on April 9, 1917) the battery is working very hard, as Norman tells us repeatedly [p.40] Snowing hard, but not freezing. / Rotten weather. / cleared a little & stood by for shoot A gun fired 3 rounds & us nil. / WEDS., 13.12.16. Had morning in bed. Weather fine, but muddy. Fired 5 rounds in afternoon, finishing at 4 p.m. Night in bed. Walked to Maroeuil in evening & tonight some cards../ THURS. 14.12.16 Rotten day. B.O., but walked all day on cartridge recess./ Usual sort of day. Had a terrible job in getting 30 shells in. Pouring rain & up to knees in mud. Took us from 7 to 9 p.m. FRI., 15.12.16. Dull & wet day. Usual sort --- worked on cartridge recess as per usual. / Rained most of day. / Not much doing./ Was No. 9 SAT. 16.12.16. Usual job cartridge recess. [p. 41] Not much doing weather fine. / Had to do 20 shells in evening. / Lucky relief. SUNDAY, 17.12.16. Dull day. had morning in bed. / Finished work at 1 oclock. 60 shells to arrive tonight -- bringing up to 200 per gun (something doing?) B.O. Retired early. MONDAY, 18.12.16. Cold. Fired 10 rounds in morning. B.O. Not much else doing. was No. 9 / 20 shells arrd. in evening. TUESDAY 19.12.16 Very cold. Opened fire at 11 a.m. & fired right thro until 4.30 (halfhour break for dinner) managed 43 rounds. started snowing but cleared. I layed. again had no off. / Very exhilarating but intensely cold. / In Addies dug out in evening. / Had a small supper & retired at 8.30 p.m. / WEDS. 20.12.16. Turned out at 7 a.m. [p.42] Glorious weather freezing & all mud hard. Opened fire at 10 a.m. Registering about 6 rounds. A gun also fired. / Turned out at 1.15 & fired 30 rounds gun fire per gun. / Fired again at 3 p.m. , 4 gun fire. Opened fire at 7.50 p.m. & fired 3 rounds. Salvoes. First time weve done night-firing. Went off A.1. / Now dine in recreation room each day. Very comfy indeed./ THURS. 21.12.1916 Usual sort of day. / Rained a good deal. Worked on dress nothing doing. FRI. 22.12.16 Rotten day. Usual job. Poured with rain all morning. Cleared a little in afternoon. Fell off recess onto some iron & cut knee & hand badly. Had to go to dressing

station. Should have been marching relief, but put off duty. [p.43] SAT. 23.12.16 Still off duty & mooched around all day. Awful weather. Guns firing in pouring rain. Half a gale of wind. Rained nearly all day. SUN 24.12.16 Still off duty, Very fine morning. Sun shining. Damp underfoot, however. / Had a do in war shelter in evening after going to church. / Fine time & glorious supper, cocoa, biscuits, cakes, apricots, honey, rabbit, salmon, bread & butter &c. Also vin bleu & Grenadine, Abdullas [a brand of cigarettes. Ed.], cigars, &c. Impromptu speeches, songs. Retired at 10.30 P.M., after leaving my supper in the field (sick as a dog). MON. 25.12.16 Usual morning, weather fine. Had dinner at 1 P.M. Roast pork, mutton, potatoes, peas, cabbage, rice pudding, oranges, nuts, & apples. No plum pudding, but warmed Auntie Beaties [p.44] up in elephant shelter. / Tres bon. / Impromptu concert in rec room in afternoon. / walked with B. Ball to Eitun in evening to see if there was a show, but na poo. / after wading thro mud and pouring rain!!! Got back disappointed & wet . Fed up & just a little homesick. / what a Christmas Day!! / TUESDAY, 26.12.16 Batty. Ord. / Not much doing. Re-built fireplace in hut. Mchg. relief in evening. / awake all night. / wet & muddy. WEDS. 27.12.16 Up all night and called out to gun at 8.30 a.m. for shoot. / Fine day, but muddy. Opened fire at 9 a.m. & fired 25 rounds (20 gun fire) aeroplane observation. / Went off all right. Finished 11 a.m. / Turned out at 1.30 p.m. and fired 25 rounds [p.45] on trenches. O.P. shoot. / Most of afternoon fuzed shells. Broke off at 4.15 for 30 mins for tea, & then unloaded 60 shells & cartridges. / a good days work. Retired at 8 p.m. / Got new trousers & cardigan. THURS. 28.12.16. / Glorious frosty morning. hard frost during night. Went to St. Eloi Stn. in morning for stores. / Wagons did not turn up. Had lunch in estaminet omelette & chips, bread & butter, caf au lait & mousquet. / Went at 3 p.m. to Exxxxxxx for box respirators / Had 10 mins. test under tear gas. / Went back in motor lorry. / Turned out at 5.15 & unloaded 80 shells & cartridges. / Finished at 8 p.m. & retired at 10 p.m. FRIDAY, 29.12.16. Very wet morning. Worked on moving shells until [p. 46] 11 a.m. when we opened fire and fired 30 rounds, finishing at 1.45 p.m. / Had dinner & opened fire again at 2.20 p.m. finishing at 4.45 pm. spasms of gun fire, 2 & 3 rounds, altogether 30 more, making totals of 60 for day.Very muddy & turned to rain in evening. / BO /

SAT. 30.12.1916. Fired about 25 rounds in morning. Very dull overcast day with rain. Very mild / Fired about 30 in afternoon (40 rounds arrived in evening). Went on duty 6 pm, XXXX relief. SUN, 31.12.1916. Up all night & turned out at 8.30 for gas respirator parade. / Opened fire at 10.30 a.m. & fired about 10. / Mild weather damp & soggy. / Fired again at 12 about 12 rounds. Have been laying on all shoots on B gun lately. / Worked on shells in afternoon & put under open arrest for not [p.47] turning out. Fell asleep reading newspaper, as had no sleep for last 48 hours. New Years Eve!!!! Monday, 1.1.1917. Dull day. Up for office at 9 a.m. & being a bit pig headed made no excuse and was awarded a severe reprimand. Worked on shells for rest of day. Tuesday 2.1.17. Fine day but mild. Fired 6 rounds in morning & 4 in afternoon. usual sort of day not much doing. / Weds. 3.1.17. Dull day, rainy a little. B.O. worked on roof of battery office in morning. Went to baths in evening. / [ Much ?] relief. Thurs. 4.1.17 Off in morning. Rotten day, much rain. Opened fire at 12 a.m. in pouring rain [P.48] & got real wet fired 20 rounds. / Opened fire again at 2 p.m. & fired another 30. Weather cleared a little. Wrote letters in evening & retired early. / Fri. 5.1.17. Glorious morning --- sun shining bright, just like summer. / Fired 30 rounds in morning & 20 in afternoon. / 30 rounds arrived in evening, but not on job. / Sat. 6.1.17. Dull day. Desultory bombardment commenced on out arras side by 3rd. Army. / We fired 20 rounds towards Neuville St. Vaast in morning. / Fired 20 rounds in afternoon. Sun. 7.1.17. Rotten day. Rained all day & night. / B.O. & not much doing. Fired 2 rounds in morning & everything quiet in afternoon. / Went on duty, 6 pm, marching relief. / [P.49] Monday, 8.1.17. Rotten night rained all the time. Putrid. Up all night. Off duty in morning. / Knee bad again so went sick & got on light duty. / Had slack time all day. / Tuesday 9.1.17 Worked on battery office during day -- not much doing. Fired 2 rounds in morning. / Dull day but no rain. / Fired 5 salvos in evening in dark at 6 pm successful. / Felt very bad in evening & retired early. / Weds. 10.1. 17 On usual job. -- Battery office cementing. / Weather dull & looks like snow. Fired 5 rounds in morning. / Unloaded 30 rounds in evening by new method. /

Retired at 9 p.m. B.O. / Thurs. 11.1 17 B.O. Dull sort [p. 50] of day. Not much doing. / snowing slightly fired about 40 rounds. Cold. Mchg. [marching?] relief in evening. --- raining. / Fri. 12.1.1917 Had morning in bed. Rained heavily. Fired about 5 rounds. But had gun drill at 3 pm for 1 hr. / Went up to O.P. at Ecurie in evening with Bill Ball, thro trenches to take observation officer loaf of bread!! Very interesting in trenches & at O.P. / Had pains very bad all night. / Sat. 12.1. 17. Went sick in morning & had castor oil. / Did not feel at all well during day. Just moved about. / Went to bed early./ Sun. 14.1.17 Worked on Batt. office, cementing all day. / Cleaned up in afternoon. / Went to St. Catherines in evening & had supper with [Gage?] & V. Auxxxxx . / [p. 51] [Pears ??] - Bread & butter, caf, & finished off with champagne bottle between 3, --- 6 Fcs. / Came back & retired at 9 p.m. Mon. 15.1.17 Turned out early & cleaned up. GOC [General Office Commanding] of 1st Army expected but didnt turn up. Went out with working party to position out in open waste near 4.5 how [howitzers? ed.] & field guns. Acted as cooks mate, & arrived back at 4.30 pm / went on duty 6 pm & retired at 9 pm. Tues. 16.1.17 Spent all day cleaning up for GOC who, of course, did not arrive. dull sort of day. B.O. in evening. Weds. 17.1.17 Heavy fall of snow during night. 6 to 12 ins. Looks A1. No-one allowed near guns. / Snowballing during day. great sport. / Marching relief [p. 52] in evening. Thurs. 18.1.17 Off all morning, but turned out for shoot. Snow still here. Weather cold. worked making shell recess all afternoon. / Retired early. / Snowed during morning. / Fri. 19.1.17 Weather still very cold. / Not much doing during day. Fired about 30 rounds. No. 14 S.B. quartered alongside of us, waiting for new 36 cwt guns. Division changing over for Imperials Scotch Troops A. & S. H. [Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders], H.L.I [Highland Light Infantry?] , Seaforths [Seaforth Highlanders], &c., &c./ Sat 20.1.17 Been freezing hard all night & still freezing. Moved shells in morning. Opened

fire at 12.30, with gun fire 7 rounds a series, ---- 14 in all. Worked on shells again in afternoon & evening. B.O. Had good supper of salmon. [P. 53] Retired at 9 pm. / Salvoes fired at 7.30 p.m. Sun. 21.1.17 Freezing still. / Grand weather. Not much doing in the morning. / B.O. Spent afternoon in dishing out mail. Huge Post. / Mon. 22.1 17 Still freezing. Small fall of snow. Opened fire at about 11 am, with spells of 5 rounds gun fire. / worked moving shells in afternoon. / Went to St. Caths in evening & had supper at Maries with Gage, Taylor & Aust./ Pears bread & butter & caf et sucre. Finished up with vin rouge & citron. Arrived back & rertired 9 pm. / Tues , 23-1-17. Still freezing harder than ever. Went out with working party in morning for day to advanced positions. / Walked to Mareuil for dinner fried egg with bread [p.54] caf au lait. Trs bon!!! Arrived back at battery at 4.30 pm. Appears gun had been firing all day. / WEDS. 24.1.17 Weather still freezing. Fired about 40 rounds. Not much else doing. THURS, 25.1.17 Still freezing. About 20 of frost of a morning. Went with working party to left section, to make rear positions for ourselves. Awful Hole. Went on duty 6 pm Shells due to arrive. / FRI 26.1.17 . Roused out at 2.30 am to unload shells. Awful job. Terribly cold. Freezing hard. / worked as usual on shells during morning. Opened fire, registering at 1.45 & got OK on 3 shots. / Not much else doing. / Retired at 9.30 pm. B.O. / Recd parcel from home. [p.55] SAT., 27.1.17. still freezing. / Glorious weather. Opened fire at 12 a.m. & fired 16 rounds aeroplane shoot. / Not much else doing. All neighbouring batteries have moved up north. / enemy sent a few large shells into Anzin last few days. / went on duty 6 p.m. / M.O. / SUN, 28.1.17. SUN., 28.1.17 . Still freezing. Turned out in evening & fired about 16 rounds, aeroplane observation. / had a rest until 4 pm when we opened out 5 rounds gun fire on a J.M.B. [??? Possibly some sort of machine gun position Ed.] & put it out of action. / In evening we went into Arras with Ball & Cowin [???] . Place rather smashed up still, many big stores are kept open. Anything can be bought here [p.56] but prices much enlarged. / Cafs & estaminets do a roaring trade.

MON. 29.1.17 Usual sort of day. Still freezes. Fired a few rounds. TUESDAY, 30.1.17 Still freezing. Worked on shells all day. BO in evening. WEDS 31.1.17 B.O. went sick with cold in evening & sent on to hospital. 31/1/17 to 11/2/17 In 42 CCS [Casualty Clearing Station Ed] at Aubigny / very good time. Sun 11/2/17 Left Aubigny at 8.30 a.m. & got a lift to Ecoivres. / Walked from Ecoivres to Maroeuil and there met DR Ratcliffe, came on back of motor bike to battery. Around 12 a.m. found big mail awaiting. / Layed in afternoon when we fired 8 rounds. Weather still cold. / BO in [p.57] evening. / MON 12.2.17 Weather cold, but slightly milder. / Much as usual / didnt do much all day. / No firing. / Mch. Relf. in evening. TUES., 13.2.17 Marched in evening & had morning off. Assisted B gun in shoot in afternoon. In evening went with Addie to new O.P. Thro La Targette up to Neuville St Vaaste. awful hole. Took us all night up to 9.30 pm there & back. Never again!!!! / WEDS., 14.2.17 worked on gun all morning, but did not shoot. Small bombardment in front of us & after a trench raid. 45 prisoners. / made new shell unloading trestle in [p.58] afternoon -- Relieved at 9 p.m. No shells turned up. Went to left sectn by mistake. / THURS, 15.2.17. rather mild. Opened fire at 12. p.m. & fired until 3 pm. about 30 rounds. In evening, went to Arras with Addie. Saw man of 19th Kings. Remainder of regiment at Achicourt. / Had a look round & returned early. / There appear to be great preparations being made on this sector for a big advance. Huge amount of artillery being brought up. Immense numbers of troops. [p.59] FRI. 16.2.17 . Turned out at 6.30 & had to go to H.Q. at Louez for gas instructor. before my breakfast. Got back at 8.30 & had had breakfast. / Opened fire at 8.45 & fired 28 rounds, finishing at 10.20 a.m. / aerial shoot / worked moving Q.M.S [Quartermaster ed.] stores in afternoon. Recd. parcel from Accrington. / shells expected. SAT. 17.2.17 shells arrived at 3.30 a.m. 60. Rotten job. / No firing during day. Worked on road all day. Took washing to Louez at night with Addie. Retired at 8.30. / Weather has been mild for last few days. SUN. 18.2.17 Turned out at 6.30. Went over to new positions [p. 60]

& worked all day. / Usual hard job. 8 a.m. to 4.30 pm. Went on duty 6 p.m. ./ MON 19.2.17 Weather mild. Worked on road all day. Not much doing. / BO. TUES. 20.2.17 Rained heavily during morning. / Did nil. Delivered mail in afternoon. / M.R. at 6 p.m. WEDS. 21.2.17. Very mild. / Had morning off & mended watch. Worked on road in afternoon. Went to Arras with A. in evening. THURS. 22.2.17 Went to left section to work. Rained heavily in morning. / Carried on for rest of day. FRI. 23.2.17. Fine morning. / worked on road all day. Nothing unusual. SAT. 24.2 17 Went to left secn. & [p. 61] worked sand bagging all day. Usual sort of day. / SUN. 25.2.17 Glorious day. Sun shining bright. Brought wheels down to position in morning & nearly got crushed against a tree. Opened fire at 2.30 p.m. , aerial shoot, & fired 18 rounds. V.G. shoot. B.O. in evening. Mon. 26.2. 17. Glorious day. Sun shining. Mooned about all day. Not much doing. Turned out for action, but did not fire. / Went on duty 6 p.m. expecting to turn out at 3 a.m. Loaded beams on wagon. MR. TUES, 27.2.17 Rather dull day. Not much doing. / had morning off. Worked round gun in [p. 62] afternoon. / WEDS. 28.2.17. Grand day. Mild. Not much doing. Worked round gun all day. Odd jobs. / On duty 6 p.m. THURS. 1.3.17. Turned out at 2.30 am & opened fire. Fired right through till 8 pm, with intervals, 100 odd rounds per gun. / Worked on shells for rest of day. Retired at 8.30 p.m., cake & cocoa supper. FRI. 2.3.17 Not much doing. A slight frost during night. didnt do much all day. / Went on duty 6 pm. / SAT. 3.3.17 Usual sort of day. Prepared gun for moving. Nothing exciting. Mooched about most of the time. / [p. 63] SUN 4.3.17 Glorious day, but a bit chilly. Worked all day moving stores &c. Rewarded

with Macs 7 bread. / went on duty 6 p.m. MON. 5.3.17. Snow fell during day, but thawed out by night. Did nix all day. Off duty 6 p.m. / Had a bath in a petrol tin & a change of close. Trs bon!!! TUES? 6.3.17 B.O. did practically nil all day. Chopped firewood in afternoon. / went on duty 6 p.m. (MR.) A gun dismounted & pulled into road ready for removal. No caterpillar or wagons turned up however. / WEDS. 7.3.17 Very cold. Had morning off. Not much doing in afternoon. THURS. 8-3-17 snowing in morning. Had a soft day all day. FRI., 9.3.17 Went over to left section & worked on trench cart to & fro all day. Very cold. / Retired at 9 p.m. & turned out at 9.40 pm & had to unload 240 shells. Finished at 12 pm. SAT., 10.3.17 Mild day. Went over to left section & worked on dug-out, laying a floor all day. / SUN., 11.3.17 Glorious day. Sun shining. Opened fire about 9.30 a.m. &fired about 100 rounds gun-fire. Finished a11.30 am & rolled shells. Had afternoon off for a wonder. / Went into Arras with Addie in evening. Arrived back 8 p.m. & went to bed. / MON. 12.3.17 Mild been raining heavy during night. / Rained [p. 65] during day. Opened fire at 11 a.m. & fired about 30 rounds. Finished at 12 a.m. Didnt do much in afternoon. / Mrchg relief at 6 p.m. / TUES. 13.3.17 Had morning off. Opened fire at 3.40 and continued gun-fire until 5.30 p.m. / weather mild. Off duty in evening. / WEDS., 14.3.17 Went over to left section &worked on dug outs. Rained at intervals. enemy heavy shells been dropping in vicinity. / THURS. 15.3.17 Worked round gun all day. weather fine. FRI. 16.3.17 Good day. B.O. Went into Arras with Gage previous evening. 11 & 18th Kings [p.66] there. Had good look round & bought some honey. M.R. SAT. 14.3.17. Didnt do much in morning. Glorious day. / went on duty 6 p.m. / Turned out at 9 p.m. and commenced loading A s gun stores. / Wagon stuck & we had to work all night trying to move. Loaded on other lorries & finished at 5.30 a.m. SUN. 15.3.17. Turned out at 8 a.m. & worked hard all day. Commenced taking gun down

at 3.30. Left for Marathon at 9 p.m. Threw motor lorry over wall en route. Worked through until 4.30 a.m. went back to sleep. / Promoted A/corporal as from 27/2/17 [might be 27/3/17. ed.] MON. 19.3.17 Turned out at 10.30 a.m. & worked all day. Went on duty in new position at 6 p.m. [p.67] TUES., 20.3.17 Terrible morning. Snowing & a terrible wind N.E. Worked moving shells in morning & laid floor in afternoon. Went back to Anzin to sleep & slept with Addie in dug out. German artillery quite active & dropping quite near. WED. 21.3.17. Turned out at 7 a.m. & had breakfast. Left Anzin ay 8 a.m. & went to left secn. Opened fire in morning & fired 30 [?] rounds. Went to Anzin to dinner & worked afternoon on lifting beams. Worked under muzzles of 158 [?] guns feeling very deaf. Went over to left secn. & on duty at 6 p.m. / THURS., 22.3.17 Rotten day. Snowing [p. 68] at intervals. Fired 5 rounds in afternoon. Went back to Anzin to sleep & had to return to carry stores. Finished about 8 p.m. / FRI. 23.3.17 Turned out at 7 & walked to left secn. for breakfast. / Paraded at 8 & transferred to C. 1 watch as No. 1. opened fire at 9 & fired 55 rounds. Carried shell rest of morning. / Fired another 50 in afternoon. / Went on duty at 5.30 p.m. / SAT., 24.3.17 Grand day. weather glorious but cold. Opened fire & fired about 50 rounds. Fired 10 rounds gun fire. Retaliation shoot. / Went off duty & fixed up bed with Addie. / SUN. 25.3.17 Another fine day. worked on shell all morning. Had afternoon off & rigged up [p. 69] shelves in dug-out. went on duty 5.30 p.m. Boches strafing Arras-Bethune road in front of us. / Turned out at 9 p.m. & worked at getting in shell until 3 a.m. MON. 26.3.17 Turned out at 6 a.m. Ordly Segt. Terribly cold, pouring with rain. Worked all morning in rain. Opened fire in afternoon. Awful weather. went off duty at 6 p.m. Wet through & through. Slept next to Addie. in new dugout. Had supper, brown bread & butter, pears, honey, cake & biscuits. Addie to move out tomorrow. TUES. , 27.3.17 Awful. Snowing at intervals. Moved round all day. Went on duty 5.30 & worked until 10 p.m. on shell &c. / (see page 82.) [p.70] [this page is blank perhaps because NSH has decided to write something different from his usual diary entries: see next page. ---Ed.]

[p.71] OUR DUG-OUT AND ITS OCCUPANTS. The dug-out referred to is the first one we inhabited since leaving Blighty, and situated at Anzin St. Aubin. It is up against the walls of an orchard, at the bottom of the village & about 400 yards from the River XXXX. It has five occupants: Bill Ball, Ned Cowin, Bob Sawyer, Doug. Adamson & your humble ./ W.S. Ball Bill. A chap about 34 years of age --- very taciturn & does not look his age. Very good natured and easy to get along with. Lives in Lpool (Liverpool -- Ed.) & is a relieving officer or something to that effect. An observer. A great asset to the dug-out. A widower, & corresponds with a number of platonic friends, especially one at Bristol, & his letters to that person afford us much amusement. Also a member of some church & sings duets with Bobbie. [p. 72] Edwin Cowin Ned A huge heavily built specimen, very dark. A Lpool policeman, & shows it in every motion. He comes from Crosby, I.O.M. (Isle Of Man --- Ed.) Has a wonderfully equable temper --- a very good worker. A great crib player used to play Rugger. Quite an artist on the mouth organ & can play anything whatever. Very easy to get along with. About 23 A gun, no. (2). R. Sawyer Bob - a very peculiar cuss . Comes of good parents, who live off Mountford, Liscard, but after his old man had tried him in various sits., threw him over & went to sea as a steward on W.S. (??) Boats. Knows tons of people I am acquainted with in Wallasey, & we pass many happy moments in recalling old faces. He possesses a fine voice, when he chooses to use it. A regular young stiff, in Army parlance & works his head as much as possible. A terror to get out of bed in [p. 73] a morning --- and an inveterate card player & gambler. Has led a very varied life & beguiles many an hour with personal anecdotes. The life of the dug-out, but overflows a little too much now & again. Has a horror of rats & gets the wind up & the least sound of scratching during the night. Also of a rather nervous temperament. An observer. D. Adamson. Addie A dour Scotchman, son of a Pres. (Presbyterian Ed.) minister at Hoylake. A very tall chap about six foot slow of speech & movement. Good tempered & natured. Receives an enormous number of parcels about one a day. Used to be in the A/U (???) in the L.L. (???) & I believe I was rather instrumental in his joining this battery. But always wanted to go on Siege . / At the moment of writing (Nov. 16th) the poor chap has gone into hospital with smallpox, which he contracted whilst on [p. 74] an A.A. course at Bray, nr. Mont St Eloi. / The dug-out --- made by the French long ago is a good depth beneath the ground & very strongly built. / It has no windows & has to be continually illuminated by candle light. /

We have rigged it with a stove, 5 beds, table, chair, bench, & other necessary accessories necessary for our comfort. / The stove works well but we have often to descend to the dishonest practice of purloining wood from the neighbouring engineers dump, as it consumes an enormous quantity. It comes in handy for our al-fresco suppers & we can quickly make a hot drink. / We have quite a good library - lifted when the Londons left Puola Bay dug-outs. / We are very comfy, and the dug-out is wet-proof, thanks to our untiring efforts. [p. 75] Every other night, Ned & I are off duty, & spend the evening at home, the programme generally being letter writing - a few games of cards & always a nice supper. The beds are made of wire netting laid over a wooden frame very comfortable indeed. / Over my bed are photos of mother & Ethel --- just facing me.//// Alas, we have left our dug-out & now moved into semi-circular shelters. Billi Ball & I sleep together & And (???) above us. / very nice shelters, wood-lined & windows at either end. Oiled linen in place of glass. April, 1917 Joined up with left section, in a field. Rotten [p.76] dug-out. Terribly cramped. Dug officers well in for strafe, but Bosches did not retaliate much. All shells dropped well away from Battery. No casualties. [p. 77] [Blank page ed.] [p.82] WEDS, 28.3.17. Very cold. Opened fire in morning & fired at intervals all day. / Miserable weather. / Worked in evening until 7.30. Off duty. THURS. 29.3.17 Terrible morning. Raining & bitterly cold. Burnt N.C.T. all morning. Tres bon job! Rigged up an officers latrine in evening. Went on duty. / Fri. 30.3.17. Fired nearly all day, cold & damp. Worked very hard at present, & not enough to eat. Eagerly awaiting parcels. SAT. 31.3.17 Miserable weather. Cold, snowing & raining. Worked on R.F.C (???) dug out. / Finished up on shells at 730 p.m. Turned out at 10.30 to unload ammunition & worked hard until 5.30 a.m. [p.83] 600 rounds. An awful job. / SUN. 1.4.17 Turned out at 10 a.m. & worked on shell. Being worked very hard the last few days & every prospect of being busier in the future. / Had shoot in afternoon & went off duty 5.30 p.m. a/s. Turned out on shell at 10.30 p.m. on shell but returned at 11.30. /

Glorious moonlight night. Boshes exploded an ammunition wagon at Maroeuil, where they have been bombarding the last few days. / MON. 2.4.17 Cold day. Worked very hard all day as O/sgt. snowed most of the day. Went on duty 5.30 pm. Fired on small shove ??? in morning (25 rounds). [p. 84] Went on duty 5.30. TUES. 3.4.17. Fired most of day. Weather cold. finished firing at 6.30 p.m. WEDS. 4.4.17 Rotten day. Battery had 400 rounds short. worked on shell most of day. until 9 p.m. Retired at 10 p.m. THURS. 5.4.17. glorious day. Just like spring. worked on gun all morning. Surrounding artillery very active. Had a burst of gun fire at 12 oclock. Anzin been heavily shelled last two days. Good job we left. / Went off duty 5.30 & had fine supper of cake & cocoa. FRI 6.4.17 (Good Friday) Worked on shell all day. Showery. [p. 85] Battery firing continuously gun fire. Went on duty 6 p.m. (Rain pouring down all evening. Putrid weather. Had to go in mud & mend flash screen. Turned out again at 10 p.m. on shells & worked until 2.30 a.m. Raining & rotten. / Unloaded 150./ SAT. 7.4.17 Not much doing. worked on shell all morning. /Cold but fine. / Opened fire at 4 p.m., 100 rounds 63 gun fire. / O/S at 6 p.m. All surrounding batteries opened fire on Thelus village at 9 p.m. We fired 40. During evening Bosche set fire to observation balloon - observers dropped in parachutes. Blazing balloon fire night. Plane got safely away. / SUN. 8.4.17 Had to turn out from 2 until 5 a.m. on ammunition. Fine [p.86] evening, worked all day on ammunition. Small shoots. Finished work at 7 p.m. Turned out at 12.30 a.m. to unload & worked hard until 5 p.m. MONDAY,9.4.17. Opened fire at 5 a.m. for infantry advance. Exhilarating sight. Kept firing until 8 a.m., when relieved for breakfast. Battery kept on firing. Fell in again at 10 a.m. Battery fired all day. attack was very successful & crowds of prisoners passed us. 4.75 field batteries moved up in afternoon. We expect to move any time. No sign of a German counter attack. went to bed early. Reduced to Bombardier at own request today. [p.87] TUESDAY 10.4.17 Rotten day snowing. Germans almost out of range. Not much doing. snowed most of day. Nothing doing. Put under arrest by Brothers.

[[ These two sites shows films from the Canadian National Film Board about the Battle of Arras. One scene shows a 9.2 inch howitzer firing.]] http://www.nfb.ca/film/battle_of_arras_3/ http://www3.nfb.ca/ww1/wartime-film.php? film=&_onfplr_sel=full&id=531407&formats=default&speeds=default&use_cc=no&use_dv= no Weds., 11.4.17 Under arrest a washout. Worked on road in morning. Sent to Merville on motor lorry for beam. Grand trip. Arrived at Mville via Bethune and Hausin-Caponchy at 7 p.m., loaded up & went out for supper eggs & chips. Bought in stock of provisions. Slept in lorry for night cold & uncomfortable. Awoke at 5.30 a.m. & had coffee in home. snowing & blizzard cold. Held up at Caponchy Hill for 8 hours. Reached battery at 4 p.m. Had breakfast eggs &c. in nice estaminet.Tres bon. / retired at 9 p.m. Troops still advancing in front. / Battery unable to advance owing to bad roads. / [p.88] FRI. 13.4.17. Glorious day. Up most of previous night with bad stomach. Fired spasms of gun fire most of day. Troops still advancing. Now extreme range. / Retired 9 p.m. SAT, 14.4.17 Glorious day. Battery out of rage & enemy still retreating. worked getting ready to move out. / went stroll in evening with Addie. Great. SUN. 15.4.17 Rotten day raining. Expecting to move any minute. Party sent to Farbus [??] to fire captured German guns. worked cleaning up all day. Saw Armstrong of Lpool Vic R.C. [ the Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club, to which Norman belonged ] at Anzin baths, but did not speak. In R.F.A. [Royal Field Artillery] now. Looks well. MON. 16.4.17 Took gun down. Glorious day. Didnt take long. Turned to rain in evening. Paid today. / Diarrhoea. TUES., 17.4.17 Rained all day. also snowed. Putrid weather. Heart-breaking. / Diarrhoea. Worked till 8 p.m. WEDS. 18.4.17 Rained all day again. Cruel day. Cold. Went sick & had some pills. Bty. orderly. Right section moving off toEcurie. / Worked thru till five & then had to wander round with orders. Finished at 10 p.m. / Feeling groggy. THURS. 19.4.17 No rain but not clear. Mild. Had rotten night wished war was over! Turned out at 7 a.m. worked till 8 when broke off for breakfast. Recommenced again at 9. Worked loading beams, trolleys & [p. 90] rails. Hard graft. Loaded shell &c. & sent to Ecurie to unload 3 lorries. Arrived back at 9 p.m. tired out. Went straight to bed. Still a bit groggy. /

FRI, 20.4.17 Turned out at 7.30 brkfast at 7. Bully & bread / Loaded umpteen shells & sent to Ecurie. Worked hard all day building shelters & unloading shell alternately. hour for dinner & tea. Finished at 8 p.m. & got back at 10 p.m. / Retired at 11 p.m. Too tired to wash shave or write. / Weather fine. SAT. 21 4 17 . Bkfast at 7. started loading shell at 7.30 worked hard all morning until 1.15 & broke off until 2 p.m. / worked again on ammunition until 4.30 p.m. & then [p.91] at intervals until 11 p.m. / M.R. SUN. 22.4.17 Glorious day. worked on ammunition all morning from 7.30 a.m. also unloaded beams. Feeling tired in legs. About 9 lorries going. / worked right through until 6 p.m. ? Walked into St. Caths. to see Albert Taylor but he was in the line so sent him a note [Albert Taylor later became Normans brother-in-law, marrying Ns sister Ethel. He was Tony Taylors father]. MON 23.4.17 Loaded up lorries & moved with guns to new position at Ecurie. / Weather fine. / worked right through until next morning. / TUES. 24.4.17 Finished work at 3.30 a.m. No place to sleep & couldnt find blankets!!! Dropped down in dirty cellar, -- dead beat!. Started work again at 8.30 & spent day putting up D gun. worked till 8 p.m. [p. 92] then sent to H.Q. for tarpaulins, arrived back at 10.30 p.m. & slept in cellar. Weather fine. WEDS. 25.4.17 Wakened up by cellar commencing to fall in. Some fellows pulled beams off for roads!! Started work at 8 on shell. Not had a wash since we arrived let alone a shave!!! Sent out to Farbus wood to O.P [observation post??] with rations. Couldnt get back, so slept in German dug-out all night. heavily shelled by Boches all through. Had bfast & returned at 9 a.m. Saw captured German guns &c. Good view of both trenches. THURS. 26.4.17 Spent remainder of morning having wash & shave. / Weather dull. // observation balloon brought down just by us in flames / [p.93] Fired all afternoon & jacked up gun in evening, working until 4 a.m. FRI> 27.4.17 Retired at 4 a.m. & turned out at 12 & worked on road all afternoon. Had evening off. // SAT 28.4.17 another advance made at about 5 a.m. Battery practically out of range by afternoon. No. 3 gun put out of action. Worked all day taking gun down & sending it to Comblain Abb. / had evening off & went to St. Caths to find A. Taylor, but found they had gone about 9 kilos back. Just my luck!!! Retired at about 10.30 p.m. SUN., 29.4.17 Weather glorious. Worked all morning raising beams. Very hot. Battery silent out of

[p.94] range. / worked in afternoon taking no. 4 gun down. Retired at 10 p.m. / MON.,30.4.17 Glorious day. went on fatigue for c/i . nearly creased me. / everything ready for moving up to Thelus a hot place, which is being shelled at the present moment. / Loaded up all stuff & sent on. Went down to Anzin for beams in evening. Retired at 10 p.m. / TUES 1.5. 17 Turned out at 6 a.m. Loaded up & went to Thelus. Started making positions. Enemy shelled all day. Dead & wounded being carried past. Hot place!!! Worked hard all day with very little rest & announced at 8 p.m. that position was to be abandoned. Loaded wagon & returned to Ecurie at 9 pm. [p. 95] WEDS. 2.5.17 Still glorious weather. Turned out at 8 a.m. / went up near Thelus on Arras-Lens (??) road & worked hard all day on new position. Got gun in & fired 10 rounds. Afterwards worked on officers dug-out until 12 p.m. & then went & slept under sheet of tin in shell hole. / THURS., 3.5.17 Went on duty at 8 a.m. as No. 1, & fired until 2 p.m., when relieved. worked after tea on rigging up dug-out. Went on duty 9 p.m. Fritz shelling near. FRI. 4.5.17 turned out at 2 a.m. unloading ammunition. Opened fire at 3 a.m. & fired until 4.30 a.m. / went off duty at 8 a.m. B.O. Took sick up to Ecurie. Had a bit of sleep in afternoon & distributed green [XXXX ] in [p.96] evening. Weather terribly hot / retired at 9.15 but slept rotten, troubled with a cold & sore throat. / sleep in bivouac made of sheet iron earth. SAT. 5.5.17 grand weather very hot. marched round & worked hard all day. Trfd [transferred] to 70th H.A.G. Fired on Oppy most of day. / Had supper of porridge & went to bed 9 p.m. / SUN. 6.5.17 Turned out at 8 a.m & worked on cartridge recess, Had afternoon off & slept. / Still fine weather. Boches still continue shelling Thelus & Les Tilleuls (???) / Went to H.Q. for Church Parade at 7 p.m. Returned & unloaded ammunition until 10 p.m. / MON. 7.5.17. Grand day. Worked about gun all morning & afternoon. / [p. 97] Went down to Roclincourt & Ecurie in evening with Pritch: / Had very enjoyable walk & arrived back at 9 p.m. / TUES., 8.5.17 Been raining in night & bivvie soaked. Blanket, overcoat, &c. Curse the Aleman!! went on duty 8 a.m. / Fired incessantly until 2 a.m. next morning. Germans delivered successful counter attack on Freznoy [Fresnoy Ed.] but were later repulsed. /

WEDS, 9.5.17 Retired at 3 a.m. for a few hours sleep. / Had bfast & went to bed at 8.30 a.m. / Boche shells, tear gas & H.E. came over & battery took cover in trench. I, fast asleep in bivvie, was overlooked until dinnertime. / went to Ecurie in afternoon [p.98] & got new boots, tunic, &c. / Retired at 10 p.m. THURS., 10.5.17. Fine weather. Went sick in morning with bad face. / Told I had dermatitis. / Didnt do much until opened fire at 4 pm SO.S for 45 mins. / Opened fire again at 9 p.m. & finished at 10. Unloaded ammo until 11 p.m. Up all night as mchg. rlf. but had morning off. FRI., 11.5.17 Morning in bed. Spent afternoon in digging shell holes. / Retired early. / SAT. 12.5.17 Went on duty 8 p.m. Fell asleep previous night & left candle burning. Sacking caught fire & had quite a narrow shave from suffocating. However, alls well that ends well. [p. 99] Didnt fire all day, but had S.O.S in evening. / M.R. Left section departed for Poray at 2.15 a.m. / Fritz shelling. / SUN., 13.5.17 Right section got shelled about 3.15 a.m. about 440 yds from battery. 7 killed & 5 wounded. / Cahill, Spence, Fairclough W. & Fairclough G. Lt. James, Woodhead, Arrowsmith & Sherburn all killed. / Addie wounded & sent to hospital. / Turned out - & 4 a.m. & collected remains & conveyed to cemetery for burial. Had breakfast at 8 a.m. / Fine day. / Boches shelled heavily all day. Had to take refuge in trench, / A number killed & wounded [p. 100] in working party near by. had to change bivvies to some distance away. Retired late at 11 p.m. Rained during night & wet blankets. Went on duty 8 a.m. Mon. 14.5.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. / weather cleared. / Prepared to move at any time. / heavily shelled during day & had to abandon guns beat it down road. / usual sort of day. / Quiet night. TUES>, 15.5.17 / Fine day. / B.O. / Mooched around all day. Bosche very quiet. Made a Blanc Mange!!! Retired at 10 p.m. Took Hughes to hospital with temp. WEDS. 16.5.17. Dull. / Not much doing. Had full mchg. order parade. Not much in afternoon. Rained [p.101] heavily. M. R. / all batteries round about seem to be beating it: Field, 9.2, 8 & 6 in. Right secn. left Bray Wood to Brouay today. / THURS. 17.5.17 Had to leave Batty. at 9.30 last evening Bosche shelling heavily.

Rained terribly & got wet through to the skin. / Came back & had to take shelter in trench at 4 a.m. / Miserable. / slept in wet things & felt rotten during day. / Not much doing. Weather dull. Went to bed at 4.30 feeling bad. / cleared Bosche dug-out in afternoon. Great place. Absolutely shell proof. / Felt rotten all night. / FRI. 18.5.17 Weather cleared. / Went sick in morning & got M & D. Not feeling up to much. On duty. / [p. 102] SAT. 19.5.17 Turned out at 2 a.m. for S.O.S. / Off duty 8 a.m. B.O. / Had letter from Addie & Gillies. / went & slept in German dug-out for night. Fine place but a bit stuffy. / Retired at 10 p.m. / SUN., 20.5.17 Face in a terrible state. Went sick with it. / Bosches shelled position very heavily all morning. / Quiet in afternoon. / MR in evening / MON 21.5.17 Had to dodge in trench 4 a.m. Bosches shelling again. / went sick with face. Sent to hospital. Went to 24 CCS ( Casualty Clearing Station - ed.) Aubigny & there stayed night. / Left secn. pulled out. / TUES. 22.5.17 Left Aubigny at 5 p.m.& sent to No. 4 Gen. Hosp., Camiens (??) nr. Etaples. / found Addie had been & gone on to Blighty. Lucky beggar !!!! / WEDS 23.5.17 Still at No. 4 Gen. Fine place, between hills, charming view, Many men sent to Blighty. / Self na poo!! Under [p. 103] treatment. Weather great. / THURS. 24.5.17 Still in No. 4 G.H. Weather grand. / Life A.1. / FRI. 25.5.17 Still in No. 4G.H. Weather great. Having good time. / Very good concert in evening. SAT., 26.5.17 Still in No. 4 G.H. Grand weather. / Usual sort of day. / SUN. 27.5.17 Still in No. 4 G.H. Weather great. / Very quiet. / RAMC sports. / Usual sort of day. / MON>, 28.5.17 Still in No. 4 G.H. / Fine day cold in evening & hills surrounded with mist. Marked for out. / TUES., 29.5.17 Had to parade at No. 4 G.H. for out at 2 p.m. / Clean clothes new - & riding breeches. / OK. Sent to No. 6 Con. Camp at Etaples. [p. 104] WEDS. 30.5.17 At Con. Camp. Had med. exam & phys. jerks in morning. Proceeding to base tomorrow. / Wrote home. /

THURS, 31.5.17. Fine day. left Co. Camp at 1.30 p.m. & marched to Base details (??) / sit. on shore, overlooking estuary, near Etaples. / Fine camp. Attended Camp Concert in evening, also had good feed. / slept in tent during night. FRI. 1.6.17 Grand day. In charge of fatigue in morning. /Had a swim in estuary salt water. OK. / Entrained for Havre at 7. Left Etaples about 8. / Travelled all night . SAT. 2.6.17 Arrived Rouen at 9 a.m. Fine place old property. Arrived at Harfleur at 12 noon & went to Base Depot. / Not much of a place. Grub poor. / [p.105] SUN. 3.6.1917. Still at base. Filled in day with various parades. Weather good. Not much doing. / wrote home re regd. letter in evening. / MON. 4.6.17 Still at base. Terribly hot. / went & had respirator tested / TUES. 5.6.17 . Hot again. Sent to Guard Room to relieve Bdr. / Met Ossie Ellis & had evening together. / WEDS. 6.6.17 Mooched all day. felt unwell. / Had enjoyable evening with O. Ellis & another. Went to Havre & saw beach & c. & e. / Had supper at Soldiers Club. / THURS. 7.6.17 Fine day. Rained heavily during night. / Not on draft yet. / Mooched all day. / had stroll round with Ossie Ellis on top of hill. / Had apricots for [p.106] supper & consequently a heavy nightmare. / FRI. 8.6.17 Weather still fine mooched all day & went stroll with Ossie in evening. / Recd. letter!!! SAT. 9.6.17 Warned for draft to 161 so collected all gear. / said adieu to Ossie . SUN. 10.6.17 Still on draft. / Went to church in morning. / MON. 11.6.17 Again called for draft. / & med. inspected. / Called again in evening./ TUES. 12.6.17 Away at last. Left Havre at 12 noon & walked from Base Depot to station. / WEDS, 13.6.17 Arrived Etaples at 6 a.m. & passed St. Omer at 11.30 p.m. Weather hot. Arrd. Hazeldruck (??) 12.15. Arrd [p.107] Bailleul at 3 p.m.Turned out on the road at 9.30 p.m. / THURS., 14.6.17 Walked until 12 p.m. & then slept in horse lines near Locre / Turned out at 5 a.m. & after walking round France found HQ at 8 a.m. Proceeded on lorry to Battery & arrived at 10 a.m. /

FRI. 15.6.17 Mooched all day. Weather terribly hot. / Battery fired in evening. / wrote letters. SAT. 16.6.17 / Another fine day. Bivvie real comfy. Trfd. to C sect./ SAT. 16.6.17. Grand weather. Went on duty 8 a.m. Opened fire at 2.30 p.m. & fired until 8 p.m. / (no reason given for two entries for this date ed.) Sun. 17.6.17 Opened fire at 6 a.m. & fired until relieved at 8 a.m. Worked on ammn. in afternoon. [p.108] Had service in field in evening. / Had no letters all the time I was away & none here when I arrived. / we are in a position commanding the Messines Ridge & in front of the village of Kemmel. / very pleasant position everywhere green. / Fritz sends a few over, but so far have been in distance. / I sleep in bivvie made of ground sheets & boxes. Quite comfy. / MON., 18.6.17 Had to get out during night as Fritz dropping them very near. / Went on duty 8 a.m. / Opened fire at intervals all day & from 5 until 9 p.m. Unloaded ammn. until 12.30 a.m. / heavy rain. TUES. 19.6.17 Rained heavily in morning. / Simply poured. B.O. / [p. 109] Went into Bailleul in evening to concert. Fine show enjoyed it immensely. / Left Batty. at 4 & left Bailleul at 9 p.m. / WEDS. 20.6.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. Weather dull. / Finished new bivvie. / Tres Bon / Opened fire at 3 p.m. observation by balloon. about 20 rounds. Two of our balloons in vicinity brought down at teatime. / every evening an armoured train comes up & sends a few over, but none have dropped in Battery up to present. / THURS., 21.6.17 Turned out at 5.30 for observn. shoot. Relieved at 8 a.m. & had morning off. Did wire fencing in afternoon. In evening went walk down to La [p.110] Clyte [???] & back through Locre & Kemmel. Glorious scenery. very enjoyable walk. / FRI., 22.6.17 Rained heavily in night & morning. Weather dull. Went on duty 8 a.m. / Not much doing all day. SAT. 23.6.17 Fine day. Again on duty. Turned out at 4.30 a.m. to collect old iron!!! Three of our balloons brought down by Boche plane including our own observn. balloon. No shoot this day! SUN. 24.6.17 again on duty. Weather great. / Fired nearly all day. MON 25.6.17 Turned out at 6 a.m. & fired until 8. did not do much all day. Had swim in moat of chateau in evening & a good bath. /

[p. 111] TUES. 26.6.17 Moved out of old position to one in our old front line opposite Wytochadi [???] Wood, near mine craters. / Commenced work at 7 a.m. & worked right through, with short intervals for meals. / WEDS. 27.6.17 Worked hard right through night & day. / Feet very tired. / Worked hard all day & retired at 7 p.m. in bivvie in support trench. THURS., 28.6.17 Turned out at 8 a.m. & went on duty. Worked digging in evening. Terrible thunderstorm, flooded bivvie. / slept under tin sheets. FRI., 29.6. 17. Went over to new position in late No Mans Land & worked digging dugout for major. / Returned at 8 p.m. [p. 112] Turned out at 9 p.m. & worked till 11 on ammn. / SAT. 30.6.17 Rained heavily all day. Did nothing except get wet. / SUN., 1.7.17. Dull day. / Worked on new bivvies all day. / Collared a fine one, JW Sawyer, self, & dog. / Slept A1. MON, 2.7.17 . Fine day. Worked on gun. Should have shot. Rumours of a move, but hope not. / Retired 1 a.m. TUES., 3/7/17 Worked on roads all day. Grand weather. / Went to Voernmeet for shell in evening, but stopped owing to heavy shelling of road. / Returned & pulled gun down. worked through night. / King visited Kemmel Hill today & also examined craters. / [p. 113] WEDS., 4.7.17 Worked through night on putting gun up. / Bosche shelled vicinity all time, but no one hit. / Broke off at 6 a.m. & B.O. for rest of day. / THURS. 5.7.17 went on duty 8 a.m. / Fine day. Quite a warm spot. Shells dropping on both sides of us but a good distance away. / Opened fire at 11 a.m.& fired until 9 p.m. with intervals./ Lovely day somewhere. Today is the 6th. SAT. 7.7.17 Fine day. Worked on new bivvie in mine crater most of time. / Tres bon spec. / SUN., 8.7.17 Rotten day. Rained nearly all day. Fired 60 rounds as gun fire in evening. MON. 9.7.17. Fritz shelled heavily all day. / Worked on moving cookhouse & [p. 114] building railway. // Moving ammn. up to 1 a.m. / Dog-tired. TUES., 10.7.17. Dull day. Fritz shelled round position in morning & nearly panned me out

with a bonza as I was getting breakfast. WEDS. 11.7.17. Went to old position for empties. / Visited Locre. Hay being got in. Fine smell. / At night, limbers blown up near D gun 4 horses & 2 men killed. 4 men wounded. awful mess. / THURS. 12.7.17 On duty 8 a.m. Fired 50 rounds per gun. / Hot weather. / Fritz sent a few over. FRI. 13.7.17 Worked on ammn. all day. Fine weather. / Fritz shelled us most of day. / SAT., 14.7.17 went on duty 8 a.m. Very dull morning. / Fired most of day. [p.115] Finished at 9 p.m. / Rained hard during night.// SUN. 15.7.17 Glorious day. Worked on ammn. until 1.30 & had rest of day off. / Made blanc mange in afternoon & went to Y.M.C.A. hut for service in evening. No service only prayer as 4 men only turned up. / Went to bed at 9 p.m. / Washed socks. / MON 16.7.17. Bright morning. Went on duty , 8 a.m. / Fired all afternoon washed clothes in evening. / TUES., 17.7.17 Grand morning. B.O. / Didnt do over much all day. Had fine bath in shell hole in evening. / Unloaded ammn. at night. / WEDS. 18.7.17 Dull day. raining. On duty 8 a.m. Fired 50 rds at 4 p.m. Not much else doing. / [p.116] THURS., 19.9.17. Fine day. Worked on ammn. all morning, had afternoon off. Retired at 9 p.m. FRI. 20.7.17 . Fritz opened out at 5 a.m. & drove us out. Killed Anderson in bivvie. / Opened fire again at 4 p.m. & beat it along trench. / Had very narrow escapes, one especially, where I was buried / Poor Haley killed two yards off. / Eventually finished at around 6 p.m. Slept night in tunnel. SAT., 21.7.17 Shelled us all night next bivvie to ours, knocked to smithereens. All our gear upset. / Thank God we slept below. / Dull day. / went over to Kemmel in wood to sleep. Slept well [p.117] in safety. SUN. 22.7.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. Very fine day. Didnt do much all day. Fritz strafed during night. (this passage is struck through in the original. Ed) Fired 150 rounds in morning. / Guns inspected in evening but not condemned. / ? A & B.//

MON, 28.7.17 Slept in tunnel during night. Turned out at 4.30 a.m. for shoot. / Stood by until 8 a.m. for S.O.S. // B.O. for rest of day. / Fritz shelled 60 pdr today on left. / Went out to cross roads to sleep in tents. TUES, 24.7.17. Fritz opened fire on us at 3 a.m. Beat it down road. 1 killed, 4 injured. / altering position of tents today./ WEDS., 28.7.17 Went on duty on guns 1 p.m. [p.118] Didnt fire all day. Misty. / Slept well in tunnel in night. / THURS., 26.7.17 came off duty at 1 p.m. Wet day, Paid & went to rest camp. Had good supper & saw about 40 tanks. / Slept in dug-out. / FRI. 27.7.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. / Fired all afternoon & evening & uncovered ammn. Retired to tunnel. Did guard over Schmuck (???) all day. / Fritz has new form of frightfulness. Drops bombs on us all times of day & night. / SAT. 28.7.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. / Fine day. Opened fire at 4 p.m. & finished at 10 p.m. // slept in tunnel. Fritz sent over a number of gas shells & had to wear helmets./ SUN. , 29.7.17 Went sick with diarrhoea. Had it all day. / Slept at rest camp in evening. Had bad night. / [p.119] MON., 30.7.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. / worked on ammn. all day. Raining. Fritz sent a good few over. // Unloaded ammn. at night & finished at 12 pm. TUES., 31.7.17 Turned out at 3 a.m. for big strafe. Opened out at 3.30 & fired until 8 a.m. when relieved./ worked on ammn. / worked until 8.30 pm in pouring rain & then went to rest camp to sleep. / Rained heavy all night. / WEDS. 1.8.17 Rained heavily all day, so stood by. / Terrible weather gave me the hump. / M.R. Rained all night. THURS., 2.8.17 Rained all morning worked moving ammn. & went to rest camp in evening. No sign of weather breaking yet. FRI., 3.8.17 Rained all day. No firing possible. / Wet through. [p.120] SAT. 4/8/17. Weather shows signs of clearing. / worked on fatigues all day & went to rest camp in evening. // Walked about in rain trying to buy stuff. N.D. SUN. 5.8.17 . Had good dinner rissoles & chutney, rice & currants. / Bread & jam for tea. Had shoot, 4 until 7. 30 rounds. / Turned out at 10 p.m. for S.O.S & fired 11 rounds. /

MON. 6.8.17 . B.O. Fine day, but dull. Tramped about all day. Fritz shelled us, but [ I ] was not there at the time. Had grand supper of peaches & cream in evening with Br. Bonone (???) & Stalker. // TUES. 7.8.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. Very dull. Worked on Y.C. pad all day. / Opened fire S.O.S at 9 p.m. 25 rds. per gun. Fritz shelled positions in night. / WED. 8.8.17 Dull morning. / worked [p. 121] on beams all day. had a good look round Dickiebusch in evening. Very much smashed up. / rained very heavy in night. M.R. for gas guard. / THURS., 9.8.17 Had morning in bed at rest camp. Fine day. Fritz bombed close by during night. / Went on duty 2 p.m. Worked on YC post rest of day. [at this point Norman seems to have got his days muddled. I reproduce his diary entries exactly as they are written, without attempting to correct them. August 9, 1917, by the way, was Normans 24th birthday for him, not a fact worth noting]. WEDS., 10.8. 17 Opened fire at 3.3.0 a.m. for hour & stood by until breakfast. / Worked on beams 7 logs for rest of day & went to rest camp in evening. / Had fine bath in shell hole. / THURS., 11.8.17 . Went on duty 8 a.m. Fine day. No shoot. FRI., 12.8.17. Turned out at 5.30 & fired until 12.30 p.m. / Went to rest camp at 2 p.m. & slept most of time. / Bought [p.122] 100 cigs Abds. (I think this refers to Abdullahs a brand of cigarette made from European & Asian tobaccos, rather than from American tobacco, which most English people prefer, but which would be much harder to obtain in wartime Ed). SAT., 13.8.17. Went on duty 8 a.m. Gun leaning over terribly. / Did not fire all day. / SUN., 14.8.17 Fine day. Had afternoon off & went stroll in evening. / Firing until 3 p.m. MON. 15.8.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. & prepared for pulling out. Dug-out beams &c. Worked on ammn. TUES>< 16.8.17. Fine day. Worked on logs all morning & guarded prisoners in afternoon. / Had diarrhoea bad in night / WEDS., 17.8.17 Went on duty at 8 a.m. worked in morning gun, & worked hard all day & night on pulling out until 8 (?) a.m./ THURS., 18.8.17 Went on duty at B.O. at 8 & had to work all day. [p.123]

SAT. AUG 17th. Made mistake in dates / worked on various jobs all day & went to rest camp in evening. / Went down to Locre & went to concert & had nice supper -- eggs &c. Got lift back to La Clyte, but had to walk rest. Had very enjoyable time indeed. / M.R. for gas ga (???). / SUN. 18.8.17. Fine day. Opened fire at 4.30 & fired until dark. Worked all night on M.R. / MON 20.8.17 B.O. Had pretty easy day. Grand weather. Recd. A1 parcel. Slept at rest camp. TUES., 21.8.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. Did not fire all day fine weather -- except 40 in evening. [p. 124] WEDS. 22.8.17 Turned out at 4 a.m. & had to stand by until 7.30. / Worked on railway in morning & afternoon. / Had to take XC in evening, so did not reach rest camp until 9.30 p.m. / THURS., 23.8.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. Fine day. Fired nearly all afternoon & evening. / M.R. // FRI, 24.8 17 Fine day Had morning & afternoon off. / Guarding prisoners at night. / Had fine bath in shell hole. // M.R. over prisoners. SAT. 25.8.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. Fine day. Fired a few rounds only. / Not much doing. / SUN., 26.8.17. Turned out at 6 a.m. for Aerial shoot & fired until 8. / Worked on ammn. for rest of day: Had mchg. order & kit inspection in evening. ? Rained heavy in night. / [p.125] MON. , 27.8.17 At rest camp in night . Poured down in torrents. / Going away today !!!!! Left position at 12.30 p.m. & walked to Vierstraat Corner. Got in lorries & went to St. Jans Cappel. Still raining. Put up for night in barn. Slept well. / TUES 28.8.17 Still raining & very windy. Put up tents in gale in morning. Pay day. Went to Bailleul in afternoon & had bon time. Bought new watch. Had an enjoyable evening at concert & walked back. / WEDS., 29.8.17 B.O. Mooched all day. Weather dull. / Had nice supper in St. Jans Cappel. Eggs & chips. THURS, 30.8.17. Phys. jerks in morning. / Slept in afternoon. / [p.126] Inoculated in evening. Had nice supper at near by farm. / FRI. 31.8.17 Felt very bad all day & had to stay in bed. Rotten hard luck!!!!

SAT., 1.9.17 Fine morning. Went to Bailleul in afternoon & had photos taken. / Had good tea plenty of fruit.// Sun., 2.9.17. Showery. / Had church parade in morning at Y.M.C.A. Packed tents in afternoon // & left for Battery 4.30 pm. Arrived at 6 & went straight on duty M.R. Fritz dropped a big number of bombs in vicinity & along front. / MON. 3.9.17 Glorious day. Had morning off. // Worked on ammn. all afternoon. / Went to Loche in evening & had good supper of eggs & tomatoes. / Walked all way back. / TUES., 4.9.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. [p.127] Glorious weather. / Worked on ammn. all day. Had good nights sleep. WEDS. 5.9.17 Off duty. Worked on ammn. all day. / preparing for strafe. Went to Locre in evening & bought pipe. Had great supper. / Rained very heavy in night. // THURS> 6.9.17 Fine morning. Went on duty 8 a.m. / worked on ammn. all day. // No firing. // Had quiet night, except for a few salvoes on rly. (railway? Ed.). FRI., 7.9.17. Worked digging all day. / weather fine. // Went to rest camp & had mooch round canteens. Bought biscuits & jam. // SAT. 8.9.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. / worked on XXXX??? all day. Fine weather, but misty. / Not much doing. / [p.128] SUN. 9.9.17 Dull morning, but fine. / Had half day off. Went to Locre in evening & had good supper. MON. 10.9.17 Went on duty 8 a.m. / Digging all day. Weather fine. Fritz sent over salvoes at dinner time. / Slept in different dug-out at night. / TUES. 11.9.17 XXXXX all day. Weather still fine. / Went to pictures at DW Cinema in evening. Kemmel. WEDS. 12.9.17. Went on duty 8 a.m. Permanent X.C.A. in future. / Always on duty now. Had shoot in afternoon. / THURS. 13.9.17 Nothing much doing. Dull in evening. Usual sort of day. / FRI. 4.9.17 Fine morning /. Not much doing. / Fritz dropped lot of bombs round position. / Only very slight casualties. / SAT. 15.9.17 Fine day. Fired practically all day. / Fritz quiet. / SUN. 16.9.17 Same game. / Firing all day. Finished in dark at 8.0 p.m. /

MON., 17.9.17 Quiet. Cold. Opened fire at 11 a.m. / Fired all day. / 2 rounds OK on a working party. TUES. 18.9.17 small strafe on in early morning. / Dull / Fired all day as usual / WEDS. 19.9.17 Same story. Loading all day. / Rained in night. / THURS, 20.9.17 Dull. showery. Strafe opened at 5.30 a.m. / all went off successfully. Fritz counter attacked at dusk. / FRI. 21. 9.17. Turned out at 3.30 & put up a creeping barrage until dawn. / Afterwards [p. 130] went down & took over 93 SBs position in wood. / Nice place. Had S.O.S. at night. / SAT. 22.9.17 Turned out at 7 a.m. / Misty. Left 93 Bty. at 7 p.m. & returned to 161./ SUN., 23.9.17 Improved bivvis in morning. / Fine day. Had church service in afternoon. / Paid out. / Nothing doing in evening. Had bath. / MON. 24 9.17. Spent most of day on ammn. / Visited by Gene in C/. 8th Corps. / Fine day. Fritz dropped a few near us in early morning. // TUES. 25.9. 17 . Usual sort of day. Fired very little. WEDS, 26. THURS., 27. ditto. FRI., 29.9.17. Fine day. Fired very [p. 131] little. New major arrived. / Moved D gun at night. / SAT. 29.9.17 Had small shoot in morning. / Fritz shelled at back in night. SUN., 30.9.17 Usual sort of day. Right section prepared for pulling out. / MON. 1.9.17 (Once again, Norman appears to have got his dates muddled. Ed.) Right X moved up into new position. Not a very safe one. Fine day. / TUES., 3.9.17 R.X. shelled . Had small S.O.S. shoot. / WEDS. 3.9.17 Turned out at 5 a.m. for small strafe. / Rained. / Not much else doing. // THURS.,4.9.17 Dull & cold. Usual S.O.S. night & morning. Turned out at 5 a.m. for strafe. / FRI. 5.9.17 Usual game. Turned [p. 132] out at 5 a.m. for strafe. / Wet & cold all day. Now fire for two hours on end!!!

SAT. 6,SUN. 7, MON. 8 & TUES 9TH. Usual hard-worked sort of days. Weather now cold, wet, & miserable. very busy each day, not much time to spare. Up almost every morning on strafe. No rest or peace. 16 month men gone on leave!!! Still hopes!! [The following passages have been crossed out by Norman and are not always fully legible. ] /Sept. 1917 Moved up to new posn. alongside R.X. right on top of ridge. Very uncomfy. Stayed here until Nov. / Big battle going on all time on left, 2nd Battle of Ypres for Pilken Ridge. Working one day when Fritz came over [p. 133] and bombed us. Some killed. Made dug-out in mine crater with Sawyer, which was O.K. So:quite a good idea. / Woke up one morning at dawn & found Fritz shelling the position with heavies. Sawyer beaucoup wind up & ran off & left me. / One dropped just on edge of crater / Ran out in trousers with braces down & nearly tripped over wire. - Two men killed. / Awful time. [p.134. Entries on this and following page also crossed out Ed.] spent that night sleeping in tunnel. Smelly & foetid. Fritz shelled again following dawn & landed one in our previous dug-out. Thank the Lord I wasnt there!!! and they dont believe in Providence. / Dropped into a most uncomfy posn. Shelled continually. Also rest camp at X cross roads just at end of White Road to Wytschaete & road between Ypres & Kemmel. King [presumably King George V. - Ed.] came up one day to see craters & had a good view of him & staff. Strange to say the ground was pretty quiet that day. In Nov. moved into new posn. on road between St. Eloi & Plugstreet / Wytschaete weather cool & pools full of ice which makes an awful noise when shells burst on it / Now work all day./ [p.136. The erasures end, and Norman resumes orderly writing. This is no longer a day to day account, but clearly written weeks, and even possibly months, after the events described] 2 Dec 17 went on leave & returned up line on New Years Eve. Moved up to new position well over Ridge facing Warneton. / a hot spot. / In Jan. 1918 pulled out & went to Arques near St. Omer where our stores were replenished. Met T. Nickson on canal, in charge of a barge. / R.E. due (??) water transport. loaded up at Arque & proceeded to Flavy le Martel, on St. Quentin front, where we took over from French. / all land had been devastated as Fritz retired from here in previous year. / Had a nice position near road leading from Jussy to [p. 137] with La Fere and the right canal in front & behind. Had very quiet time until March 21/1918, when Fritz commenced bombardment. / Got part of guns away without

casualties. / Took another position other side of canal opened fire Rearguard action. / Had fever & dropped all C.C.S. / Conveyed in ambulance to Way(?***) & placed in hospital. Boche advanced & had to beat it from hospital on foot , walking to Compiegne. / from there, conveyed by French to Senlis, thence by train to Genl. Hospital near Rouen./

The narrative ends here, 8 months before the Armistice. The last few pages I received from Chris are not numbered. They contain lists of names. I do not know what they signify. perhaps they are watch lists. Some of the names are crossed out. Some are not. There is a lot about this diary which is puzzling. The first obvious question is, why was it begun, and kept, at all? was it meant for someone else to read perhaps in case of Normans death? If so, it wasnt much of a success. For months on end, it is a daily record of little more than the weather, with an occasional menu thrown in. Extremes of boredom and of physical hardship can often be glimpsed, but are never described in any detail. The last year of the war was evidently one of furious, violent activity for Norman; this is clear from the facts of where he was, and when. But he describes it only very briefly, and in part. The hotter things get, the less explicit the diary becomes. I know that Normans war experiences scarred him very deeply, and for all his life. But he has certainly no intention of telling us about this in this diary. We can often learn more from what he doesnt say, than from what he does. My own recollections (and belated understanding) of my father are of a sensitive man, capable of powerful emotions, which he could only express with very great difficulty often, not at all. My great regret is that if I had understood this earlier in life, it would have brought us much closer. But regrets are always useless. The Moving Finger writes, and having writ, moves on; nor all thy Piety, nor Wit, shall lure it back to cancel half a line -- nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it..