Thursday 15th July.
The officer died at 9:45am, some of his brother officers were just in time to see him before he lost consciousness. Today is the French presidents birthday and the people celebrated by having a holiday, the Huns by throwing nearly 200 shells into town. Comparatively little damage was done but people are very scared and moving out in great numbers.
Saturday 17th July.
The Germans successfully shelled the church a Neuve Eglise until it took fire and burnt with tremendous flames which were fanned by a strong wind.
Colonel was in a mighty frenzy today and found fault with everyone and anything, which is usual with him on these occasions, he kept giving orders then counter-ceding them a minute afterwards.Accused one of all sorts of minor omissions in ones work and wouldn't wait for an explanation etc. An irresponsible little man who never compliment etc. An irresponsible little man who never compliments anyone or encourages anyone but is always trying to find something wrong.
Very wet this afternoon, Jack went up to the trenches this evening and the machine gun at Headquarters Farm played down the road while he was in the farm but got away safely.
Tuesday 20th July.
Our batteries around Gunners Farm turned their attention on a chimney tower in the enemy's zone. The Huns replied later by plumping 31 shells into and around the far. Two men had slight head wounds because of this bombardment. One calf was killed and the old lady in the farm died of shock.
Wednesday 21st July.
This has been an interesting day. The MO of the Suffolk's stationed Despear Farm (*Despierre) above Gunners Farm was reported ill and I was sent to take his place. I therefore packed my valise and went up in the motor ambulance. I walked up by the communication trench to Despear where I found the MO, he was better and would not hear of leaving. But he volunteered to show me round the trenches, we set off forthright.
After a good deal of walking we found ourselves in the first line of trenches and at one point were only thirty yards from the opposing trenches. At 120 yards from the enemy I looked through a periscope, to which was attached a powerful field binocular and I had the best view through them. With the aid of these one could see the minutest detail of the opposing lines and I was only disappointed in not observing any of the bad men. I saw our men preparing hand grenades.
I was disappointed in not being able to take the his place as I would far rather fill such a post than remain in this field ambulance where one is practically useless.
Saturday 24th July.
Received orders this morning to go and take the place of MO Lieut Logan of the Royal West Kent Regt temporarily, so I packed again my valise, went up to Gunners Farm but found the regiment had gone down to Oosthove Farm for the week, so down I went there. Lieut Logan being an expert on gas poisoning had been ordered to H.Q at St Omer. I found the farm had been shelled that morning though two slight casualties reported. The Lieut colonel and officers are very nice, and I wish it could develop into a permanent job
We all expected the shelling to be repeated in the evening and when just after dinner when a tremendous bang came outside we all stampeded for shelter. We soon found it was only our 4.7 inch battery opening fire and great amusement resulted.
* All material produced or reproduced here and throughout this blog is the sole copyright of the holder of the diaries of Reginald Hannay Fothergill (author)*
(THIS IS TURNING INTO A BOOK!!)