Extracts from diary entries for 13th, 14th October 1915.
To meet a likely run of wounded a large dugout was erected by the road but owing to lack of time was hardly covered to withstand large shells. At 11:30am I took up my position in the dugout with my staff and was joined by Captain Milne from the 38th FA who brought 20 RAMC men with him.
At midday we started two hours of intense bombardment. The noise was appalling as the Germans replied vigorously. Very soon we had two direct hits on the centre of dugout which did no harm. Then later two high explosives struck the edge of the roof where it was not so strong and gave way with a terrific an blinding crash, but the hole made was not large and being on the opposite side from where we were sitting caused no casualty.
At 2:00pm the guns lifted their fire and the Surrey's attacked and we could hear the enemy's machine guns playing on the poor chaps as they advanced at the run.
From 2:30pm to 5:30am (15 hours) I was continually dressing wounded with on occasionally a rest for five minutes. Hard work it was.
During the action the field ambulance failed to lend much support despite an urgent message for ambulances to be sent up for our 100 wounded whom I had dressed and waiting to be sent "down"
Eventually they sent up ambulances at odd intervals and we got the place cleared by 5:30am. After that the worst cases began to come in, we got busy again for some hours.
A large percent of the wounds were terrible,especially those caused by bombs, hand grenades etc. Thank god no crumps hit our dugout although they were falling all around our place when it was simply packed with wounded.
Unfortunately, the synchronised attack on Hohenzollern redoubt and upon the Quarries was a failure. My stretcher bearers worked most heroically throughout the show and I had one casualty among them, a fractured arm.
*Throughout the two days the 7th battalion ESR fatalities counted 87 including brothers - 2191 Pte Sandford. Ernest Alfred. Age 21. - 6 Sgt Sandford. Walter James. Age 25.
Possibly 8793 Pte Humphrey. William. - 1947 Pte Humphrey. William Edward. Age 19.*
Saturday 16th October.
Nothing much to note. Revelled in a most good night. A rather picturesque church here, though shelled to pieces. We are surrounded with heavy batteries, the noise they make is preferable to the beastly row of the field guns and whizz bangs.
*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)*
* Right... I have now plucked up the courage to publish Regie's diaries, unabridged, no indexes no nothing, just as he wrote them all those years ago as a diary.
I hope the viewers of this blog so far have enjoyed it and I would appreciate all feedback.( if you have any).*