Friday 7th April.
A little rain during the night which made the trench boards exceedingly slippery. Walked around portion of firing line with Ann's at 4.00 pm.
To my surprise William turned up, (*brother- William Hannay Fothergill 951 A.sqdn K.E.H) he is sniping from Rifleman's alley and I feel very anxious as he has no "plate protection" and has to look over parapet to shoot. He thinks he got a Bosch this morning. Have given him my life preserving medal which I have worn since the beginning of the war. It was blessed by the Pope and given to me by Fisher. We had tea and afterwards walked a little way down trench and had a talk, shrapnel and heavy stuff began to fall so close that we returned to my dugout. a trench mortar burst very close this evening and put out our candle.
Good news from Tigris - five lines of trenches taken and 6000 Guards advanced. We blew a large mine this evening. It is a perfect race to mine and counter mine.
Sunday 16th April.
After a bad night I am glad my temperature has dropped to subnormal this morning. I shall therefore return with the battalion tomorrow to the trenches.
Have had poor old Colwick (*Culwick. Alexander Cpl 513. Age 53. His story on joining up is hilarious) passed by the A.D.M.S for P.B duties, he has been breaking up pretty bad just lately and has now, for all practical purposes lost his nerve. It is extraordinary how this form of warfare tells on the nerves. No one realises this better than the Germans and they have brought psychology to bear on the war in a way which we have not. Their Flammenwerfer and minenwerfer are undoubtedly methods of frightfulness meant to play on the nerves. Felt cold and shivering towards evening and went to bed. Undoubtedly I am feverish. Nicholls just turned up, also Captain Martin and Devenish.
* Between Monday 17th thru 20th in Hohenzollern support trenches and front line trench the doctor suffered bad nights with stiff neck and general restlessness, weak and listless, wracking headaches and temperature but his intention was to stick it out until until the following Tuesday when they were going back for a months rest. His Colonel however ordered him to go to hospital, eventually ending up down the line at Rouen No2 Red Cross Hospital where he stayed recuperating and working at No9 Hospital until the 4th June when he was granted leave. Returning to the front on the 14th June joining 134th F.A 39th Division.
If there is anyone interested in Reg's time in Rouen/leave please leave a comment and I will add a few excerpts from that time,
* All material produced or reproduced here and throughout this blog is the sole copyright of the holder of the diaries of Reginald Hannay Fothergill.*