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Date: July 27th 1916

Thursday July 27, 1916

Tonight we went to a new part of the horseshoe, namely the N6 trenches. We took up sandbags with us, filled them and helped build up the front parapet to prevent the Boches from firing over them into our communication trenches with their machine guns. Then we started to build a long heavy wall inside our lines to make the soldiers moving around behind them safer. We were in the middle of our work when about 11:30 a bomb exploded near our parapet and there was a general call to stand to. You wouldn't believe how quickly equipment was slid into and we new fellows loaded our rifles. We found out afterwards that the old fellows, no matter where they go, when away from billets at the rear always have their rifles loaded. A fellow picks up new tricks every day. No matter what job a fellow does around the trenches or how heavy it is he carries his rifle with him and has it always within reach of his hand when working.

Well this alarm was a false one owing to some nervous fellow out in front in one of our listening pits. It was only two Fritzies who had come out to give themselves up. The fellow wouldn't believe them so one was bombed and the other mortally wounded. This is the price Fritzie pays for treachery for our men are afraid to trust him.

I felt a little sick at the stomach at the prospect of a hand to hand fight; and excited too, but I was really hankering for a mix-up. I guess it is the old John Bull in a fellow.

It's pretty hard, digging to fill up sand-bags for nearly every bit of ground has been used before and not only smells strong but is full of barbed wire, canvas, old bullets, and other stuff that will not allow one's spade in the ground at all. Close to where our bunch is sleeping the artillery are making emplacements for some new 60 pounder guns. These emplacements are built by digging about 2 feet into the ground then building a rough strong framework of timbers, railway rails, iron girders, corrugated sheet iron, and mesh wire about 10 ft. high by 8 ft. wide by 20 ft. long. All this structure is heavily built around and over with sandbags and the whole mounded over with loose earth and (looking from an aeroplane like a mound) sodded. This is nearly always done in or behind a small clump or line of low trees, such as willows. The floor of the emplacement is made of layers of broken bricks, then broken stone, then concrete. The timbers and iron come up already cut and fitted together, taken apart and packed up behind the lines somewheres. The building of a casement is about the only work done in broad daylight so the quicker it is done the better for Fritzies aeroplanes are every spying and if the job is found out a few shells put it nowhere.