Aug. 1/18 -
Reveille at 61st was lam. Marched for Aubigny where everyone entrained. Had a long wait in a field. About 3:15 pm detrained at Bacouel where I came ahead with Capt. Abbott watered horses at Saleun & on to Cagey. ‘Pay’ & I spent the night in an old deserted Convent - some beds looked inviting but before morning found them very crummy. Batteries marched at 8:15 to Boutillerie, reaching there about lam. 58th were bombed but no casualties.
Aug. 2/18 -
Made rounds then moved our H.Q. to a Chateau in Boutillerie - a town adjoining Cagney & about 3 miles East of Auriens. Really a beautiful place, one time H.Q. of Gen. Joffee.
Aug. 3/18 -
I find that the Chateau we are enjoying belongs to M. Searle. Abbott & I were very intrigued shuffling about the old place.
Aug. 4/18 -
All night we could hear the rumble of batteries moving up the road. In the morning every little wood was full of battery horse lines. Great excitement - a sort of electrical atmosphere - everyone seems confident that we will drive the Hun back home. But, the weather is bad - been alot of rain.
Aug. 5/18 -
During the night hundreds of tanks moved up and from my room I could just hear the hum of the engines - they sounded like aeroplanes.
Aug. 6/18 -
Had to move out of the Chateau. Walked in to Auriens - an odd sensation walking through the streets of an absolutely deserted city. Went to see the Cathedral - magnificent - met Dr. [Norman?] - very odd as we saw only about a dozen soldiers in the city & no civilians. The traffic at night is wonderful - guns, ammunition, tanks etc.
Aug. 7/18 -
Rode from Boutillerie to guns between Abbe Wood & Cachy - I find that the big push is expected tomorrow. Zero hour 4:30am so decided to remain. Tried to sleep sitting on mess blanket in a dugout - Hun harassing fire troublesome.
Aug. 8/18 -
Came out about 4am to wait for zero hour - one of the batteries behind us started the ‘storm’ & in a minute a perfect inferno, just breaking day. Lorries galore moving up & thousands of Cavalry coming up all morning, Only 6 casualties in brigade but the wounded coming in from the front very bad. I had a very busy morning on the Catchy road rear 60th battery and in afternoon moved forward across the Hun front and saw the result of our birrage - simply awful.
Aug. 9/18 -
Spent the night between Hanyard & Hanyard Wood - terrible sights in the old trenches. Had livery ride to 60th. Beckman lost an eye from old [unreadable/missing] fuse. In the evening & night Hun planes bombing our lines - no casualties. Heard that Lt. Virtues’ head was missed by 10” from a Fritz “77” shell. Luckily it was a ‘dud’.
Aug. 10/18 -
At 5am received orders to move. Left about 7am to Beaufort - wonderful - Guns all in action into the open - visual signalling - whippets & tanks doing guns work. Major Ringwood was killed. Our batteries in action near [Ronuroz?] Lt. Bawden killed.
Aug. 11/18 -
Injured to outskirts of village of Forbes. Hun retaliating & putting up quite a stubborn resistance. At night the 13th had 26 casualties & 30 horses killed .
Aug. 12/18 -
Shelled with heavies this pm - evidently 8” stuff - made rounds of all battery positions, gases & waggon lines. Visited reserve infantry trenches . Offensive is held up here by Parvilliers village.
Aug. 13/18 -
Call at 3am to Div.H.Q. a weird night with flares and lights. Boche whizz bangs flying in the village. Rode to Beaufort with 1st Field Ambulance - heavy shelling - heavy casualties amongst horses. Got a pair of Boche glasses. All lines of communication between Infantry & Artillery broken at 61st.
Aug. 14/18 -
Very hot - considerable harassing fire. The Hun evidently gearing up artillery. We also are bringing up more & preparing for another preliminary bombardment before pushing forward.
Aug. 15/18 -
Still hot - slight gains along the front. 42nd battalion took Parvises today by working patrols though it The 32nd Imperial division has apparently spoiled this show for our boys by their cheek here. The London papers speak of the “British Push” where, as a matter of fact, the Imperial troops only came into it on the third morning & “balled it all up.”
Aug. l6/18 -
The Hun is coming back with some very heavy artillery fire. The 61stmoved forward about 1000 yds. & had several SOS calls. At 6pm ordered to move. The French artillery to our right opened up a heavy bombardment In the afternoon we noticed the observation balloons to our right being advanced considerably & an unofficial report that the French had taken Roze.
Aug. l7/18 -
Our place in Follies very unhealthy this Aug. Infantry working this way although slowly - the waggon lines taking the old battery positions.
Aug. l8/18 -
From 2-3:30 am the Hun shelled our neighbourhood on nearly all sides of us. Marvellous that some of the horses were not killed in this little hollow. Notification of increase of pay from Chief paymaster also letter from Mother telling of cousin Mary’s will.
Aug. l9/18 -
To the left of the batteries are several Hun long range guns & a battery of 5.9 HOW’s. I was very much amused to see some of our Tommies with the guns, reversed, firing at random into Hun country. They had the muzzles cocked to about 45 degrees & fired with a rope from the lanyard. Each time they fired, the gun bounced about 3 feet in the air. They fired several rounds before they noticed that they hadn’t pulled out the pin on the fuse.
Aug. 20/18 -
shelling our lines frequently day & night. A shell splinter killed Angus’s mare instantly. Ammunition dump blew up behind us at 9.2 battery. A great deal of dysentery on the lines & p.n.o. Word that the French are taking over this front & we are going back.
Aug. 21/18 -
This has been the hottest day of the year. Rode around to 66th & 60th but both Betty & I have “Summer Complaint” Left camp at Follies about 8:30pm stopped on roadside west of Beaufort for batteries then moved on to Llama Wood, travelling all night. Very bright moonlit & we could see Hun planes. Dead horses scattered over our route & the odour was disgusting.
Aug. 22/18 -
Arrived at our old camping spot near [Demireps ?] - hottest day ever experienced. Went for a swim in the river which felt better. Left Demireps 7:30pm - hot dusty trip through Haigard, Doar, Fuscien, Saleux Salauch & billeted at Pont Du Meets.
Aug. 23/18 -
Arrived about 3am after a 17 mile hot, dirty trip. Slept until 9 - had a most enjoyable day here. Fine to be back amongst civilians, get fresh eats & sleep under a roof and get good water - the water on this last trip has been vile.
Aug. 24/18 -
Up at 4:30 - entrained in Saleux & at 9am started going north. Arrived at Aubigny 5:15pm, detrained & established our lines in an old C.C.S. (that the Hun airmen had just notified us they were going to level it to the ground).
Aug. 25/18 -
Up at 5am - walk march to outskirts of Arras - arrived about 11:30. I made rounds - considerable dysentery - word that the batteries go into action tonight to take up forward positions after fire birage lifts. Went to bed about 11 but great excitement & no sleep - zero hour 3 am.
Aug. 26/18 -
We moved up early through Arras past the railway station & out the Cemetery road. The 61st attack opened at 3am on Mountie Hill & lasted until 6:28am. I made rounds - the Hun contesting & retaliating much more than in the last drive. 5 casualties. 61st took Mountie by noon with 8th C.I.B. Lt. Virtue moved the Right Section up near the Scarpe, covering the P.P.C.L.I..
Aug. 27/18 -
The war news is very good lately from all sections. We are making small gains today east of Mountie but the Hun is putting up quite a fight here. The 51st Div. took Mount Pleasant Wood. Gnr. Clifford was burned.
Aug. 28/18 -
Shelling quite severe. As I was passing the 51st on the way back they had a premature in the right section - badly wounded the whole gun crew. I think all will be fatal. Met Cummings from Victoria in 3rd division - looked over his sketches & water colours of bits of France. 61st fired to support an attack by the 9th Can. Inf. Brigade who took Boiry.
Aug. 29/18 -
Beautiful clear morning-Infantry into [Pelves?]. The fields are alive with transports and moving troops. I don’t understand how our casualties are so light. 61st took Remy & advanced down the valley of the Scarpe.
Aug. 30/18 -
Rode into Arras for supplies. The city is a hive of industry - canteens, horse lines, stores ordinance dump, lorry parks and hospitals - in spite of the fact that Hun is still shelling the town badly.
Aug. 31/18 -
I hear that we will attack again Monday morning & push in south of the Scarpe. A few casualties in the 61st from shrapnel.
[Editor’s note: transcription and transcription annotations provided by collection donor; minor formatting changes have been made to layout and to clearly mark transcriber’s annotations.]