Sept. 1/18 -
We moved up from Omchy to Boriy Notre Dame - miserable night in concrete Hun pit Hun harassing the road where we had to wait for instruction. I don’t know of anything more demoralising than standing waiting in the open.
Sept. 2/18 -
Zero hour 5am. Papers reported “burst the Hindenburg Line” breaking through the Wootton Switch Line. “ Great number of prisoners. 5th Div. followed close on infantry. Between Vis-en- Artois and Haucourt. We had to hold on road being heavily shelled. Finally about 3pm took up H.W. in dugout under Cambrai road at P.25. A.0.4. A great many casualties - 14 in brigade. Batteries brought up 400 rounds per gun. The most nerve-racking day I ever experienced. The 61st reported the enemy came over in swarms, 20 coming at a time.
Sept. 3/18 -
Hun evidently retired during the night and our locality much more serene. We moved H.Q. into edge of Dury - old Hun H.Q. - in chalk pit, dugouts & mess in concrete nisson huts. Sneezing gas.
Sept. 4/18 -
Made rounds of batteries - held in 60th dugout while Hun shelled the place. The end of nisson hut is exposed - an air burst though the night sent a big splinter through the door and buried in the floor under the table. Any amounts of booty in these old Hun quarters - nearly 100 machine guns - everything left in very filthy condition - numbers of Hun dead around. A battery of South African heavy Artillery were in the trenches beside the 61st.
Sept. 5/18 -
Went to waggon lines - had a sort of bath in shell hole at one rear H.Q. Saw 55th & 66th -balloon came down in flames, I thought it was dropping on me.
Sept. 6/18 - A fine hot day. Word of orders to move - will be good to get out of this place - the odours are a fright - dead horses, mules & Huns. Heavy thunder shower flooded every place - dugouts etc.
Sept. 7/18 -
Had a rotten night - Hun shelled the chaulk pit with H.E. & gas. Bill Abbott & I came down to waggon lines before lunch & the rest of H.Q. came in evening. We dug ourselves in to protect from bombs.
Sept. 8/18 -
Had a good night sleep in the open. Batteries all taking up reserve positions for a rest.
Sept. 9/18 -
Cloudy & cool - several hard showers. I visited batteries - they are not enjoying this sort of rest at all - still within the shelled area & no shelter except ground sheets to protect them from the rain.
Sept. 10/18 -
In afternoon went in to Arras on motor truck about 7 miles. Went to 9th Field Ambulance at site of old Civilian Hospital St. Jean. Saw Thomas, Kelly, Col. Vipont - got some supplies. Several hard rains through the day. We are all sick of this so-called rest at the waggon lines.
Sept. 11/18 -
Raining this am & very cold in our holes in the ground. Offensive seems to have reached a standstill but we are retained on this front - with 30 men per battery to the guns, more or less inactive.
Sept. 13/18 -
Friday unlucky day but nothing particular has happened except that [F?] & I built a dugout & covered it with corrugated iron & earth & just as we finished it caved in - “Pay’s’ dugout also caved in during the night!
Sept. 14/18 -
news from the south good - Americans starting in on the St Michael [unreadable/missing] A little sunshine to help dry the blankets. 4 of our balloons brought down.
Sept. l6/18 -
I spent all evening waiting for leave warrants to come in. All warrants I must sign that they are free from vermin & they are all as [lovely? lousy?] as pet coons. Finished about 12:30 am & shortly after the biggest thunderstorm of the season broke. We were all flooded out & spent the remainder of the night up.
Sept. 17/18 -
We were shelled badly this pm - one shell caused 12 casualties in the 60th & killed 8 horses.
Sept. 18/18 -
Moved in morning from the valley to N.29 central just one hill East of [Henimil?] all of these towns, Henimil, Wancourt, Guenuppe are all abombinably demolished - hardly a wall standing & the roads there very bad. We made ourselves fairly comfortable here by night - ‘Pay’ & I in a dugout in the bank.
Sept. 19/18 -
Made rounds of batteries and just West of Wancourt all kinds of rumors about coming out on rest. Lunch at 66th battery.
Sept. 20/18 -
Made rounds on foot - showers off & on all day. Lunch at 60th & tea at Div.Train. At supper news of a big push on wide front - we are going into this line again tomorrow.
Sept. 21/18 -
Marched through Churing Caguicourt Hendicourt and took up position for Brigade H.Q. at V.I.A.5.0 not far from Camerai Rd. within view of Red mill near [D?] [unreadable/missing] slept in some huts in trench on forward slope of hill within view of Hun lines - shelled in evening - had uncomfortable night.
Sept. 22/18 -
Observation good - had to keep out of sight Waggon lines all well forward - evidently the expected “show” is a big one. The 61st sent 72 pack horses & 6 wagons to make 3 trips collecting 2500 rounds - 12 hours.
Sept. 24/18 -
The 66th & 61st moved to area near [Riencourt ?] & [Bullicourt?] Went to Div.Train to condemn an issue of potatoes. Traffic on roads enormous and horse lines everywhere - marvellous that the Hun doesn’t shell & bomb more.
Sept. 26/18 -
Moved waggon lines too soon - shelled this am & again at noon - pulled out about 2pm & settled near 60th. Zero time for the big offensive is 5:20 am tomorrow. Forward H.Q. & batteries moved up. We spent the night in a dugout but got up early to see the show begin.
Sept. 27/18 -
Arose at 5, just breaking day, waited until birage started- quite spectacular but not nearly so intense & terrible as the Auriens show. Went up to 13th Field Ambulance. They were running the wounded back to ride [unreadable/missing] railroad. Went forward to 60th battery position near Inchy. Moved forward to trench in open fields back of Inchy-en-Artoin. 61st fired about 2300 rounds.
Sept. 28/18 -
Had a direct hit on one of the 66th guns – killed 2 & Gen.Beckett wounded. Moved up to Bourlon in evening & batteries went into action during the night in front of Bourlon Wood. We took up our position in a cellar in the town opposite the [Triayneas?] duk pond, near 10th Field Ambulance where they had German Medical Officers working with the German wounded.
Sept. 29/18 -
Made rounds of batteries - beautiful clear morning, from the side of Bourlon Wood can see beautifully withe Cambrai in the distance & see our birage bursting this side of the city. Our infantry seem to be held up rather badly to the North of Cambrai - 49th battalion badly cut-up. 61st infantry held up near St. Olle & badly broken up.
Sept. 30/18 -
During night Ken Stains & [unreadable/missing] Jones were killed & Maj. Armour & Tommy Tompson wounded by a dirrect hit on their ‘bivy’ - 14 casualties. Orders for birrage came into Brigade 20 minutes before zero hour. The news from all other fronts is wonderfully good but Fritz is fighting desperately N. of Cambrai.
[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.]