Daily Archives: August 18, 2015

18 August 1915

Salient A1.5

Here we are in a trench, a funny old trench full of all sorts of excitements.  We arrived as usual in the dark hours of the night only to be told by the people whom we relieved that they were afraid that there was rather a lot of work to get done.  The substance of the other Officer’s conversation as we walked down the trench was something of this sort.  “We were shelled this afternoon & they have blown the parapet down in three places – here the trench has got stopped up, you will have to dig it out.  Back here they have got a maxim trained on the breach.  Here you will find they have knocked so much of the parapet down that what is left is not bullet proof.”  And so on in this strain till I really began to wonder whether we were taking over a trench or a scenic railway full of new thrills.  So that night we set to work & rebuilt our parapet until the trench had resumed a more or less normal appearance.  The next morning there was suddenly a loud bang just outside – we heard no whizz & no whistle so everyone said “rifle grenade” or “bomb” – next minute there was another & a few sandbags got dislodged.  Just a sudden explosion, nothing more – most disconcerting.  It turned out that they were whizz-bangs – the real thing – they just come & burst, you cannot hear them coming.  This morning early they started the same sort of game again.  I was on duty in the trench at the time & as it was getting a trifle warm down one end, I decided to go a bit higher – so moved along.  I had just got into a bay where I thought I should be fairly safe – the next thing I knew was a bang, & myself lying on the floor of the trench with half a ton of sandbags on top of me.  This particular whizz-bang, in addition to its prostrating me, made a whacking great hole in the parapet almost large enough to drive a horse & cart through.  This we have duly mended & are now waiting for the next little lot.  So you see the excitement is kept up.  I have had no time to do anything except work, sleep & eat, & the result is that my beard is getting very long, & I am simply covered in mud from head to foot.