German Field Gun that fired the "Whizz Bangs". |
From January 2nd to the 23rd we had intervals in trenches and fairly quiet.|
Sunday, 23rd Jan, I went to Ypres in charge of a Party of men and 3 Transport limbers and a Goods Waggon for bricks and timber from
wrecked houses there. They were still shelling Ypres on the outskirts and then they put one right in the house next to us, causing us
to disperse quickly, none of us being hurt.
Monday, 24th to Feb 16th, we had spells in trenches and spent 6 days in Swan Chateau, a fine grand building with gardens and lake. A
swan lived on the lake, despite the noise of shells falling near and the house and grounds being wrecked. We had a quiet time here.
Not being able to show ourselves in daylight for fear of being observed by aeroplanes, or we would soon have got shelled out.
I was Orderly Corporal here and I had to look after the Company rations etc. Also to feed the swan, which was quiet and tame.
Left here on 12th February and went to Hill 60 trenches. Here we had a lively day or so looking out for "sausages" and rifle grenades
coming, for we could see them coming and get out of the way.
Germans loading a "Sausage" into a Trench Mortar. |
[Sausages was the name given by British troops to the shape of German missiles fired from trench mortars. They came over in a looping
trajectory, as opposed to the high velocity Artillery shells called Whizz Bangs.]|
Monday, 14th February. . This is a day long to be remembered by those who lived to come through it.
The Germans subjected us to
an awful bombardment and we suffered heavy losses. York Company losing in this day about 50 wounded and 15 killed, including one
Officer, Lieut Daglish.
It was sad to note that several men who were wounded by shrapnel and shells went to a quieter part of trench and
were blown up by 3 mines of the Germans.
Half of No 11 Platoon and others being completely buried and some blown about 50 yards and
over, away on top of ground in front of trenches etc. Captain Maughan got killed next day by a sniper. He was a fine Officer and
considerate and kind to the soldiers, who mourned his loss. The shell fire was awful, blowing in both parts and fronts of the front
line trenches and Support trenches and communications trenches in many places.
Letters dated 17th April sent from home to 4th Battalion were not delivered.
The Military Medal.
Making it awfully dangerous and awkward getting the wounded to the dressing station.
We expected them making an attack on our trenches, but it occurred farther Right of our Company.
Only God's providential care and keeping allows me to write these notes.|
[ It is believed that this was the day that Joe's actions in helping to carry the wounded to the dressing station under heavy
enemy fire won him the Military Medal. It was the 11th October 1918 before the award appeared in the London Gazette.]
Fairly quiet in trenches up to Friday, 18th Feb, when we got relieved at night.
At this point the Diary entries describing Joe's day to day activities stop, for not long after he was wounded and a couple of
pages record where he was treated:-
North Midland Casualty Clearing Station No 46.
Wednesday, 12th April. admitted Locre Hospital.
Wednesday 19th April. Left Locre Hospital. Admitted to Mont Des Cats Hospital.[near Godewaersvelde]
Wednesday 26th April. Left Mont De Cats and back to Locre Hospital.
Thursday, 27th April. Left Locre for Godewaersvelde, where I stayed till 18th May.
Saturday, 29th April. Joe sent a letter to his fiancee.