May 1917

MAY 1917

1 Tuesday

Preparing to move tomorrow.  About 20 men went up today to Neuvelle Vitasse.  Had a bath this afternoon.  Our fortnights rest has come off with about 4 days.

2 Wednesday

Reveille usual time 5.30am.  Hooked in and moved off at 11am halted every hour for 5 mins reaching our destination at 6pm a journey of about 17 miles.  The heat was intense and the dust awful.  We travelled on the Doullens-Arras road turning off in Beaumetz through Riviere-Blairville-Ficheux-Mercatel to Neuville Vitasse.  Slept, retired to sleep in an old German dugout.  Bought a hare for dinner tomorrow.

3 Thursday

Firing during the night was very heavy.  I have just learnt that we have come up to lie in reserve to other Divisions that are attacking today.  The attack was not successful the men finishing up in these old trenches.

4 Friday

Weather still hot and fine.  Div HQ moved back today to Courteville.  The horse transport of the Sig. Coy. only staying behind.

5 Saturday

Nothing but the usual stable routine.  Rain with thunder at about 6pm.  Artillery been very quiet all day and last night.  About 9.20pm our arty opened out a devil of a fire in reply to an SOS signal.  This went on the best part of the night.

6 Sunday

Very cold all night and this morning.  Message from 14th Div. Sig Office this morning states that the SOS last night was a mistake.  So much ammnt. for nothing.  Started this morning teaching 21 rinfts.[1] just out, signalling.

7 Monday & 8 Tuesday

No entry

9 Wednesday

Still on with Visual Class.  We erected a jump near horse lines and I had my first taste of jumping on horseback

10 Thursday

Had a few shells near today and during the night.  There four fell near water troughs.

11 Friday

Nothing special.  Horse leaping tonight again.  My horse stumbled and fell just over the jump.  I got off with a shaking, bruised knee and foot.

12 Saturday

Shells near again during night.  Very stiff and sore from my fall last night.

13 Sunday

Shelling very near horse lines all night.  Officer ordered us to move them about 300 yds. south.

14 Monday

No entry

15 Tuesday

Usual work visual practice.  I had another go at horse leaping tonight, managed A1 but felt shaky from my fall on Friday.  My foot still pains me.  The Farrier Sergt. came a cropper tonight hurting his thumb.

16 Wednesday

Still visual instruction.  Dull all day turning to very wet in the afternoon.  Two shells fell near our old lines at 3.00 this morning.  The wash wakened us all.  One of them right close to where I had bivouack pitched.

17 Thursday

No entry

18 Friday

Reveille 5am.  Packed and moved off at 10am from Telegraph Hill.  Trekked via Blairville and Bretoncourt to Beaumetz arriving at 2.45pm.

19 Saturday

Usual stables and overhauling stores.  5.30pm I set off with rations for the men at Couturelle[2] got there 7.40pm Stayed overnight.

20 Sunday

Drew stores and had a good bath then left on return journey at 12.30pm.  Got back 3.30pm, Sgt Mitchison went on his months leave today.

21 Monday & 22 Tuesday

No entry

23 Wednesday

Usual stables and packing to move.  Orders at 11am to move at 2pm for Couin.  We travelled along Arras – Doullens road turning off just before reaching Belle Vue[3] then through Gaudiempré and Hénu arriving about 7pm at Couin, a distance of about 18 kms.

24 Thursday

Had a cycle ride to Pas[4] after stables.

25 Friday – 30 Wednesday

No entries

31 Thursday

Inspection by our company officers as a preliminary to the CRE inspection tomorrow.  We have been busy all this week harness cleaning for the transport inspection on Saturday.


[1] reinforcements

[2] Couturelle=can’t locate on modern map

[3] La Bellevue

[4] Probably Pas-en-Artois