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The 1918 Wartime Diary of Private Charles Robert Bottomley

May 1, 1918 -- Got up about 8 a.m., lit the fire and made a tin of porridge and then had breakfast. Laid around most of the morning. In the afternoon we fired 30 rounds on our target registering. Had our supper, did a little guard in the pit, read the paper and then went to bed. Very heavy bombardments up and down the line all night.

May 2, 1918 -- Got up about 7:30 a.m. Lit the fire. One of the lads had plugged our stovepipe up with a rag and rubber and pretty near smoked us out. We had eggs for breakfast laid around most of the day. Went to bed at 10 p.m. Heavy bombardment all night to the south of us.

May 3, 1918 -- Got up about 7:30 a.m., made a tin of porridge, cleaned the gun, laid around all day in the sun reading and sleeping. Our sub was on guard. Received two letters and papers from home.

May 4, 1918 -- On guard from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. SOS and gas guard after doing guard. Went to bed, got up at 8:30 a.m. Had bacon and shredded wheat, peaches for breakfast. Laid around all day until 4 p.m. We got orders to relieve the sub in forward position. Unloading and packing ammunition till 11 p.m. Guard during the night. Was expecting Fritz to attack for Vimy Ridge but he never came.

May 5, 1918 -- Got up at 6 a.m. to clean gun. Was packing and firing most of the day till about 8 p.m. Fritz was shelling around during afternoon on guard.

May 6, 1 918 -- Got up about 6 a.m. to unload shells from the light railway. Had breakfast. Went back to bed till noon. Firing and packing ammunition all afternoon. Was on guard most of the night also. Night firing.

May 7, 1918 -- Got up at 6 a.m., did guard, also cleaning gun until 8:30. Had breakfast and went to bed until noon. Firing most of the afternoon. Nothing much doing during the night. The 51st Scots Division was holding the line.

May 8, 1918 -- Got up at 8:30 a.m., had breakfast, cleaned the gun and poked around most of the day. Firing and on guard at night.

May 9, 1918 -- Got up at 4 a.m. and fired 50 rounds of gas. Our planes were bombing Fritz lines early in the morning. Went to bed at 8:00 a.m. Got up at dinnertime. Packing shells in the afternoon. On guard from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. We were expecting Fritz to attack.

May 10, 1918 -- No attack. Went to bed about 2 a.m. and got up at 8:30 a.m. Had breakfast. Fixing up gas shells ready for firing. Laid around most of the afternoon. Went to bed at 10 p.m.

May 11, 1918 -- Got up at 5 a.m. and fired about 75 rounds at Fritz. Cleaned gun and had breakfast about 8:30 a.m. and went to bed till noon. Worked around gun all afternoon getting ready for general inspection.

May 12, 1918 -- Got up at 7 a.m., washed and shaved, had breakfast, went to gun pit and cleaned gun and the battery was inspected by General Thacker. Laid around in afternoon. Night we fired a few rounds at a Fritz working party. Got our 30th round off when springs broke in gun. Ceased firing and was unloading shells from train.

May 13, 1918 -- Got up at 4 a.m. to clean gun after firing. Had breakfast and went to bed until noon. Laid around afternoon. Packed a few shells at night. Fritz shelled around the position most of the night. Had a supper of sausage and peaches and went to bed.

May 14, 1918 -- Got up at 8:30 a.m., cleaned gun and fired off about 65 rounds. In the afternoon was on gun pit guard. At night packing shells. Had a little supper and then went to bed.

May 15, 1918 -- Got up at 8:30 a.m., had breakfast, cleaned around gun. In the afternoon was on guard. At night fired off about 75 rounds on different targets. Fritz came back around the position. Came off duty at 12 a.m. then went to bed.

May 16, 1918 -- Got up at 4 a.m. to clean gun. Worked around pit till 6 a.m. and went to bed until 8:30 a.m. Had breakfast and back to bed till noon. In the afternoon we started to fix gun pit. Worked at it till 1 a.m. in the morning, digging and lugging heavy rails. Fritz was very active to our right, shelling batteries with heavy stuff. Heard there were two men killed.

May 17, 1918 -- Firing from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. 60 rounds on trenches, headquarters and roads. Fritz bombed an artillery position to the rear of us and the trenches to the right of us. He was also shelling around our position. Almost had a direct hit on our dugout. Had to beat it. Shelled around our pit in the afternoon. Had to beat it again, lugging rails and ties to rebuild gun pit. Shelled again. Had to beat it. Started to fire at Fritz at 12 a.m. until 2 a.m. 50 rounds.

May 18, 1918 -- Went to bed about 2.30 a.m. Had to get up to unload ammunition at 3:30 a.m., 400 rounds from the narrow gauge railroad. Went back to bed until 8:30 a.m., had breakfast and went back to bed until dinnertime. Worked around pit until 5 p.m. After working around the pit, we packed shells and charges till 11 p.m., then went to bed.

May 19, 1918 -- Up at 8:30 a.m. working around gun. Fixing around number 5 gun position and packing shells until 11 p.m. Went to bed until 2.30 a.m. and went on guard.

May 20, 1918 -- Up at 2.30 a.m. On guard till 5 a.m. and had to go to work fixing gun but was expecting Fritz attacking during morning. Working around pit until 5 p.m. Had orders to take our gun forward. At night, we took our gun to a forward position to practice open action stuff. Slept in dugout in a trench.

May 21, 1918 -- Got up at 5 a.m. to do guard till 7 a.m. around the gun. Had breakfast at 8 a.m. Started to fire about 10:30 a.m. All morning and afternoon we were on different targets. 100 rounds. At night we pulled out down the road in some old gun pits. Fritz was shelling around us. Also there was a big scrap going on to the south of us.

May 22, 1918 -- Got up at 5 a.m. Had breakfast 9 a.m., tinned fish and bread. Fixed around gun pit all morning. Started to fire in the afternoon. Whilst firing, the charges took fire setting fire to the pit. Put the fire out with sand. Fired 104 rounds and pulled out to the forward position near the track. Was on guard and unloaded 500 rounds of ammunition.

May 23, 1918 -- Got up at 5 a.m. to do guard. Went back to bed till breakfast. Was registering the gun all morning. In the afternoon was packing up to get ready to pull out to be relieved by the 5th Division. Was relieved. Pulled our gun at 9 p.m. and made for the horse lines in Anzin. Slept in a half round hut. Windows all busted but slept very soundly.

May 24, 1918 -- Got up at 7 a.m., had breakfast and cleaned up ready for parade. Cleaning up limbers getting ready to go out for battery drill. Pulled out at 12 a.m. at night. Raining very heavy all day and a little damp during the night.

May 25, 1918 -- Arrived at Vandelcourt at 5:30 a.m. Pulled in some horse lines near a farm. Watered and groomed horses. Had breakfast at 7 a.m., then went to bed. Slept near a manure pile in an old barn till 11 a.m. Worked around lines all day. Slept in a tent at night.

May 26, 1918 -- Got up for reveille at 6 a.m. Worked around gun and limbers till 9 a.m. Had a Colonel 's inspection and church service during the morning and the afternoon. At night laid round the fields. Bought some eggs and boiled them. Had a little supper then went to bed.

May 27, 1918 -- Got up at 6 a.m., cleaning gun and had breakfast. During the day we took our guns to be calibrated near Bouning Nord. Each gun fired 2-5 rounds. We could see the shells leave the bore and burst in the bank. Got back at 7 p.m. A very long trip.

May 28, 1918 -- Got up at 6 a.m., cleaning gun till breakfast. Fell in at 9 a.m. doing physical drills and gun drills until dinner time. Cleaning gun limbers getting ready for general inspection during the afternoon. At night had a feed of eggs and a walk to Y.M.C.A. The country was looking fine.

May 29, 1918 -- Got up at 6 a.m., working around gun in the park until breakfast Parade at 9 a.m. After parade, we had physical drill. Also cleaning gun limbers until dinnertime. Afternoon cleaning limbers till suppertime.

May 30, 1918 -- Fixing and cleaning gun and limbers all day getting ready for inspection.

May 31, 1918 -- Reveille 4:45 a.m. Putting the final touches on the gun and limbers. The brigade paraded to a big field and was inspected by General Curry and other D.O. training. Night laid around for a little while and had a walk to the Y.M.C.A.

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