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April 1918 - Wartime Diary of Private Charles Robert Bottomley

April 1, 1918 -- Monday a little showery working around the pit and fired a few rounds. Registering and had an SOS alarm at night. Went to bed about 10 p.m.

April 2, 1918 -- Had to stand to at the guns. Fired about 15 rounds. Had breakfast and worked around the pit camouflaging and lowering pit. A few Fritz machines came over very low in the afternoon.

April 3, 1918 -- Guard from 3 a.m. till 6 a.m. Should have fired 30 rounds but trail block broke. Raining very hard. Working around pit. Laying around all afternoon and at night.

April 4, 1918 -- Working around pit and taking things pretty easy. Fritz was shelling 1st, 3rd and 4th batteries in front of the track. Broke my false teeth on hard tacks.

April 5, 1918 -- Had to stand to fire about 20 rounds. Fritz was shelling around the position with 8-inch shells. Working around the pit and digging a dugout. Went to a forward position to get ammunition that had been left by the D.A.F.

April 6, 1918 -- Working around gun position all day fixing. Had to get a bigger switch. Went up to a forward position to get ammunition. Saw seven of our 10th Battalion lads laying dead on the roadside. The battalion had been strafed while going into the trenches. Our guns were night firing. Had to fire 100 rounds.

April 7, 1918 -- Up all night firing from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on roads occupied by Fritz. Old Fritz got pretty nasty and was shelling a six-inch battery with gas shells. Also shelling around our battery at noon with gas and shrapnel. Got orders to fire 80 rounds and also fired 20 rounds of gas per gun. Fritz retaliated with mustard gas all night. Got to bed at 11:30 p.m.

April 8, 1918 -- Up at 5 a.m. for a stand to mustard gas. Pretty bad all around the village. Fired over about 25 rounds of HE and then went back to bed. Got orders to pack up our kit and was relieved by a London Imperial battery. We had to walk about 8 kilometers to the horse lines and we slept in huts lately occupied by a hospital in Amzin. Pretty well fagged out after not having much sleep for two or three nights.

April 9, 1918 -- Left Amzin to relieve an Imperial battery near St. Catherines. Guns on the roadside near the town hall. Pretty good position and good sleeping quarters. Our subs were on guard all night. I had the last shift. Ammunition came up the same night and got to bed about 12 midnight St. Laurent.

April 10, 1918 -- Up about 4:30 a.m. to do gas and SOS guard till 7 o'clock a.m. Fritz was shelling the forward position very heavily. Blew up the cook house and injured 3rd battery man. Pretty fair day for the battery.

April 11, 1918 -- Working around gun all day. Pretty quiet. Nothing to report. Weather was dull.

April 12, 1918 -- Working around gun. Fritz shelled the forward position and knocked out one gun. No one hurt. Went to bed early.

April 13, 1918 -- Orders to move again. Packed up the gun stores and the right section moved away to relieve an RIA battery near Roslincourt. Pretty fair gun pits and we slept in a deep dugout. On guard at night from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. Went to bed. Fritz was shelling with gas and HE during the night.

April 14, 1918 -- Got up about 8:30 a.m. Had breakfast. Washed and cleaned up and then worked around gun fixing a bivvy in the afternoon and slept in the same heavy bombardment down the line. Our heavies also were very active.

April 15, 1918 -- Working around gun pit and registering in the afternoon. A very quiet and dull day. Made a drink of cocoa and then went to bed. We could hear big strafing down south all afternoon and night.

April 16, 1918 -- Got up at 8 a.m. Working around the gun carrying shells and fired about 80 rounds. Gunner Wright had several boxes sent from home and we had a fine little supper and then retired about 9 p.m.

April 17, 1918 -- Working around gun pit carrying ammunition and charges in the morning. Went for a bath in the afternoon. Had a little feed in the bivvy and was on guard first part of the night. Went to bed about 12.30 a.m.

April 18, 1918 -- Got up about 8 a.m. Was on cookhouse fatigue all day. Put time in. Pretty quiet. Weather very cold and occasional showers. Went to bed at 9 p.m. Fritz was bombing one of our gun positions forward.

April 19, 1918 -- Got up at 8 a.m., had breakfast, washed and then cleaned the gun and pit. Fritz was shelling a forward position all day. On the hill one of the boys was being laid away. We could hear the band playing the Dead March and Abide with Me also the bugle playing the Last Post. Snowing and raining all day. Colonel and Adjutant and Major killed in the 2nd battalion.

April 20, 1918 -- Got up about 8 a.m., lit the fire, washed and had breakfast. Went to the pit and cleaned the gun and in the afternoon we had a gas drill and went to the engineer dump for signboards. Fritz was shelling around the gun positions and roads with heavy shells. Put in about 100 shells around the positions. Only two or three casualties. One killed, two wounded. Heavy guns. Put up a big barrage all night. Went to bed about 10 p.m.

April 21, 1918 -- Working around pit and gun. Things very quiet all day. At night the heavies put up a big barrage to prevent Fritz bringing up troops. Went up with rations to the forward gun. Got lost but found the place after roaming around about one hour.

April 22, 1918 -- On guard from 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Very quiet. Cleaned the gun during guard hours and went back to bed till 8:30 a.m. Got up and had breakfast and laid around all morning. In the afternoon we were fixing a speaking tube from the pit to dugout. At night we could hear a heavy barrage to the north of us. Went to bed about 9 p.m.

April 23, 1918 -- A pretty quiet day. Got up and had breakfast cleaned the gun. Fixing speaking tube in the morning. Fritz was shelling the forward positions with heavy shells. During the night he was shelling the road just beyond our sleeping quarters.

April 24, 1918 -- Got up about 7:30 a.m. Lit the fire, washed and then had breakfast consisting of slice of white bread dipped in bacon gravy and a piece of bacon. In the morning worked around the gun. Afternoon was on cookhouse fatigue. During the night there was a heavy bombardment on our right. Some of our Imperial battalion went on a raid. Guns firing all night. Thunderstorm also during the evening.

April 25, 1918 -- Another quiet day. Got up about 8:30 a.m., washed and had breakfast. Cleaned up the gun. Laid around most of the morning. In the afternoon we fired about 10 rounds on our target. During the night the sixty pound guns were very busy firing. Fritz retaliated but only fired a few rounds into our position. Our sub was on guard during the night. Several tanks are in front of our position.

April 26, 1918 -- Got up at 5 a.m. to do my guard. Had breakfast, washed and shaved. Laid around most of the morning. In the afternoon had a walk to the Canteen YMCA in Acurie. Things were a little quiet during the night. Went to bed at 11 p.m.

April 27, 1918 -- Got up about 8 a.m., had breakfast, cleaned the gun, worked around the pit. Put in a very easy day. Fritz also very quiet carrying shells at night getting ready for a shoot. Weather very dull all day.

April 28, 1918 -- Fired 85 rounds commencing about 1 a.m. in the morning. One of the battalions went over on a trench rear covered with tanks and artillery barrage. Fritz retaliates with trench mortars on the front line. Had breakfast. Went to the pit. Cleaned up gun. Laid around most of the day. Had a walk to the canteen in the afternoon. Our heavy gun put up a heavy barrage all night.

April 29, 1918 -- Got up at 7:30 a.m., lit the fire and made some porridge. Was helping the cook the biggest part of the day. Heard a rumour in the afternoon we were going north. Our sub was on guard during the night. Had a feed of canned peaches and went to bed about 10 p.m. and it was raining.

April 30, 1918 -- Got up about 3.30 a.m. to do guard. Went back to bed till 8:30 a.m. Got up and made a tin of porridge. Stayed in the gun pit biggest part of the morning on SOS guard. Laid around in the afternoon and went to bed about 10 p.m.

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