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The 1918 Wartime Diary of Private Charles Robert Bottomley

March 1, 1918 -- Stayed around Rochdale all morning. Sent a few presents home. Had my picture taken and stayed in at night.

March 2, 1918 -- Caught the ten o'clock train for Manchester. Had dinner in the city with mother. Caught the 2 o'clock train to London. Arrived London about 7:30. Stayed at the Maple Leaf club all night. Had tea in the Y.M.C.A near Victoria Station. Sent my old diary home.

March 3, 1918 -- Left Victoria Station about 6 a.m. for Folkstone. Arrived in Folkstone about 9:00 a.m. Stayed at the rest camp until 3:30 p.m. then marched to the dock and got on the boat, Onward. Arrived in Boulange about 6:30 p.m. Stayed in the rest camp on the hill till morning.

March 4, 1918 -- Left rest camp about 6 a.m. and entrained. Arrived in Bethume about 4 p.m. Walked to Neun Le Mines, distance of 5 kilometers to the horse lines. Had a very good billet with Corp. J Thackberry, Devon Mason and Boyce. Had a feed of chips and eggs and then retired to our billet. Was in a washhouse fitted up with bunks and a little stove. 2 francs a week.

March 5, 1918 -- Working around horse lines cleaning wagon and limbers. Stayed in at night. In the morning had a walk to Sains Go-belle for a new gas mask. Saw some Yanks down there.

March 6, 1918 -- Working around horse lines cleaning limbers. Afternoon off and walked to town. Had a little supper and retired.

March 7, 1918 -- Working around limbers and horse lines. Went to concert at night.

March 8, 1918 -- Working around lines and gun limbers. Excellent weather. Went out at night.

March 9, 1918 -- Working around gun limbers in the morning. Afternoon went around town. Picket at night until 10 p.m. and then to bed.

March 10, 1918 -- Sunday lay around in the morning. In the afternoon went to the square to hear a band concert. At night went to a church service. Canon Scott preached. Also a band concert after service. Heard the Glee, Comrade in Arms sung by the members of the band. Went to billet, had supper and to bed.

March 11, 1918 -- Started on the daylight serving bill working around lines. Went for a bath in the morning to Hanichon on horseback and got a brand new suit of underwear. Around lines. Went out at night.

March 12, 1918 -- Went out for exercise ride in the morning with battery. Had a pretty rough ride. Saw a Fritz bombing plane that had been brought down. Cleaning limbers in the afternoon. Went out at night.

March 13, 1918 -- Draft parade for the battery in the morning. I stayed around the lines in the morning. Afternoon was inoculated for preventive against typhoid. Went around town at night and had egg supper.

March 14, 1918 -- Lay in all day. Felt pretty tough through the effects of the inoculation. Out at night.

March 15, 1918 -- Cleaning limbers all day long getting ready for the inspection. Stayed in at night.

March 16, 1918 -- Inspection by General Thacker. Right section was the best turnout. Saturday afternoon off. Went out at night. Harness stolen by the sixth battery men but returned during day.

March 17, 1918 -- Went to church service behind Division Headquarters. Canon Scott preaching. Was also warned to go and relieve Gunner Dobson on the guns. Went up with the ration wagon. Arrived at the guns about 7 o'clock. On guard from 10:30 until 1 p.m.

March 18, 1918 -- Got up at 7 a.m. Cleaned the gun then laid around all day. Went to brigade with a message. Retired at 9 p.m.

March 19, 1918 -- Cleaned a gun. Worked around the pit. Rained during the day.

March 20, 1918 -- Cleaned up the pit. Worked around the guns. Fired off 37 rounds on a SOS about 6 a.m. Fired a few rounds in the afternoon. Also working around Lewis machine gun target practice.

March 21, 1918 -- Cleaning around gun. Fired a few rounds in the afternoon. Also put over a barrage for gas clouds. Went to bed about one in the morning. 5000 gas projectors were fired over at the Fritz and we put over a rolling barrage to inflict casualties on him while running to his dugout. Teltrol Gas.

March 22, 1918 -- Working around the gun and just fired a few rounds at a Fritz trench mortar. Quiet during the day. Had a good supper and went to bed.

March 23, 1918 -- Warned to go down to horse lines at Neun Le Mines. All the battery was relieved by the 51st Battery of the 5th Division. Started away from position about 2 a.m. Arrived at horse lines about 4 p.m. Had tea then went down town. Slept upstairs with Roy Foly, Wright and Corp Thackery in a French family's house.

March 24, 1918 -- Fritz shelling town about 6 a.m. The French family beat it to their dugout in the cellar. Got up for reveille 6 a.m. Polished gun and cleaning limbers. Getting ready for move. Fritz bombing plane flying over town. Went to church but was none. Went to billet and to bed early.

March 25, 1918 -- SOS at 1 o'clock in the morning. Had to be in action by dawn in the positions near the church in Moroc. Preparation for an attack by Fritz. Digging and preparing gun but guard at night and about 800 rounds came up for the gun. Moroc position.

March 26, 1918 -- Our heavies put up a big bombardment all night thinking Fritz was going to attack. Pulled out of Moroc gun position about 11 p.m. Stayed up all night preparing for move.

March 27, 1918 -- Pulled out of Neun Le Mines about 6:15 a.m. and went on the road. The whole 1st brigade stayed at Ucq for the night. Slept in a big hut all night. Pretty well fagged out after not having much sleep for 3 nights.

March 28, 1918 -- Pulled out of Ucq about 8 a.m. The whole 1st brigade artillery was making for the Somme. Had orders to turn back and we pulled in near Arras. Raining very hard all night. Slept in a hut. Met a lot of refugees, old men and women beaten away from Arras. Women and kiddies carrying very heavy loads.

March 29, 1918 -- Reveille 3 a.m. Pulled away from horse lines at 5 a.m. and went into action the other side of Arras in a field behind a railroad track. Digging all afternoon around gun and unloading ammunition at night. Pretty well tuckered out. Made some sleeping quarters in a trench near railway embankment out of a tarpaulin, sticks and straw near Achicouri Arras.

March 30, 1918 -- Working around gun all morning. Fritz machines very active all morning. Taking things pretty easy in the afternoon. At night some of the boys found a lot of eats in a house. Had a good feed and went to bed.

March 31, 1918 -- Had a very good nights' sleep. Got up at 8 a.m. Am working around pit all day. Had lots of eats and the weather was pretty fine.

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