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The 1918 Wartime Diary of Private Charles Robert Bottomley

November 1, 1918 -- Our guns were firing heavy in the morning. On the right of Hasnon, the Imperial made an attack and advanced four miles. In the afternoon, several prisoners came through the village.

November 2, 1918 -- Working around guns in the morning. Taking life pretty easy. Had the afternoon off.

November 3, 1918 -- Reveille 6 a.m. Only stable parades during the day. We heard that hostilities were going to cease by the end of this week. Had a walk around Hasnon. Saw the canal and railway bridge that had been blown up by the Hun.

November 4, 1918 -- Working around guns and horse lines all day.

November 5, 1918 -- Working around guns and limbers. Raining all day. Got orders to get everything ready to pull out next morning.

November 6, 1918 -- Pulled out at 9 a.m. Before leaving, the O.C. inspected the battery. Our sub section got the prize for cleanest gun and limbers. Left the town of Grand Bray passing through Raismes and we billeted in a big town call Anzin in a big house. Piano, up to date furniture, everything O.K. Had a good feed of spuds. Met Captain Hinds, also the 16th Battalion. We had a nice little concert. At night, slept on the carpet floor.

November 7, 1918 -- Left Anzin about 9 a.m., passing through Valeberas over the River Shelat. This place has certainly been destroyed. The station and bridges all blew up. Met Harry Ring, also saw Captain Hinds leading the 116th on their way to Mons. Slept in a big house on the Mons Road in St. Saulve.

November 8, 1918 -- Left St. Saulve about 9 a.m. and went along the Mons Road to a place called Quaropible. Along the Mons Road, dead horses and Fritz guns and limbers were laying. They had been caught in our barrage. We slept in a house on the Mons Road. The civilians were coming back to their homes and it would make your heart bleed to see them trudging along with their loads.

November 9, 1918 -- We stayed in Quaropible all day. Our traffic had been passing continually for two days following up the Hun troops, guns of all sizes, trucks and all kinds of army material. It was a sight worth seeing. Civilians were passing back to their homes with their workday belongings in a two-wheeled rig. Pretty near all the houses had been shelled by the Hun.

November 10, 1918 -- Resting in Quaropible during the day. Troops, guns, motor trucks and war material were passing in one continuous stream for the last two days. Civilians were pouring back with their push carts the other way. A French man dropped a message from a plane. We were putting in a good time.

November 11, 1918 -- We got the good news that hostilities had ceased. It was too good to believe. During the afternoon, Percy Boyce and me had a walk across to the Belgium border on the Mons Road. Went into the cathedral. Coming back we helped a couple of civilians back with their load. Traffic still pouring ahead.

November 12, 1918 -- Still resting around Quaropible having a good time. We were cleaning up guns, limbers and harness before starting to march into Germany. Refugees still going past the house to their respective town looking tuckered out and hungry.

November 13, 1918 -- Still resting around the same town. Refugees still going past. Some thousands must have gone past. Nothing but a continuous procession of guns and troops going towards the German boundary.

November 14, 1918 -- Lounging around Quaropible. Polishing and shining harness, also oiling and cleaning guns and vehicles. Getting ready for our big march into Germany. During the day, 1st Division Infantry came through the town on their way to Germany. Refugees still going past on their way back to their homes. Sad looking sight.

November 15, 1918 -- Got orders to move. Left the horse lines about 10 a.m. on our march to Germany. On the route, we saw German Officers coming through with white flags. We passed into the Belgian borders through a town called Quieviam. The town band was out and a Belgium guard of honour gave us a grand salute. We stopped in a town called Boussu and slept in a hotel.

November 16, 1918 -- Resting around Boussu. The roads were too congested with troops and civilians moving. We had a walk round the town in the morning and afternoon. We had a good billet in the front room of a hotel. At night, me and Brown had a walk to the next town. Ed Wright came back to the battery.

November 17, 1918 -- Reveille 6 a.m. Still resting in Boussu. Went into the Catholic cathedral in the morning. During the afternoon and night, we laid around.

November 18, 1918 -- Got orders to move. We left the town Boussu about 9:30 a.m., passing Hornu, Gemappes, Mono, Vimy Mauierea and stopped for a couple of days in a village called Casteau. A very pretty little place. Five of us had a room in a hotel and I was the lucky guy to occupy the bed.

November 19, 1918 -- Resting around Casteau, cleaning around limbers and guns. In the afternoon, we took things pretty easy.

November 20, 1918 -- Resting around Casteau. In the afternoon, we took a walk to a village called Oboury. The 116th was billeted and we found a Y.M.C.A canteen. Bought a fruit and biscuit. McGinnis came back the same afternoon and we had all kinds of good things to eat.

November 21, 1918 -- Got orders to move. We left the horse lines about 9 o'clock. Took the second class roads and passed through the village of Thrieusues Muast and stopped in the village of Eccuassines. Had a very good billet and it was a very nice village.

November 22, 1918 -- Billeted upstairs on the main street of Eccuassines. Had the horse lines gun park on the square facing the church. On guard during the night and day. The people we lived with were certainly nice people. In the afternoon, we had a walk to a stone quarry.

November 23, 1918 -- Still billeted in the same village. Cleaning around the vehicles in the morning. In the afternoon, had a walk around. At night, the battery boys had a dance at the cinema.

November 24, 1918 -- Got orders to move. Left the horse lines about 7 o'clock. All polished up, we passed through Tuchu, Teley and Marbuis on a 20 kilometer march. The people could not understand why we had the brass polished. Arrived in a village, I'rssmes St. Gossuicl. The band met and played different national airs. We went to church.

November 25, 1918 -- Left the village about 8 a.m. on a 12 mile march. We passed a lot of Hun limbers and war material. We were on our way to Namur. Went up the Wamur Road, passing through Soubrelle and arriving in a village called Corry La Chateau. Slept in a farm house.

November 26, 1918 -- Resting around Corry La Chateau. During the day, cleaning harness guns and vehicles. Getting ready for a four day hike to the German boundary. We had our horse lines near a Catholic convent.

November 27, 1918 -- Left Corry La Chateau about 6 a.m., passing around Namur. We went through the country passing through the villages. The church bells were ringing and the children cheering. We entered the Muese Valley in the afternoon. Had our horse lines near Muese River. Slept in an attic. Nice people. Town called Selayn

November 28, 1918 -- Left Selayn about 8 a.m. We passed through part of the Muese River, near a smelting works and iron, lime and coal mines. We took over the Ardenne range and it was a pretty sight looking up the valley. We passed through Andenne and Gives. We rested for the night in a village called Grand Marchin.

November 29, 1918 -- Left Grand Marchin without much breakfast for either horse or man. The troops were in an uproar. Currie and McDonnell passed on the road. We were held up for two hours. Pulled in a place called Mosdave. Slept in a Belgian house. Very nice people.

November 30, 1918 -- Started on the march from Grand Marchin through a pretty part of the country in a valley on the boundary lines. During the halt for dinner, we were inspected by Currie and staff. We stopped in a place called Tohogne. Slept in an estamient in the front room.

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