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The 1918 Wartime Diary of Private Charles Robert Bottomley

October 1, 1918 -- Firing and laying around most of the day. Moved up forward during the night and put our guns in position in a sunken road behind Epinay. Raining very hard all night and Fritz was shelling around all night. We had to keep awake all night, Haynecourt Cemetery 5:00

October 2, 1918 -- Started the barrage about 5:15 a.m. The 1st Brigade infantry going over on our left. The Y & L troops were held up. The 4th Battalion was also held up in the morning. I went up to the front line to carry Lieutenant Smith body, who had been killed whilst going over with the infantry. The Hun shelled our position with H. & E. gas all day.

October 3, 1918 -- Got up about 8 a.m., after sleeping in a hole on the side of the road leading into Epiperny. During the night, Fritz dropped a big bomb in the centre of the gun position, wounding several of our lads and drivers of some ammunition columns. Shelling us all day long with whizz-bangs. About 7:30 p.m., started to shell us with heavy stuff, killing Tom Grills and severely wounding Sgt. McKenzie. Gas shelled us all night. Mac died of his wounds.

October 4, 1918 -- Still in the same position. Got up about 8:30 a.m. and he was still shelling after giving us a heavy bombardment all night. Shelling all day again. He deliberately tried to destroy the village ahead of us. Pulled out at night to our old position behind the heavies.

October 5, 1918 -- Got up at 8:30, after sleeping in a hole in the open field under the tarp with the other boys. After breakfast, went to Tom Grills funeral. Helped to dig the grave. Our Padre buried him. All kinds of dead Canadians laying around waiting to be buried. Moved back of the line during the night. Fritz dropped bombs on the road near us. 400 Canadian lads buried in the cemetery where we buried Tom Grills.

October 6, 1918 -- Traveling all night. Slept near a dump all day then moved back into action during the night on one of the flanks. Slept in a German Red Cross station all night. Prospect Farm, position Secluse.

October 7, 1918 -- Making a place to live and sleep in the old farmhouse. Put in a pretty good time all day.

October 8, 1918 -- Got up and put a mock barrage on Fritz. Firing and registering the gun. Also fired until midnight. Fritz came back with gas shells. Nobody hurt.

October 9, 1918 -- Up nearly all night firing. Fritz dropped a few around. Had a pretty good sleep from 3 till 9 a.m. We certainly have been living good this last few days: bacon and porridge for breakfast, steaks and potatoes for dinner, jam, rice, cheese and bread for supper.

October 10, 1918 -- Fired a few rounds during the night. We have been living in a place called Prospect Farm. The Hun had been using it for a Red Cross Station. We fired a few rounds during the day, also at night. We were behind a big town called Seclure.

October 11, 1918 -- Got up at 9 a.m. Working around the gun pit. During the afternoon, we fired a few rounds. During the afternoon, our lads went over the top but the Hun had retreated about four miles close to the Nord Canal. We pulled out and went into a town call Seclure. Slept in a cellar all night.

October 12, 1918 -- Got up at 5:15 a.m. Put over a few and had breakfast. Firing during the morning. In the afternoon, the right section pulled out and went forward. Went into action behind a village called Bellonne. We fixed up a cellar that the Hun had slept in. There were beds and a stove in there.

October 13, 1918 -- Got up at 5:30 a.m. and put over a barrage. During the day, we were registering and firing on machine gun posts. About 8 o'clock at night, Fritz put over a few heavy shells and pretty near had a direct hit on B sub gun, setting fire to some charges and the camouflage. We went out and put out the fire About 11 p.m., a sub gun put over 40 rounds, harassing fire on the Hun roads.

October 14, 1918 -- Got up at 5:30 a.m. Went out and put up a barrage, about 30 rounds per gun. The infantry did not go over during the day. We fired a few rounds. This place, where we had the guns in action, was all smashed by our artillery to rid the place of machine gun nest. The Hun had made the place a headquarters and it was pretty cozy.

October 15, 1918 -- On guard during the night previous. We had a very easy day. The Hun was scattering a few shells around. He was shelling a big town called Vitry, a manufacturing town. You could see the place on fire and the brick dust flying around. This place had been burning several days.

October 16, 1918 -- Laying around most of the day. We got up about 5:30 and put up a barrage, about 31 rounds per gun. The Hun dropped a few shells around the position during the morning. It was also raining.

October 17, 1918 -- Working around the pit. In the afternoon, the infantry went over the top and found the Hun had retreated. About 6 p.m., we pulled out and followed him over the canal. Had to wait for a couple of hours until the engineers finished the bridge. Got across and passed the chemical works. We must have gone 5 or 6 kilos before we went into action on the right of Vitry.

October 18, 1918 -- Slept in an old factory all night. Pulled out after dinnertime and followed the Hun. Again we passed to the right of Douar. She seemed to be in good condition. Passed through Dechy. This place was in a dirty condition. Went into action in front of Loffree. Slept in a railway house near the track all night

October 19, 1918 -- Got up at 5 a.m. Sat around all morning. Pulled out about 12 p.m. Passed Briulle. Saw the civilians who had been under Hun rule. They were tickled to death to be relieved. Passed through Somaine Penian and saw all kinds of civvies. The Huns had wrecked the coalmines. Also blew great holes in the road. Slept near the railroad.

October 20, 1918 -- Cantin. Started to move again but did not go very far. We were waiting for a couple of hours before we could move. Whilst waiting, we boiled some carrots and turnips and had a good feed. We passed through Wandignes and went into action the other side of the town. Raining pretty near all night. Slept under a tarpaulin all night.

October 21, 1918 -- Got up and started to move again. Went through a town called Hasnon. Went into action the other end of town. The Hun started to shell the town, killing some of the women. We slept in a civilian's house all night and one of the occupants was telling us he had been a civy prisoner for four years. The people could not do enough for us.

October 22, 1918 -- Got up at 6:30 a.m. During the morning, the 3rd Division came in and relieved us. Pulled out of action in the afternoon but stayed in the town. We also moved the horse lines in the town. The old lady in the house kept handing us out coffee without sugar and it was awful stuff. The coffee in the coffeepot must have never been washed out for weeks.

October 23, 1918 -- Got up at 6:30 a.m. Working around guns and wagons. Fritz made a stand below St Amand. He was shelling just below the gun park.

October 24, 1918 -- Got up at 6:30 a.m. for reveille. During the day, we were washing and cleaning the gun and limbers having a pretty easy time.

October 25, 1918 -- Reveille at 6:30 a.m. During the day, washing and cleaning limbers and gun. Taking things very easy. The Hun had evacuated Saint Amand. Also he blew down one of the church towers before he went. The poor old woman had her wind up because he was dropping shells quite a piece away.

October 26, 1918 -- Cleaning around gun and wagons all morning. Taking things very easy. In the afternoon, we had a holiday. During the night, Fritz was dropping some heavy shells and was causing the inhabitants of the village to feel very nervous.

October 27, 1918 -- Working around gun and limber. Nothing much doing all day. Fritz was shelling in the early part of the morning.

October 28, 1918 -- Working around gun and limbers. Having a good time. Gas drill in the afternoon.

October 29, 1918 -- Working around gun and limbers. Nothing much doing all day. On guard during the night around gun park. Fritz put a few heavy shells over in the town of Hasnon during the night.

October 30, 1918 -- On guard during the day. Nothing much doing.

October 31, 1918 -- Our guns were going very heavy in the morning. Working around gun and limber.

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