Keatinge diary, 25 November 1916-13 November 1918 / M. B. Keatinge - Page 7

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[Page 7]

Next day we were attached to the 11th Brigade for digging Platoon posts etc. in the forward area. Very little shooting except machine gun and rifle fire during this period. Few days later transferred to the 10th Brigade for similar purpose, viz., digging posts and wiring and also commenced a battalion dug-out. A few slight casualties during this period. About April 16th relieved 'A' Coy in the line at Buire, placing a nucleus garrison in the trenches and the remainder of the Coy living in cellars in Buire. The village was consistently shelled during our tour of duty. Only one or two slight casualties occurred. Men were quite safe in their dug-outs as the Boche was shooting with a very sensative [sensitive] shell which exploded on contact with a tile, with the result there was no penetration. In spite of living practically in the front line men had a good time and were very comfortable providing themselves with many comforts in the way of food and clothing from hastily evacuated and shot up camps. One platoon had a piano in its billets, another owned a cow and a third was the happy possessor of a billiard table. Relieved at Buire 8 days later by 38th Battalion and billeted at Ribemont in cellars. Very comfortable. Cow and piano accompanied us in the move. One platoon nucleus garrison in trenches, other three on trenches, dug-outs and wiring. The last three nights, May 5th to 8th were attached to 9th Brigade to consolidate positions captured in Boche line. The first night was exceedingly dark, stunts going on on each flank of us, a few hundred yards away. Barrage came down on us but miraculously fell all around without doing any harm. Guide lost his way, eventually found the location and commenced work at 2-10 a.m. Machine gun and snipers fire very active. Left job at day break 3-30 a.m. Lieut. Brecht during the night was partly buried by shell, badly bruised and shaken, otherwise no casualties. Very difficult to get back to billets owing to heavy straffs [strafes] of tracks. Next two nights on same job linking old Boche Support and front line, now occupied by us. Fairly quite [quiet] except for machine gun fire. Relieved May 10th and marched to Daours. Capt. Keatinge returned from G.H.Q. 11-5-18.

Coy carried on Corps work consisting of digging and wiring on the defences in rear. Had comfortable billets in Daours. Were first in an old mill, which we left owing to its being on an island reached by two bridges which were made to be shot up. Moved to billets in Daours which were badly shot up on the morning of 20th May. Two casualties, Lt. Brecht and one man. Relieved by 4th Pioneers on 20/5/18 and marched to Blangy-Tronville. Good billets on the side of a steep hill, small shelters cut into the face and roofed with reeds and quite a New Guinea or Island effect, (an unusual type of shelter). The men bathed all day when off duty in a large lagoon at the foot of the hill, and enjoyed themselves very much.

Joined Coy at Ribemont, Lt. Couper, Lt. Finch

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