[Transcriber's note: Sergeant Ward, English born, enlisted on 22 May 1916 at the age 27. This part of his diary covers his time in Belgium and France and describes the winter conditions, the fighting, and the lack of food on occasions. He speaks of having to translate some German papers. His war records show that he was wounded in France on 26 May 1918 and hospitalised in Weymouth, England]
Left canal huts for dugouts near Menin Gate. Repairing dugout.
Fritz planes over. One bomb blew out one end of Padre's mud hut, but otherwise no damage. Fixed up a minature range for Lewis gun practice.
Left for Westhoek Ridge & built dugout for 6 at rear of pill box. Gas guard 2400 to 0200.
Improved dugout a.m. Gas shells falling in profusion to leeward. Fatigue party to Hooge for duck boards but there were none.
Understand that left flank of 9th Battalion pushed back. Deluge of shrapnel kept us in dugout all day, except unlucky devils like myself who were on gas guard; my shift 1600 to 1800. Fritz plane overhead at 1650, quite low, driven off by machine gun fire.
Shelling all night. Laying duck boards a.m., two killed. Hail of shrapnel. Carrying party p.m. under heavy fire. Stretcher bearers dugout blown up. Our candle blown out by concussion twice in