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Henry Tabor's 1916 War Diary

April 1916



1916 Diary entry

Research & comments 2003


1 Sat

Glorious day.  Went down to the 2 MS for towel, etc  OK.



2 Sun

Received letter from Aunt Lil. 

Glorious day.  Shifted from steel dugout to one cut in bank, rotten infested with rats.  Kept busy all day.



3 Mon

Still fine weather, pages of signals, MF called up this afternoon, over two hours, he made a mistake he should have called MU. 

Had parcel and letter from Ma.  Went across LX this evening, slept there the night.  Shrapnel flying about.



4 Tue

Dull day, quite a change nothing doing.



5 Wed

Day quiet



6 Thu

Letters from Gertie and Airman



7 Fri

Books from Ma



8 Sat

Letters from Ma and Mr Osborne.

Slept at LX tonight.



9 Sun

Letter from Gertie.  Letter and parcel from Syd.

Fair day.  Luggie sending shrapnel over in valley.

Definition:  shrapnel - (1) shell that scatters metal fragments; (2) an artillery shell designed to explode before impact producing a shower of metal balls and fragments


10 Mon

Letter from Dad.

Fine day.  Not much doing though.



11 Tue

Day quiet.  Raining and misty.

Walked across LX this morning found Josling packing up; returning to Squadron.

Luggie strafing full battery just below.  Killed one.

German losses since start of war 2,730,917


12 Wed

Raining nearly all day.  Had stand by for aeroplane shoot cancelled owing to weather.  Letter from Ma.



13 Thu

Letter from G.  Another stand by for shoot.  Terrific wind blowing.



14 Fri

Nice day but terrific wind.  Luggie pumping away in valley, our battery and 60’s replied.  112 luggie put over in fifteen minutes. 

Parcel from Ma, cigs from Gertie (bless her).  Letters from Uncle Chas, Miss Skinner and R.



15 Sat

Letters from Aunt Lil, Gertie and Ma. 

Mixed weather, snow storm, rain and terrific winds.  Went right up to Peronne Road to fix up station for a new fellow.

Played hard game of footie this evening.

Peronne Road (now Maricourt Military Cemetery No. 3) is on the North side of the road to Albert, on the Western outskirts of Maricourt.


16 Sun

Had a shoot this morning, too cloudy for observation though, eg came to nothing.  Another hard game this evening, about crocked up.

M II B bought down by Maricourt, P[ilot] & O[bserver] both killed.

Wyndham Lewis, the English writer and painter, was a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery. His “Blasting and Bombardiering” describes the lot of Gunners:

“A gunner does not fight. He merely shells and is shelled. He discharges a large metal cylinder, aiming it by means of a delicately-adjusted mechanism, to fall at a certain spot which he cannot see, in the hope that he may kill somebody that he hopes is there. “

“As a battery officer at the Front my main duties were to mooch about the battery, and to go up before daybreak with a party of signallers to an observation post. This was usually just behind the Front Line trench-- in the No Man's Land just behind it. . “


17 Mon

Damned queer all day, had to stay in bed.  Think it is a rotten attack of flue.  Letters from Airman and Chas.



18 Tue

Letter from Jeff Allen.  Still groggy, another day in bed.



19 Wed

Feel a bit better this morning.

Letter from Gertie



20 Thu

Tres bien today.  Still got a rotten thick head though.  Letters from Uncle Albert and Ma.  Had aerial down, put up fresh length of wire.



21 Fri

Rotten day, except for an hour or so first thing.

Letter from Gertie.



22 Sat

Putrid day.  Letter from Aunt Lily.



23 Sun

Not a bad day.  Another muck up about a shoot.  Machine called up MF and then PO .

Easter Sunday


24 Mon

Plenty doing.



25 Tue

Had a shoot first thing this morning.  Went back to Squadron, rotten dusty journey.  What a Sergeant, he ought to be boiled.

There is a reference to this shoot in the 9th Siege Battery’s War Diary of 25/4/16 7:25am to 8:22am – 8 Armour Piercing and 1 High Explosive on F5b37.53 aeroplane registration”. [PRO WO95/475]


26 Wed

Fatigues all day.  Letter from R.



27 Thu

Went to Morlancourt this afternoon for lamp practice.



28 Fri

Went to Amiens this morning for practice with infantry, some affair, what with trench mortars and smoke.



29 Sat

Went all round batteries with the affable Hughes.

Letters from Gertie and Ma.



30 Sun

Fairly easy day taken on whole.  Had a simply great dinner with Day, Gall and Pearce.



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Diary home © peter james tabor 2004  

This page was last updated on 23 February 2004.