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Henry Tabor's 1916 War Diary

 June 1916



1916 Diary entry

Research & comments 2003


1 Thu

Fight between Capt Robson in a BE2 and a Bosche.  Robson had to retire.

Possibly “William Alexander Robson 1895-1980, - during World War One (1914-1918) he served in the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, 1915-19”


2 Fri

Shifted across into next valley, with LX.  Rotten game, roaming about all over the place trying to find stuff, lost 2 sections of mast.  Dog tired after loading up lorries.

Moved to Trigger Valley [identified as Billon Wood, Bronfay Fme in “War Diary of Lt Col Elsner”].  West side of Suzanne to Carnoy Road , 1 mile S of Carnoy.  Stayed there until 4th July.


3 Sat

Fixed up aerial in fair position, said to be only temporary. 

Wish this blasted war was finished.

God how I wish I was with Gertie this evening, as in days gone by.



4 Sun

Turner came and condemned aerial – who the devil wouldn’t, must think I’m a damn magician.

Day behind in these notes.



5 Mon




6 Tue

Shifted to little hut, built on side of bank on left hand side of valley.



7 Wed




8 Thu




9 Fri




10 Sat

Seems as if it is going to be a considerable time after all in coming off.



11 Sun

Day quiet, rotten weather.



12 Mon

Nothing of importance to note.



13 Tue




14 Wed




15 Thu




16 Fri




17 Sat




18 Sun


German attack repulsed at Lihons (St. Quentin), 10 miles to the south of HTT.


19 Mon




20 Tue




21 Wed

Jolly busy, some day now from 4am to 9pm .



22 Thu

30 ruddy pages of signals, about fed up.  Small shoot with 9th Siege registered one target.

Siege Battery, RGA team pulling 8” Howitzer


23 Fri

Working D50 this morning, Capt Robson up.  Bosche brought down west of Carnoy. 

Snooty officer at D50, shall complain to Lieut Turner.



24 Sat

Just heard from Major that strafe beginning today or tomorrow.  The lord be with us.  Bosche machines active, one brought down.

Turner came – have got to work aeroplane and battery wireless all during strafe, heigh ho it’s a short life and a gay one.

4pm – strafing very heavy over French lines, only our field batteries firing.  Heavy strafe all night.

As a precursor to the Battle of the Somme a week-long artillery bombardment started on 24th June 1916 with a tremendous artillery assault that, according to reports, rattled windows in London more than 160 miles away.  During the week 1.6 million shells were fired.

The purpose of this bombardment was to obliterate the German positions so that the British troops could then move forward unchallenged.

However, Britain 's failure on the Somme can be directly attributed to the ineffectiveness of this bombardment. Many - up to 30% - of the shells fired during the first week of the offensive were duds that failed to explode. In addition, the British had insufficient numbers of the heavy guns and high-explosive shells needed to destroy the German positions.


25 Sun

Terrific bombardment all day, had a good aeroplane shoot this evening, had four guns firing.

Shelling kept up all night, not many land over here.

From Haig:  “On the 25th June the Royal Flying Corps carried out a general attack on the enemy's observation balloons, destroying nine of them, and depriving the enemy for the time being of this form of observation.”


26 Mon

Still bombarding, more so if anything, cannot make out what Luggie has in store for us, only a few here and there that he puts over.

Still busy on wireless.



27 Tue

Same as yesterday – continual bombardment.  Very dull and cloudy so had a little bit of rest today.  Have got to be right in vanguard of advance, hey ho.

Definition:  vanguard -  the part of an army or navy that leads an attack on an enemy


28 Wed

Slight lull in bombardment at times, still heavy though.  Going over has been postponed a few days.

While there’s life there’s hope.



29 Thu

Bombardment steady.

Long aeroplane shoot this morning, very successful, also one this evening, no hun however.  Big aerial activity by Germans this evening.  I saw 2 bosches brought down.



30 Fri

Aerial work quiet until this evening, wicked then.

Artillery fairly active.  Boys meant to go over tomorrow morning.

Shells very near hut this morning.

[from memorandum] 7pm Thousands of infantry going up to trenches, I wonder how many will come back.



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Diary home © peter james tabor 2004  

This page was last updated on 23 February 2004.