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Henry Tabor's 1916 War Diary

March 1916



1916 Diary entry

Research & comments 2003


1 Wed

Glorious day, saw five or more machines go over on bombing raid.  Supposed to be shifting on 3rd inst dam it.

Went to FP with Jimmy this evening.

Shifting a land station was a far from trivial task.  A wireless operator would be equipped with:

30 ft mast in 8 sections of iron tube 3 inches in diameter, guy ropes, 6 pegs, 1 hammer and a 5 ft picket; 1 aerial on a winch with an insulated lead-in wire; 1 spare aerial; 2 aerial insulators; 2 earth mats; 6 cloth ground strips, 24 ft by 2 ft, and a Morse lamp for signalling to aeroplanes; 1 tool kit; message forms, carbon paper and pencil; cord; Mark III Wireless Tuner including 2 pairs of headphones, technical notes in the use of the wireless station, circuit diagrams, 4 batteries for the buzzer and potentiometer, copper gauze earth mat, etc [From Radio, Radio by Jonathan Hill 1986]


2 Thu

Nothing doing.

Received cigs and mints from Uncle Syd.



3 Fri

Letters from Ma and Gertie.  Airman under orders to be prepared to pull down station.



4 Sat

Letter from Uncle Syd.  Day fairly quiet.

17 Observer ought to learn the Morse code.



5 Sun

Luggie very busy to day, strafing us like hell.  Fine day, plenty of machines about.  Airman packed up and ready to shift.

Hellish warm this afternoon, shells bursting all round.  One clean on top of the dugout.  Bets fell in.  Was just taking Paris , when one fell up by guns.  Next minute boom bang out went the candle and off went Paris , one shell fell just in front of dugout, cut aerial wire.  Repaired it this evening.



6 Mon

Grand day, but bit cloudy, more snow down in night.  Day fairly quiet.



7 Tue

Grand day, few machines about.  Luggie strafing top of woods again.



8 Wed

Grand weather, luggie still strafing top of wood.

Tons of machines over, French, German and English.



9 Thu

Shifted this evening at 8 pm .  Damned awful wondering about with full pack on, eventually shook down in telephone dugout.  

Letters from Gertie, Ma and Lily, parcel from Syd.

With 9th Siege Battery, RGA moved to U Copse, still near Suzanne, where they stayed until 2nd June.  Ceased to be part of 14th S Brigade and came under 30th Division Artillery


10 Fri

Put up aerial absolutely bon, Coombes says too conspicuous, got to pull it down, damn it.  Went across to old position and got bed tonight, bit better.  Letter from Gertie.



11 Sat

Put aerial up in new position not quite so good as yesterday, getting a bit more ship shape.



12 Sun

Grand day, machines about.  Luggie strafing just up top.



13 Mon

Taube 9, Bosche’s new biplane over this morning.  Farman sending all the damn morning strafe him. 

Went over and saw the Steves and Dowling this evening.

Grand day letters from G and Chas.

Reference to German aeroplane type Taube and British H. Farman Biplane.


14 Tue

Lieut Col and Capt came, remarked on aerial, funny shape or something, trying to be funny.  Grand day.

Put up aerial again, one long wire this shape: Luggie shelling Suzanne killed 4 wounded six, Dale and myself going down to the village got in thick of it, all tres bien however.

120 rounds altogether came over.



15 Wed

Had a big slice of luck.  Parcels from Ma and Uncle Chas  [...] also new underclothing.  Turner came said “aerial too big a wave length, sorry it will have to come down”



16 Thu

8 am put up shorter aerial, can get aeroplane signals alright, so what matter.  Letters from Ma and Gertie.



17 Fri

Got up quite early this morning, bit misty.

Shifted over to next dugout.  Set up and took Eiffel Tower at midnight .  Letter from Gertie.

In 1916 the Eiffel Tower became the terminal for the first radio telephone service across the Atlantic .


18 Sat

Had parcel from Ma.

Decent day.



19 Sun

Tons of machines about, covered six pages of signals.



20 Mon

Parcel from Uncle Syd, letters from Ma, Gertie and Aunt Lil.

Day fairly quiet, 2 salvos in rally and one dud aeroplane shell, was all.

Got watch from Squadron, bon.

Definition:  dud - (1) A shell that fails to explode


21 Tue

Letters from Dad and Airman.

Dull day nothing doing, thank goodness.

Letters from Syd and Harry.  Had a decent twenty minutes with gloves this evening.



22 Wed

Day quiet no machines over.



23 Thu

Parcel from Ma.

Very quiet, no machines over.



24 Fri

Letter from Gertie. 

Thick snow this morning, 6” deep.  Soon thawed however when sun came out.



25 Sat

Letter from Nell. 

Head across to LX this morning.  Dowling there, stayed until 9pm .  Some walk back, pitch dark, kept falling in shell holes and getting entangled in barbed wire.

Not bad fags this week, Hulls Campaigner.

Possibly 60 (or LX) Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery.


26 Sun

Day of mixed weather, snow, wind, rain and sunshine.

Beast of head on me today - who said rum.



27 Mon

One machine over sending weather reports.



28 Tue

Day quiet re aeros. Terrific winds blowing.



29 Wed

Mixed weather again.  Followed German aeroplane shoot right through, target coppice about 100 yards away.

Received letter from Gertie.



30 Thu

Received letter from Aunt Lil.

Terrific frost first thing but turned out a grand day, with plenty of machines over.



31 Fri

Received letter from Ma. 

Glorious day.  Had a bon football match this evening.  Did a little more to the dugout.



Next month


Diary home © peter james tabor 2004  

This page was last updated on 23 February 2004.