Halloy. Early service. Having known for some time that the attack at Gommecourt was coming off on June 29th, though eventually it was postponed for two days owing to heavy rain, and feeling that it was a case of ‘now or never’ if I was to get to ‘Blighty’, I left off keeping this diary and, as all packs and unnecessary clobber had to be left behind before going over the top, I was unable to make it up to July 1st. While at Halloy the officers of ‘D’ Coy gave a dinner, to which the Sgts. were invited, at Doullens. A kind of farewell to our free and easy life before the coming event for which we had been preparing for some time. On June 26th we moved up to a position just near Souastre, where we lay for four days while the bombardment of the German lines went on. Two 15” guns were almost on top of us, and we well knew when they were at their business. On the evening of June 30th we went up to our concentration trenches (Sgt Swan being ill, I was made Platoon Sgt. of 15 at the last moment), and spent the night getting bridges etc. in position so that the troops could pass over more easily on the following morning.
Mondicourt. Breakfast at five, and move off at six in the rain for Halloy. Practice the attack all the morning, lecture in afternoon.
Mondicourt. Visit Doullens after dinner, have tea and dinner there. Strawberries and cream etc. for tea. Get back to find we ought to have proceeded to Halloy during the evening.
St Armand. Inspection of kit and rifles, then move on again to Mondicourt and take up our old billets. Pay parade.
Hebuterne. Nothing all day, but pack up ready to move off. Relieved about 5 pm and march to St Armand via Souastre. Good billets and clean.
Hebuterne. Daytime and shelling. Ramp digging fatigue at night, finish about 12.30 pm.