19th January (1918)

A great naval gun mounted on a railway line, close behind us is banging away at regular intervals.  A few Yanks are to be met with here and there – they say they want to “go up there where that gard-damn noise is going on”.  One of our captive balloons got adrift today and mounted out of sight followed by dozens of shell-bursts – our guns trying to destroy in case it should fall into Fritz’s lines.  The Villain, who never writes – only sends a cable once a year for money to go on leave with – has given me a green envelope.  The Villain has good points.  For instance, he scorned the idea of selling the envelope, though it is common to barter them.  Extraordinary people!  They wanted a steward for the Officer’s Club and instead of getting some tired old chap they let a younger active member have it.  I see that the Yankees allow only one batman or groom to several officers, whereas in our English armies every officer has at least one and from my observation they seem always to be young and active fellows.

nlnzimage 12-013726-G Railway Gun 30 April 1918

[Image: A distant view of a British 9.2 inch rail gun firing in the New Zealand sector during in Coigneux, France, 30 April 1918. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association: New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013726-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22886860]

IWM Q 11593 British Railway Gun (Bethune April 1918)

[Image: Gunners of the Royal Garrison Artillery hauling a shell on to the platform of a 9.2 inch railway gun by its crane. Near Bethune, 17 April 1918, Imperial War Museums Q11593]

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