25th August (1918)

Bivouaced in the open on a recent battlefield.  When I had written the last page in bed a sergeant came in and roused us all out bag and baggage and we’ve been going ever since, advancing from one position to another, carrying ammunition all over the place.  The scene of the recent advance is striking and terrible.  The ground is thick with shell-holes, wrecked ‘planes, tanks, armoured cars, and all the paraphernalia of war, and the dead are still lying about, some in singularly life-like attitudes – the hot weather already playing its part and producing diabolical results.  The country is rolling, with some narrow gullies on whose ridges are the remnants of machine gun redoubts etc.  Last night we lay in the open fields and the dew was so heavy that it wet my horse-blanket though.  Got a good sleep in spite of enormous bombardments.  In the afternoon several daring Hun fliers came over quite low.  How they escaped from our machine guns, rattling in all quarters, mystifies me.  The scene, especially at sunset and by moonlight, of moving masses of artillery, the din of gunfire, bursting shells, bombs, etc. and the spasmodic gun-flashes stabbing up at the sky, created an effect hard to even faintly describe.  The fact however it is an advance and not a retreat makes one take it more cheerfully – the trumpet blows!

nlnzimage 1-2 013508-G Captured German MG position, Grevillers, 24 Aug 1918

[Image: A German machine gun position photographed just after its capture by New Zealand troops during World War I. Shows a New Zealander inspecting the trench in which a dead German soldier lays. Sheets of iron and pieces of timber are strewn around the nearby dugout. Two stick hand grenades are visible in the foreground. Photograph taken Grevillers 24 August 1918 by Henry Armytage Sanders. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Ref: 1/2-013508-G]

nlnzimage 1-2 013494-G Captured German artillery, Grevillers, 24 Aug 1918

[Image: Guns in a captured German battery at Grevillers, France, during World War I. Image taken by Henry Armytage Sanders, 24 August, 1918. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Ref: 1/2-013494-G]

nlnzimage 1-2 013495-G Motor car passing a huge shell hole in captured ground, Grevillers, 24 Aug 1918

[Image: A motor car travelling along an uneven dirt road passes a huge shell hole in captured ground during World War I. Small groups of soldiers are visible in the background. Tree stumps appear on the horizon. Photograph taken near Grevillers, France, on 24 August 1918 by Henry Armytage Sanders. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Ref: 1/2-013495-G]

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