2nd September (1918)

Night’s rest spoilt.  First Fritz came over bombing.  Just got to sleep again when he started to shell us; they came so near that, led by the Irishman, we hopped out and down into a deep dug-out close by.  Of course the shelling then stopped.

First thing this morning took the road through the dead town.  Saw some monster British Howitzers firing; also a number of wounded, waiting on stretchers, and groups of Hun prisoners coming in, some under escort, some not.  Among them some fearful specimens – a half-witted dwarf, and creatures with glasses of extraordinary thickness obscuring purblind eyes.

Have smashed the nail of my index finger by bumping it with a shell.

Can’t make the Hunter out – though as hungry as a —- hunter, he won’t settle down to eat grass, but lunges uneasily about, snatching here a few weeds, there a few leaves from a tree, stopping to gaze drearily at distant objects and stretch his scarred and nubbly hind legs high in the air.  I am convinced that he is very old and suffers from a complexity of complaints, including toothache and rheumatism.  The Poet on the other hand guzzles indiscriminately, licking up the landscape with his long, lyrical lips.  They both turned giraffe this afternoon and browsed from quite high trees.

IWM (Q 11255) Soldier NZ Division takes cover as shell bursts, Grevillers, 25 Aug 1918

[Image: A soldier of the New Zealand Division takes cover behind a small farm building as a German shell-bursts nearby, Grevillers, 25 August 1918. IWM (Q 11255)]

IWM (Q 11502) 8-inch howitzers in action, St. Leger, 29 Aug 1918

[Image: Second Battle of the Somme. Battery of 8-inch howitzers (Royal Garrison Artillery) in action on the roadside at St. Leger. Note dust rising from road as result of concussion of discharge, 29 August 1918.  IWM (Q 11502)]

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