At midnight was hauled out of bed to take up gas shells. We eventually reached what we thought to be the dump described to us. Yelled and howled around for half an hour but not a soul appeared. Our N.C.O. then rode back to report and after an interminable time reappeared with instructions to load up with H.E. Got to the guns a little after dawn and just as the barrage was being put up for an attack, the whole half-lit countryside flickering rhythmically to the flashes of hundreds of eighteen-pounders. Clattered back over the cobble stones of the battered town, reaching camp at about reveille.
About 1.p.m. Boot and Saddle blew and we hooked in, being told the guns were advancing. As a precaution I carried my haversack and essentials. Just as well, as it is now doubtful when we will get the rest of our gear. The trees by the roadside are riddled with shrapnel and the little shell-holes made by the instantaneous fuses are everywhere. Dead of both sides are littered about. Early in our march we witnessed the disastrous effect of a random shell, which had a few moments prior to our arrival hit a team and killed all 6 horses and 2 of the drivers and wounding the third.
Now halted under a tattered avenue in the grounds of a chateau. Everything is going forward – balloons, big guns, and vehicles of every description.
Our reinforcements are having a lively introduction to warfare – “open slather” as we call it now. Huge fire burnt in the enemy’s territory all last night and the smoke was visible by day – so he is destroying as he retreats. I have just seen an aeroplane falling in short spirals like a wounded bird.