Sunday, 29th September (1918)

Pushing the Hun and having been pushing him all night – no sleep at all.  If I close my eyes I have visions of driving, driving along endless roads all crowded with traffic; struggling along amongst teams, their hot hides sending up steam in the pale moonlight; a vision of bombs, shells, searchlights and aeroplanes trying to dodge them – hours and hours spent in merely watering horses, after carting shells and more shells from position to position; fighting our way along the seething high-roads, defying rules to get through at all.  Finished about seven this morning, having been in the saddle and without food and drink for about eighteen hours.  Then both we and the horses had a real “blow out”, the only meal today.  The barrage was being fired as we left the guns before dawn.  We got into high country, commanding a view unusually extensive, and there in the distance were the towers and spires of Cambrai, glittering in the sun and from that distance seeming symbolical of peace and prosperity.  But alas! monstrous towers of black smoke curled up above them, where the hand of the destroyer was at work.

We began to be shelled persistently, but pushed on through a battered village, Marcoing.  From there on, things got merry and we ended up coming back at a gallop, with big shells whopping down behind us.  Some dreadful sights on the roadside – too horrible to describe.  Hun planes brought one of ours down with a crack quite near us and then varied matters with a little bombing.

The fatigued horses were in a fearful state after the galloping – poor beasts, they are getting irregular feeding and watering and terribly hard graft.

IWM (Q 9372) Attack on Hindenburg Line near Bellicourt, 29 Sep 1918

[Image: Attack on the Hindenburg Line. Mark V Tanks with ‘cribs’ and troops going forward, near Bellicourt, 29th September 1918. IWM (Q 9372).  Note: this photograph was taken to the south of where the NZ Division was in action, and is not of NZ soldiers.]

IWM (Q 9370) Battle of St Quentin Canal, Bellicourt, 29 Sep 1918

[Image: Battle of St Quentin Canal (Saint-Quentin). Prisoners bringing in wounded as Mark V Tanks with ‘cribs’ advance near Bellicourt, 29th September 1918.  IWM (Q 9370)]

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