Tuesday 30 September 2014

Fun and Games with 1st Bedfords at the Front

Wednesday 30th September 1914: Our contact with the 1st Battalion tells us: "Up at 4 am and I went up to Sergeant Nolais[1] who was in charge of Number 16 Platoon and were in Number 2 Section of the defence right up front. He had reported that there was a trench about 200 yards in front of him full of Germans and that they looked offensive".

"I had a look round but could see no sign of any such trench and it turned out to be all rot. I stopped there for some time and sniped at Magpies in the trees in front but simply couldn't hit them".

"We then set up a regular range on the left more or less in the open and clear of the wood. It was a splendid range and we amused ourselves on the 800 and 1,000 yards butts, sniping at the Germans as they came down towards their trenches carrying cups of tea into their front trenches".

"I then went back to our Section in Number 3 and sat alongside my dug-out and made out the mess bills. While I was doing this we suddenly heard a buzzing noise which got louder and louder and thought that an aeroplane was coming down on top of us. With a tremendous 'phut' something then landed in the ground somewhere near us. We then knew it was a bit of a shell and looked round for it. I found it buried in the ground about 18 inches deep and about two yards from where I was sitting. It was the base plate of one of our 5 inch shells which had burst back although it had actually burst on the Germans' trenches some 800 yards in front".

Source: X550/2/7

[1] Sergeant William John Nolais died of wounds on 8th December 1914 and is buried at Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen

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