14th June 1917

The position held by the QWR formed a dangerous salient and to prevent exploitation of this by the enemy it was deemed necessary to straighten the line.  This task fell to the lot of the 3rd Battalion of the London Regiment, Royal Fusiliers.

At dawn the attack on our left was begun.  The action was noisy but brief.  Word came through by the grapevine that the operation was a complete success.  Ninety-nine prisoners taken and all counter attacks smashed by the British guns.  This was cheering news but the Hun artillery retaliated strongly on the QWR lines as a quid pro quo.

Since Bradley was employed on other duties, I sallied forth on my own for the nightly jaunt.  At the rendezvous the QVR party were already waiting.  They appeared ill at ease, the young Lieutenant in charge was a newcomer and was himself decidedly edgy.  We had not gone far when he volunteered the information that he was scared stiff and told me why.  Lieutenant X was dead.  It appeared that on the previous night when returning in the half light before the dawn, no doubt uncertain of his direction, had gone ahead of his party.  On being challenged by the QWR Lewis Gun post by the copse he panicked and ran.  Tragically a burst from the gun killed him.

The security of the water ration was now acute.  Three quarters of a water bottle per man was quite insufficient in the boiling heat.  Shaving and washing were quite out of the question.  It was therefore natural that during the lonely hours of the night after guiding duties were finished and the rest of the Company were doing their stint in the front line my thoughts should dwell on the cool streams flowing freely near the Lewis Gun post by the copse.  I succumbed to the temptation and, retracing my steps, filled my water bottle to the brim.  By the end of the spell in the support trenches my nightly pilgrimage was loaded with a dozen or more bottles filled with the polluted streams which oozed their way through every known abomination covering the battlefield for miles around.  My companions were most grateful and I left it to each man’s discretion as to how he used it.  I just used mine for shaving.  An inexplicable outbreak of impetigo afflicted a number of men in the 8th Platoon on or about the 1st July.

Heavy shelling.
Guied for Queen Vics working party.
Heavy strafe on our trench.
Shrapnel on tin hat and arm.
Bivvies blown in.

Original diary entry
Original journal notes

"Nothing further of interest occurred until June 14th, when the 3rd Division, on the left, delivered an attack at 7:20am on a German position, known as the Mound, about 1000 yards to the east of Monchy le Preux. The attack, which was made without previous artillery preparation, was very successful and resulted in the capture of two trenches, known as Hook and Long, some 200 yards from the front line."
Excerpt from "The War History of the 1st Battalion Queen's Westminster Rifles 1914-1918" [ISBN 1-84342-610-2]