17th June 1917 (Sunday)

The comparative freedom of movement during the daylight hours invited liberties and Bradley and I soon found ourselves crossing the sunken road dividing the vast trench system from the rubble and masonry which had once been the village of Wancourt.  The devastation was not equal to the shambles of Beaurain and here and there remnants of buildings had survived the enemy guns.  Poppies abounded in the region but one hardly expected to see roses shining in Picardy.  On the far side of the road there was a garden encircled by a low brick wall surmounted by high iron railings.  A tall wrought iron gate gave entrance to what must have been the carefully tended rose garden of a house of some distinction.  The house, alas, was no more but the roses still flourished in colourful abandon.

Our main occupation was, however, to satisfy the urge to pour water down our parched throats and we were lucky.  Along the road a crowd of men from various units of the Brigade were milling around an ancient pump from which gushed a never-ending stream of water.  We filled our bottles and beat a hasty retreat before authority came upon the scene.

Night brought the usual wire carrying fatigue with a modicum of indiscriminate shelling from the other side, but the Company returned unscathed.

Buckshee water from Wancourt (Demolished).
Wire carrying.
Fritz shells us.

Original diary entry
Original journal notes