Diary of Events: Belgium and Northern France
December 1917 - March 1918
2-4 December 1917
The Battery rests in the wagon lines at Braye Dunes where the men are re-equipped and gun stores replenished. There is much speculation as to the eventual destination of the Battery. Heavy bombing by enemy aircraft on the night of the 4 December causes no damage.
5 December 1917
Orders are received for the Battery to move off en route for Buyscherre. The night is spent at Wormhoudt.
6 December 1917
The Battery arrives at Buyscherre mid-afternoon.
6-25 December 1917
The Battery enjoys a relaxing time after the previous six months hard fighting on the Belgian coast. Football matches and sports are encouraged by the officers and numbers of men are taken daily to St Omer. At the same time the daily routine is continued and every preparation is made for going into action again. Christmas is celebrated with a good dinner including Christmas pudding and beer.
26 December 1917
Orders are received for the Battery to move out and join the 1st ANZAC Corps. A heavy snowstorm followed by a hard frost makes the roads practically impassable although a start is made but abandoned after 5 miles and troops and horses return to Buyscherre.
27 December 1917 - 11 January 1918
Hard frosts continue to make it impossible to travel and although every effort was made to move the battery was again forced to return to Billets.
12 January 1918
A thaw makes it possible to travel and the battery marched out reaching Caestre about 3pm.
13 January 1918
The Battery reaches Morbecque via Hazebrook.
14-21 January 1918
Orders are awaited indicating to which Corps the Battery is to be attached.
22 January 1918
The Battery is ordered to move to a position in the vicinity of La Clytte, which is reached at 5pm after a march of about 30 kms. Appalling conditions are experienced in what was No Man's Land in 1917.
End January - Early February 1918
New gun positions are dug on Wytschaete Ridge about 1 km in front of the craters made during the battle of Messines. The guns and other personnel remain at La Clytte by the wagon lines.
15 February 1918
Orders are received for the Battery to return to Buyscherre where a week is spent re-equipping.
22 February 1918
The Battery leaves Buyscherre for the railhead at Arcques, outside St Omer, where it entrains and travels overnight to Flavy-le-Martel (12 kms SW of St Quentin).
23 February 1918
The Battery arrives at Flavy-le-Martel and marches south to Villequier Aumont where wagon lines are established in pleasant country. The Battery adopts a new method of distribution with the Sections positioned in echelon.
A peaceful time for the battery, but rumours abound that the Germans are preparing a major offensive.
First half of March, 1918
The Forward section carries out much firing and at times was badly shelled by the enemy but few casualties were sustained.
Each man is issued with a rifle and small arms ammunition and the Battery has two machine guns added to its equipment.
19 March 1918
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A telegram is received from Fifth Army HQ advising that a German offensive is expected within two or three days.