Flag The Diary of Major H G Paris
Royal Garrison Artillery


1914/15 entries

13 October -
20 October

21 October -
10 November

11 November -
11 December

12 December -
13 December

22 December -
26 December

27 December -
1 January

35th Heavy Battery R.G.A. (aged 27 at time of writing)


Busy improving position making brushwood paths and roads, putting up screens for guns and wagons, etc. Fired a few rounds to check the line of the guns.

Registered No. 4 gun on Distillery. 10 Lyddite

(N.B. By "registering" we mean that we fire a sufficient number of rounds to satisfy ourselves as to the correct line and range for that spot and then stop. By this means, you get a number of definite and prominent points in your area fixed and in the event of a sudden appearance of a target any where, the observer has only to name the nearest of these points and the battery can open fire at once and should hit straight off. Especially useful for night firing).


   (1)   Copse               6 Lyddite
   (2)   White House     7 Shrapnel


In same position registering various targets with aeroplane.


This was rather an interesting day for me, within 600 yards of the German trenches. We have got an observation post in the roof of a big house about 200 yards behind our own trenches. There was originally a big factory (carpets or cloth, I believe) and along the road all the workmen's cottages and this big house which belonged to the owner. He (the owner) is reported to have been friendly to the Germans - I hope he was, because the whole place now is an absolute ruin.

The house we use must have been quite a fine one and the only one I have every come across with a bathroom in it. The state it is in now is indescribable - there is only one room on the ground floor in which the rain does not come through right from the roof, besides which the whole place is littered with broken crockery, furniture, children's toys, etc. In fact, it must have been left as it stood in peace time.

We have put sandbags round the rafters and look out through the gaps in the tiles, but of course one has to be pretty careful to show nothing or you hear a "ping" close by from a sniper. We get a jolly good view for some distance and of course can observe our shell on the German trenches etc. quite well. A good many fellows use it and are always on the look out for some sign of movement, and woe betide any body of Germans or guns which show themselves as they very soon have about 6 batteries at them.

It seems extraordinary to be sitting up there quite comfortably reading or playing some game - petit chevaux and a "pin and marble" game were discovered in the house, and the Germans only a few hundred yards off.

The ground in front is large open ploughed fields and the trenches are only about 100 yards apart. Of course, you cannot see into them, but you can see the line of the parapet and the entanglements in front, and smoke from the fires. While I was there, there was a good deal of "baling" going on on both sides. The extraordinary thing is that one sees nothing moving, so complete is the network of trenches. Everything is done under ground. I only caught a glimpse of two Germans all day, though we saw some earth being thrown in one place and soon stopped that with a round of lyddite or two. In front of us there has been no German artillery fire for some time. I suppose they are saving ammunition as much as possible.


Still in same position.

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