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Royal Garrison Artillery

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26 - 29 March




Battery Commander - 138th Heavy Battery, RGA, (The Hampstead Heavies)

March 25th, 1918

At 1 a.m. orders were received for the battery to move back through Noyon to Suzoy and reached there at 6 a.m.. Horses and men were showing considerable signs of fatigue. The distance had not been very great, but the horses had been on the road except for two short halts of an hour, owing to changes of orders, since 10 a.m. the previous morning, and the later part of the march had been in congested traffic with the frequent sudden halts to starts which are so trying with heavy loads. The men were getting footsore. However, during the morning we were all able to get a good wash and a few hours sleep and what was more, a good meal.

At 2 p.m., the 3 guns were ordered to take up a position west of Suzoy and by 5 p.m. the guns were ready to open fire.

At 7 p.m. an urgent order to move was sent to the battery and the guns were pulled in again, and an exceedingly trying and unpleasant march ensued. The roads were blocked and a general atmosphere of anxiety as to the close proximity of the Huns seemed to be prevalent. The columns got split up and mixed with siege batteries and it was not till 2 a.m. that the last of the battery had passed through Thesicourt towards Mareuil.

The night turned cold and wet and the long hill up from Thesicourt seemed unending. The battery was just settling into horse lines at 4.30 a.m. at Mireuil when orders were received for everyone to "stand to" at 5 a.m. and all available rifles were to be ready!!

At Thesicourt during the early part of the night there seemed to be an idea amongst the officers, whoever they were, at the cross roads that the Huns might be on the roads at any time, and about 11.30 p.m. when there was a break in the traffic coming in from Dives and Cuy the opinion was clearly expressed that the remainder of the column had been cut off and this"news" was apparently carried though to Mareuil.

The Battery Commander waited in Thesicourt to see the whole of his column go through and at 12 noon there still being a few wagons and an officer not yet arrived, he determined to make certain, if possible, that even if the story of their being cut off was true, he would like to have first hand news. He accordingly walked back on the Dives road and after going about 1 mile met the missing wagons coming along together with a French battery. They gave no reason to suspect that the enemy had yet got anywhere near Dives. It was therefore surprising on getting to Mareuil at 5 a.m. he found everybody in the expectancy of the Hun cavalry and men and horses getting no rest.


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