Title - Percy Allsup's Diary, 1st May 1916 to 4th July 1916

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May 1st

Stand down 4.0AM, snipers again very busy, raining at times, trenches bad again, rounds with Officer morning & evening, finish 11.30PM till stand down next morn., not much sleep that day.

May 2nd

Rounds with Officer at Stand Down, 7.0AM breakfast, after on again till 3.30PM. One of our chaps almost buried with a concussion shell giving him a severe shaking, off again till 7.0PM. Stand to, finished till stand down next morn., got a comfortable 4 hours sleep in dugout.

May 3rd

Stand Down 3.0AM, absolutely quiet night, before stand down one of my pals fired 10 rounds into their wirer & then found out it was a dummy. Many aeroplanes about, many shells all round them, wiz bangs coming quite close to where my pal fired at their dummy, our retalliating all afternoon. Went Rounds at 7.0PM till 11.0PM, not much doing all the time.

May 4th

Stand down at 3.0AM, snipers very busy, not much more till 8.0AM, our artillery gave them a little straffe. They retalliated soon after, came away 1.30PM for dinner. Went Rounds again 2.0PM, our big artillery straffed their front line in front of us, got about a dozen goods right in the trench. I saw one blow some wire entanglements about 50 yds into the air, finished rounds at 3.0PM, went in again at stand to and finished while 11.30, on till stand down next morn., at night I saw our MGs put almost two pans into a German working party which made sparks fly off their wires and no doubt there were a few casualties in that lot.

May 5th

Finished soon after stand down till 3.0PM, went rounds and stopped in the first post for a look through periscope & I happened to pick a Chorley Guardian up when a Johnson went off close by flinging me against the side of the trench, couldn't see one another for dust & smoke, that was the first I had. Finished at 7.0PM while stand down next morn. but had to go in again on account of a straffe on the right of us between the 29th Division & our friends, nothing at all going on our front, finished 7.0AM.
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May 6th

Nothing to do only to tidy up for relieving time, aeroplanes active all day, few wiz bangs came over to us, got relieved at 6.0PM by E. Yorks., had to march to other side of Buss [Bus-lès-Artois], in huts.

May 7th

Nothing to do all day. Church Service at night.

May 8th

Parade at 10AM. Batt. Drill, our Colonel gave a speech about the good work we did in the trenches, issue of clothing in afternoon.

May 9th

Parade 9.0AM, bayonet Drill & Plattoon Drill, in afternoon single fellows in our hut played married ones football, M3.S1.

May 10th

Parade 9.30AM, bayonet & Plattoon Drill, same in afternoon.

May 11th

Parade 9.0AM. Plattoon Drill, went to baths 11.30AM, afternoon take rifle to be examined by Armoury Sergt., also pay in afternoon.

May 12th

Parade 9.0AM. Wood fighting, afternoon wiring, finished 4.0PM, went to Buss [Bus] to see our team play 18th W Yorks football, ours won 4-0.

May 13th

Parade 8.45AM. Brigade Route March cancelled on account of rain, parade 10.30, rifle inspection, parade 1.30PM, Route March 12mls, got back 5.0PM.

May 14th

Parade 8.45AM, digging stones for roads, raining all morning, finished at 4.30PM when we had to march to Courseilles [Courcelles-le-Comte], in barns.

May 15th

Parade 9.0AM, digging trenches for bombers just behind the village, same in afternoon, completed them before finishing. Orderly also that day, washed all clothes at night, beautiful all day.

May 16th

Parade 9.0AM. Fatigue at Brigade Hdqts., same in afternoon.

May 17th

Parade 9.0AM. Plattoon & Squad Drill all day.

May 18th

Parade 8.45AM, clearing road close to Bdge Hdqts. Afternoon pulling wall down (Courseilles [Courcelles]) which a shell had hit.

May 19th

Parade 8.0AM. Fatigue Work filling limber wagons with manure, same in afternoon, finished at 4.30PM.

May 20th

Parade 10.30AM. Relieving Sheffields in trenches, got in about 2.30PM, very quiet all day, until they sent a few shells at our ration party, very hot weather.

May 21st

Beautiful day, few wiz bangs & shells flying about, went rounds with Officer 10.30, finished 11.30. Officer went out of trenches on a course in afternoon. I went back to my section, afternoon laying flags in communicator, went out again 8.30PM, digging all night till 2.30AM.

May 22nd

Digging again at 9.0AM till 12.30AM [12.30PM], finished while 8.30PM, went on same work again till 2.0AM next morn., very quiet all night, good weather.

May 23rd

Very nice day, went on digging again at 8.30AM, finished at 12.30AM [12.30PM], went on digging sumps in communicator, finished that job, after carrying boards for trenches from Observation Wood very hard bombardment began which lasted about half an hour, finished at 2.30PM, went on bringing boards from Euston Dump on trucks [in] broad day light, expected them shelling us any minute, got finished alright.

May 24th

Digging at 2.0AM till 12.30AM [12.30PM], finished till 8.30PM, digging in same place as night previous, our own wiring party out, finished at 2.30AM.

May 25th

Parade at 10.0AM, relieving X. Coy. in first line, few shells flying about, ours was No 15 Post, weather bad, raining all day. Wiring Party Z Coy out in front of us. I had to do sentry go about 4 yds over the parapet challenging a few wirers now & again. Lights going up, could see Germans watching our wiring party up & down, not much else doing.

May 26th

Stand Down at 2.30AM, while waiting for daybreak to come the earth gave a very rough shake, could only make it out as a sap exploding. Our guns going off regular, shells from our friends coming very close. One of Coy. took out with Shattered Nerves, everything calm until about 10.30PM when the Germans had seen our wiring parties, they first put their machine guns on them and then their artillery, glad to say all got back safe after dashing through our wire entanglements, one Sergt. bayoneted in the shoulder by falling on one of our fellow's bayonet in the bay. Quiet all along after then. Stand Down 2.30AM.

May 27th

Quite a nice day, not much doing, digging while 11.0AM, finished while 8.30PM, thought after about that day and Leyland the last Saturday in May, our wiring party out again but they left them alone this time.

May 28th

Making fire step in bay while 12.0 (noon), both sides shouting across to one another at the beginning of the morning. They were shelling on the right of us all morning making many of our trenches almost level with the parapet. One Sergt. out of 12 Plattoon hit by high explosive, 15 of our aeroplanes up at once, they seemed to have had a raid somewhere, not so busy in afternoon, few rifle grenades coming over after tea. Stand to at 8.0PM. Wiring party out, bombardment on left of Worsters at 10.30PM. Germans retalliated 11.30PM, both lasting about 15 minutes, all quiet after then, rifle grenades go up on right of us 11.40PM, peculiar little star in sky moving up & down. I thought it would be a guide of some kind for their wiring parties, not much more doing only shouting across as usual. Stand down 2.30AM, sand bagging in the night.

May 29th

Weather grand all day, many flying about wiz bangs, coming just over trench after working parties.

May 30th

Got relieved with Barnsleys at 3.30PM, no casualties while relieving, got to Corseilles [Courcelles] at 6.30PM, spent a good nights sleep in billets, and ready for it too.

May 31st

No Parade all day until 6.30PM, went digging close to first line, could not do much as they had seen us, and began shelling, had to retire for the night.

June 1st

No Parade, so I went to Buss [Bus] for a bath. Parade at 8.0PM, digging a new trench, finished at 11.30PM.

June 2nd

No Parade. Comforts from the Manchester Guardian Fund given out. Parade 6.45PM, digging in first line, finished 1.0AM.

June 3rd

No Parade. Orderly for billet, weather splendid, our team plays 1st East Lancs Regt. football at Bertrancourt in afternoon, our team winning 4-1, at night expecting a severe bombardment but it turned out to be very slight.
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June 4th

Parade 9.0AM, march to Authie, in huts where we stayed for the night.

June 5th

Parade 8.45AM, marched to Gezaincourt, got there 3.30PM, about 13 mls F.M.O., went in ordinary billets.

June 6th

No Parade. Cleaning buttons up & equipment. Coy & Plattoon Drill in afternoon.

June 7th

Ordinary Routines.

June 8th

Parade 9.0AM, same again, Coy & Plattoon Drill. Ditto in afternoon.

June 9th

Parade 6.30AM, inspection Parade 9.0AM. Bdge. Route March, back at 12 (noon), afternoon watching our trench mortars smash wire entanglements up on some trenches out in the country.

June 10th

Parade 7.0AM, inspection Parade 9.0AM. The big advance movements, weather rainy all day, same proceedings in afternoon, pouring down, finished 5.0PM.

June 11th

Orderly for billets, morning. Afternoon Advance Movements, aeroplanes moving with us, one came down to drop messages, finished 4.30PM. Big day in village, scholars walking, many attending services.

June 12th

Parade 7.30. Advance operations. Weather very bad, finished 12.0AM for dinner, same in afternoon. Wet through with running through corn fields, finished 5.0PM.

June 13th

Packing up, moving back to Authie in billets at 7.0AM. Landed at 1.0PM, raining all the way.

June 14th

Packing up, moving back to huts in woods close to Buss [Bus], got there 11.0AM. Colonel gave a speech on the coming events of the Great Advance, weather awful. Parade 5.50PM. Fatigue Works in trenches, very tired after ten miles there & back, got back 4.15AM.

June 15th

Rest through day, received parcel from home. Parade 6.0PM, marched to trenches (6 mls), digging in first line, got back 4.0AM.

June 16th

Weather Mending. Rest through day, parade 5.50PM, march to trenches again, carrying boards from Euston Dump to first line! Sheffields firing on party of Germans who were coming across, too much lead flying for them, they made them fly back. Got back to camp 3.0AM.

June 17th

Rest through day, weather much better. Parade 6.0PM, digging in trench just behind first line, got back home at 4.0AM.

June 18th

No Parade through day, parade at 5.0PM. Loading wagons with ammunition (18 lbs shells), finished 9.0PM.

June 19th

Going in trenches, relieved Sheffields 4.0PM, our coy. & Z Coy goes in first line for two days. Weather Medium, first line in awful state after our friends had finished shelling it the same day as we went in! The bay as myself was in the time before was demolished, went rounds with Officer at stand to, finished at Stand down next day! Just a bit of a row now & again.

June 20th

Rest while 12.0 (noon) after stand down. Went rounds with Officer again while 4.30PM, few shells flying. Went Rounds again, stand to. Sergt. Duckworth of our Plattoon killed with shell. Sergt. Heaton of same Plattoon wounded in hand with same shell, finished after stand down till stand to next day.

June 21st

Got Relieved with X Coy. Went in third line (The Trosacs). Weather splendid! Good view of German line from same trench, went rounds again, rest in afternoon till midnight while rations had been taken to Coy.

June 22nd

Weather fine, easy day, nothing doing on our trench, but rough at times on first & second. Went Rounds again till rations had been taken to Companys, stand to & stand down as usual.

June 23rd

Plenty Gun fire all day, ours having the best of it. Looking at enemy's lines all day with glasses, but could not see any of our friends. Got relieved at midnight (very rough shower in afternoon) which made it dribble down all night, very dark coming out & raining.

June 24th

Got to camp 5.0AM, very tired, still raining, covered with mud, rest through day.

June 25th

Rest again, rifle inspection 10.30 & 11.0AM, nothing else doing, bombardment getting very rough.

June 26th

Rest through day, on fatigue in trenches at night carrying water, got back to camp 5.0AM.

June 27th

Rest again, on fatigue at night in trenches, digging in Rob-Roy which had been blown in, finished 2.0AM, got back 5.30AM, puttees & feet wet again.

June 28th

Rest through day, weather just fair, on fatigue in trenches at 6.45PM, bombardment again rough, carrying water from Sugar Refinery to Excema trench just behind first line. Went again with MG pans, ammunition, finished 1.30AM, got back 4.0AM.

June 29th

Rest through day, so many only allowed out of camp on account of 48 hours Stand to.

June 30th

Rest through day, went out on stringing party 6.30PM, got back 5.30AM.

July 1st

Batt. in trenches ready [for] advance. Myself put on reinforcements. Advance starts 7.30AM. On fatigue work in afternoon carrying bombs. Went to reinforce our chaps at 8.0PM, bombardment very heavy. I was hit on shoulder blade with a piece of our own shell 11.30PM, returned to party still feeling dizzy. Officer ordered me back to camp, got back 3.0AM.
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July 2nd

Waiting anxiously for reports of our men, most of all my brother, heard he had been wounded in shoulder at 9.0AM, men dribbling in one by one in terrible state in No 4 Camp Buss Wood [Bus Wood]. Weather Medium, rest through day. No blankets nor Great Coats to sleep on at night. Walking up & down the wood to keep ourselves warm at night.

July 3rd

Weather dull, could hear bombardment going on very rough - that was 6 mls away.

July 4th

Packing up all day, raining very hard all the time. Our fellows getting relieved, finished 8.0PM, marched to Louvincourt [Louvencourt], billeted there in barns. Our chaps landed 1.30AM very tired.

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Permission to publish the transcript of Percy Allsup's diary is by kind courtesy of Percy B. Allsup. Transcript © Andrew C. Jackson 2000.

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