My assistant & one of the observers go to Mont St Eloy. I’m busy making maps.
Very busy map making for blue prints. A young fellow of the pioneer was shot thro’ the heart & liver near our dugout. Poor young Bradford dies of wounds at Mont St Eloy Hosp, shot by a sniper same time as Sergt Michaud.
I lay in bed till’ 1 PM then down to my office. General MacDonnel arrives back from leave & greats me with a handshake & asks several questions. I give him a late map of trenches on tracing lines. The assembly consists of the General, Col Griesbay, the Bde Major & the aide de camp. (Mr[?] Wallis).
Enemy shell our batteries. We have been shelling him all day with heavy shells.
Enemy busy with r.g. fire & trench mortars. We name a heavy trench mortar of their’s – “Anania” and another one “Josephine II.” In the night we blow up a mine. I watched it go up, a fierce looking affair with a huge column of fire & smoke. Machine guns open fire & we are active. The whole affair is a success & the 49th occupy the crater lip. It is a bitterly cold, wet night with biting wind. I have neuralgia curse it.
Heavy retaliation by our guns for yesterday’s affair.
Christmas day, weather fine. High wind. Reported that enemy is moderately quiet along front. L/c T.J. White & I travel across country to the front line trenches clad in steel helmet and long thigh-boots, revolver, etc. in full view of the enemy. For over a mile we travel thus. If he wanted to he could have blown us to pieces. We pass many decomposed bodies lying all over the fields & in the trenches also rifles, ammunition & equipment.
We arrive at the front line trenches. After wallowing thro’ mud thigh deep we visit the craters. A man has just been wounded by Fritz & his bloodstained coat lay there as evidence others had been wounded earlier in the day. He had sent over two heavy minenwerfer shells.
About 8 to 9 am a white flag is seen and no man’s land is full of Germans. They were identified as Pomeranians. 16th, 23rd, 198th & another one. They desired to fraternize & some exchanged souvenirs. A message was sent then “they must either surrender or they would be shot at if they did not return to their trenches.” We visited the new crater named Patricia. After wishing the boys “all the best” we returned to Bde Hdqr & a good dinner of turkey and roast beef. The plum pudding had not arrived. During the whole day the enemy were pounding our trenches on the right & left of our Brigade area.
*Pomeranians – Pomerania is a small historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. The region joined the German Empire in 1871.
Enemy sending shells over to us. One lands in dugout & wounds 5 men. Using 4”13 shell. I go to Neuville St Vaast to see Sergt Rowley, Miller & Peters.
Mail is delayed, a letter has taken 12 days to come from England. Rum is issued to the troops.
Heavy shelling by us all morning. In the afternoon, about 2 PM, we open a heavy bombardment on enemy, a great sight. In the morning our aeroplanes bring down two enemy aeroplanes – good work.
We send over smoke shells on our front as a feint attack, & attack in another quarter altogether.