Roused early and on the march at 9:30 am. We marched 15 miles yesterday, but makes no odds, same again today. Boots are bad and toes are protruding. Feet wet thro’. Roads composed of cobble stones and bad to march on. At Bailleul the Germans fired on our troops from a church tower and killed quite a few. Quite a good many farmers working in the field only a little distance from the firing line and several people of all trades are in the towns. We encamp in a field for a few hours till dark then we are marched into the trenches under heavy rifle fire from both sides. We relieve the French troops. All night we stood to the loopholes and kept up a rapid fire. I silenced two German snipers who were very troublesome their aim was good and their bullets whistled uncomfortably near. I am stationed in front of a dead Frenchman and on my left in the trench is the body of another one. There are four more higher up. The trench is two feet full of mud but we have to wade thro’ it. No place to sleep so had to stay out in the open trench all night in the pouring rain. What a horrible night – indescribable-
*Bailleul – A town in northern France that was occupied by the German military for part of 1914. It was taken by the British later in the year and became a rear base for the western front along Flanders. The Germans re-took the town in 1918 but were forced to retreat after just three months due to relentless shelling by British and French troops.
*Loopholes – Loopholes allowed soldiers to look out of the trench without exposing their heads. Loopholes were built into the protective wall of the trench and could exist simply as a small gap in between sandbags or sometimes as more complex structures, such as a steel plate with holes to see through.