A night of fearful agony passed and morn breaks with a big gun salute from our battery and sniping from the German trenches. About 10 o’clock till dusk there is a horrible hellish bombardment and shells fall into our trenches. Rained heavy and some sun. Cold wet and terribly agonising. In the midst of this bombardment I am wounded by a shell, 11 am. Have to wait until 5:30 pm until I can be attended to. Then I have to put on my marching orders and take my rifle, (blind as I am) to the field dressing station. As we get out of the trench the German snipers keep up a rapid fire at us but luckily miss us. As we pass by the trench occupied by No. 5 platoon we hear the sickening sensation of a man groaning in his agony. He had been shot by a sniper and the bullet had penetrated his abdomen. He died later that night as also did Captain Newton of No. 3 Company who received a similar wound. Bullets were now flying thick around us and several of our men were shot. We reached the road, which was “shot to pieces” by large shells known to the troops as “Jack Johnsons” and “Black Marias”. Not being able to see clearly I naturally found out where the holes were located. When we reached the Village of Groote Vierstraat we found out to our surprise that no-one knew where the dressing station was. So I got a party together and left the offices and made for Dickebush. At two places on the way we asked to be attended to but they refused – too busy – so I made for an hotel and had coffee, chops and bread and then reported to the General Hospital at Dickebush where my eye was operated upon and some splinters taken out. I stayed here all night cold wet thro’ and shivering through exposure. I had to walk three miles to get attention; in agony, carrying a Rifle and accoutrements. I had not tasted biscuits nor bread for three days, living on Bully beef and jam.
*Jack Johnsons and Black Marias – High explosive shells from German artillery were nicknamed Black Marias or sometimes Jack Johnsons after the black US boxer who at the time was the heavyweight champion of the world. After impact these shells would burst with a large cloud of black smoke.