The Huns have a working party out and we give them a rapid fire apparently doing damage. They retaliate. At 7 am the Huns send over 15 or 20 huge trench mortar bombs about size of 4 gallon keg. They cause great havoc with our trenches and dug outs just knocking them to pieces like sand hills.
Our casualties are Lance Corporal McG* 210 Johnstone George Blanchard (of Nelson BC)
Killed (buried under the debris) with brains knocked out and neck broken and leg torn off)
Private McG, 58 Moyle – wounded
Private McG 181 Fergusson [Vs] – wounded in leg, arm, and knee.
George Blanchard Johnstone, Nelson BC.
Lance Corporal McG 62 MacQueen A.R – shock
Private McG 78 Alban W.J – shock
The dull thud from the German trench mortar could be heard and immediately I shouted “take cover”, after a short wait I would hear a hissing noise and on looking up, would see a gigantic “Salmon Can” coming thro’ the air. A few would alight on the wire netting and bounce up again.
The explosion was ear splitting and deafening and the vibration shook the trench as an earthquake. I had orders previous to the bombardment to collect the water bottles and after 4 attempts which nearly cost me my life I did go. Also I collected the Rifles, kits and other articles of value to save them from being buried. The bombardment was over by 10 am. At 3 pm we are ordered out of trench to let our artillery bombard the German trenches. At 5 pm back again. All quiet during night. Except furious bombardment by artillery near Arras.
The Germans ask for a truce to bury their dead which we killed last night. The firing was the result of my report. “German working party out in front”.
A most sanguinous bombardment is taking place on our left.
Started at or about 10 pm and kept up till dusk.
*McG = McGill University Company Reinforcement Draft
*Minenwerfer- The German mortar or “Mine Launcher” was a short range weapon used extensively by Germany during WWI. Early on the Germans realized that mortars were extremely useful for trench warfare as the projectiles could fall straight downward into the enemy’s trenches. They developed three different sizes of mortar and quickly started to mass produce them after their initial successes.
* Sanguineous – Relating to or involving bloodshed