Slept? last night on floor in alley way – any port in a storm. Enemy sending a few over. Rain continues.
I collect dead men’s effects. Shrapnel shell bursts in our midst and kills one [officer?] & wounds another. Heavy bombardment in afternoon. In evening I get orders to go to Albert no room here for us my asst’ draughtsman, L/c White, is very ill and nervous, has not left the dugouts all time we have been up here.
At 10:30 PM the G.S. Wagon with 4 horses come for our outfit. Much shelling, horses very restive. Dark night much swearing. Have to go to K dump on way down lose road in dark. Stranded! 400 yards to go for dump. Much sliding and falling into shell holes. Wet thro’ & covered with mud. Get men to come but two arrive. Call out for L/c White – no answer! Search ends fruitlessly for him. Hell of bombardment on. Find truck at dump; load it & push back. At junction there are two badly wounded men on one trolley coming our way & a horse & 3 trucks coming another & we bisecting them. Wounded have preference. Loads tipped amidst great argument. Am taken for an officer in the dark and make good on the predicament by giving orders.
Difficulty over we find a way out among shell holes & arr Albert 2 am. L/c W. is there & has shell shock, is crying. Ought to have been brought up for cowardice but – human nature, etc.
*Shell Shock – A contemporary name for some soldiers’ reactions to traumatic episodes in battle. Shell shock could be defined in both physical and psychological ways but usually had to do with losing control of oneself by panicking, crying or inability to reason. Some soldiers who suffered from shell shock were put on trial for cowardice and sometimes even executed. At the time many felt that shell shock was not a medical condition, as much as weakness of character. Today shell shock is equated with modern diagnoses of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.