18 November 1915

HELLES - Gunner John Gunn, 14th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, 29th Division, VIII Corps - On 18 November Gunner John Gunn was once again back at the Fir Tree Observation Post.

"I had to start out this morning a little after eight o'clock for duty at the Fir Tree Wood OP along with Gunner Fair who is rather afraid of snipers. To get the quickest way to this it is better to cross a bit of open ground, but I could not get him to do so, and of course I followed him and ultimately I lost sight of him in the sunken roads, and having a heavy rain last night, they were in an awful mess. The result was I had to pick my way along and wade in mud a long way, fully 6 inches over my boots. I had to pull myself up in the open to escape some, but I couldn’t get in a worse mess than I was, so I had to crawl along to dodge the snipers and the bullets were whizzing over: (I met a party of the Naval Division carrying a wounded comrade and the stretcher bearers had their trousers up over their knees wading barefooted, so you can imagine what sort of a mess I was in) and only going out for the day to stand in an observation post. However, I got into a trench and found my way just by good luck to the OP. I got off my trousers, socks and boots, tied two sandbags round my feet, and hung the trousers and socks up to dry and laid out my boots in the sun. I put my coat on and had to sit like that for three hours until they were dry. By good luck I had a pair of clean socks in my greatcoat pocket and I put them on as my other ones were stiff with mud. Any time we give a peep over the trench to see where our shells are landing, there are always a few bullets whizzing over us, which makes us duck our heads, as snipers are continuously on the watch. We got off duty at six o’clock that night and started our walk back to the battery and it is difficult to find your way at night, jumping over trenches, and walking in them at times to escape bullets, as the Turks keep popping away the whole night long, and all the way you have a chance of getting hit."


IWM DOCS John Gunn Diary, 18/11/1915.