Cité St Pierre, September 7, 1917

Friday    up this am at 8:30 didnt do much all morning (headache) we registered our guns this afternoon at 3:30 and Fritz dropped a few close ones at 4 p.m. since the[n] everything fairly quiet  10 pm [written in pencil]

The earlier part of today’s entry (see yesterday’s blog) described their arrival at Cité St Pierre last night.  It is not surprising, perhaps, that the reality of the firing line has afflicted Percy with a migraine — a scourge since boyhood.

Cité St Pierre, the battery historian tells us, had once been a model of progressive mining: the miners lived in brick cottages, each with a bit of garden, and the landmark mine building, Fosse 11, was modern, constructed of brick and steel. All are now in ruins. (1)

Loos-en-Gohelle_-_Fosse_n°_11_des_Mines_de_Lens_(01)

The inset image shows the building before the war began

The battery finds its quarters amid the ruins, “in cellars in the nearby demolished houses. Piles of bricks, rails, legs and rubbish made these little vaulted wine cellars fairly bomb-proof. All were fitted with gas-curtains, for gas was Fritz’s most effective weapon against the artillery, as we were soon to find out.” (2)

In a note at the end of the diary, Percy adds “we bid [Fritz] good afternoon on Sept 7 he kept us hopping on this day too he dropped a close one or two.” [in pencil]

(1) MacArthur, D.C. The History of the Fifty-Fifth Battery, CFA. 1919. 17
(2) MacArthur, 18.

The image is from a wikiwand entry.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”

 

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