Cité St Pierre, September 8, 1917

Saturday    Fritz has been fairly quiet to-day one or two came over this am I sent cards last night to M.J.T. [Mother, Janie, Ted]  Fritz planes up this afternoon am writing J tonight

His pencilled note at the back of the diary adds a little more: again this am his planes keep us guessing we work [sic] last night & tonight reinforcing our gun pit I am in the pink & the weather is just great 

56 B and C Gun pits last position St Pierre cropThere were four gun-pits,  built along a small road lined with hedges.  They were made of elephant iron and sand bags, and were camouflaged, probably with branches and leaves. (1) Elephant iron is curved, strongly ribbed iron, stronger than ordinary corrugated iron; its precut pieces could easily be assembled into a hut or used to shelter a gun. When used for dugouts, those inside must have felt they were inside the ribcage of an elephant. Eric Henri Kennington’s painting of an elephant iron hut in pieces gives a sense of the size and solidity of the material.Kennington

(1)MacArthur, D.C. The History of the Fifty-Fifth Battery, CFA. 1919. 18
The photograph of gunpits at Cité St Pierre is from Percy’s small album.
The painting is © IWM (Art.IWM ART 2290), though it cannot be seen on their site.  This image can be seen in a collection of WW1 letters.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”


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