Cité St Pierre, September 13, 1917

Thursday        We got up from our uncomfortable bed this am about 8 We learnt that we made a direct hit yesterday noon with H.E.[High Explosive] lots of air duels this morning This afternoon I slept, at supper time Fritz dropped some very close ones the splinters flew in all directions We got an SOS at 1:30 but twas a false report we fired 16 rounds usual bombardment for the rest of the night [pencil]

The War Diary has little to say(1)1917 09 13 report.JPG

but to add the weather report. (2)1917 09 13 weather.JPG

By contrast, the Globe prints today a report of what a quiet day is like on the front around Lens. Stewart Lyon was the first Canadian Press war correspondent, (1) and a managing editor of the Globe who had taken reduced pay ($40 a week — compare Percy’s $7.70) to report from the war zone. He describes crossing the three miles toward the front line as a tramp through countryside “as peaceful as a stretch of unoccupied prairie in the heart of Saskatchewan,” where partridge and magpies and rabbits  were undisturbed by the lazy firing of a heavy gun. “It is all very peaceful and commonplace,” he wrote, after a lunch of lobster and fresh melon, until he witnessed a short heavy attack by German guns on an Allied gun position, and saw “hundreds of tons of mingled steel splinters, earth, chalk, brick and stone of ruined houses,” flung seventy or eighty feet (21-24 metres) into the air. (3)

4147565 bombardment of pozieres AWM 00240

“As peaceful as a prairie in Saskatchewan”

(1) War Diary of the G.O.C.[General Officer Commanding] Royal Artillery Canadian Corps. Vol. 18 (September 1917) 3. Library and Archives Canada.
(2) War Diary, 18: Appendix A1.
(3) Lyon, Stewart. “Canadians Strengthen Hold on Positions around Lens,” The Globe (1844-1936). September 13, 1917.1,2. Archive available from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

The painting by Frank Crozier(© Australian War Memorial) depicts the bombardment of Pozières in 1916.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”




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