Tuesday This a.m. broke clear & cold & the first white frost Heinie was fairly quiet all day & up till now nothing much doing ( 2 am) I’m acting N.C.O. of the guard and am just about to retire There was a great deal of aerial activity on both sides & our heavies fired a good deal earlier in the evening, am well
The feast day of St. Barbara, the patron saint of gunners.
Presumably his duties as N.C.O. (non-commissioned officer) are the result of Percy’s promotion to Acting Bombardier. The aerial activity the guard was keeping an eye on was related to the heavy gun now identified as positioned at Courrières; it continues to shell Noeux-les-Mines and Barlin, (1) both positions to the west and well behind the wagon lines at Boyeffles or the headquarters of the 13th Brigade at Bully Grenay. (The distance between Courrières and Noeux is 13 miles, or 21 kms). Returning from observing the effect of their fire, the German aircraft were flying overhead the 13th Brigade’s batteries. (2)
It was civilian opinion at Barlin “owing to the number of Germans working in the mines before the war, that there are still some at the mines acting as spies.” (3)
The map is one from the British Library, showing the front between Arras and Aisne 1916-1917.
(1) War Diary of the Fifth Canadian Divisional Artillery. Vol. 11: 5. December 4, 1917. Library and Archives of Canada.
(2) War Diary of the 13th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. Vol. 11: 3. December 4, 1917. Library and Archives of Canada.
(3) War Diary of the Firth Canadian Divisional Artillery Column. Vol. 11: 8. December 16, 1917. Library and Archives of Canada.
Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”