Liévin, February 6, 1918

Wednesday   Weather clear& mild Fritz threw Woolley bears all morning[.] at 2 pm & on till 3:30 he threw H.E. [high explosive] a little a head of us & plastered the place severely He was fairly active all day A + AX1 Much quieter tonight, Was on guard last night Am fairly well. Aerial activity all day.

Woolly bear crop.jpg

“Wolly Baer” (1)

“Valuable lessons were learned at Liévin,” wrote the history of the 60th Battery,  “one of which was that a bombardment during the period of stationary warfare was seldom quite as serious as it looked from a distance: the position to the onlooker might be a mass of flame and smoke and flying earth, but if the men and material were at all protected a direct hit was needed to do any real damage.”  (2)

But there were direct hits; indeed, the 60th found itself in an “exceedingly hot point on

High explosive crop.jpg

“High explosive” (1)

the left flank of Lens.”  (3) Three of their gunpits were destroyed, and another damaged, “a dugout knocked in … and yawning ‘heavy’ holes appeared in startlingly close proximity to the pits. The two rows of houses which had concealed the gunflashes disappeared under heavy destructive fire, and the enemy’s O.O.’s [observation officers] had a free and unrestricted view of the Battery home.”  (3)

Though the vicinity is severely plastered, Percy’s battery is much luckier, at least, so far.

1 A is the code for an 18 pounder shrapnel shell; AX, for a high-explosive shell for the same gun. This information comes from a forum on

(1) Wills, Archie. All in a Lifetime [photograph album]. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.  The imaginative may see in the cloud of smoke from the wolly baer [sic] a dog (looking something like a terrier) running toward the viewer with something in its mouth.
(2) 60th C.F.A. Battery Book, 1916-1919. [1919]. 42.
(3) 60th C.F.A. Battery Book, 43.

Copyright 2018. See “More about this project.”

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