The 1916 war diary of 2nd Lieut. Dick Willis Fleming


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This page contains a single entry by Dick published on May 11, 1916 11:59 PM.

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11 May 1916

Posted by Dick on May 11, 1916
Up at four this morning and Badcock and I with twenty men built a temporary ramp of sleepers and rails at the siding for entraining the guns. Elliott and Kenning marched to Railhead with the horses leaving at 5:30 this morning. It took them about six hours.

We were to follow with the men, guns, and baggage, leaving Kantara about 3 pm. But just before the train was due to go, we had orders from the B.G.R.A. cancelling the move, so everything has to be unpacked. I went up to Railhead with Elliott and Kenning, and my own kits and forage and food for two days, as the horses have got to stay there till further orders.

When I got to Railhead I found that the orders were again cancelled and that the horses were to return to Hill 70 for the night (15 miles back towards Kantara), the railway had got about three miles beyond the old Railhead and of course the horses had gone on there, so I had our truck of forage uncoupled and then went on till I found the horses. I got on my mare who was with them and we rode back to the old Railhead where we halted for a couple of hours, and watered and fed our horses (a thousand gallon tank of water had been sent up by rail and the water was hand pumped out into canvas troughs).

We left Railhead about 6:30 pm and got to Hill 70 at 10:30 pm., having had two short halts on the way. It was a nice cool night and a bright moon. At Hill 70 we watered and fed and had come down near the railway line to bivouac for the night. The horses have done over fifty miles today through deep sand all the time and mostly under a hot sun, and two of them look rather bad.

I shall soon be rolled in my waterproof sheet and fast asleep. The men are pretty tired and small wonder.

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It appears that the move had been prepared against the advice of experts, who sent in reports that the water supply was not sufficient to meet the requirements of a Battery. It was also considered that a Battery in action five miles from a railway, and without adequate protection, would be in a most precarious position.

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