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Albert's Diary - February 1918

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Friday 1st

Wrote Alice acknowledging receipt of parcel. Have had to work very hard today because we complained about the rations yesterday and won our case. Sergeants and Quartermaster very ratty - the boys 'Jolly as millers'!

Sunday 10th

Sunday evening - 9pm. This is the end of an almost perfect day. The weather is very wet, but we haven't been called out today, so we spent the day according to our own inclination. Arthur had a Concordance and maps of the Holy Land and we found that we were only two miles from Mizpah and several other places mention in the holy writ. Most have different names today a place where we camped about three weeks, called Latrone, turns out to be the place where Samson was born, and another place, Enob turns out to be Keigith Jeriam. This afternoon I read the Gospel of St John - and it's wonderful! What a difference I find now that I have seen most of the scenes mentioned therein. It seemed more real - just as though it happened yesterday. At 6pm we went to the church attached to the orphanage but found there was no service owing to the Padre being up the line. Arthur is an organist - and we got permission to play the organ and what a splendid instrument it is. Four boys came to blow it for us and we had a very enjoyable evening. The boys, who are Syrians, asked us to play some of their favorites - several of which we chanced to know. One was Onward Christian Soldiers - I thought 'how fitting' when we sang 'we are not divided, all one body we' the boys singing in German and we in English. We were all united under the banner of Christ and I felt that is very good!

Wednesday 20th

We went down to Jerusalem toward Jerico and fell among - shells! Which might have stripped up of our raiment and wounded us and left us dead, but providence ruled otherwise. The shells burst all around us - before and behind yet harmed us not, for this relief - much thanks. This is the hottest corner I have been in yet. It is fearfully dangerous to travel with a tractor on account of the steep inclines and hairpin bends in the road. The track 'tacks' in a zigzag manner down the mountainside like the course of a sailor at sea, and any deviation from the road would mean death on the rocks below. And the vultures are always waiting - looking like birds of ill omen.

I had the satisfaction of knowing that the battery we put in under fire smashed up the enemy battery which had been trying to close the road as we came down with battery ammunition and stores. Our half section (two guns) obtained four 'OKs' each, which means eight direct hits and our plane signaled 'Target finished, cease fire'. All's well that ends well.

Saturday 23rd

We are now enjoying a much needed rest in billets after being cut off and on our own for three weeks. Had a pleasant surprise tonight in the form of a parcel from the Radiator Works and another from the Memorial Church. Both arrived safely and in good condition and came at a time when our little store of canteen stuff had given out. We are now getting together another store in readiness for the next push. This must not be regarded as hoarding - as we often miss a day's rations when in action. Then is our store cupboard a very great comfort.

January - 1917 - March


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