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All Quite On The Western Front Journal Project
English 2 Honors

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Field Diary of

Andrew Cecil Meredith Thomson


September 18

Its very quite today. The cold and freezing weather has seemed to cause a cease fire between booth sides. The trenches are still flooded with water from last night rain. My shoes and socks are constantly wet, and I’m afraid I will get the awful blisters and diseases that Sergeant Reinhorn got last week.

Cloud cover is all one can see when staring out into no mans land. My division and I are all cold and wet. Some would rather see action then sitting in our homemade swimming pool. Last night there were firings from the sniper post. Hopefully Sam got some he’s always been an amazing shot.

Heavy barrage from our artillery began at about 4:30 P.M Return fire from the other side as well. Many shells came dangerously close. Captain Morgan was hit by the only lonely shell that made itself into the trenches. We shot about 20 rounds to the other side in retaliation. Many of us asks why the Germans where those weird hood ornaments when they are easier to be seen from the trench. Tom says not to worry let them help with their defeat. I agree with Tom, he’s a good man gotten me through the war off his extreme knowledge.

Tonight there was a medal ceremony for Sergeant Knox. He received the Military Medal Ribbon. That was a nice change to see someone so happy. The rest of the night we did nothing but sit around the fire. Tomorrow we were to return to the trench and relieve the 5th infantry division from their duties.

I don’t want to go back…I’m tired of this fighting.

September 20

Yesterday we relieved the 5th division. The weather is still very cold and there is ice build up on the trench mats making it hard to walk. Everything is very quite so far no gun fire from either side. No Mans Land is still a mist of fog and fallen men.

Our relief has not come yet due to the fact many of our men our stuck in quarantine. Word has it that there are many deadly diseases going around. Some shelling and trench mortar fire could be heard, but nothing in our vicinity.

Sergeant Mackenzie saw aeroplanes above us a cease fire was made. One of them came down in flames. Not sure if it was ours or theirs, but the enemy was firing a few rounds of shrapnel during the night.

This afternoon the fog finally lifted but the cold weather continued. There was a gas warning so all soldiers had to put their masks on.

About 9:00 p.m. we covered right of 10th Brigade raiding party with four of our machine guns. Fired about 350 rounds. The raid was a big one and very successful. Return fire was very heavy but slowly took place.

A fire started in the headquarter dugout earlier this morning. It was put out but sadly is set off a bomb shell that was left unexploded. It killed Wilson and Cut Lieutenant Bladly across the face. We were instructed to have built a new dugout by the end of tomorrow, but I think we will need reach our deadline what with all the raids going on today.

September 21

Haven’t slept all night. A German raid began at 2:00 A.M and lasted all day. We were told to go with the 10th division into No Mans Land and raid a camp. Everything went very successful. 1 officer and 50 other soldiers were taken prisoner by us. We only lost 4 out of the 50 men we went with. Everyone is rejoicing though at the site of our own camp.

We were given relief for 2 days due to our successes. I took my meal sat against a tree while I smoked my pipe. All was well for once. My shoes and socks were able to dry and I let my blistered feet air out in the open. My men and I sat down and reminisced of life before the war. Love, work, and school were the most talked about subjects that day. No one wanted the day to end.

We started picking at lice as we sat there. Johnny quickly got up and ran away clasping his mouth. He was showing the symptoms of “trench fever” for many days now. Sergeant Reinhorn showed up today with crutches and bandages around both feet. Apparently he did get “trench foot” and 4 of his toes had to be amputated. Lucky he didn’t die from this. I went to the hospital shortly after I found this out sensing I might have the trench foot as well but there was nothing wrong.

The rain began again today as well so our nice day of relaxation was short lived once again. When will this misery end I wonder? We were also informed that we were to return to the front tomorrow so once again our relief was cut short due to certain circumstances.

People talk of how the war is over soon and the allies are advancing forward to claim victory. There is no sense of victory out here though. Same thing everyday goes on; no one Is happy anymore no one wants to care.

September 21

There was a raid this morning. Two waves of gas at 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. Our guns took part in a barrage to cover infantry. We fired for about 10 minutes. No.4 gun hit direct and Sergeant Knox killed. Retaliation was very heavy on their part and gases not a success and raiders suffered pretty heavily. Mr. Fritz seemed to be ready for it all. Rest of day fairly quiet. During night enemy made a direct hit on our Head Quarters with high explosive. No one hurt though.

We slept after the barrage was over, but only for a bout 3 hours for we had to clean up everything. The craters were massive today and were in abundance everywhere you looked. My feet continue to hurt but the doctors wont check them out because of all the wounded right now. Barley anyone makes it out of the hospital. It is said that Dr. Shnoitzenhiem performs bizarre experiments on the people who have no chance, and he isn’t gentle with the people who do have one. Hopefully they are just blisters but I am worried.

Today we got an extra ration of food because the raid was not calculated into the food making process so there was many extras. After a good meal we all sat around our tree again and talked. Bellies full, smoking away, and talking it was all very nice…good change from the shots we hear all day long.

September 24

About midnight last night we pulled off a bit of a raid. We covered the raiding party with our guns, also artillery. Things were flying for a bit. We got rid of about 400 shells. The raid was a success. Two prisoners and none of our men killed; 3 or 4 wounded but not seriously from what I hear. The rest of the day today was very quiet. Nothing going on on either side. Saw a pheasant almost up on the front line today. That would sure be a treat from what kind of stuff they are feeding us. It would be great to have some nice real food in my stomach.

Weather fine and cool today as well. I spent all day in the front line. Our artillery and mortars were firing all day long. We used all our guns for registration purposes. Went back to Battalion headquarters after lunch to see if new orders were given but everything seemed like it always was. Evening very quiet tonight. About 9 p.m. very heavy bombardment by our artillery to cover raid on our side. After a few hours the firework show stopped and there was peace at last.

Sergeant Pepper said our group was to have a very long sleep tonight. He said something around 12 hours. Everyone was excited so naturally instead of going to bed early we stayed up late like a child would. Amazing, 12 hours of sleep would do any man good out here. He would wake up fired up and ready to work, or he would realize what a hell hole this war is and want to take off running. Either way it was good enough for me. I just want to sleep that’s all a long nice sleep.