10th January 1915
Regrettably, yet inevitably, the Dorsets left Dranoutre and relieved the Bedfords in Sector D during the late afternoon. The rain continued to fall.
The Bedfords had endured a fairly awful time in the trenches with continued rain causing the edges of the trenches to collapse, with murderous sniping (six killed on the 8th January), regular shelling, and an irritating mobile gun shelling them from various points along the Messines-Wytschaete Road (or at least west of Messines) causing several casualties. The 5th Division describes the gun as being a light gun. The Bedfords’ diary goes further and suggests it’s a “quick-firer (probably motor-gun)”. It was probably a standard FK96 7.7cm artillery piece attached to a horse-drawn carriage or motor vehicle. The troops couldn’t respond with small arms due to a bulge in the land between them and the road so it must have been extremely frustrating for all concerned.
The author of the Dorsets’ diary remains taciturn. I don’t think they were enjoying themselves.