11th November 1914
At 9am the Dorsets report “considerable shelling by German light guns”. So much so that D Company withdrew from their positions. No casualties were reported. The shellfire died away in the afternoon.
The German light gun was very possibly the 7.7cm FK 96 n.A. It was light and mobile and saw much action during the early stages of the war. It couldn’t compete with the heavier French 75 and British 18 pounder on range and so fell out of favour as trench warfare took hold. Here’s one with some early Movember crew members.
I’ve missed old Gleichen. He’s holed up at Château Beukenhorst in Zillebeke slightly to the north. He tells a lovely story today so I am including it here:
The 11th November was a typically unpleasant day. It started with a touch of comedy, Weatherby arriving stark naked in my room at 6.30 A.M., just when I was shaving, saying, “I say, sir, may I finish my dressing in here? They’re shelling the bathroom!” He had a towel and a few clothes on his arm, et præterea nihil*.
*A Plutarchian phrase meaning here, I think, a threat not carried out.