IN the faintest pencil amid the mud of the trenches around Ypres, Gunner George James writes his latest observations and experiences into his war diary.
FEBRUARY 5, 1916
We have moved our positions owing to the Germans discovering our whereabouts. We have built and taken over a new position near Armentieres.
Fairly quiet, a big bombardment is going on to our left towards Ypres.
I’ve an idea something out of the ordinary is going to happen here, preparations are being made, civilians are clearing out.
We lost a ridge at Ypres. News of Russian successes, 1,000 guns captured. Expecting a gas attack here. Preparing for an offensive. This front looks like being broken in, in the near future.
OP was hit today. We carried out a little demonstration here today. Things are gradually assuming a more grim aspect.
FEBRUARY 20 (Sunday)
It is a glorious spring day full of sunshine and promise. Aeroplanes have been unusually active.
OP today for a week, heavy fall of snow. Gas attack expected by the enemy. Sentries posted to every gong. Very quiet. Something brewing.
OP = Observation post