HAC WWI - On this Day 100 years ago...

It seems that it was to rain all month. 

As September began the 1st Battalion was in the line near Hooge.  Every night burial parties went out from both sides to collect and bury the dead, over 200 of whom where paced in the bottom of the great crater which had formed on the side of the Hooge Chateau. Each side bombarded the other every day. For a short period in the middle on the month the Battalion was out of the line, though tasked to dig trenches every night, and then in the third week it moved into trenches near Hooge, in an areas that resembled something between “a ploughed field and a miniature reproduction of the Alps; fill of large holes and hillocks thrown up by the bombardment”.  Many of the trenches were unsafe and unmanned by day. 

Here, in six days, the Battalion suffered 100 casualties as a result of the daily attrition of shell fire and sniping.  Four officers were killed in one explosion.  On the 26th, having put ladders in place for assaulting troops, the Battalion went into reserve as three regular battalions passed through in an assault designed to distract the Germans for  a bigger attack at Loos but on 29th September, in daylight but hidden by heavy mist,  the Battalion was dragged back into fight, only 150 strong, and took part in an attack on a crater in Sanctuary Wood. 

In this action Sergeant Pollard won a DCM for leading a bombing party, though wounded himself.  This is the same Pollard who was to win a Victoria Cross, bombing again, two years later.  The action was so noisy and confused that it was impossible to know what was going on; the mayhem enhanced when a British plane landed in the middle of the fight and the pilot, both legs broken, was rescued by the HAC.

'A' Battery spent a quiet month on the Suez canal and 'B' Battery, wracked by malaria and prickly heat returned to Egypt from Aden, burying one staff sergeant at sea. Of the entire battery, only 5 were not in hospital at one stage or another as a result of disease contracted in Aden. The battery was struck off strength for a month to recuperate. 

Diary entries: Member of the HAC writing in his journal on the frontline, sitting on a sand-bagged trench.