Read today's entry from Harry Gissing's 1914-18 war diaries

March 18, 1917

In a dinkum advance at last. Up early, packed the waggons, etc., and went about 3 miles out. Everywhere was the spirit of advance in the air. How far they had retreated we did not know, but he was still sending shells overhead so knew he was not too far away. Even the balloons moved ahead, it being a good sight to see the huge bag being carried along the road, fully inflated, by about 40 men, led by a Lieutenant and followed by the car and telephone, etc.

Three of us had walking sticks and did our march forward in great spirits, passing and being passed by transports of every description, packhorses and mules, all bent on the same mission, but no sign of any disorder or bustle. Each little unit or section moving on with a definite plan. We stopped that night at the tunnel, a huge system of dugouts in which we had a station alongside Flers, and plans were at once laid to open up in Bapaume itself, the dream of us all. I was not among the fortunate ones to go, my turn I hope coming to-morrow.

We had some cavalry casualties through, Indian and our own, these being the first we had handled, and a good sign of our progress. During the afternoon not a shot of any description could be heard, absolutely peaceful, and we hear that the country the other side of Bapaume is quiet, the roads good, the whole countryside appearing to be untouched by war.


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