Feeling very weak but still carry on making maps for the 6th brigade. Meet Fryer (Lieut) of Ft. Wm. [Ft. William] of 52nd leading a party of stretcher bearers going to Zillibeke (6:30 PM). Our artillery are in full blast all night.
The Regiment leaves Flêtre at 9 am for La Clytte. Very heavy cannonading during the night and morning between Ypres and Armentieres. Lieutenant Harry Bristowe goes down to the base – sick. Leave billet alone to Mont des Cats. At an inn there the proprietor says she smelled gas which the Germans had been using. It had come into her house. Same incident at Berthen and Westouter thro’ which villages I passed. I arrive at La Clytte; what a hole!!
Mud up to thighs; awful stuff.
The Regiment encamps under canvas tents. A hellish bombardment goes on all around our front. We are next to a battery of 8 inch naval guns. A grand fight at night.
[Out] between Berthen and Westouter. I saw 3 separate fights between aeroplanes, Germans and ours. Our fellows downed them every time.
Artillery pounded away at night and morning.
Germans used gas which I had a taste of but it suddenly turned with the wind and fixed them instead of us. The Cheshire Regiment capture 3 kilometers of trenches and capture 700 Huns. Wallach gets Orderly job.
*Chlorine-Phosgene combined gas attack – December 19th 1915 was the first time the Germans used combined chlorine-phosgene gas as a weapon. 88 tons of gas was released at Wieltje near Ypres causing 1069 casualties and 69 deaths. Allied troops had gas masks available at this time which helped decrease the death toll.
Feeling very sick – influenza. An old friend, Theo C. Walker leaves my billet (only 3 in it, Private Dave Young is the other one) for Ypres, there to report to 10th Battalion Lancaster Fusiliers as Lieutenant.
Heavy cannonading along the front.