On this day 5th January 1917

No record in the 1/6th Battalion War Diary [WO/95/2694]

On the 5th January in the afternoon we decided to again follow the same procedure, to send them over and the same retaliation. About the fifth grenade I was told that the General was in the line observing the hits. He came round to me and remarked that we were doing very good work and asked how long we kept it up? I told him that as soon as the Germans made it too hot for us we gave up for the day. He said “Keep up the good work”, and left.

The Germans by this time were giving it to us thick and heavy. I loaded again, took the cord half way round the barricade when crash! A blinding explosion of mortar or some such missile had fallen on our emplacement. The result, our emplacement and our unfired grenade were blown to smithereens and the fragments of the Trench mortar and our grenade were distributed around our position.

At first I was stunned, then I realised I was wounded. I was bleeding from several wounds in the face and neck. What was worse I could not see. They led me down the trenches and to the Regimental Aid Post and then to a Casualty Clearing Station. I was examined by a Surgeon Major who told me that my fighting days were finished because for the time being at any rate I was blind. Fragments of the metal had entered my eyes.

[2305 Pte Frank Longson]

5th: An organised bombardment of enemy trenches North of GOMMECOURT carried out to which they replied by shelling our left sub sector.

139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]

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