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Monday 2 to Sunday 15 September 1918

WEEK 219-220: SHOOTING AT TARGETS

Monday 2 to Sunday 15 September 1918

On 12 September 1918, the American Expeditionary Force under the command of General John Pershing began its first independent offensive of the First World War. Its aim was to seize the Saint Mihiel salient which surrounded the city of Metz and blocked rail and other communications between Nancy and Verdun. Pershing’s meticulously planned operations order left nothing to chance. The attack involved a barrage of 2,900 artillery guns; a brigade of 419 tanks, 275 of which were manned by French soldiers; numerous infantry regiments; and 1,481 Allied and American aircraft. Although the Germans had advance knowledge of many of the details of the campaign, they were desperately short of manpower and had no option but to begin a withdrawal from the salient the day before the attack. By the evening of 13 September, the salient had been captured and 15,000 German soldiers taken prisoner. The battle was the subject of the acclaimed silent film Wings (1927), a restored version of which was released on DVD in 2012 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Paramount Pictures. The Battle of Saint Mihiel was also the first time that the terms D-Day – later made famous by the Normandy landings of the Second World War – and H-Hour were used.

Monday 2 September

jess__diary_cameoAfter breakfast Tom rode the cob into the town with Muz & Mrs Pak, & Mike & I took the gun off to shoot, & we went to the other side of the Dingle, & I shot a crow’s nest out of a tree, then we came back & got the air gun, & lay in the field shooting at targets with it, Mrs Pak said my target was better than Mike’s! Muz packed & we had lunch early, & Feutril [?] drove us down to the two train, & Mike rode behind us, he was longing for us to stay on. We had to change at Kidderminster, & had an hour there, & went & got buns. We got in about 5-30, & Ione met us with Roxburgh’s trap, & we shopped before we came home. There was a wire from Jack, he arrives tomorrow. The dogs were awfully good while we were away!

A shooting party

Tuesday 3 Septembe

jess__diary_cameoI did scrubs1 with blood in it, so Muz wired for Dr Smyth. I unpacked I did some tidying, & then wrote letters. After lunch the Dr: came, & Heppie arrived back while he was there, she had walked out from the Midland Station. Ione & Tom went in to Malvern in Roxburgh’s trap to meet Jack, but while they were away, he arrived in a taxi, & when we had finished tea they arrived back. Muz & Heppie went for a walk. After dinner Tom & Jack talked, & I went for a walk, & Ione wrote letters.

Wednesday 4 September

jess__diary_cameoIt rained hard all day. Tom & Jack sat in & talked, & I darned all morning. After lunch I went down to get Duskey, & Tom & Jack came some of the way with me, & then I took Dus: for a walk, & went nearly to Upton. After tea Muz & Heppie went for a walk, & Tom & Jack went for a walk. I wrote letters. After dinner Muz told Jack’s fortune, & Ione & I went to bed.

Thursday 5 September

jess__diary_cameoIt rained nearly all day. Dus: & I went for a walk, across the common, to leave so [sic] clothes to be washed. Jack left by the 12 train, & drove in, in Bayliss’ trap, & Muz & Tom went as far as the dressmakers with him, & Ione rode her bike. I went as far as Roxburghs with them, to call for Dus as it was too wet for them to let her out. They didn’t get back till late for lunch. Then Muz, Ione, Tom & I started the wedding invitations; I read out the names from my list.

“Started the wedding invitations”

Friday 6 September

jess__diary_cameoMuz, Ione & I did the invitations for the wedding. We stayed in all morning, & after lunch Ione rode the bike in to Malvern, & Muz & Tom walked to the dressmaker. I did some writing & tidying, & then took Duskey out. Muz & Ione drove back in Mrs Bradley’s trap, but they didn’t get back till after seven. Heppie felt giddy, so lay down.

Saturday 7 September

jess__diary_cameoMuz, Ione & I did the wedding invitations nearly all morning, & again for a bit in the afternoon. Then Muz & Heppie went for a walk, & I took Duskey for a walk, up towards Bakers, & we met Dr Smyth, & he stopped & talked. After tea I took Duskey for a walk, & put her to bed, & then washed my hair, & then wrote some of my list for the invitations. After dinner I got undressed, & came down & we did more invitations, & went to bed at about twelve.

The Battle of Saint-Mihiels


Footnotes

  1. Probably a euphemism for a bowel movement

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