Gun Fire (Number 20), edited by A.J. Peacock
A5 size booklet, 60 pages. (N6454X1)
Gun Fire was an occasional journal produced by members of the Western Front Association, and it contained articles about aspects of the First World War. This edition contains the second part of a personal account by a soldier of his experiences during the war (James Greenwood started the war as a driver in the Royal Horse Artillery and later as a Pioneer in the Special Brigade of the Royal Engineers). This account takes up just under half of the booklet. The full contents are as follows:
A Pioneer in Picardy (Part 2)
Christmas 1914 in Camera
Notes And Queries
From the first inside page: Part two of the reminiscences of James Greenwood continued from Gun Fire No 19. On Sat. 7 April 1917 I was detailed for Camp Guard duty for which I had to 'clean-up'. It may be imagined what the job this was after having spent the previous few days tramping along trenches he l f' filled with mud. Whilst on "Sentry go" I saw one of our observation balloons at Mont St. Eloi set on fire by a German plane but the crew came down safely by parachute. The following day, Sunday, we had not much to do and I managed to get to a service at e near by Y.M.C.A. hut. The following day, 9th April I saw another observation ballon crewe [sic] come down by parachute but this time it was not through enemy action. The cable by which it was attached to a lorry on the ground had either snapped or come adrift. The crew of such a balloon had no means of controlling it end had to "bail out". This was the day the Battle of Vimy Ridge started when the Canadians advanced after a terrific bombardment by our Artillery which, of course, wes answered by the enemy. Quite neer our camp a "Cege" (wired in enclosure) had been constructed to receive prisoners taken by the Canadians and hundreds were brought in. The Canadians had gone "over the top" in the early hours of the morning and prisoners were arriving all day & well into the night & were still coming in when we paraded next morning.
In the next few days we did little except fatigue duty, route-marches etc. It was very cold and we had a lot of snow. Actually we did get orders to move which were cerice l led. However, we did move on ApriI 15th. Reveille was at 5.30 am & after some hours loeding lorries with Section Stores, etc, we set off on foot with full peck at 10 a.m. We marched through Villers au bois, Petit Servins, Hersin-Compigny and Noeux-Ies-Mines to Minx where we were billetted in an eshminet. During the next few days the nights were spent in taking "cylinders" (see later) up the line. We went by lorry to a pIace caIIed Philosophe and walked from there to Loos where we picked up the "cylinders" and carried them up the line. I should now explain, that we had come to a point when the nature of our operations were changed considerably. We no longer put over gas by pipes from cylinders in the front line trenches but fired bombs filled with Iiquid gas....
Interestingly, an earlier edition of the journal explained the origins of the slang phrase 'Gun Fire', detailing how it was a term for the early cup of tea served out to troops in the morning before going on first parade. In the War recruits in training always had Gun Fire supplied to them, as the work before breakfast was often particularly gruelling.
Condition of the booklet is generally good. The cover has one or two minor scuffs, but the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Their is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.