My grandfather’s WW1 diary entry from 21.3.1918

One hundred years ago today, my grandfather Sgt Adam Mackintosh 1/5 Seaforths wrote about his capture.

21st March 2018
We got orders late the night before to stand to, at 4.45am as the Germans were about to make this attack, at about five in the morning the German bombardment started. I was in the front line, we were wearing our box respirators as he put over a great many gas shells which seemed to have very poisonous gas. I got a very bad dose of it which made me put up dirty green slime and was not able to keep on the respirator. I was then carried out or helped down to COY HQ in the support line, about 150 yards behind the firing line, but on the way, the stretcher bearer and I got buried with a shell landing right in the trench, then after we got taken out, another Cpl had to help me down, when I was passing one of the sections in the firing line I noticed they all got their rifles smashed with shell fire and the trench was almost all levelled in.
We reached Coy HQ about 8.30am which was in a big dugout but there were of course no doctors there and it was impossible to get to the dressing station so I had to lie there in a very bad state and got a good nip of rum which made me put up more green stuff. Then I must have fallen off as I remember nothing more till I heard some bombs burst on the stairs of the dugout and some time after that when I did manage to crawl up the stairs I saw the the Germans were occupying the trench so was taken prisoner. I was taken back to near Cambrai, had to lie in an open cage all night and I felt very bad, my throat and stomach were burning.

This diary entry is an extract from The Permanence of the Young Men by Shona MacLeod and Robin Reid.  Copies available from The Hyndland Book Shop.

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