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Hannescamps, 17:20hrs

The Battalion relieved the 13th Kings Royal Rifles, the first platoon entering at 17:20hrs and the relief being completed by 20:50hrs. The slowness of this operation was due to the bad state of the trenches.

Heavy rain had fallen continuously for some days and the arrangements for draining the trenches proved to be inadequate.

The low-lying sectors were from 1.5 to 2 feet deep in water and the collapse of trench-sides formed a heavy mud.

Fire trenches 55, 59 and 68 suffered worst; the parapets and traverses falling in and blocking the whole trench.

Most of the work there had been done by the Royal Engineers, but it failed to stand the strain, partly perhaps through the 1 in 4 slope not being observed in every case, but chiefly (it is believed) through the sandbags not having been left sufficiently empty to allow for the expansion of the soil, which is of a clay nature.

Several of the dug-outs were found to have collapsed and two men were buried in this way at different points; one being rescued after being buried for 50 minutes, not severely injured.

Work on drainage was at once begun. The enemy was quiet.

Paul McCormick
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