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The trenches were found to be in a worse condition than on any previous relief. The water had to a large extent been removed by means of trench-pumps, but a thick adhesive mud made progress along the trenches everywhere difficult and in places impossible.

Several men had to be dug-out, more than one in an exhausted state.

Work was devoted to clearing a way, as far as possible, at the worst points and to repair the fire-trenches.

The enemy was quiet: but a patrol of one N.C.O and five men, sent out from trench 66 at 23:30hrs to ascertain the truth in a hypothesis that the enemy had withdrawn from their front line, found a large German working party. Not a single round, however, was fired at trenches 66, 67 or 68, between 21:00hrs on 3rd December and 10:00hrs on 4th December. It is presumed that the enemy were likewise engaged in the repair of their own trenches.

Activity by our artillery, 14:00hrs onwards, provoked retaliation. Only one shell however took effect: 5 men being wounded in trench 63 by the 77m shell.

Paul McCormick
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