Lieutenant General Sir Charles Anderson KCB, AM

Lieutenant General Sir Charles Anderson KCB, AM

9.00 a.m., lovely sunny day, after sharp frost. A poor fellow, Elliott, shot last night returning from a patrol. Fear won’t live. Shot by our own people. Failed to give warning that the patrol was going out I fear. Otherwise, quiet night. They are shelling or registering on a village about 300x [yards] behind our cellar. Another man just reported wounded by a shrapnel bullet in the leg. Must go off and see them. The 12th relieve us tomorrow, but we only go back a mile. A Hun aeroplane, with British marks came over today and dropped two bombs on the 12th, killing one and wounding four. A good deal of firing all day from German 4.2 guns and field guns. Three shrapnel into village dropped close to where the two wounded men were. Unfortunately they could not be moved before dark. They are safely away now, but had to be carried a mile to the ambulance. The Corps. Gen. Anderson and Brigadier were round this a.m. He (A) has aged a good deal. Lovely sunny day after frost. No more casualties. Little Berry much cut up about the wounded men. He and the Padre were with them all day. Relief tomorrow will be a long business. Don’t expect to be back at M­­­­_____ [Mesnil] before midnight. Not much of a rest place I fear, All water has to be carried 1½ miles.

British Shrapnel Shell

Injuries caused by shell fragments from exploding shell casings were not known as ‘shrapnel wounds’—that term was used to describe the wounds caused by shrapnel balls. This cutaway is of a British 18-pound shrapnel shell in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa; German shells functioned in a similar manner. The shrapnel balls (approximately ½–inch in diameter) were embedded in resin. The fuze in the nose ignited the powder charge in the cavity in the base of the shell as it approached the target, which propelled the shrapnel balls forward out of the case—the effect was similar to a shotgun blast. Shrapnel injuries were often severe and classified as ‘gunshot wounds’ due to the similarity of effect on impact.

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