4 April 1916

Extract from the diary of Lt William Batty, (Liverpool) Regiment

[Lt Batty joined the Territorial Army in the winter of 1912/13 and was a rifleman in the 6th Bn, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.]

“Halligan hit 8-30am. Relieved 8pm by Sherwood Foresters. Billeted 11pm”.

[Halligan was the company mess cook and that morning just before breakfast we were having revolver practice. Bowe was taking a nap so two or three of us set up a target on the parapet of an empty fire bay and were firing at it. It was Millington’s turn and he had just cocked his revolver when Halligan came along to say that breakfast was ready. Millington turned to see who was speaking still holding his cocked revolver at arm’s length and as it swung round touched the trigger. The bullet went right through Halligan’s chest; he dropped like a stone and as the wound was well up on the left side I felt sure it had gone through his heart. However he was not dead and I sent him down on a stretcher. On looking round for Millington I could not find him until I went into the half of the company headquarters where there were two rough plank beds. He was lying face down on one of these, violently crying, and at first I could not get him to say a word. I tried to cheer him by saying that Halligan was not dead and would probably recover, that it was an accident that might have happened to anyone (although I believed neither of these things) but he continued to sob until at last he stuttered “I shall never get over it. It wasn’t my fault but it’ll never be forgotten. You know I’m going to stay in the Army and if this comes out it will ruin my chance of a decent job there after the War”. When I understood what he was getting at, my attempts to console him dried up a bit and I kicked him out into the trench again. I talked It over with Bowe, and he with the colonel and although some sort of report was sent up it can’t have done Millington’s career much harm as I saw him the year after the War, more snotty than ever, with red tabs and a brass hat. Halligan recovered and I saw him at the base two or three months later looking quite fit.]

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