25 June 1916

Extract from the war diary of Joseph Norton, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment

The general bombardment started at 4.30 in the morning and the noise was deafening. We left there on the 26th and after a terrible long march in the rain we found ourselves in a wood and it was raining heavens hard and we had to stay there all the night wet through and nothing to protect us from the rain only a small oil sheet. We were all drenched to the skin. We stood in this all night, as it was impossible to sleep and then the next night we left and went to another wood, but this time in huts. The name of the wood was Benencourt Wood. We were only supposed to stay in this wood one night, but owing to the bad weather the advance was cancelled for 48 hours, so we did this time in the wood.

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