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The Ahier Diary: Under gas attack

Image from Jersey Heritage
Clarence Percy Ahier
Excerpt from the diary of Clarence Ahier

Ahier recalls a time gas shells were coming down around his position and penetrating their shelter

Jerry was simply raining gas shells around the position and the fumes were penetrating our shelter in spite of a blanket saturated in anti-gas chemical which we had hanging at the entrance.

The fumes were getting thicker every minute and we were lying flat on our stomachs with respirators on.

The pain in my throat was getting unbearable and we all had great difficulty in breathing.

Some of the chaps could stand it no longer and tore off their respirators, I was on the point of doing the same when we heard the sickening rush of a heavy shell approaching.

Our practical years told us it was going to hit our shelter or narrowly miss it and everybody closed their eyes and waited.

A couple of seconds later with a deafening rush of air it landed.

Our shelter shook and swayed like a ship, the walls seemed to close in, the floor seemed to rise a few feet, and the candles were flung all over the place and the blanket torn from the entrance.

Then silence.

Those few seconds silence made me feel like a condemned man on the scaffold waiting for the drawing of the lever.

It was a well known fact that Jerry had been using a delayed action shell which burrows deeply into the ground and then bursts about ten seconds afterwards.

We were all waiting for the crash feeling sure the shell had gone under our shelter.


Clarence Ahier ID card photo from Jersey Heritage Diary of a Jersey soldier found
The diary of a Great War artillery man has been uncovered.
Ahier Diary Great War diary
Look through images relating to the diary of Jersey born Great War soldier Clarence Ahier.
Extracts from the Ahier Diary
We take a look at the diary of Clarence Ahier with the Societe and CI Great War Study group and read extracts from the diary.
Amy Harris looks at the Diary
Amy Harris from BBC Channel Island News looks at the Clarence Ahier Diary in the Societe Library.

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