Ronnie Poulton is now in sight of the Front Line, at Romarin, two miles west of Ploegsteert (referred to as ‘Plug Street’ by Tommy). He is therefore only three miles behind the firing line.
Here are extracts from his journal entries for 8th/9th April:
Thursday 8th April. “About 9.30 p.m. my Company paraded for night digging. We marched to a point about 1,000 yards from the German lines and, as we came over the hill and down the avenue, we heard several stray bullets flying overhead. My Platoon was detailed to complete an all-round defence of a farm in the second line of the defences.
We got back safely about 3.00 a.m.”
Friday 9th April. “We were again paraded for night digging. This time it was to complete a breastwork between two of the actual British fire trenches, about 150 yards from the German lines. When we arrived at our rendezvous, the Engineer officer in charge said he could only take 50 of my 100 men, as the Germans were shelling and firing on the working parties.
We then proceeded down the road towards our object in fear and trembling, as it is covered by a German machine gun. On arrival at the reserve trenches of the firing line, I got my men into a communication trench and awaited orders. There was a lot of firing and shelling going on and finally he decided not to send out a party, which was a considerable relief to us.”