Diary of Percy George Rupert Parkes, 1916-1917
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Diary relating to the First World War service of Captain Percy George Rupert Parkes, 23rd Infantry Battalion, May 1916 - May 1917.
In the second of three diaries written by Percy George Rupert Parkes, the author records his activities and observations on the Western Front in France and Belgium. He details his experiences manning trenches on the Somme amidst episodes of heavy shelling, and makes note of trenches lined with casualties, men breaking down and the subsequent strain placed on his battalion. During a five-week stint in the vicinity of Ypres, he describes scenes in the devastated town and the difficulty of traversing damaged trenches and muddy terrain. During the final months of 1916, Parkes covers his attendance at infantry school and training battalion reinforcements, and closes out the year by contrasting his experiences on the Somme with those at Gallipoli.
In entries written during 1917, Parkes continues to document his day-to-day activities on the Western Front in northern France, but also offers more detailed accounts relating to several significant operations. During March 1917 he outlines his role as second in command of the 23rd Infantry Battalion and his unit's efforts to advance against German forces over four demanding days leading up to the Attack on Noreuil. Closing diary entries cover preparations just prior to the Second Battle of Bullecourt and an account of the battle written primarily from the perspective of the 6th Infantry Brigade. Parkes also elaborates on both of these operations in two detailed accounts that appear in the rear of the diary.
Please note that Parkes begins this diary on 6 May 1916, and reverts to the beginning of the diary for entries commencing in January 1917.