The 11 DLI Pioneers’ Battalion Diary for 31 July is economic in its description of the day, over several separate entries.
- At 1.30 am, the men arrived at Canada Farm.
- At 8 am, B and D Companies moved forward to work at the Canal Bank, joined by A Company at 2 pm.
- By 4 pm they were road making from the Canal Bank to trenches captured from the enemy by 20th Division infantry.
- At 4pm work stopped temporarily due to heavy rain, but 11 DLI remained on the work all night. Rations and water came up at 6 pm (the first meal since breakfast). While this was going on, the enemy targeted the east side of Pilckem Ridge with artillery fire, answered by Divisional artillery from 8.30 pm. A few gas shells landed.
- The Pioneers did not return to camp until afternoon of the following day.
The Divisional History describes the scene in the afternoon as the rain came down: ‘The tracks forward were not yet completed; one road was passable, but only as far as the old German front line. As a result of our bombardment the ground was a mass of shell-holes, with pill-boxes blown upside down and debris scattered everywhere, difficult enough for infantry to move over and almost impossible for guns.’
The rain would continue for three more days.