There was a story in the family that my grandfather, Walter James Barber, had saved the life of an officer who, after the war, sent him a silver cigarette case and £1 every Christmas. After asking around in the family, I was shown the cigarette case, which is inscribed, Gnr WJ Barber RHA Passchendaele April 11 to 16 1918 From Lt F H Vince. Unfortunately, no-one seemed to know any details. Clearly Lieutenant Vince was the officer concerned so I set about searching for him or his descendants. With the assistance of one of my cousins and the Internet, I was able to track down one of his great granddaughters. She kindly sent us a copy of a newspaper article about his 100th birthday celebrations which tells us that after serving for a short time with a Howitzer Battery of the Royal Field Artillery, he was posted to B Battery, the Royal Horse Artillery, in July 1917. He was joined in November of that year by my grandfather. In the above article, Mr Vince says, "I was sent with four others to cover the retreat of our troops from Ypres Salient. We were supposed to be there for 24 hours - we were there for four days and four nights, from April 11 to April 16, 1918. We got the wind up because the Very lights used to go up behind us instead of in front of us and it was very disconcerting. I made one of the men with me unpaid Lance Corporal, a gunner named Walter Barber, and neither of us knew at the time that the other came from Watford. After the war I gave him a silver cigarette case with the date on it (but he didn't smoke) and for over 50 years I sent him £1 every year to drink my health. He didn't need it and I didn't miss it." Apparently, the intention of this ‘retreat’ from the Ypres (Passchendaele) Salient was to free up additional British troops and to delay the execution of any plans which the enemy might be entertaining for extending the flank of his attack to the north. The general scheme as far as the artillery was concerned was to leave only one gun per battery in action for the night of the final infantry withdrawal and to keep up the normal expenditure of ammunition so as to give as little indication of the impending withdrawal as possible to the enemy. Mr Vince left an extensive collection of papers and diaries to the Manuscripts and Special Collections Department at the University of Nottingham. His diary contains a note for 11th April that reads ‘3 Guns pulled out, I stayed i/c of remaining gun’ There is a note in his diary for 16th April that reads. “Pulled out remaining gun 3.30 a.m. and went to WL (wagon lines) at Goldfish Chateau.” Unfortunately, but understandably, there is nothing in between. According to my aunt, my grandmother said that it was Walter’s good sense of direction that helped them find their way to safety in the featureless landscape.