Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

things were going badly, reminded me of a facetious
bus conductor on a wet winter day. Durley was an
inspiration toward selfless patience. He was an ideal
platoon officer, and an example which I tried to
imitate from that night onward. I need hardly say
that he had never hunted. He could swim like a fish,
but no social status was attached to that.


WHEN I had been with the battalion a week we
moved away from the La Bassee sector at nine
o'clock on a fine bright morning. In spite of my quite
mild experiences there, I felt that I'd seen more than
enough of that part of the country. Barton and
Durley and young Ormand (who was now second-in-
command of the company) were always talking about
the Givenchy trenches and how their dug-out had
been "plastered with trench-mortars and whizz-
bangs". Now that they were out of it they seemed
to take an almost morbid delight in remembering
their escapes. No one knew where we were moving
to, but the Quartermaster had told Barton that we
might be going south. "New Army3' battalions were
beginning to arrive in France, and the British line
was being extended.

On our second day's march (we had done ten
kilometres to a comfortable billet the first day) we
passed an infantry brigade of Kitchener's Army. It
was raining; the flat dreary landscape was half-
hidden by mist, and the road was liquid mud. We
had fallen out for a halt when they passed us. Four
after four they came, some of them wearing the steel
basin-helmets which were new to the English armies