A little after six, just before it began to get light,
we halted for the sixth time in a small town with a
fine church. I sat on the steps at the church door
with Dick beside me. Barton came and told us that
we had another five kilometres to go "up a high
hill". How we managed it I can't say, but an hour
afterwards we entered a straggling village on the
wooded uplands. As we hobbled in we were met by
the Quartermaster, who had got there a few hours
ahead of us with the Interpreter (a spindle-shanked
Frenchman with a gentle soul and a large military
moustache—exiled, poor man, from his jewellery
shop at Pau).
As we were the first troops who had ever been
billeted in the village, old Joe and Monsieur Perrineau
had been having quite a lively time with the rustic
inhabitants, who had been knocked up out of their
beds and were feeling far from amiable as regards the
Flintshire Fusiliers. Having seen the men into their
ramshackle barns we sorted ourselves out into our
own billets. Dick and I shared a small room in an
empty cottage. My diary informs me that I slept
from eleven till five. We had marched sixteen miles.
It was no easy matter to move an infantry battalion
fifty miles. Let those who tour the continent in their
comfortable cars remember it and be thankful.
DICK AND I and Mansfield were starting our
active service with a peaceful interlude which
we had no right to expect. We had "struck it lucky"
as Mansfield remarked. Young Ormand made round
eyes under his dark eyebrows as he gloated over the
difference between Divisional Rest and those ruddy