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Officer. This was an anti-climax, for it meant that I
shouldn't go into the trenches. The late Transport
Officer had gone on leave, and now news had come
that he had been transferred to a reserve battalion in
England. Mansfield remarked that "God seemed to
watch over some people". He seemed to be watch-
ing over me too. Everyone in "C" company mess
expressed magnanimous approval of my appoint-
ment, which was considered appropriate, on account
of my reputation as a fox-hunting man. I entered on
my new duties with "new-broom" energy. And the
black mare was now mine to ride every day. For the
time being I remained with "C" company mess, but
when we got to the Line I should live with Dottrell
and the Interpreter. It was a snug little job which
would have suited Barton down to the ground.

There was one thing which worried me; I disliked
the idea of Dick going into the front line while I
stayed behind. I said so, and he told me not to be
an old chump. So we had a last ride round the
woods, and the next morning, which was raw and
foggy, we turned our backs on the little village. The
First Battalion never had such a peaceful eight weeks
again for the remainder of the War.

We crossed the Somme at Picquigny: after that we
were in country unknown to us. I rode along with
the rattle and rumble of limber and wagon wheels,
watching the patient dun-coloured column winding
away in front; conscious of what they were marching
to, I felt myself strongly identified with this queer
community, which still contained a few survivors from
the original Expeditionary Force battalion which had
"helped to make history" at Ypres in October, 1914.
Most of the old soldiers were on the strength of the
Transport, which numbered about sixty.