On the roll of the Transport were drivers, officers'
grooms, brakesmen, and the men with the nine pack
animals which carried ammunition. Then there was
the transport-sergeant (on whose efficiency my fate
depended), his corporal, and a farrier-corporal; and
those minor specialists, the shoeing-smith, saddler,
carpenter, and cook. Our conveyances were the G.S.
wagon (with an old driver who took ceaseless pride
in his horses and the shining up of his steelwork), the
mess wagon (carrying officers' kits, which were
strictly limited in weight), the company cookers
(which lurched cumbersomely along with the men's
dinners stewing away all the time), the watercart,
and a two-wheeled vehicle known as "the Maltese
cart" (which carried a special cargo connected with
the Quartermaster's stores and was drawn by an aged
pony named Nobbie). There were also the limbers,
carrying the machine-guns and ammunition.
The transport-sergeant was a Herefordshire man
who could easily be visualized as a farmer driving to
market in his gig. The C.O. had told me that the
transport had been getting rather slack and needed
smartening up; but I was already aware that Dottrell
and the transport-sergeant could have managed quite
easily without my enthusiastic support; they knew the
whole business thoroughly, and all I could do was to
keep an eye on the horses, which were a very moderate
assortment, though they did their work well enough.
So far I have said next to nothing about the officers
outside my own company, and there is nothing to be
said about them while they are on their way to the
Line, except that their average age was about twenty-
five, and that I had known the majority of them at
Clitherland. It was a more or less untried battalion
which marched across the Somme that misty morning.