moved about in a room overhead. But the little
wooden weather-vane on the roof kept on spinning
and rattling as though nothing were amiss with the
world. Then the patter of rain began, and I shivered
and turned chilly and thought of home and safety.
It was time to be going up with that working-party.
We should be out from eight till midnight, piling
sandbags on the parapet of the front-line trench,
which had suffered from the wet weather.
It was a pitch dark night. As we were going up
across the open to the support line, the bombardment,
about two miles away in the low country on our left,
reached a climax. The sky winked and flickered like
a thunderstorm gone crazy. It was a battle seen in
miniature against a screen of blackness. Rocket-
lights, red and white, curved upward; in the rapid
glare of bursting explosives the floating smoke showed
rufous and tormented; it was like the last hour of
Gomorrah; one couldn't imagine anything left alive
there. But it was only a small local attack—probably
a raid by fifty men, which would be reported in two
lines of the G.H.Q,. communiqu^. It would soon be
our turn to do a raid. The Brigadier had made it
quite clear that he "wanted a prisoner". One would
be enough. He wanted to make certain what troops
were in front of us.
For identification purposes a dead body would be
setter than nothing, Kinjack said. O'Brien and I
vent out one moonlight night into a part of no-man's-
and where there were no mine-craters. We had been
nstructed to bring in a dead body which (so our
Observation Officer said) was lying out there. The