of carts coming along with rations. Occasional bang
of our guns close to the village. The church tower,
gloomy, only the front remains; more than half of it
shot away and most of the church. In the foreground
two broken barns with skeleton roofs. A quiet cool
evening after a shower. Stars coming out. The R.E.
stores are dumped around French soldier-cemetery.
Voices of men in the dusk. Dull rattle of machine
guns on the left. Talking to a Northumberland
Fusilier officer who drops aitcfees. Too dark to
"Wednesday, 6.13p.m. On Crawley Ridge. Ormandup
here in the Redoubt with a few men. I relieve him
while he goes down to get his dinner. Very still even-
ing; sun rather hazy. Looking across to Fricourt;
trench mortars bursting in the cemetery; dull white
smoke slowly floats away over grey-green grass with
buttercups and saffron weeds. Fricourt; a huddle of
reddish roofs; skeleton village; church tower, almost
demolished, a white patch against green of Fricourt
wood (full of German batteries). North, up the hill,
white seams and heapings of trenches dug in chalk.
Sky full of lark songs. Sometimes you can count
thirty slowly and hear no sound of a shot; then the
muffled pop of a rifle or a slamming 5.9 or one of our
i8-pounders. Then a burst of machine-gun fire.
Westward the yellow sky with a web of filmy cloud
half across the sun; the ridges with blurred outlines of
trees. An aeroplane droning overhead. A thistle
sprouting through the chalk on the parapet; a cock-
chafer sailing through the air. Down the hill, the
Bray-Fricourt road, white and hard. A partridge
flies away, calling. Lush grass and crops of nettles;
a large black slug out for his evening walk (doing
nearly a mile a month)."