Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

was when I blundered into Kinjack's Headquarters
at Maple Redoubt to report the presence of the raid-
ers and ask whether I might go across with them.
"Certainly not/3 said the Colonel, "your job is to stop
in our trench and count the men as they come back."
He spoke with emphasis and he was not a man who
expected to have to say a thing twice. We stared at
one another for a moment; some freak of my brain
made me remember that in peace time he had been
an enthusiastic rose-grower—had won prizes with his
roses, in fact; for he was a married man and had lived
in a little house near the barracks.

My thought was nipped in the bud by his peremp-
tory voice telling Major Robson, his second-in-com-
mand, to push off with the party. We were about 400
yards from the front line, and Robson now led us
across the open to a point in the support trench, from
which a red electric torch winked to guide us. Then
up a trench to the starting point, the men's feet clump-
ing and drumming on the duckboards. This noise,
plus the clinking and drumming and creaking of
weapons and equipment, suggested to my strained
expectancy that the enemy would be well warned of
our arrival. Mansfield and his two confederates now
loomed squatly above us on the parapet; they had
been laying a guiding line of lime across the craters.
A gap had been cut in our wire, and it was believed
that some sort of damage had been done to the Ger-
man wire which had been "strafed" by trench mor-
tars during the day.

The raiders were divided into four parties of five
men; operation orders had optimistically assumed
that the hostile trenches would be entered without
difficulty; "A" party would go to the left, "B" party
to the right, and so on and so forth. The object of the