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few shells began to drone across in their leisurely way.
Our communication trench was being shelled. I
joined the evacuating party; they were lying on the
lip of the left-hand crater, A flare fizzed up, and I
could see the rest of the men lying down, straight
across the ridge, and was able to exchange a grimace
with one of the black-faced ladder-carriers. Then
some "whizz-bangs" rushed over to our front trench;
one or two fell on the craters; this made the obstinate
silence of Kiel Trench more menacing. Soon after-
wards one of the bayonet men came crawling rapidly
back. I followed him to our trench where he whis-
pered his message. "They can't get through the
second belt of wire; O'Brien says it's a washout;
they're all going to throw a bomb and retire."

I suppose I ought to have tried to get the ladder-
carriers in before the trouble started; but the idea
didn't strike me as I waited with bumping heart; and
almost immediately the explosions began. A bomb
burst in the water of the left-hand crater, sending up
a phosphorescent spume. Then a concentration of
angry flashes, thudding bangs, and cracking shots
broke itself up in hubbub and scurry, groans and
curses, and stampeding confusion. Stumbling figures
loomed up from below, scrambling clumsily over the
parapet; black faces and whites of eyes showed gro-
tesque in the antagonistic shining of alarm flares.
Dodging to and fro, I counted fourteen men in; they
all blundered away down the trench. I went out,
found Mansfield badly hit, and left him with two
others who soon got him in. Other wounded men
were crawling back. Among them was a grey-haired
lance-corporal, who had one of his feet almost blown
off; I half carried him in, and when he was sitting on
the firestep he said: "Thank God Almighty for this;