insisted that medal-ribbons earned at the Base ought
to be a different colour.
But I must return to June 3Oth, which ended with
a sullen bombardment from the British guns and a
congestion of troops in the support-trench outside our
dug-out. They had lost their way, and I remember
how the exhausted men propped themselves against
the sides of the trench while their exasperated Ad-
jutant and a confused civilian Colonel grumbled to
Barton about the ambiguity of their operation orders.
They were to attack on our left, and they vanished in
that direction, leaving me with my Military Cross and
a foreboding that disaster awaited them. Since they
came within the limited zone of my observations I can
record the fact that they left their trench early next
morning at a wrong zero hour and got badly cut up
by the artillery support which ought to have made
things easy for them.
ON JULY the first the weather, after an early
morning mist, was of the kind commonly called
heavenly. Down in our frowsty cellar we breakfasted
at six, unwashed and apprehensive. Our table, appro-
priately enough, was an empty ammunition box. At
six-forty-five the final bombardment began, and there
was nothing for us to do except sit round our candle
until the tornado ended. For more than forty minutes
the air vibrated and the earth rocked and shuddered.
Through the sustained uproar the tap and rattle of
machine-guns could be identified; but except for the
whistle of bullets no retaliation came our way until a
few 5.9 shells shook the roof of our dug-out. Barton