a smashed machine-gun with his head bashed inó"a
fine looking chap," he said, with some emotion, which
rather surprised me.
8.15. Queer feeling, seeing people moving about
freely between here and Fricourt. Dumps being made.
Shacks and shelters being put up under skeleton trees
and all sorts of transport arriving at Cemetery Cross
Roads. We stay here till to-morrow morning. Feel
a bit of a fraud.
EARLY NEXT morning we took leave of our sub-
terranean sanctuary in Kingston Road, joined
the Battalion at 71. North, and marched a couple of
miles to a concentration point between Mametz and
Carnoy. There, in a wide hollow, the four units of our
Brigade piled arms, lay down on the grass, and took
their boots off. Most of them had been without sleep
for two nights and the immediate forecast was
"murky". But every man had a waterproof sheet to
sit on, helmets were exchanged for woollen caps, un-
shaven faces felt gratitude for generous sunshine, and
bare feet stretched contented toes. Our Division hav-
ing done well, there was a confident feeling in the air.
But we had heard of partial and complete failures in
other parts of the line, and the name of Gommecourt
had already reached us with ugly implications. It
was obvious that some of us would soon be lacing up
our boots for the last time, and the current rumour,
"They say we've got to attack some Wood or other",
could not fail to cause an uneasy visceral sensation.
However, one felt that big things were happening,
and my Military Cross was a comfort to me. It was a