thing except file past a tool-dump, where the men had
collected picks, shovels, coils of wire, and corkscrew
stakes. At 2 a.m. we really began to move, passing
through Mametz and along a communication trench.
There were some badly mangled bodies about.
Although I'd been with the Battalion nearly eight
months, these were the first newly dead Germans I
had seen. It gave me a bit of a shock when I saw, in
the glimmer of daybreak, a dumpy, baggy-trousered
man lying half sideways with one elbow up as if de-
fending his lolling head; the face was grey and waxen,
with a stiff little moustache; he looked like a ghastly
doll, grotesque and undignified. Beside him was a
scorched and mutilated figure whose contorted atti-
tude revealed bristly cheeks, a grinning blood-
smeared mouth and clenched teeth. These dead were
unlike our own; perhaps it was the strange uniform,
perhaps their look of butchered hostility. Anyhow
they were one with the little trench direction boards
whose unfamiliar lettering seemed to epitomize that
queer feeling I used to have when I stared across no-
man's-land, ignorant of the humanity which was on
the other side.
Leaving the trench we filed across the open hillside
with Mametz Wood looming on the opposite slope.
It was a dense wood of old trees and undergrowth.
The Staff of our Division had assumed that the near
side was now unoccupied. But as soon as we had
halted in a sunken road an uproar broke out at the
edge of the wood, which demonstrated with machine-
guns and bombs that the Staff had guessed wrong.
Kinjack promptly ordered A Company forward to
get in touch with the Royal Irish, whose covering
parties were having a bombing fight in the Wood.
Our men were fired on as they went along the road