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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

and forced to take cover in a quarry. I remember
feeling nervous and incompetent while I wondered
what on earth I should do if called on to lead a party
out "into the blue". But the clouds were now redden-
ing, and we were fed up with the whole performance.
Messages went back and our guns chucked a lot of
shrapnel which burst over the near side of the Wood
and enabled the Irish to withdraw. We then, as Kin-
jack described it afterwards, "did a guy"; but it was
a slow one for we weren't back at our camping
ground until 8.30 a.m. The expedition had lasted
nearly eleven hours and we had walked less than three
miles, which was about all we could congratulate our-
selves on. The Royal Irish had had sixty casualties;
we had one killed and four wounded. From a military
point of view the operations had enabled the Staff to
discover that Mametz Wood was still full of Germans,
so that it was impossible to dig a trench on the bluff
within fifty yards of it, as had been suggested. It was
obvious now that a few strong patrols could have
clarified the situation more economically than 1,000
men with picks and shovels. The necessary informa-
tion had been obtained, however, and the Staff could
hardly be expected to go up and investigate such
enigmas for themselves. But this sort of warfare was
a new experience for all of us, and the difficulties
of extempore organization must have been con-
siderable.

During the morning we were a silent battalion, ex-
cept for snoring.   Some eight-inch guns were firing
about 200 yards from the hollow, but our slumbers
were inured to noises which would have kept us wide
412