Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats


ditch. Propped against the bank, his blond face was
undisfigured, except by the mud which I wiped from
his eyes and mouth with my coat sleeve. He'd evi-
dently been killed while digging, for his tunic was
knotted loosely about his shoulders. He didn't look
to be more than eighteen. Hoisting him a little
higher, I thought what a gentle face he had, and re-
membered that this was the first time I'd ever touched
one of our enemies with my hands. Perhaps I had
some dim sense of the futility which had put an end
to this good-looking youth. Anyhow I hadn't ex-
pected the Battle of the Somme to be quite like this.
... Kendle, who had been trying to do something for
a badly wounded man, now rejoined me, and we con-
tinued, mostly on all fours, along the dwindling trench.
We passed no one until we came to a bombing post
three serious-minded men who said that no one had
been further than that yet. Being in an exploring
frame of mind, I took a bag of bombs and crawled
another sixty or seventy yards with Kendle close be-
hind me. The trench became a shallow groove and
ended where the ground overlooked a little valley
along which there was a light railway line. We stared
across at the Wood. From the other side of the
valley came an occasional rifle-shot, and a helmet
bobbed up for a moment. Kendle remarked that
from that point anyone could see into the whole of our
trench on the slope behind us. I said we must have
our strong-post here and told him to go back for the
bombers and a Lewis gun. I felt adventurous and it
seemed as if Kendle and I were having great fun to-
gether. Kendle thought so too. The helmet bobbed
up again. "I'll just have a shot at him," he said,
wriggling away from the crumbling bank which gave
us cover. At this moment Fernby appeared with two

418