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Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

there was always the cathedral to look at, and dis-
covered that I'd unintentionally made a very good


Two DAYS later we vacated the camp at Heilly.
The aspens by the river were shivering and
showing the whites of their leaves, and it was good-
bye to their cool showery sound when we marched
away in our own dust at four o'clock on a glaring
bright afternoon. The aspens waited, with their in-
different welcome, for some other dead beat and
diminished battalion. Such was their habit, and so
the war went on. It must be difficult, for those who
did not experience it, to imagine the sensation of re-
turning to a battle area, particularly when one started
from a safe place like Heilly. Replenished by an un-
promising draft from a home service battalion, our
unit was well rested and, supposedly, as keen as
mustard. Anyhow it suited everyone, including the
troops themselves, to believe that victory was some-
where within sight. Retrospectively, however, I find
it difficult to conceive them as an optimistic body of
men, and it is certain that if the men of the new draft
had any illusions about modern warfare, they would
shortly lose them.

My exiguous diary has preserved a few details of
that nine-mile march. Field-Marshal Haig passed us
in his motor; and I saw a doctor in a long white coat
standing in the church door at Morlancourt. Passing
through the village, we went on by a track, known as
"the Red Road", arrived at the Citadel "in rich
yellow evening light", and bivouacked on the hill be-
hind the Fricourt road. Two hours later we "stood-