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about. But while we were getting into position in
shell-holes and a trench through the Wood there
were shells coming from every direction and Very
lights going up all round the Wood, and more than
once I had to get down and use my luminous compass
before I could say which side was which. Young
Fernby and the Battalion bombers were on my right,
and I saw more of him than of Perrin during the
night; he was quite cheerful; we'd been told it was
going to be a decent show. The only trouble we struck
that night was when a shell landed among some men
in a shell-hole; two of the stretcher-bearers were
crying and saying it was bloody murder.

"Next day began grey and cheerless; shells screech-
ing overhead, the earth going up in front of the Wood,
and twigs falling on my tin hat. When it got near
zero, the earth was going up continuously. Boughs
were coming down. You couldn't hear the shells
coming—simply felt the earth quake when they
arrived. There was some sort of smoke-screen but it
only let the Boches know we were coming. No one
seems to be able to explain exactly what happened,
but the Companies on the left never had a hope.
They got enfiladed from Ale Alley, so the Sergeant-
Major was right about the 'rough house'. Edmunds
was killed almost at once and his Company and B
were knocked to bits as soon as they came out of the
Wood. I took C along just behind Perrin and his
crowd. We advanced in three rushes. It was nothing
but scrambling in and out of shell-holes, with the
ground all soft like potting-mould. The broken ground
and the slope of the hill saved us a bit from their fire.
Bitter Trench was simply like a filled-in ditch where
we crossed it. The contact-aeroplane was just over
our heads all the time, firing down at the Boches.