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best friends, a pair of greased marching bools whose
supple strength had never failed to keep the water
out; how much those boots meant to me can only be
understood by persons who have shared my type of
experience; I can only say that they never gave me
sore feet; and if this sounds irrelevant, I must remind
the reader that a platoon commander's feet were his

The Second Battalion of the Flintshire Fusiliers had
recently returned from two months in the Clery sector
of the Somme Front, where they had endured some of
the severest weather of the War. Battalion records re-
late that there were no braziers in the trenches, fuel
was so scarce that wooden crosses were taken from
casual graves, and except for the tepid tea that came
up in tins wrapped in straw, food was mostly cold.
Major-General Whincop, who commanded the Divi-
sion, had made himself obnoxiously conspicuous by
forbidding the Rum Ration. He was, of course, over
anxious to demonstrate his elasticity of mind, but the
"No Rum Division" failed to appreciate their unique-
ness in the Expeditionary Force. He also thought that
smoking impaired the efficiency of the troops and
would have liked to restrict their consumption of
cigarettes. General Whincop had likewise demon-
strated his independence of mind earlier in the War by
forbidding the issue of steel helmets to his Division.
His conservative objection (which was based on a be-
lief that this new War Office luxury would weaken
the men's fighting spiritó"make them soft", in fact)
was, of course, only a flash in the pan (or brain-pan)
and Whincop's reputation as an innovator was mainly
kept alive by his veto on the Rurn Ration. G.O.C.s,
like platoon commanders, were obliged to devise
"stunts" to show their keenness, and opportunities for