Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

originality were infrequent. But since 1918 Generals
have received their full share of ridicule and abuse,
and it would not surprise me if someone were to start
a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Great War
Generals. If such a Society were formed,, I, for one,
would gladly contribute my modest half-guinea per
annum; for it must be remembered that many an un-
successful General had previously been the competent
Colonel of an Infantry Battalion, thereby earning the
gratitude and admiration of his men.

Anyhow, the frost had been intense, and owing to
the rationing of coal in England the issue to the Army
had been limited and coke-issues had caused many
cases of coke-fume poisoning where the men slept in
unventilated dug-outs. After this miserable experi-
ence (which had ended with a thaw and a hundred
cases of trench-feet) the Second Battalion was now
resting at Camp 13, about two miles from Morlan-
court. The huts of Camp 13 had been erected since
last summer; they disfigured what I had formerly
known as an inoffensive hollow about half a mile from
the reedy windings of the Somme. No one had a good
word for the place. The Battalion was in low spirits
because the Colonel had been wounded a few weeks
before, and he had been so popular that everyone re-
garded him as irreplaceable. His successor was indul-
gent and conciliatory/ but it seemed that greater
aggressiveness would have been preferable. Contrast-
ing him with the rough-tongued efficiency of Kinjack,
I began to realize that, in a Commanding Officer,
amiability is not enough.

Meanwhile we were in what was called "Corps
Reserve5 *, and Colonel Easby had issued the order,
"carry on with platoon training" (a pronouncement
which left us free to kill time as best we could). No. 8