couple of miles away on our left, so I felt vaguely im-
pressed by being so close to events which were, un-
doubtedly, of historic importance in the annals of the
War. And anyone who has been in the front line can
amplify that communique for himself.
ON SATURDAY afternoon the order to move up
took us by surprise. Two days of stagnation in
the cramped little trench had relaxed expectancy,
which now renewed itself in our compact preparations
for departure. As usual on such occasions, the Com-
pany Sergeant-Major was busier than anybody else.
I have probably said so before, but it cannot be too
often repeated that C.S.M.'s were the hardest worked
men in the infantry; everything depended on them,
and if anyone deserved a K.C.B. it was a good C.S.M.
At 9 p.m. the Company fell in at the top of the
ruined street of St. Martin. Two guides from the out-
going battalion awaited us. We were to relieve some
Northumberland Fusiliers in the Hindenburg Trench
—the companies going up independently.
It was a grey evening, dry and windless. The village
of St. Martin was a shattered relic; but even in the
devastated area one could be conscious of the arrival
of spring, and as I took up my position in the rear of
the moving column there was something in the sober
twilight which could remind me of April evenings in
England and the Butley cricket field where a few of
us had been having our first knock at the nets. The
cricket season had begun. .. . But the Company had
left the shell-pitted road and was going uphill across
open ground. Already the guides were making the
pace too hot for the rear platoon; like most guides
they were inconveniently nimble owing to their free*