Skip to main content

Full text of "TheCompleteMemoirsOfGeorgeSherston"

See other formats

and he breezily informed me that I'd been detailed to
take command of a hundred bombers in the attack
which had been arranged for next morning,' 'Twenty-
five bombers from each Company; you're to act as
reserve for the Cameronians," he remarked. I stared
at him over my mug of reviving but trench-flavoured
tea (made with chlorinated water), and asked him to
tell me some more. He said: "Well, they're a bit hazy
about it at Headquarters, but the General is fright-
fully keen on our doing an underground attack along
the Tunnel, as well as along the main trench up above.
You've got to go and discuss the tactical situation
with one of the Company commanders up in the Front
Line on our right." All that I knew about the tactical
situation was that if one went along the Tunnel one
arrived at a point where a block had been made by
blowing it in. On the other side one bumped into the
Germans. Above ground there was a barrier and the
situation was similar. Bombing along a Tunnel in the
dark. , . . Had the War Office issued a text book on
the subject? ... I lit my pipe, but failed to enjoy it,
probably because the stewed tea had left such a queer
taste in my mouth.

Ruminating on the comfortless responsibility im-
posed on me by this enterprise, I waited until night-
fall. Then a superbly cheerful little guide bustled me
along a maze of waterlogged ditches until I found
myself in a small dug-out with some friendly Scotch
officers and a couple of flame-wagging candles. The
dug-out felt more like old times than the Hindenburg
Tunnel, but the officers made me feel incompetent
and uninformed, for they were loquacious about local
trench topography which meant nothing to my newly-
arrived mind. So I puffed out rny Military Cross
ribbon (the dug-out contained two others), nodded