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Second Battalion, so I've still got a right to feel moder-
ately unwell. How luxurious it felt, to be lying there,
after a cup of strong tea, with daylight diminishing,
and a vague gratitude for being alive at the end of a
fine day in late spring. Anyhow the War had taught
me to be thankful for a roof over my head at night.. ..

Lying awake after the lights were out in the ward,
it is possible that I also thought about the Second
Battalion. Someone (it must have been Dunning)
had sent me some details of the show they'd been in on
April 23rd. The attack had been at the place where
I'd left them. A little ground had been gained and
lost, and then the Germans had retreated a few
hundred yards. Four officers had been killed and nine
wounded. About forty other ranks killed, including
several of the best N.G.O.s. It had been an episode
typical of uncountable others, some of which now fill
their few pages in Regimental Histories. Such stories
look straightforward enough in print, twelve years
later; but their reality remains hidden; even in the
minds of old soldiers the harsh horror mellows and

Of this particular local attack the Second Battalion
Doctor afterwards wrote, "The occasion was but one
of many when a Company or Battalion was sacrificed
on a limited objective to a plan of attack ordered by
Division or some higher Command with no more
knowledge of the ground than might be got from a
map of moderate scale." But for me (as I lay awake
and wondered whether I'd have been killed if I'd
been there) April ssrd was a blurred picture of people
bombing one another up and down ditches; of a
Company stumbling across open ground and getting
mown down by machine-guns; of the Doctor out in
the dark with his stretcher-bearers, getting in the