hushed tones (as though the Germans might overhear
him). As I sat there I thought of the "selling sweep",
to which this seemed a natural sequel! Anyhow I am
going up to the line for three days to-morrow, with
the G.O. and one of the other Company Commanders,
to obtain a little experience of the sector we shall take
over, and ought to be able to find out quite a lot.
June 8. (In the Fronl Line, near Mercatel) Yesterday
morning, in fine weather, we rode to Avesnes, and
were conveyed thence in a lorry to Basseux (which
was the last billet I was in with the Second Battalion).
Then on to Agny and lunched at Brigade H.Q,. Two
mile walk from there up to Battalion H.Q,. The deva-
stated area looking dried up and as devastated as ever.
Canadian Colonel with a V.C.—evidently a terrific
fire-cater but very pleasant. A guide brought me up
to B Company H. Q,. in the Front Line, which I reached
about 7.30. The Company Commander, Captain
Duclos, has been wounded twice and in France 21
months. If he gets one more "Blighty" he'll stay
there, he says. In spite of his name he speaks no
French but many of his company are from Quebec
and speak very little English.
There was a fair amount of shelling last evening;
considerable patrolling activity on our side, and much
sending up of flares by the Boche. In fact things are
much the same as they used to be, except that we
didn't sniff for mustard-gas then, and didn't walk
about with "box-respirators in the alert position". I
don't think Pm any worse than I was at Fricourt and
Mametz. I would have enjoyed doing a patrol last
night. But I feel a bit of a fool being up here with no
responsibility for anything that happens, so it is
rather a good test of one's nerves.
These trenches are narrow and not sandbagged.