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showers all the afternoon and the sunset flared with
a sort of crude magnificence which dazzled us when
our road took a sudden twist to the left. More memor-
able, now perhaps; but memorable even then, for me,
whose senses were so teemingly alive as I gazed on
that rich yet havoc-bordered landscape and thought
of the darkness toward which we were going. The
clouds flamed and the clover was crimson and the
patches of tillage were vividly green as we splashed
along between the poplars. And then, with dusk, the
rain came down again as though to wash the picture
out for ever.

We had five or six miles to go before we crossed the
La Bassee Canal, and then it was another mile (with
hundred yard intervals between platoons) to the ren-
dezvous. Beyond the poplars was the ominous glare of
the line, and the rattle of rifles and machine-guns
completed with a local thunderstorm—"overhead
artillery", one of the men called it. ...

Here, at the crossroads, were the guides—quite a
crowd of them, since we were the leading company.
Two-minute intervals between platoons. Lead on
Number One. I watched them file away into the
gloom, while Velmore wiped his spectacles and con-
ferred with the company sergeant-major in under-
tones. Lead on headquarters. And then a couple of
miles easy walking brought us to the big shell-hole
and its diminutive dug-outs. It was now one o'clock
in the morning, and the relief was completed when I
signed the list of trench-stores taken over. Referring
to this document, I find that we "took over" 30,000
rounds of small arms ammunition, 12 gas gongs, 572
grenades, 120 shovels, 270 Very lights, and 9 reaping
hooks, besides other items too numerous to mention.

Hewitt wa3 the only platoon officer with the com-