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ment, I added my tunic and steel helmet to the heap,
took a deep breath, grasped the bayonet firmly in my    '
right hand, and crawled out into the unknown. I
wasn't doing this from a sense of duty. It would cer-
tainly be helpful if I could find out exactly what
things were like on the other side, and whether, as
was rumoured by staff experts, the Germans with-
drew most of their trench garrison during the day.
But my uppermost idea was, I must admit, that the
first man of the 74th Division to arrive in the enemy
trenches was going to be me. This was a silly idea
and I deserved no credit at all for it. Relying on
Velmore to hold the fort at company headquarters,
I was lapsing into my rather feckless 1916 self. It was,
in fact, what I called "playing my natural game". I
can't believe that I really enjoyed it, but it was excit-
ing to worm one's way across, trying not to rustle the
corn stalks. After about 300 yards of this sort of thing
I crept through a few strands of wire and came to the
edge of the concealment zone. What on earth would
Doctor Macamble say if he could see me, I wondered,
trying to bluff myself into a belief that I wasn't the
least bit nervous. He would probably have rebuked
me for being ''bloodthirsty"; but I didn't feel at all
like that.

The shallow German trench was only a few yards
away, and there was no one in it, which was a great
relief to my mind. I got into it as quickly as I could
and then sat down, feeling by no means at home. The
bayonet in my hand didn't seem to give me any extra
confidence, but there were some stick-bombs lying
about, so I picked one up, thinking that it would be
just as well to take something back as a surprise for
old Velmore. I then proceeded along the trench,
sedately but bent double. For the benefit of those