Tuesday, 1st October (1918)

Sitting on my gear in the morning sun and the roar of a terrific bombardment which started about 5 and it is now 8 a.m.  Yesterday there was much work for men and horses and many hairbreadth escapes, galloping through thick and thin to escape shell fire, and had I have been a spectator instead of a participant in all this stupendous business I might have been able to give you a clear account of it.  I shall not remember much detail afterwards – a blurred impression of noise, rush, horrible sights, more horrible stenches, forces, confusion, mad effort and dreadful death.  We have been on the move each day – last night our teams actually stayed with the guns; that’s how we came to be up here in the middle of the barrage fire.  Went to water at dawn for safety, but got shelled away, besides having to pass under rows and rows of field guns, all blazing away with the strong chance of a premature.  Saw an air fight at close hand, one plane falling in flames.  War on this scale is stupendous – quite unimaginable; you peaceful folk will never conjure up the faintest picture of it.  We sleep when we do sleep, in old dug-outs, under bits of tin, tarpaulins stretched from a bank, or the like.  Usually manage some sort of a wash out of a water bucket; otherwise no toilet.

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