6th November (1918)

Whole of yesterday slogging about in the mud and wet, only finding our battery towards evening, just pulled into a shelterless paddock.  Had all sorts of adventures on the way, but no time to recount them.  All my blankets and everything else I left behind have been lost, but in the meantime I share another’s, and will in time salvage some of my own.  We are in the middle of the fighting and the beastly old shells are crashing around us all night.  This is a rotten hole to come back to.

The Frenchfolk on the road up received us all with great hospitality and would take nothing for the coffee with which they regaled our beau-coup fatigue selves.  They have been living all through the war on the American Relief System and of course have no food to spare.  In many places more gruesome evidences of recent fighting.

In one place a “Lancashire” was cleaning up the result of a direct hit on a detachment of German artillery.  On the body of one horse a startling excrescence appeared.  It was the head and shoulders of a young man, cut clean off below his coat collar.  His hat was at a jaunty angle, his eyes were open, and his face set with a careless laugh.  The “Lanky” in his tuney dialect proudly related how it was all he could find of the “body”, how he had “washed his face, put on his cap, and set him on his horse”, and drew my attention to “his cheerful expression of countenance”.

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