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volunteered to carry it. We grew to love that fire-bucket and became more attached to it than old Ebenezer did to his.

About mid-day we were absolutely famished again, and an S.O.S. was sent to H.Q. for sandwiches and hot drinks. The return of the messenger was eagerly awaited.

We still hadn't seen any signs of the enemy, which was perhaps as well, for had we done so I really believe we should have torn him limb from limb and devoured him. There was no doubt whatever that the men were really hungry and thoroughly cold. Even the mildest of them were prowling around like ravening wolves. My own section Second-in-command, normally the best-tempered of men and a good husband and father, became so hard-pressed by hunger and cold that he frightened the wits out of a woman in a near-by cottage by giving her what he fondly imagined was an appealing smile, but what in reality was a ghastly Grande Guignol grin, so horrible that, instead of coming out with food and drink, the poor woman fled shrieking from the window. It wasn't long, though, before our little van bearing our provisions hove into sight, and this gladdened our hearts immensely.

The sandwiches (nice substantial ones they were, too) were quickly distributed, but, alas, when enquiries came to be

made about the hot drinks, it turned out that there was only that horrible bottled beverage, miscalled beer, on board. Strong men wept and tore their hair. All except No. 1 Section Leader. He hadn't any. Never have I seen so much beer refused by so many. Explanations were demanded of the driver. It appeared that when the cook had prepared the tea the clumsy oaf turned round quickly and kicked it over, and there was no tea left to make more. That cook and all his relations were cursed steadily and fluently for fully an hour. Even his great-grandparents must have stirred uneasily in their graves. This, indeed, was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Interest in the proceedings had now sunk to a lamentably low level, and even the Platoon Sergeant's heroic efforts to whip up interest did not meet with much success. He let it be known that the enemy had been seen about a hundred yards away, but when we went there, there was never a sign of him. This fable was related to us at intervals for the rest of the afternoon, but that will-o'-the-wisp which we had hunted all night and all day never materialised.

It didn't matter now. We were beyond ordinary disappointments and, in any case, the end could not now be very far off. This led to speculation as to how many of us were ever likely to survive to the end. The best we could hope for, we thought, was double pneumonia.

However, when we came to the last position of the day, conditions were such that we began to take a rather less jaundiced view of life. Our good companion, the fire, was augmented with