This book, all of which has been written at the Front within sound of the German guns and for the most part within shell and rifle range, isan attempt to tell something of the manner of struggle that has gone on for months between the lines along the Western Front, and moreespecially of what lies behind and goes to the making of those curt andvague terms in the war communiqués.
protected in comparative dryness inside the men's jackets. The breakfast rations consisted of Army bread--heavy lumps of a doughy elasticity one would think only within the range of badness of a comic paper's 'Mrs. Newlywed'--flint-hard biscuits, cheese, and tea.
'The only complaint against the rations bein' too much plum jam,' said a clay-smeared private, quoting from a much-derided 'Eye-witness' report as he dug out a solid streak of uncooked dough from the centre of his half-loaf and dropped it in the brazier.
Then the first shell landed. It fell some yards outside the parapet, and a column of sooty black smoke shot up and hung heavily in the damp air. No. 2 Platoon treated it lightly.
'Good mornin',' said one man cheerfully, nodding towards the black cloud. 'An' we 'ave not used Pears' soap.'
'Bless me if it ain't our old friend the Coal Box,' said another. 'We 'aven't met one of 'is sort for weeks back.'
'An' here's 'is pal Whistling Willie,' said a third, and they sat