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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Memories of 1914-18 - One

During the second battle of Arras we were seldom more than a day or two in the same place. Orders would come through and away we wallowed to take up more advanced positions. One night I found a dogout in which five  men were sleeping. There was an empty bunk and I climbed into it gratefully. But preently I fell to wondering why my fellows were so silent and, lighting a match, held it to the face of the nearest. He was dead. They were all dead . . .

We have a parson attached to us now - a Cambridge don - who wanted to hold a service today in our battalion mess room; but the walls have been thickly papered with French pictures of naked women. He had to confess the site inappropriate for a holy purpose.

- Raymond Asquith, letter to his wife, 28 May 1916.

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