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328   DAYS OF PREPARATION

occasion from the 1st Royal Scots, then Lieutenant Crabbe and his thirteen men left the comparative shelter of Shelley Farm and proceeded with fixed bayonets in Indian file to squelch their way through the malodorous mud of a disused communication trench whose construction dated back to October, 1914, and in which still lay the half-submerged bodies of Poilu and Boche. The moon was at the full and threw her beams across the right shoulders of the attacking party so that the wonder is that the usually alert German sentries failed to detect the glitter of her beams on the naked bayonets. The men struggled forward, crouching low over the stinking mud. Ever and anon the nervous Huns sent up Verey lights and the attacking party would submerge itself and remain motionless until the danger passed. An angle of the trench to the left brought the entire party into a position parallel to that held by the 23rd Bavarians and from which the sap had been driven which was the primary cause of the whole attack. A few minutes breathing-time was given here, as, although in light marching order, the men were carrying extra ammunition and the trail from Shelley Farm had been laborious. At the moment of attack, they were just fifteen paces from the enemy parapet and yet the enemy seemed entirely unsuspicious of the impending assault. A whispered command, a cheer that sounded not unlike the savage snarl of a tiger about to leap on its prey, an impetuous dash on the part of the Patricia's, and in five seconds they were through the barbed wire in a mad rush, while the Huns dashed in a panic to the rear through their communication trenches. Pandemonium then broke loose from the entire German line for miles to the right and left—search-lights, Verey lights, machine guns, rifles, trench mortars—the moonlight paled before the stream of fire and a veritable hailstorm of lead swept the British parapets. Corporal Donald Ross was the first man into the German trench and, although he paid for his heroism with his life, his example inspired his


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