Item 03: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett telegrams, 1915 - Page 9

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[Page 9]

of the Assistant Provost Marshall.
When we were back in the shelter, there was still nothing visible, and two of us went down to the Divisional Headquarters where heralded by the telephone's petulant and gnatlike summons more news came back of the progress of the battle. It was true then that the Blanks had captured three lines of trenches, and I thought of the men in that escort who had danced about in the roadway by the sea's edge and chattered all together about their exploit like children. The Indian troops had suffered severely but the Blanks and the Blanks had made a desperate advance: the Blanks had pressed on: it was magnificent to watch a thin red line of pencil symbolise and record their achievement.

The Naval Division had lost heavily, having come up against three trenches banked one above the other on the slope: but nevertheless a blue line showed where, and with what valour, they had held their ground against a bloody enfilade. We emerged from the dugouts of the D.H.Q. and passed along the paths that wound among the tents and cavities which the Irishmen had found time to decorate with white stones. Once more returned that sensation of being near the seaside and all of this noise of battle being but a dream. The rifles and maxims had begun again when we reached the shelter.

A second advance, timed to begin at 4 o'clock, was already in full swing. Again we tried to see the figures of men in their bayonet charges up the slope, but still there was nothing visible except mules, and an ambulance waggon galloping up the ribbon of road. The sun by now was westering fast, and the shelter was lit up with pale gold in which the scarlet bands and tabs of the Staff glowed somewhat richly when the result of the second advance arrived we hurried back along the trench toward Lancashire Landing. Birds were twittering in their flight through the radiant air, and beyond them three biplanes were winging homeward, one behind the other, as birds fly across at sunset to roost. The sixty-pounder was still moaning on its way to the enemy lines, but not even guns could destroy the golden

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