Remembrance - 6th Royal West Kent Regiment 1914-18. By Sidney T Kemp

-28-and we began having several more casualties. Tommy and.I were always busy mending and laying new wires not only to the companies bUt also for the artillery whose colour was red and the infantry black.Well September came along with off and on weather we kept to the same routine with the Buffs and dared not think about the future. All of us knew that the war would never be won by either side if we kept on as we were for this was stalemate. It wasn't much longer to wait before we knew that someone was trying to end it all. We continued to get letters and parcels from home and friends who cared about us and Ethel God bless her wrote regularly tome and you are sure that I wrote pretty reguljirly back in the green envelopes that could be opened only at the base but not by the officers who you were serving under. It was when we were serving in this sector of the line that the armourers' assistant a chap named Sales who came from Dunton Green near Sevenoaks was returning back to Battalion HeadQuarters after delivering a chap's rifle to him in the front line and which had been repaired by the Armourer Sergeant. He said that ashe was going back down the communication trench he saw out in the derelict land which was between the Jerry line and reserve trench a hare. He shot it but was too scared togo and collect it. But what good would it have been to any of onus Battalion HeadQuarters for the cooks were not trained to cook such delicacies and so I suppose the hare made a few dinners for the rats which were everywhere. I myself never saw any wild animal no rabbits or suchlike only the hordes of rats which were everywhere. Now the absence of wildlife reminds me that there were no wild birds either not orin behind the battle zones never were there those friendly sparrows which we in England accepted as part of the population and which always appeared in numbers if people picnicl-Ed as we did so often out of doors. Was it the war with the shellings that caused the absence of birds? But never do I remember seeing wild birds when we were at rest sometimes 10 or 12 miles behind the battle zone or was it because over the years the people of Belgium and France had driven the birds away when they cut all the hedges and small coppices down and cultivated the fields almost up to the edges of the roads including main Inroads? Britain in those days so many fields were surrounded with hedgerows and that was where the birds made their nests and reared the young ones I feel this should be recorded about the absence of birds anywhere no rooks no crows no starlings or Thrushes or Blackbirds and no robins who over herein England always did, and still do become firm friends with people. It was on September 2}rd that we were given a job of bundling up straw for what purpose we didn't yet know. The artillery everywhere to the left of us at Ypres etc. and to the south were now shelling the Germans by day and night and we began to wonder what wa3 afoot. It was about this time that I met Len Bush who I had met at Christmas while I was home on leave from Sandling Junction. Len with his regiment for he was a regular soldier had been sent to France after homecoming from India where they the 2nd Battalion the Buffs had been for three or four years. Len was engaged to Ethel's eldest sister Flo who was about my age. He had been wounded about the end of March in France and was now drafted to the 6th Buffs who wore our sister regiment in France and who were doing the alternate duty with us. V/e had heard that our artillery had been withdrawn from the Armentiers front and we were covered by other artillery. On September 22nd the Commanding Officer inspected the Battalion on parade and we were taken then to do duty at Divisional HeadQuarters at Nieppe and we began to wonder.
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