We move off, marching to attention until clear of the town, not a man out of step though they are all carrying an enormous amount of kit, wood, charcoal, etc., every rifle properly sloped, every man looking to his front. A sergeant shouts, 'Hold your head up, Brown, you're not fit to be a blank highlander, put him in the report Idle Marching.' The time by the way is about six o'clock, the light rapidly going. Then out on to the famous high road Bethune-La Bassee. Absolutely straight with trees on both sides and pave underfoot. About four miles of this and then we reach Brigade Headquarters, the beginning of the danger zone. The houses are shattered here on both sides of the road and a few bullets sigh over head and a few strike sparks from the pave. A man is hit and the stretchers bear him away. Two shells then, not far off and most unpleasant as we are in column of fours. However no damages done. It is now moonlight and we turn off the main road, forming single file, the light showing up one side of the men very clearly and making their waterproof sheets glisten, and leaving the other in deep shadow. More bullets along this lane though all over our heads. These are all stray shots as we are out of sight of the enemy, as indeed we have been all along. Under the shadow of a building without a roof, but otherwise undamaged (used as a dressing station).
We turn into Hertford Street, the communication trench dug by the Hertford Territorials during the day, when there are only very occasional stray bullets about this area. Walking up a communication trench behind a lot of men is a beastly business. The trench is very muddy, and where the parapet is low and the bullets are coming two a minute (though high, mark you) you may bet the line is held up for a few seconds. This goes on for about three parts of a mile, and then we reach some farm buildings, the walls riddled with shell-holes, which make little irregular pools of moonlight on the floors as we file rapidly through; on again, skirting a big barn, without a tile on the roof, and the woodwork fined down by bullets and the moonlight, into a wonderful grey, gauze-like tracery. This barn has kept its dignity, unlike the other broken buildings that have all lost their self-respect.