1917, February 24th – RELIEVED THE 2/4th BERKS – ABLAINCOURT SECTOR
The relief was not over until nearly dawn, by when the last Berks had left and our worst stragglers been collected. The Battalion took over a three-company front. Brown with A Company guarded the left. Robinson with C (containing a large proportion of a recent draft now paying its first visit to the trenches) was in the centre, and D Company on the right. Some 500 yards behind our front lay the Ablaincourt Sucrerie, a dismal heap of polluted ruins, like all sugar factories the site of desperate fighting. Ablaincourt itself, a village freely mentioned in French dispatches during the Somme battle, was the very symbol of depressing desolation. Péronne, eight miles to the north-east, was out of view. Save for the low ridge of Chaulnes, whence the German gunners watched, and the shattered barn-roofs of Marchélepot–the former on our right, the latter directly to our front–the scene was mud, always mud, stretching appallingly to the horizon. Most of the trenches being deep in mud or water, parties were engaged day and night in clearing up. All companies in the line sent out patrols at night.