1917, OCTOBER 28th – MOVED BACK TO ARRAS
From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose M.C. (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)
It was a good thing when October 28 came and the Battalion moved back to Arras for a twelve days’ spell in rest. Billets were the French prison, whose cells provided excellent accommodation. Arras in the autumn of 1917 was an attractive place. The clear atmosphere, through which the sun shone undimmed by factory-smoke, lent to its majestic ruins almost Italian colouring. Upon the western side of the town quite a number of undamaged houses still remained; at its centre the theatre and concert hall had luckily escaped destruction, and to hear the various divisional troupes most crowded audiences assembled every night. The streets, though unlighted, were thronged with jostling multitudes. The Arras front, as though in acknowledgement of greater happenings elsewhere, had become dormant since midsummer. Against the trenches themselves little activity by the enemy was shown, and in the back area, pending a change of policy by us, quietude reigned during the early autumn. A big German gun occasionally threw its shells towards our Transport lines at St. Nicholas or into Arras Station.