On the one hand there was a certain pride in standing and holding the very frontier of our country’s fortunes; on the other a longing to return, even temporarily, to a normal civilian life. Strangely, it was the homely whistles of the steam trains, heard far away in the clear night air, that brought to me the feelings of being caught up and strangled by obligation and sense of duty. In the front line there were no other sounds from the far flung villages and towns.

As I walked up and down or sat awhile, listening to the shadowless silence that enclosed me (there were many more dead silences than non-combatants would assume) I gazed at the stars, as Milton said, through the empty vaulted night.

I mused across the gulf that separated my labours from the world of my family at home. A silence, touching time, and being of itself as deep as eternity, can be more moving than the tearing noise of battle.’