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When he got to Verdun in early September, it sometimes happened that the supply planes supporting the Third Army had to hold the air for an hour or so above the scene while engineer troops cleared away the enemy mines and otherwise tidied up the fields that were to be used for landing strips. But for a moment, let us explore the other reasons for the three of us dressing, living and eating like this, putting ourselves through an uncomfortable and difficult few days in the name of charity. Of course you already know that we are going to be carrying each other for four days on a stretcher this winter, and you know that it is for charity. We are keen to liven up life, and the project has allowed us to plan another extraordinary expedition, variety is the spice of life. The late Justice Holmes was thinking not only of battle but of what is needed to keep an army fit during peace when he said: ” The song for the Soldier is a war song. The RBL was formed as a DIRECT RESULT of the Great war, to help soldiers and their families return to some sort of normal life. The key to understanding the actions of men at periods of history is to understand what they felt and thought. We also received our first tea ration of the trip, a pint of tea made with condensed milk, stewed as much as possible. What we had left of our army biscuits and some of our very own Plum and Apple Jam, as made for us specially by Tom and Katie at Hapton Meadow estate. It was dark as we entered Litcham across the common, and once again our night navigation was tested as we had no artificial sources of light with which to read the map. On the day before the advance, General Patton was visited by Generals Lord, Stratton and Eyster of Communications Zone. At the heart of all sound teaching through the centuries, whether within military institutions or without, has dwelt the simple idea that every vigorous man needs some kind of contest, some realization of resistance overcome, before he can feel that he is making the best use of his faculties. Let me mention about our food, that as the soldiers in the trenches would receive (or were meant to receive) food from the field kitchen each day, transported to the front by man power, we would receive our rations in the same way. The fact that this one day a year is still carried out, is an amazing thing to our minds, and long may it continue. No sleeping bags or tents for us, we all have a blanket and a groundsheet, and various woolens to keep the chill off, but we sleep in the same woolen uniform that we march in, with the exception of our socks which we religiously change after a days march, not necessarily for clean ones tho! They are not one of the ‘rock and roll’ charities that it is fashionable to be seen supporting, but they have been there, quietly doing their work for most of our life times, and they are the custodians of the massive Poppy appeal, a day which symbolizes humanity and remembrance. So the plan was rejected and the extra burden of replacement materiel was loaded onto units already sagging under the weight they carried. THERE is nothing original or radical in the proposal that for the good of the state, the moral resolution of military forces is fostered best by turning from dreams of quiet contentment and the easy life to thought of overcoming of great obstacles. ” If we are speaking of character, then it is perfectly true that whatever goes to build up the man as a civilian goes to build up the man as a Soldier. There are a number of charities out there that qualify for our project, but in the end we opted for the Legion. The three of us have known each other for some years, and as sailors and young men we have embarked upon some fairly adventurous journeys, not only sailing together, but spending one new years eve up a Welsh mountain wearing kilts. With this project, we can get in between the print of the pages and feel what it is like to wear the uniform, to sleep in the cold, to eat a poor diet, everything bar the extreme risk of death is available to us. Keep your eyes peeled for the next post, and see how we got on, over night, and on day two of our adventure back in time! With kind permission from the church Warden at Litcham, we bedded down for our first night out in the open with authentic gear. 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