(Excerpt from "Shoulder the Sky" by Anne Perry pg 104-105)

He found the first-aid dugout where a couple of stretcher-bearers were sitting having a smoke. A third was dozing, his feet sticking out in the weak sun, his boots unlaced. Near him the mud under the duckboards was nearly dry. The rain had stopped and the sky overhead was hazy blue, and just at this moment the guns were silent. There seemed to be fewer rats than usual.

Lanty Nunn opened his eyes, "Allo, Chaplain. Lookin' for someone?"

Joseph squeezed his way past and sat down, making himself comfortable. "Only trying to find out a bit more about how the journalist got killed," he replied. "I expect the general will want to know--and his family. It's not as if he had been a soldier."

"It's not as it 'e'd bin any damn use at all!" Lanty retorted.

Whoopy Teversham, who had been half asleep, sat up on his elbows. He had bright ginger hair and features like rubber, able to assume any expression. "Chaplain, you don't want to tell the poor bastard's mother 'e was a pain in the arse," he said cheerfully. "anyway, oi expect she knew! Hell-bent on getting the story that'd make his name," he went on. "Into everything, asking questions. Oi thought he was going to write it up like he'd saved the Western Front single-handed. He wanted all sorts of facts and figures; wounded, gassed, sent home to Bloighty, where and how the dead was buried. Guess he knows that now, eh?" He laughed abruptly, and ended up coughing.

"Don't mind him, Chaplain," Lanty said dourly. "He don't know no better!"

Doughy Ward blinked, staring as Joseph with a frown. "Tell his family he went too far forward and got caught in cross fire. What does it matter? He's dead."

"He was drowned, actually," Joseph told him.

"Yeah?" Doughy opened his eyes wide. "We don't know what he was after up there, an' to be honest, Chaplain, we don't care. He were always poking his nose in, asking things what wasn't none of his business."

"Did he say anything to you about going over the top?"

"Didn't listen to 'im. Told 'im to go to hell actually." He smiled.

"Looks like he did, an' all!" Whoopy said with a grin. "I'd have told him sooner, if I'd known he'd go an' do it!"

"Not in front of the chaplain!" Lanty shook his head, looking at Joseph apologetically.



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