[August 15th 1916] shelling on the way & other obstacles we did not get to our destination till 10.30pm & between that & 2.30am we dug 500 yards of Communication Trench. This was supposed to be an impossible task & three Divisions had said it could not be done as it lay right through the Boche barrage. I have never seen any country to equal the scene of desolation: there was not a blade of grass to be seen anywhere, the ground had been so shelled & shelled that all the shell holes over lapped, some were enormous, some were quite small & through this we had to dig a trench. The latter part lay through orchards & ruined houses of which there was nothing left. The stench was too awful we kept digging up corpses, they were lying every where, ours & Boche dead, heads, arms, limbs, in the most advanced state of decay, crawling with maggots were to be seen & smelt on all sides. The horror of the place is almost impossible to describe & the revolting sights were almost beyond belief. Barely had we started digging before six or seven large shells landed within a few yards of us & hit two men: never have I seen men dig so quickly after this, within half an hour they had buried themselves & then began to join up the holes to make a trench.