After breakfast the chaplain considered his programme. First he had to see about burials. There might be one or two bodies lying near the Regimental Aid Post and others in the company areas, while there were bound to be several farther back—men who had been killed during the advance. Conditions in every battle were different, but frequently it was possible to have some movement in daylight round Battalion Headquarters, and the chaplain could arrange some burials. He would find a suitable place and get some graves dug and the bodies carried to them. Each had to be carefully identified and the personal possessions collected. He would open the shirt and remove one of the two coloured identity discs, cutting off the red one and leaving the green, as he unconsciously murmured the aid-to-memory, ‘Red for registration, green for grave.’ He had to check the name on the disc with the name in the paybook; then he searched each pocket and put everything he found into a parcel. Later these parcels were handed to the orderly-room sergeant when he came up from B Echelon.
When the bodies were ready for burial the chaplain would have a word with the Colonel. Perhaps it would be possible to fetch one or two of the man's friends and a time for the burial would be arranged. Often these burials had to wait for nightfall, and sometimes they were interrupted by shellfire. No respect for the dead justified the risk of one man's life. The little group stood round the grave as the chaplain read from his prayer book, but before the earth was piled on the blanket-covered body, a tin or a shell case containing a paper with all particulars would be placed in the grave. This was necessary because identity discs were made of a material which quickly rotted underground. The Germans and Italians more sensibly used metal discs.
The chaplain had to see that the grave was well marked and all page 61 particulars—name, rank, number—carefully recorded in his notebook. Rough crosses would be made and inscribed, and a map reference for the grave obtained from the Intelligence Section. This map reference, with a small sketch map of the grave, would later help the Graves Registration Unit. From each paybook the chaplain copied the name and address of the next of kin, and later in the day would transfer this information to the special burial form, complete with sketch map on the back, which would then be handed with the parcels of personal belongings to the orderly-room sergeant.