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Recomended reading on the subject of the Great War 1914-1918

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    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 214975, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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1st Bedfordshires: Mons to the Somme Pt. 1

Steven Fuller


In August 1914 the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment were amongst the small professional British Army who gathered and prepared for a war that would `be over by Christmas'. With a long and proud history, dating back to 1688, the regiment's fighting men had already served through numerous wars and rebellions over and above long periods on garrison duties in the `Fever Isles', the New World, and throughout the expanding British Empire. So when war was declared the `Old Contemptibles' of the 1st Battalion would find themselves heavily engaged in more intense fighting during the first three months of the Great War, as it came to be known, than many of the newly raised `Service' battalions would experience during their entire existence. Despite heavy casualties, atrocious conditions, and a steep learning curve, they remained professional and stoic through the early fire and movement battles and then the stagnant, arbitrary nature of trench warfare. They endured pitched battles, heavy she


Royal Navy Roll of Honour - World War 1, By Name: Part 1

Don Kindell


World War 1 Roll of Honour of Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Naval Division men and women lost, 1914-18. Listed by Name. Compiled from original sources including Admiralty Death Ledgers and Admiralty Communiques. Foreword by Capt Christopher Page, RN, Rtd, Head, Naval Historical Branch of the Naval Staff. Downloaded version, available from www.naval-history.net, is searchable.


They Called it Passchendaele: The Story of the Battle of Ypres and of the Men Who Fought in it

Lyn MacDonald


The third battle of Ypres, culminating in a desperate struggle for the ridge and little village of Passchendaele, was one of the most appalling campaigns in the First World War. In this masterly piece of oral history, Lyn Macdonald lets over 600 participants speak for themselves. A million Tommies, Canadians and Anzacs assembled at the Ypres Salient in the summer of 1917, mostly raw young troops keen to do their bit for King and Country. This book tells their tale of mounting disillusion amid mud, terror and desperate privation, yet it is also a story of immense courage, comradeship, songs, high spirits and bawdy humour. They Called It Passchendaele portrays the human realities behind one of the most disastrous events in the history of warfare.


Somme

Lyn MacDonald


This book looks at the Battle of the Somme, which was planned as "The Big Push" that would at last break the long stalemate on the Western Front in World War I. However the 18 divisions that went over the top between Arras and St-Quentin on the morning of 1 July 1916, walked into a battle that has gone down in the annals of human conflict as the slaughterhouse of a generation. The author has written other books about the history of World War I, including, "They Called it Passchendaele" and "The Roses of No Man's Land". To add to the other reviews (and it *is* a triumph of research, and tells you pretty much all you need to know about the campaign), one thing puzzled me. The book doesn't seem to cover the first day of the battle, the day which most people think of when they think of the Somme. One moment, the troops are about to leap over the trenches - and then we're at the next chapter, and we've skipped several hours into the future. I assume Ms MacDonald is trying to replicate t
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Somme




Somme Mud

E P F Lynch


SOLDIER Magazine, March 2008 'His observations on life in the line and of his emotions in battle strike a chord. Difficult to put down - it has the feel of being written by a soldier for soldiers' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. BIRMINGHAM POST, 8 March 2008 'This vivid first-hand account of the experiences of an ordinary infantryman, Somme Mud reaches us as the voice of an ordinary, but highly literate, private soldier who simply endured the horrors that surrounded him and got on with his job' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. I bought this book as it sounded an interesting read. At first the way it is written takes a bit of getting used to, it isn't written after all by a professional story teller - the original text was penned by a soldier, Private Lynch, on returning from the Great War where, as an Australian infantryman, he fought in the front line and acted as a 'runner' for his CO. On hi
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Somme Mud




1915 : The Death of Innocence

Lyn MacDonald


By the end of 1914, the battered British forces were bogged down, yet hopeful that promised reinforcements and spring weather would soon lead to a victorious breakthrough. A year later, after appalling losses at Aubers Ridge, Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Ypres and faraway Gallipoli, fighting seemed set to go on for ever. Drawing on extensive interviews, letters and diaries, this book brilliantly evokes the soldiers' dogged heroism, sardonic humour and terrible loss of innocence through 'a year of cobbling together, of frustration, of indecision'. Over two decades' research puts Lyn Macdonald among the greatest popular chroniclers of the First World War. Here, from the poignant memories of participants, she has once again created an unforgettable slice of military history. This is an excellent account of 1915, the year when gas was used for the first time, Gallipoli became infamous and time and again thousands of men died, on both sides, for little gain. The interleaving of first hand acc
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1915 : The Death of Innocence




Forgotten Voices of the Somme: The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived

Joshua Levine


1916. The Somme. With over a million casualties, it was the most brutal battle of the First World War. It is a clash that even now, over 90 years later, remains seared into the national consciousness, conjuring up images of muddy trenches and young lives tragically wasted. Its first day, July 1st 1916 - on which the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead - is the bloodiest day in the history of the British armed forces to date. On the German side, an officer famously described it as 'the muddy grave of the German field army'. By the end of the battle, the British had learned many lessons in modern warfare while the Germans had suffered irreplaceable losses, ultimately laying the foundations for the Allies' final victory on the Western Front. Drawing on a wealth of material from the vast Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of the Somme presents an intimate, poignant, sometimes even bleakly funny insight into life on the front line: from the day-t


Over the Top: Great Battles of the First World War

Martin Marix Evans


Kindle The early battles of the First World War during the autumn and winter of 1914 were open, mobile affairs of the kind long familiar to professional soldiers. By early 1915, however, a new type of war had emerged – trench warfare. Modern artillery and machine-guns had been employed in the Boer War only a decade or so previously, but the perfection of their use led to the creation of a static front: the Western Front. Attempts to circumvent this Front, notably at Gallipoli in 1915, only succeeded in perpetuating the same form of warfare. Over the Top offers an innovative examination of trench warfare on the Western Front and Gallipoli during 1914-18 in the major battles that influenced the outcome of the First World War.


The First Day on the Somme: 1 July 1916

Martin Middlebrook


Kindle On 1 July, 1916, a continous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk slowly towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns and defended by thick barbed wire. By the end of that day, as old tactics were met by the reality of modern warfare, there had been more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatalities. Martin Middlebrook's classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources, local newspapers, autobiographies, novels and poems from the time. Most importantly, it also takes in the accounts of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror. Compelling and intensely moving, it describes the true events behind the sacrifice of a generation of young men - killed as much by the folly of their commanders as by the bullets of their enemies. I have just finished


Major and Mrs Holt's Pocket Battlefield Guide to the Somme 1916/1918

Tonie Holt & Valmai Holt


The Somme is the epicentre for most people in the study of the First World War from a UK and Commonwealth perspective. Today the landscape and terrain are dedicated to the soldiers that fought and died there and Major and Mrs Holt's Pocket Guide to the Somme has been put together to take you around the area. This book, part of a new series of guides, is designed conveniently in a small size, for those who have only limited time to visit, or who are simply interested in as an introduction to the historic battlefields, whether on the ground or from an armchair. They contain selections from the Holts' more detailed guides of the most popular and accessible sites plus hand tourist information, capturing the essential features of the Battles. The book contains many full colour maps and photographs and detailed instructions on what to see and where to visit. Major & Mrs Holt are the Formost experts on battlefield touring. Their previous guides books including the Somme, Ypres, Gallipo


World War I Trench Warfare: 1916-1918 Pt.2

Stephen Bull


"Once again a winner in my opinion. No, it still hasn't made me an expert on World War I, but has increased the knowledge base a little in a simple, easy to understand format. Osprey is to be commended for their continued coverage of this neglected period. I highly recommend this to any figure modeler or painter with an interest in this time period, for a general overview, and some interesting figure/vignette ideas. For those interested in a more detailed study of various countries uniforms during WWI, be sure to see some of Ospreys other offerings." -Dave O'Meara," Historicus Forma "(August 2005) Product Description The years from 1914 to 1918 saw a whole series of complex and very rapid changes in infantry tactics, which fundamentally altered the way wars had been fought for 150 years. This two-part study describes and illustrates the development: of infantry equipment and weapons; of support weapons; of field fortifications; and, most importantly, exactly how these items and techn


Fortifications of the Western Front 1914-18

Paddy Griffith


Following the early battles of 1914 along the Marne and in the Ypres salient. World War I rapidly transformed from a war of movement into one of attrition, with the opposing sides entrenching themselves in a line of fortified positions from the Flanders coastline to the Swiss border. This title details the different styles of fortification used on the Western Front throughout the course of the war, from the early ditches of 1914 to the complicated systems of 1918. It explains the development of the 'defence in depth' German system and the British reaction to it, as well as illustrating the importance of the forts around Verdun and how they were defended.


Undertones of War

Edmund Blunden


An established classic ... accurate and detailed in observation of the war scene and its human figures (D. J. Enright ) n what is one of the finest autobiographies to come out of the First World War, the distinguished poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Blunden took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as 'murder, not only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes'. In his compassionate yet unsentimental prose, he tells of the heroism and despair found among the officers. Blunden's poems show how he found hope in the natural landscape; the only thing that survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields.
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Undertones of War




Her Privates We

Frederic Manning


First published privately in 1929 as The Middle Parts of Fortune, Her Privates We is the novel of the Battle of the Somme told from the perspective of an ordinary private. This edition now restores all the 'prunings and excisions' that were made to the first edition because the bluntness of language was thought to make the book unfit for public distribution. An undisputed classic of war writing and a lasting tribute to all who participated in the war, Her Privates We was originally published as written by 'Private 19022'. Championed by amongst others Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, TS Eliot and TE Lawrence, it has become recognised as a classic in the seventy years since its first publication. Now republished, with an introduction by William Boyd, it will again amaze a new generation of readers. First published in 1929, Her Privates We is an extraordianry novel of World War 1. When it first came out, the novel was censored and its language which was considered too crude was cleaned up
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Her Privates We




A Chaplain at Gallipoli: The Great War Diaries of Kenneth Best

Gavin Roynon (Editor)


Many chaplains were not permitted to go near the Front in the First World War - others insisted on doing so, like Kenneth Best in the Gallipoli Campaign. Best had no military training before the war but he felt that he could only fulfil his pastoral role by getting close to the front line and working with the troops under fire. Best was attached to the 42nd East Lancastrians - the first Territorial Army Division to serve overseas in the conflict, so arguably the least experienced in the ways of war. In his diary we follow his progress through his initial training in Egypt and on to his arrival in Gallipoli in May 1915. Gallipoli has become notorious, even by the standards of the First World War. After a naval campaign to open up a supply route to Russia through Turkey failed, some 480,000 Allied troops were drawn into a land invasion in which hundreds of thousands were injured or killed. In his diary, Best records his efforts to encourage frightened men before they go over the top, to


Retreat and Rearguard 1914: The BEF's Actions from Mons to the Marne

Jerry Murland


Jerry Murland is an ex soldier, mountaineering instructor and teacher. He is also the and author of the recent, and highly regarded Aristocrats Go To War. He brings the all rounder's approach to his analysis and history of wahat Basil Liddel Hart called "that thing apart", the regular British Army of 1914. This is a period and a subject in which I have a particular interest; Murland's book is one I opened with particular relish and closed without finding disappointment. Like the best of current military historians the author has the ability to knit his narrative of events with truly apposite personal stories and accounts. Drawn from published and unpublished papers and accounts, they both colour his work and inform the reader. Absurdly, the Pen and Sword's publicity release for the book describes the account of the 12 day, 200 mile, retreat from Mons as a "near rout, "over blood drenched miles". Murland gives the lie to such half baked blurb. Certainly, there was poor, broken, co


The German Army in World War I: v. 3: 1917-18

Nigel Thomas


."..beautifully illustrated and the eight color plates show off a variety of WWI uniforms/equipment that are appropriate for armies that fought in the RCW...fills a very necessary spot in my wargaming library... As always, Osprey books form the first line of any 'attack' on a new period of study!" -"HMG Reviewing Stand" Product Description This third volume of a mini-series covering the German forces in World War I examines the troops that fought during the climax of the war on all fronts: the last great battles of attrition in the West (Arras, Messines, 3rd Ypres - Passchendaele/Langemarck - and Cambrai, 1917) and the collapse of Russia in the East. The 'Kaiserschlacht' campaign is covered, as are the German operations in Italy, the Balkans, and in support of Turkey in the Middle East. Uniform changes during this period reflected the introduction of new tactics and weapons and new types of troops, such as tanks and assault battalions.


The German Army in World War I: 1914-15 Pt. 1

Nigel Thomas


."..beautifull illustrated and the eight color plates show off a variety of WWI uniforms/equipment that are appropriate for armies that fought in the RCW...fills a very necessary spot in my wargaming library... As always, Osprey books form the first line of any 'attack' on a new period of study!" -"HMG Reviewing Stand" Product Description This is the first of three books that study the German Army of World War I in great detail. They give a comprehensive study of the organisation, uniforms, insignia and equipment of the Imperial German army - in practice the combined armies of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Wurttemberg. This first volume covers the troops who fought at Mons, Arras, and 1st Ypres in 1914; in winter 1914; at Neuve Chappelle, 2nd Ypres, Artois and the Argonne, 1915; and in East Prussia and Poland, 1914-15. It reflects the impact of the first period of trench warfare on the uniforms worn at the outbreak of war.


Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and Triumph

Andrew Robertshaw


"This brief account of that day, the first of a battle that would drag on for several months, sets the Somme in its larger context of World War I history. It explains the reasons for the disaster and discusses the British and German successes of that day. The book includes orders of battle for the BEF, French, and German units engaged, brief bibliography, and a description of the battlefield today." -Thomas R. Kailbourn, "Military Trader Magazine" Product Description Somme is still on record as the largest number of deaths in any one day in any war. This book explores the myths of this infamous battle and explains the underlying causes of the conflict, as well as the use of mines, tunnels, gas and flame throwers by the British in combination with innovative tactics such as smoke. Covering the first day of the Somme, Andrew Robertshaw analyses the battle through November, explaining how British battle tactics developed as a result of the experience of the Somme. He provides an overvie


Cambrai 1917: The Birth of Armoured Warfare

Alexander Turner


This title, the latest offering from Osprey's Campaign series, covers the action so dear to all armoured enthusiasts, the Battle of Cambrai. It was an action which history tells us included the first use of armoured vehicles in the role for which they had been conceived. Commonly believed to be the world's first tank battle, Cambrai has a unique position in the battle honours of the British Army, claiming to be the birth of what we now know as armoured warfare. Alexander Turner's book is an intriguing study on the use of armour as an operational shock weapon, for the appearance of tanks on the battlefield changed the practice of war for ever. He also demolishes some of the myths surrounding the action and places the emerging role of the tank into its historical perspective. Cambrai was not the first appearance of tanks on the battlefield - they had taken part in the Somme offensive at Flers-Courcelette in September 1916 to support the infantry - but it was the first time that they were


The German Army, 1914-18

R.J. Marriot & D.S.V. Fosten


The Imperial German Army began the Great War (World War I) as the most professionally impressive conscript force in the world. This fascinating book by Donald Fosten and Robert Marrion explores in great detail the organization, tactics, weapons, uniforms, equipment and origins of this army that fought in World War I from its start in 1914 to their ultimate defeat in 1918. Numerous contemporary photographs serve to illustrate this engaging and informative text which covers such wide-ranging topics as conscription, artillery and the army veterinary service. Eight full page colour plates by military artist Gerry Embleton, together with extensive commentaries provide a wealth of information concerning the uniforms and equipment of troops from a variety of services.
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The German Army, 1914-18




First Ypres, 1914

David Lomas


Osprey's overview of the First Battle of Ypres of World War I (1914-1918). In the autumn of 1914 the original British Expeditionary Force faced a heavily reinforced German drive. Field Marshal Sir John French, the British Commander-in-Chief, had sent his men north in an attempt to take the fight into Flanders, so they could fight across open ground. History tells us that this was not to be the case. David Lomas chronicles the first of the trench-warfare battles, where lines that would remain almost static for the rest of the war were established. Although the Germans failed to reach the channel ports, the death knell had rung for the BEF, which was virtually wiped out in this brave defence.
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First Ypres, 1914




Trench

Stephen Bull


This book would serve both the amateur and seasoned historian well in their ongoing acquisition of knowledge regarding the Great War. --The Western Front Association 'Stand to!' Product Description 'Going up Beek trench on a dark night was no picnic. You started along a long narrow alley winding uphill, your hands feeling the slimy sandbag walls, your feet wary for broken duck boards round corners you dived under narrow tunnels two or three feet high, finally emerging into the comparative open of the front line trench' - Soldier, 1/4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1916. Stephen Bull provides a complete picture of trench warfare, from the construction of the trenches and their different types, to the new weaponry and tactics employed in defence and attack. Alongside his compelling narrative of the campaigns fought in the trenches from 1914 to 1918, annotated trench maps highlight particular features of the trenches, while photographs, documents, and first-hand accounts
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Trench




Under the Guns of the Kaiser's Aces: Bohme, Muller, Von Tutscher and Wolff - The Complete Record of Their Victories and Victims

Norman L.R. Franks & Hal Giblin


Following their approach to identifying and describing all the airmen who were claimed by Manfred von Richthofen in "Under the Guns of the Red Baron", and by Immelmann, Voss, Goring and Lothar von Richthofen in "Under the Guns of the German Aces", air historians Franks and Giblin have put four more equally distinguished German aces of World War I under the microscope. In doing so, they profile not only the aces themselves, all of whome received the "Blue Max" - Germany's highest award for bravery in action - but also the Allied airmen they fought and downed. By extensive research into records, and studying maps, timings and intelligence reports - contemporary and retrospective - as full a picture as possible is revealed with photographic coverage of the many protagonists involved. All four of the aces, Bohme, Muller, von Tutschek, and Wolff were unit leaders at different times, one commanded a Jagdesgeschwader, the others commanded Jagdstaffels. All four were destined to die in actions


Fighter Heroes of WWI: The untold story of the brave and daring pioneer airmen of the Great War

Joshua Levine


‘A vivid, moving story of the men who fought the Great War in the Air. Quite superb.’ Max Arthur ‘Those magnificent men in their flying machines recount in their own words just how mad and magnificent it was to be an air-ace in World War One. Joshua Levine's compilation is enthralling and breathtaking’. Chris Powling, Classic FM Guestlist ‘This is a superior example of the genre from a writer at the top of his game.’ Air Marshal Stuart Peach The first heroes of the air. Rewriting the rules of military engagement and changing the course of modern history as a result, the pioneering airmen of the First World War took incredible risks to perform their vital contribution to the war effort. Fighter Heroes of WWI is a narrative history that conveys the perils of early flight, the thrills of being airborne, and the horrors of war in the air at a time when pilots carried little defensive armament and no parachutes. The men who joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1914 were the


Aces High: War in the Air Over the Western Front, 1914-18

Alan Clark


Aces High serves to remind us that, if not an entirely scrupulous politician, nor a perfect husband, Alan Clark really was a superb military historian. There has evolved something of a myth about the war in the air between 1914-1918. The myth goes that, while in the filth and gore of the trenches below, any idealism and chivalry quickly sputtered and died in the purer air above; the last noble heroes battled with each in one-to-one dogfights like knights of old. It is a myth that Clark shoots down in flames, with characteristic iconoclasm. One of the great RFC aces was Mick Mannock, famed for his encounter with a training instructor, out in a formation of six with five of his very green-horned pupils. Mannock first shot down the instructor and then ruthlessly pursued each of the novices and shot them down one by one. This wasn't chivalry, it was war, and although more elegant to watch, it was every bit as lethal as Passchendaele. The book is also superbly illustrated; there is a photog


Goshawk Squadron

Derek Robinson


World War One aviators were more than just soldiers they were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised the gallant young heroes. But for Stanley Woolley, commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron, the romance of chivalry in the clouds is just a myth. There are two types of men up there: victims and murderers, and the code he drums into his men bans any notion of sport or fair play. This produces better killers but, even so, Wolley believes the whole squadron will be dead within three months. Derek Robinson quietly builds the day-to-day details of these mens lives and deaths into a powerful indictment of war. But this classic of war literature is also very funny, often painfully so; Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this is Derek Robinson's masterly novel of the war in the air over the Western Front in 1918. Robinson writes excellently here and in his other books about fliers in WW1 and WW2. Dark, funny and best of all unsentimental. I've just finished "A Damned Good Sh
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Goshawk Squadron




Arras: The Spring 1917 Offensive in Panoramas Including Vimy Ridge and Bullecourt

Peter Barton


"'Astonishing ... made my heart sigh' Independent 'An extraordinary set of panoramic photographs that reveal the battlefields of the Western Front as never before.' The Times 'Hauntingly magnificent' Navy News 'His works are widely regarded as milestones in the gaining of a balanced understanding of the First World War.' Soldier magazine" This title features unseen panoramas of the most dangerous battle of the First World War. In spring 1917, Allied troops on the Western Front began the largest ever artillery barrage on German positions, using over 2.7 million shells. During the battle they succeeded in capturing the famous Vimy Ridge. But the ultimate cost of fighting was immense, with a daily casualty rate 40 per cent greater than the Somme and almost double that of Passchendaele - making it hour for hour the most dangerous major campaign of the First World War. In this major new account of the conflict, Peter Barton showcases over 50 re-discovered British and German panoramic pho


The Somme

Peter Barton


"* Astonishing... made my heart sigh' Independent * 'An extraordinary set of panoramic photographs that reveal the battlefields of the Western Front as never before. 'The Times * 'The book is a magnificent effort and most impressive - one could almost say unique' Lyn Macdonald" Not only does this book contain period photographic panoramas of the battlefields with 'present day' views (which are superbly done) it also gives the reader a 'blow by blow' account of the Somme battle by using numerous eyewitness reports and detailed photographs, beautifully detailed maps and illustrations. This is a gem of a book and out of all the books I've read on the subject ( too many to mention!) this is unbeaten for generating the atmosphere of the battle, complete with all its horrific detail. If you are planning to visit the battlefield, this book will prove to be a 'must have' companion. Simply one of the best books available on the subject. Buy it and I can guaratee you won't be disappointed.
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The Somme




Old Soldiers Never Die

Frank Richards


Frank Richards served in the 2/ Royal Welch Fusiliers along with (at one time or another) Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon, and Dr Dunn (compiler of the amazing 'The War That The Infantry Knew'- possibly THE best battalion history of WW1- and a good companion to this book as its interesting to cross reference small incidences somtimes...). Anyway, Richards was slightly different to his literary contemporaries in that he was 'Other Ranks', and a miner by trade. He was recalled to the colours in 1914 after several years on the reserve, and served as a Private right through to 1918. He writes his story as one would imagine he spoke- and for me as I read it, it was a style as if he was telling me his war history in anecdotes down the pub or something, supping over a pint of mild: theres no deep soul searching here, but plenty of bitterness, a lot of detail, and what an experience he had... So if you don't have this in your collection then get it now- one of the very few 'OR' books (I
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Old Soldiers Never Die





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