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What WW1 books are you reading?

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear bif,

I had to laugh at that title!

Apropos laughing:

I was most amused to read that the anti-Establishment-minded Martin-Leake, VC, insisted on referring to the RAMC as 'The Medical Department'.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

 

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The Scorer

I've just read "Hedd Wyn" by Alun Llwyd.

 

This is the biography of Private Elis Humphrey Evans who, as Hedd Wyn, was the posthumous winner of the Chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod at Birkenhead.

 

It's a bilingual book, with Welsh on the left and English on the right, and this is quite hard at first to get used to. However, once this has been done, it's an easy read with lots of detail despite being quite small - not much over 100 pages, I think. Although I've been to his grave in Artillery Wood Cemetery and have recently seen the film "Hedd Wyn" (Alun Llwyd wrote the screen play, incidentally), I didn't know that much about him so, applying my first law of books that it should tell you something that you didn't know, it passed that test.

 

It is very good, and I'd recommend it to anyone who's interested in the story.

 

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seaJane

I am reading 'Stars beneath the Sea' by Trevor Norton, about diving pioneers, chiefly in pursuit of one Horace Cameron Wright who left some of his papers to our archive and worked during WW2 on the physiology of wounding by underwater explosion. Not exactly a WWI book, but the chapter about J.B.S. Haldane includes a two-page spread on his Great War service (apparently Haig described him as the "bravest and dirtiest officer in the Army").

 

sJ

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bif

Apparently not Sword of the North.  See thread of that name in this topic, please.

Edited by bif

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Black Maria

Just finished ' Veteran Volunteer : Memoir of the trenches , Tanks & Captivity 1914-1919 ' ( P&S Books 2014) . Captain Frank Vans Agnew M.C

travelled from his home in the U.S ( he had emigrated there in 1884 from England ) to join up in 1914 , he was 46 years old but said he was 40.

He joined the 2nd King Edward's Horse and went to France in May 1915 , he became a bomber and later that year took a commission

and returned in 1916 and joined the Mounted Machine Gun Section. He did observation post duties during the Somme and joined the Tank Corps

in January 1917 ( B Battalion ) . He fought at Messines where he was wounded and awarded the M.C and Third Ypres where he promoted to

Captain . He fought at Cambrai and on 23 Nov was section Commander in Bandit 2 when he was wounded and made a P.O.W , he spent the

rest of the war in Germany .

 

Captain Vans Agnew was a brave and tough soldier who took the trials and tribulations of army life in his stride . He didn't seem to let his age

get in the way and appeared to be fitter than men half his age . He didn't have a high opinion of the Germans , to put it mildly and this view

seemed to apply to journalists who wrote about the war . He wrote that " I wish they would send the staff of the MANCHESTER GUARDIAN

into the front line trenches and never release them again , A burial party is what they need and no more ! ". ( I do like this man ! )

 

I did enjoy reading this book despite the endnotes instead of footnotes and would recommend it .

Edited by Black Maria

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Felix C

Douglas Robinson's Zeppeliin book, later edition. 

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Black Maria

Just finished ' We are all flourishing ' which I thought was very good and now going to start ' Untold Tales of War-Time London  ' , which I was lucky

enough to come across recently in a shop for £12.

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Martin Bennitt

Just finished Forum Pal Jim Smithson’s ‘A Taste of Success’ about the opening phases of the Battle of Arras. Jim makes his points well, as he did in his talk on the subject at the GWF conference, prompting me to buy the book. Unfortunately, however, I thought the editing was pretty woeful: non sequiturs, sentences that weren’t, and above all a lack of correlation between the text and the maps, with trenches and other features figuring in one and not the other, and vice versa. I look forward to walking the ground with Jim as guide some day.

 

Cheers Martin B

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Steven Broomfield

Sadly, Martin, poor editing is de rigeur these days, it seems.

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Felix C

I notice it even with larger publishing houses with well known authors and relatively expensive books. YES USNI I am referring to you.

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Fattyowls
1 hour ago, Martin Bennitt said:

I look forward to walking the ground with Jim as guide some day.

 

I'd be up for that too Martin, let me know if you need someone to carry the wine cooler and the sandwiches. I'm sure some of the other chums would be too; GWF on tour, it's the future. However if you would prefer to wander lonely as a cloud then I would completely understand; I'm not sure I'd want to be on a tour that would have me as a member.  Thanks for the review; like you I was really impressed with Jim's knowledge at the conference but I fear I might get a bit confused by the editing or lack thereof.

 

Pete.

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trajan
On 9/3/2017 at 19:06, paulgranger said:

The Kindle version of Westlake is searchable, which helps greatly in the absence of an index.

 

Belated thanks!

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Phil Wood
On 11/3/2017 at 15:54, Steven Broomfield said:

Sadly, Martin, poor editing is de rigeur these days, it seems.

 

It's not poor editing but the lack of editing that publishers go for these days. 

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Steven Broomfield
1 hour ago, Phil Wood said:

 

It's not poor editing but the lack of editing that publishers go for these days. 

True. I was being too nice to the corner-cutting so-and-so's :(

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Black Maria

Just finished reading ' Untold Tales of War-Time London ' by Hallie Eustace Miles . Published in 1930 it contains the war time diary of the author

who ran a vegetarian restaurant in London and who was featured  in the documentary series 'The Great War -the people's story ' in which she was

played by Alison Steadman who read extracts from the book.

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trajan

Back to reading Lost legions of Fromelles, by P.Barton, with translations by our Siege Gunner - inspired to do so by finishing Sheldon's Fighting the Somme...

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Knotty

Not reading them yet but picked up a first edition copy of Mr Punch’s History of the Great War ( July 1919) in a new local charity shop for the princely sum of £2.50 and a slightly dog eared 1978 edition of John Terraine “To Win a War (1918 the Year of Victory)” for £1.50.

Bit chuffed, so left a donation.

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daggers

I'm reading 'Man of War - the secret life of Captain Alan Hillgarth' [RN], by Duff Hart-Davis, published by Century, 2012.

Only the first 75-odd pages out of some 400 fall within the WW1 period when the subject of this biography was at Osborne, Dartmouth and then at sea in Bacchante and at Gallipoli.  A thoroughly entertaining account of a youngster's adventures, based on the subject's own writing (he was later a novelist), and other family papers.

Still to come: treasure-hunting in South America and Naval intelligence in WW2...

D

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Black Maria

Just finished reading 'Open Cockpit' by Arthur Gould Lee , which I thought was excellent and now reading ' Air of Battle ' by Wing Commander William Fry M.C.

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GWF1967

I purchased a pile of 13 books from a fair at the end of the summer, unlucky for some, not me;  all hardback, all first editions.  £25 the lot.:rolleyes:

Read 1-4,  I had a couple these in paperback already;   Just finished reading  "No Man's Land" John Toland.    

 

1. Martin Middlebrook.   The first day on the Somme.

2.Tim Carew.   The vanished army.

3.John Ellis.   Eye-deep in hell.

4. Kate Caffrey.  Farewell Leicester square.

5.John Toland.   No man's land.

6. Nicholas Murray.   The red sweet wine of youth.

7. William Moore.   A wood called Bourlon.

8. J.H. Johnson.   Stalemate - The great trench battles of 1915-1917.

9. Lyn Macdonald.  1914-1918. Voices and images of the Great war.

10. Liddle Hart's.   History of the first world war.

11. Nigel H.Jones.   The war walk. A journey along the western front.

12. David Mason.  Verdun.

13. Stephen Longstreet.   The canvas falcons.  ( reviewed/panned in "Worst WW1 books).

 

 

 

 

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trajan

E.D.Brose, The Kaiser’s Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870–1918 (OUP 2004) - as the 'blurb' says, "Eric Brose traces the industrial development of machinery and its application to infantry, cavalry, and artillery tactics. He examines the modernity versus anti-modernity debate that raged after the Franco-Prussian war, arguing that the residue of years of resistance to technological change seriously undermined the German army during World War I."

 

Trajan

Edited by trajan

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AlanP_117

Monash and Chauvel by Roland Perry

 

A book about the two Australian Generals, discusses the campaigns in France (Sir John Monash) and Harry Chauvel in the Middle East. Interesting book, but I not sure it doesn't over emphasize Monash's contribution to winning the, compared to Arthur Currie and others.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

I am currently reading a 1971 Leo Cooper publication: "Gunner Subaltern 1914-1918", by Julian Tyndale-Biscoe.

Obviously a well-educated youngster of the upper middle-class - fortunately armed with a delightful sense of humour - Tyndale-Biscoe's father had gone out to India in the church. The book is based on Julian's letters to his father (the latter sent useful things like warm 'Gilgit-boots', and more: 'Thanks awfully for the parcel from Fortnum and Mason'), which, however, did not hide the wartime horrors...

What caught my attention,  was one name Lieut. Tyndale-Biscoe  ("A" Battery, 48th Brigade, 14th Division), mentioned, which was, despite my decades of such reading, completely new to me:-

'After a couple of hours, we marched in silence, passing what looked like Tom's Dog (nickname for Ypres)...'

He later mentions this, en passant, at least twice: 'We have left Tom'd Dog behind us, for good and all...', 'It is nearly three months now since we left Tom's Dog...'

I  researched his L. G. entries, to find that he was awarded the MC. He related being given a Permanent Commission, which was obviously regarded as a high honour.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Edited by Kimberley John Lindsay

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Maureene
1 hour ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

 

What caught my attention,  was one name Lieut. Tyndale-Biscoe  ("A" Battery, 48th Brigade, 14th Division), mentioned, which was, despite my decades of such reading, completely new to me:-

'After a couple of hours, we marched in silence, passing what looked like Tom's Dog (nickname for Ypres)...'

He later mentions this, en passant, at least twice: 'We have left Tom'd Dog behind us, for good and all...', 'It is nearly three months now since we left Tom's Dog...'

 

This GWF topic says it was a  nickname for Ypres specific to Tyndale-Biscoe and his family members, probably a way of letting the family know where he was or wasn't without getting his letters censored

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/102964-toms-dog/

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear Maureen,

Good work!

You have - yet again - put me on the Right Track. Many thanks.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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