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Remembered Today:

A General's Letters To His Son On Obtaining His Co


Bryn_Hammond

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I believe this to be 'anon' but there is a preface by General H.H. Smith-Dorrien

Ryan

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charlesmessenger

Byrn

To put you out of your misery, it was Maj Gen T D Pilcher who was removed from command of 17th Division after its perceived poor performance during the opening days of the 1916 Somme offensive.

Charles M

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it was Maj Gen T D Pilcher who was removed from command of 17th Division after its perceived poor performance during the opening days of the 1916 Somme offensive.

This seemed to be a very unfair reaction, from what I have read in 'The Hell They Called High Wood'. Does Pilcher refer to this in the book?

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  • 5 months later...
Anthony Pigott
Is someone going to review it next. Please.

Here's a brief summary:

A General's letters to His Son on Obtaining His Commission, Cassell, 1917; xviii + 116pp.

There are 12 letters which form chapters in the book, dated from June 1st, 1916 to March 1st, 1917. The Preface by Gen. Smith-Dorrien is dated May 1st, 1917. There is a statement that "The Author's profits will be given to Military Charities".

I find it a charming and often moving little book. It's very much of its time in style but nonetheless full of sensitivity and humanity that one can easily sympathise with today. As you would expect, it focusses on matters of honour and correct behaviour, but not in a stuffy or pompous way (and frankly, much of it would not go amiss today, IMHO).

By comparisons with the then (1916-17) current Army and that of 1914, it gives some insight into the massive problems of its rapid growth and turnover. The chapters on 'What we are Fighting For' and 'What we are Fighting Against' help to understand the strength of feeling of "doing the right thing" that undoubted helped to keep the army and the country going though those terrible times.

Regards

Anthony

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I assume this is out of print? As I recall Pilcher was removed at the same time as Ivor Phillips (CO of the 38th (Welsh) Division). Poor performance in trying to capture Mametz Wood prior to 10 July 1916 was the reason.

On the 10 July the Welsh Division was 'flung' onto Mametz Wood, capturing it after a couple of days fighting - but at a cost of over 4,000 casualties. The Swansea Bn suffered almost 100 dead and 300 wounded from the 676 it sent into the attack on 10 July. It was withdrawn on 11 July weakened by its losses - but still singing!

Bernard

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