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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The ebb & flow of battle


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This is a book I found in a second hand boookstore.

and what a little gem it is.

The book deals with the author's experiences on the western front in 1918,

he was a subaltern in the RFA, and the book mainly deals with the big German advance, up to the the end of the war.

unlike a lot of books of this type, there are no great accounts of bloodshed or the loss of his friends that you've grown to admire.

There are no photos or maps, so his story feels like a novel, but don't let that put you off.

This book is a gem.

The writing is excellent. his descriptions of his fellow officers and men are so vivid as is his love of the countryside.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly.

It's just a shame it's out of print, it makes me so sad, what with all that dross still in the bookstores, books like this are largely forgotten.

This mans life story should not be forgotten!

The same goes for Edwin Campion Vaughan, and John F. Tucker and the rest.


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This really is one of the lesser known gems of the war. Campbell actually wrote two volumes (the name of the other one escapes me temporarily) and they were eventually published together under the title "In the Cannons Mouth" - Hamish Hamilton 1979

Campbell served with the 5th Army through 1918 and this is reflected in "The Ebb & Flow of Battle". The other volume (a prequel) realtes his earlier experiences leading to a "blighty" from which he recovered to return to the front for the 1918 onslaught.

I first picked up the combined volume very cheaply as "something that might be worth reading on the war". In fact I found it so engrossing that I virtually could not put it down until I finished it. It provides an excellent view of day to day life in the artillery through high points and low points and through quiet periods and furious fighting.

I can never understand why is is not that well known. It is a superb addition to any library of personal accounts of the war.


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There are no photos or maps, so his story feels like a novel, but don't let that put you off.

Agree, an excellent book. The author was still alive in the mid/late 1980s, and was interviewed for a couple of documentaries at that time; few then, even fewer now had ever heard of these two classics. It is also very easy to follow 'Ebb and Flow' on the ground today... especially at Chapel Hill.

My edition, at least one of them, from memory has a map in it. There was an 80s pbk reprint of Ebb & Flow; perhaps it had no map?

I have seen this go on Ebay very cheaply' buy it, if you ever see it.

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Regarding this book, is there a geographic area that it covers. I am interested in any material related to the Somme during March 1918 and the Ludendorff Offensive.


- Dwight Mercer, Regina, Canada

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