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recommended reading for war in salonika


robertsim

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Can anyone provide any recommendations for learning about the war in Greece? My chap was in the RASC so any specific references for that would also be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Rob

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"Under the Devil's Eye" by Forum Pals Simon Moody and Alan Wakefield is a good start but you'll need to get it through an inter-library loan as it's out of print. There are a few digitised books available for free downloads (not at home so I don't have the links, I'm afraid) but, overall, the Theatre has been badly served and you'll probably have to do quite a lot of the digging yourself.

Can I suggest you join the Salonika Campaign Society? It's only 7 pounds a year and the magazine, New Mosquito, comes out twice a year.

Keith

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There are a few on the forum who have collected a fair amount of information and one of them actually lives in/near modern day Salonica.

If you had something specific you may want to post it and see what response you get.

Andrew

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Andrew/Keith,

Thanks for the replies, I shall see if I can get hold of Under The Devil's Eye from the library.

I'd like to learn more about the campaign because I have recently discovered my Great Grandfather was in the RASC out there and died two days after the Armistice. He is buried in Mikra Cemetery and I have managed to obtain some photos of his headstone, he was also mentioned in despatches and awarded the MBE, apparently for being instrumental in setting up a chain of canteens across Greece. I am looking to get this confirmed if I can and wondered if the RASC kept an equivalent of a War Diary.

Something to go at now, thanks again.

Rob

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Rob, post his name, service number and any other details you have in the "Soldiers" forum. The breadth of knowledge on the board is frequently startling and you may well get pointers to guide you in your research. I can't help, I'm afraid.

Keith

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Rob,

I am afraid I can't help much but this link will give you some very good maps of the campaign area. I found them invaluable when mapping where my Grandfather's unit was.

http://lazarus.elte.hu/hun/digkonyv/topo/3felmeres.htm

These links will give you some back ground information -

http://www.borgognon.net/VEBdiary.html

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~cjmorton/service.htm

http://www.salonika.talktalk.net/

I have had a quick look on TNA site but can't see a war diary as such.

Andrew

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"Under the Devil's Eye" is very good as regards the British army (though I wish someone had harmonised the spelling on the maps with that of the text!). Alan Palmer's "The Gardeners of Salonika", published more than 40 years ago and considered a classic, gives more on the French role in the campaign, which was in fact preponderant.

cheers Martin B

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I've read some of Victor Borgonons diary and it paints an unpleasant picture for the troops out there, in a parallel with the last entry my GGF appears to have taken his own life too. On home leave in the September he appears to have been suffering from influenza and depressed about the conditions.

Have been to the library to see if they can get a copy of Under the Devils Eye.

Rob

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Rob

My GF was also in the Army Service Corps in Salonika and the ASC definitely kept unit war diaries. You need to know which company your GGF was in to find the correct ones.

There are 2 useful books on the ASC in WWI & both have chapters on Salonika:

"Army Service Corps 1902-1918" by Mike Young

"Royal Army Service Corps: A History of Transport and Supply in the British Army" by Sir John Fortescue and Colonel R.H. Beadon

Hopefully you should be able to borrow them from your local library.

Do you have any more detail about which unit your GGF was attached to? You obviously know a bit because you say "he was also mentioned in despatches and awarded the MBE, apparently for being instrumental in setting up a chain of canteens across Greece".

When I started my research, I knew that my GF was attached to the 10th Divisional Train and that he was an officer, so I was able to find out which company he was in.

The first book has some very useful appendices, from which you might be able to work out which company your GGF was likely to have been in. Once you know which company your GGF was in, then you should be able to find the appropriate unit war diaries at the National Archives at Kew.

Don't worry if you find your GGF could have been attached to any one of several companies - for example, there are 4 companies attached to the 10th Divisional Train, but the unit war diary covers all 4 companies.

I have made a start going through the unit war diaries for my GF's company - there are pages and pages and pages of it as you can imagine.

The second book was written in the 1930s but a paperback version was published about 5 years ago.

Hope this is of help to you. Let me know how you get on.

Regards

Claudette

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Morning Claudette,

Thanks for the book reading suggestions and confirmation about the war diaries, I have just obtained "under the Devils Eye" from the library and will look out the others in due course. I think I need to find someone to research his service records at Kew to find out more, hopefully including the company he served with.

There must also be records somewhere about his MBE, if any has any tips where I might look that would be appreciated. The only reference I have is his MIC , CWGC entry and notes written by an Uncle of mine.

The mention is despatches is a certificate reading:

Expeditionary Forces Canteens

T/Lt. W Mercer, RASC

was mentioned in a Despatch from General Sir G F Milne KCB, DSO dated 1 November 1918 for gallant and distinguished service in the Field. I have it in command from the King to record His Majesty's high appreciation of the services rendered.

It is dated 1 March 1919 and signed by Winston Churchill as Secretary of State for War.

Will let you know how I get on, it may take me a while to find the time to get on with it!

Rob

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Hi Rob

Given that you know that your GGF was with the Expeditionary Forces Canteens, plus the MBE and mention in dispatches, you've got quite a bit there that I would hope makes your GGF stand out when searching for him.

The other thing I would recommend doing is writing to the Museum Archivist at the Royal Logistics Corps Museum at Deepcut in Surrey. Although they may take a bit of time to reply, you never know what information they might find.

I made an appointment and actually went to visit him & he was very helpful. I had given him what information I knew about my GF before I went and he found several bits relating to my GF in the Army Service Corps journals. Also he might be able to help in pinpointing which company your GGF would have served in - he was able to do that for me.

This link is for the Museum Archives and tells you a bit more about what they do and don't hold, plus how to go about making an enquiry:

http://www.army.mod.uk/rlc/history/351.aspx

Good luck!

Regards

Claudette

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Hi Rob

Just had another thought.

I presume that the T at the beginning of "T/Lt. W Mercer, RASC" means he was in the Territorial Army.

If that's the case, then I think the reference for his service record at Kew is WO 374/47367 because there's only one Territorial officers service record for a Lieutenant W Mercer.

If he wasn't in the Territorial Army then there are 4 service record references to research:

WO 339/70347

WO 339/96671

WO 339/112056

WO 339/135560

None of these 4 service records for the Regular Army officers state the rank, so each record would need to be checked.

Hope this is of further help.

Regards

Claudette

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Up to now I had thought the T referred to temporary Lieutenant but he was in the TF so your suggestion makes a lot of sense. He served with 12th Royal Lancers from 1886 and then moved into the TF in 1913, he was then with the Monmouthshire Yeomanry before transfering to the EFC in 1917

I shall get in touch with Deepcut and see what I can find out, thanks again for all your help.

Cheers,

Rob

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Can anyone provide any recommendations for learning about the war in Greece? My chap was in the RASC so any specific references for that would also be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Rob

Rob

A book published at the time is 'The Story of the Salonika Army' by G Ward Price (Official correspondent with the Allied Forces in the Balkans) My copy is from 1917 and was the best raffle prize I have ever won!

As for free downloads, I've just done a quick search for you and found this link

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Salonika

The basic site is www.archive.org and that might give you some free material. Not sure if the Ward Price book mentioned above is available, though.

cheers mate

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Theo,

Thanks for link, I've downloaded the Cpt A J Mann book and will look out for the Ward Price one.

Cheers,

Rob

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  • 1 month later...
Can anyone provide any recommendations for learning about the war in Greece? My chap was in the RASC so any specific references for that would also be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Rob

Try:The Gardeners of Salonika,by Alan Palmer1965

_____

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Although he wasn't in the RASC, there is also Return to Salonika by Charles Packer. It is a first hand account based around reminiscences when he returned after the war.

Ken

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Forgotten Battlefronts of the First World War, by Martin Marix Evans, pubished 2003 by Sutton Publishing of Stroud, Gloucestershire, has a section on The Salonika Front.

It also has sections on The Belgian Fronts, The Vosges, and The Italian Fronts.

Ken

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  • 1 month later...

I seem to have got on the scene too late. Only 1 on Amazon for Under the Devil's Eye, and that's £100 and nothing on Abe :doh:

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  • 5 months later...
I seem to have got on the scene too late. Only 1 on Amazon for Under the Devil's Eye, and that's £100 and nothing on Abe

To show it can be got cheaply- that is my own quote above - I have just got a very good condition copy at under a tenner.

Put the details on Abe Books as an automatic email if the book came up, and waited and waited. Eventually one came up a few weeks ago, thought it was too good to be true, but it arrived and was in very good condition.

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