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Remembered Today:

Road to Armaggedon: letters Lt-Col HOS Cadogan


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Just received this from Bridgebooks.

I have mixed feelings but can recommend it.

The book is the edited and illustrated and endnoted writings of Lt Col HOS Cadogan who died at the head of 1st RWF in October 1914.

£20 give or take ... I took advantage of pre-pub price.

First, the look of the book: superb dustwrapper, mud coloured boards, moderate quality paper, and the photos come out a bit less well than they might. I can judge this because several also appear in my co-edited Old Soldier Sahib.. No problem with duplication of such photos, as the ills. are as relevant to Cadogan as to Frank Richards.

His own writings are marvellous, and give a great insight into the mind-set prevailing. As an example, whereas Richards's books are full of anecdote about men and officers, there is scarcely an Other Rank mentioned by HOSC.

The notes, where I can form a judgement, betray some lack of research or expert advice; for example, in 1914 the Terms of Engagement were not, and had not been for many years, 3 years with the colours, and 9 on the reserve [except for the Foot Guards]. Furthermore, Richards's service was not 'extended to 1912', rather he extended his Section D liability on the Reserve. Captain George Dickson was not 2 i/c of 2nd RWF in the Great War unless their punctilious War Diary failed to notice his arrival and departure. Some of the 'Composition of an Infantry Battalion' is in error, and is heavily coloured by more recent establishments. There are lots of 'Dvr's on the roll. These turn out on the Medal Roll 1914 to be Drummers! Difficult to believe that a Colonel of the 4th battalion, the author, could imagine that 'driver' was a rank or an appointment for the 1914 infantry, but there it is.

My final niggle is the layout of the Roll of the battalion in October 1914: the layout is poor, and a little attention to this would have made for a much easier read.

Now, if you think this is all grumbles, it is not. The book is almost unputdownable [yurrgh!] and I recommend it. Just don't take too much notice of the editorial content, which could have done with some specialised advice. Fortunately my name does not appear in the Acknowlegements, and only once in the Bibliography.

Buy it!

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