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Swansea Pals


Chris_Baker

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Please read my review of "Swansea Pals - a history of the 14th (Service) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment in the Great War", by forum pal, Bernard Lewis.

Well done, Bernard - your labour of love now in print, and a cracker!

And many, many thanks for referring to me, the Long, Long Trail and this forum in your introduction. Much appreciated.

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My copy has arrived and I look forward to reading it fully.

I'm pleased Bernard managed to include the details of George Smith, a Mancunian who lived in Cheadle, but became a Swansea Pal.

In Chris' review, he mentions a cover price of £14.99. Is that a soft back? My hardback has a cover price of £19.99.

John

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Chris - thanks for the review for which I am very grateful. I know that a number of relatives of those who served are delighted with the look and 'feel' of the book (and hopefully the quality of the writing too!) They are happy to see 'dads' or 'uncles' war service finally honoured in photo and print. I am proud to have helped them achieve this lasting testament to the bravery of the 'Swansea Pals'. A number of Baker's Pal's helped me with advice, illustrations and other material - thanks to all of them!

For John - every 'snippet' received regarding a veteran helped fill out the story and I was happy to help John as he helped me. The Hardback is £19-99 though a discount should be possible; the softback (out next year though I have seen it and its identiacal except, well, being softback and with a 'reduced' cover illustration will be £14.99).

The surviving 'Swansea Pals' expressed the wish in 1919 that the Battalion history would soon be written - its taken almost 90 years but I like to think they'd be pleased with my effort.

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  • 3 months later...

Having just finished 'Swansea Pals' I would like to say well done and thanks to Bernard for his sterling work

Well researched and well written I thought :D

chris

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Thanks very much Harribobs. Pen & Sword tell me that they expect it to have sold out by about August based on current sales patterns.

Bernard

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  • 5 months later...

I've no connection with Swansea and, in truth, my only real interest in 14/Welsh is my researchee, George Smith, as mentioned above.

The book has been gradually working its way to the top of my "to read" heap for many months and it's turn has finally come.

Bernard has managed to write a book which "hits the spot" on several levels. It is, first and foremost, a good history, taking the reader from the Battalion's very slow recruitment months, through the Somme and Ypres, and concluding with the years of remembrance after the War. It's use of war diary and other official documentation will appeal to the amateur military historians amongst us. And, all the while, Bernard draws heavily on contemporary photographs and newspaper reports to personalise the account. It makes for a very readable account of ordinary men living in extra-ordinary times. If I may give just one extract, it is the one that interests me most:-

"The Swansea Battalion therefore formed up in shell holes, in attack order, at 4.00am on 27 August 1918, under a bank at High Wood, the scene of very heavy fighting in 1916, before moving to the attack at 6.00am. It followed the advance of the 13th and 15th Welsh Battalions that had attacked earlier. It soon came under heavy machine-gun fire. However, despite this unwelcome attention from the enemy it still managed to reach its objective, a trench to the north-east of Delville Wood........The battalion now found it had outrun any supporting troops and had no contact with friendly forces on either its left flank or its front. Despite the exposed nature of its newly captured position it was decided to remain in the trench in a defensive posture. Enemy machine guns opened fire from a flanking position, causing many casualties and several German attempts to bomb the trench also had to be driven off.......Among those killed was George Outram Smith. A native of Cheetham, Manchester, he enlisted in Cardiff, having probably found work in the area. His home was at Spath Road, Cheadle Hulme, where he lived with his wife, Elizabeth. He was forty years old at the time of his death and the intensity of the fighting on this day is starkly illustrated by the fact that twenty-eight of his comrades died with him."

There are many fine battalion histories - most written during the 1920s and 30s. Bernard's work, enlivened by the "human interest", makes it a History for the 21st Century. I thoroughly recommend it.

John

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Thanks for the kind comments, John. I did indeed try to put the human side of the story as well as the obviously military aspect of the battalion history - it is for others to decide if I have succeeded but your words give me great hope.

Bernard

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bernard,yours has the names and addressess of next of kin,thats chopping peoples research in half straight away,its the only pals book that gives these details,i got mine weeks ago,hardback,brand new,£10,this isnt a bargain,its theft,£20 quid for a book of this quality is good value,even in softback,bernard

ps.the first one to post it on the forum,you can send my 10% agents fee by cheque,cash,luncheon vouchers or beer tokens :lol::lol:

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Bernard - thanks for that too. If I need a new publicity agent you'll be the first one I ring! Do you take Greek drachmas as I have some left over from old holidays and since the Euro came in...?!

Bernard

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