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Gardenerbill

Muckydonia

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Gardenerbill

Abebooks have a copy of Muckydonia for sale for £50, this is more than I would normally pay. Is it worth it? Well I suppose it depends on whether it is about a unit you are interested in or one that is related to your interest e.g. in the same brigade, or a similar type of unit, yeomanry for example. Can someone who has a copy give me a short summary of the book?

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KJames

It's quite a while since I read this book but I seem to recall it was mainly behind the lines with a bit about organising entertainments. I think he was in a pioneer battalion and it's written as a diary.

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Gardenerbill

Thanks Kjames,

the full title is 'Muckydonia, 1917 - 1919 : being the adventures of a one time pioneer in Macedonia and Bulgaria during the first world war' so definitely pioneer, I think I will keep an eye out for a cheaper copy.

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Martina

Hello,

I don't have a copy of Muckydonia (yet!) but it's written by William Denton Mather who worked as book-keeper at the Gaiety Theatre, Kalinova. This resource might be of interest to you:

William Denton Mather, Life with the British Salonika Forces 1917-19 contained in the Private Papers of W. D. (William Denton) Mather, MS12313. Imperial War Museum, London.

Cheers,

Martina

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Dust Jacket Collector

There's a copy on Amazon for £39.95 also inscribed (most of them are). The publisher, Stockwell, were a small outfit, essentially a vanity publisher, so most of their books were produced in limited numbers. This one is now quite scarce even though it's from 1979.

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Martina

Thanks very much for this information - I've just purchased a copy from Oxfam via Ebay that was 24.99GBP, so I'm looking forward to its arrival, especially as it still has its dust jacket.

Cheers,

Martina

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Martina

Hello again,

I've just got my Oxfam copy of Muckydonia & feel a bit guilty now that I didn't get it from Abebooks but Oxfam is a worthy cause. The book's sub-title sums it all really 'Being the adventures of a one-time pioneer in Macedonia & Bulgaria during the First World War. William D Mather only spent 2-3 months in 1918 working as a book-keeper at the Gaiety Theatre so his experience there is only one short chapter, the book as he describes it "is not just another story of war-time experiences, it is the day by day account written in a diary by an ordinary soldier. It tells of the not-so-ordinary life of an Army Private in a theatre of war which has received relatively little attention compared with that given to the greater conflagration on the Western Front." The contents are as follows:

Chapter 1: The journey overseas, Ch. 2: Summerhill camp at Salonika, Ch. 3: Infantry training & pioneering up the line, Ch. 4: Preparing for the spring offensive, Ch. 5: The first attack on Grand Couronne, Ch. 6. The second attack on Grand Couronne, Ch. 7: Night work in no-man's land May 1917, Ch. 8: Behind the line summer 1917, Ch. 9: Infantry training at Spancova camp, Ch. 10: The hottest part of the summer, Ch. 11: More infantry training, Ch. 12: Life in the trenches, Ch. 13: More pioneering & training, Ch. 14: The winter of 1917 at Vergetor, Ch. 15: The Balkans in winter, Ch. 16: Leave to Salonika & the spring of 1918, Ch. 17: Wattle daubing & other odd jobs, Ch. 18: Second spell in the trenches May 1918, Ch. 19: Work & training May-June 1918, Ch. 20: The Gaiety Theatre at Kalinova, Ch. 21: The tale of a piano, Ch. 22: The break-up of the theatre company, Ch. 23: The retreat of the Bulgars, Ch. 24: The advance into Bulgaria, Ch. 25: The journey to Svilengrad, Ch. 26: Life with the RTO at Svilengrad railway station, Ch. 27: The journey to Roustchouk, Ch. 28: Life at Roustchouk with the army of occupation, Ch. 29: New Year's Eve at a Bulgar party, Ch. 30: The journey home, Epilogue. This illustrated book is 254 pages.

Hope this information helps!

All the best,

Martina

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Gardenerbill

Martina,

Thank you for posting the chapter information, I think you may have tipped the balance towards persuading me to hunt down a reasonably priced copy.

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Martina

Hello again,

I've had a go at scanning the Foreward to give you an even better taste of Muckydonia - I just hope the result isn't too small for you to read. I had a bit of a job trying to get image within 250KB limit. Have you got a copy of the Trench Map CD produced by the Salonica Campaign Society? If not, I thoroughly recommend it. Despite its name it contains a treasure trove of other general information, including a section of scanned books & diaries about Salonika. I've been reading a bit from Harold Lake's In Salonika with Our Army this morning & like Mather's account, it gives an honest discussion of real-life experience for the private soldier who was stationed up country with little by means of recreation since nothing other than necessities could be carried by mule. I have only just begun to delve into all that is on the CD - it's an incredibly rich resource.

Best wishes,

Martinapost-121004-0-61964200-1428274584_thumb.post-121004-0-38880400-1428274597_thumb.

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Gardenerbill

Just finished reading my copy of 'Muckydonia' and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are no great descriptions of battles here, no political insights, but if you want to know what life was like for an ordinary soldier in this theatre, I would recommend it.

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear GWFs and hello Martina,

Salonika was surely one of the murkier Side-Shows of the Great War, and there were many.

Helen Abadzi has chronicled elsewhere the Indian Cemetery at Thessaloniki (as it is known today): most of the 520 dead were Indian Labour Corps, Bearer Corps, Mule Corps and S. & T. C.

I am researching the life of a 31st Mule Corps officer, Lieut. G. B. Roger, IARO att Supply and Transport Corps, a Glasgow-born former Box Wallah from Rangoon. He served under Captain A. E. E. Sargent, MC (later DSO, MC), OC 31st Mule Corps (1914-15 Star Trio and Vol LS) in the Salonika campaign 1915-19.

In late 1918, Lieut.(T/Capt.) G. B. Roger contracted Cerebro-spinal meningitis, and was invalided to England in 1919. This ruined his health for years to come, and he received a disability pension ...

Perhaps a member has an officer group photo, including Arthur Edward Every Sargent and G. Bennett Roger: who knows?

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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geordie809

Hi Mark,

Im researching RTO's and was interested in your postings about the book especially about Ch 26 is there many pages in the chapter and is it about the workings of the RTO? any help you could give would be appreciated before I try and get hold of a copy.

 

Regards 

Mick

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Gardenerbill

Mick,

The chapter is 8 pages long ,there isn't much about the workings of the R.T.O. the author works as a clerk to the R.T.O. it is about his experience as clerk, living conditions, relationship with the defeated Bulgars, armistice rumours etc. The next chapter they move to a place called Roustchouk, where once again the author is R.T.O. clerk but still no detail of workings.

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