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Remembered Today:

'Young Citizen Old Soldier' - From boyhood in Antrim to hell on the Somme


Anneca
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This book has great detail and some humour contained in the day to day diaries of James McRoberts of camp life and experiences from 1915-17.  Most interesting is the attention to detail of his experiences, similar to any soldier from any other Battalion or Division.  This is one of the few accounts I have read that gives a wonderful insight in such detail.  All in all a window into the world of a soldier who found himself both a witness and a participant of remarkable events.

Excerpts from 1st July 1916: “As our troops mounted the parapet, the enemy machine guns and shrapnel opened furiously.  I was in a dugout but I could understand only too well what was happening.  For over an hour the machine guns hummed and sang while the high explosive burst with deafening roar among the trees.  German prisoners were coming back in large numbers…..they had not been issued with steel helmets….reports came back with a runner: we had got to the German trenches all right, but our losses were very heavy and all communication with our old trenches practically impossible as the enemy was maintaining a terrific sweeping fire on No man’s land.”

The first two diaries of McRoberts about Training in Ulster is detailed and interesting but the third diary of France and Belgium is very comprehensive.  The fourth diary is a remarkable account of his Hospitalisation in England after being moved from Baillieul on a hospital train to Boulogne.

David Truesdale has very successfully made these diaries come to life in this book which I am sure will not disappoint any reader.

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Thanks for this write up. Will have to get a copy of the book.

Many of the film clips we have available today re Easter Rising, WoI, Irish Civil War are due to a YCV/14th Bn, Royal Irish Rifles soldier who never made it to the front.

 

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I take it the man to whom you refer was a press photographer?   I have also read (in stages) Steven Moore's "The Chocolate Soldiers" about the YCV and the 14h RIR.  I enjoyed the book although the detail in Young Citizen Old Soldier makes you feel like you were there.  

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Lewis was a Press Photographer with the Belfast Telegraph pre war. At some point he became a motion picture cameraman (and eventually the Irish rep for Pathe). One of his early films is the Lusitania funeral clip 

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/VLVA96UK9UR93NJEJJ7TXELWQ70TL-FUNERAL-OF-LUSITANIA-VICTIMS/

He was discharged 23rd Dec 1914 as not likely to become an efficient soldier.

Interested to find out more about the early days of the YCV/14th Bn training.

 

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21 hours ago, doyle3 said:

Interested to find out more about the early days of the YCV/14th Bn training.

A good bit of footage indeed.  In the book I mentioned previously - The Story of the YCVs and 14th RIR during the Great War should give you an account of the early days of the YCV and how the 14th Bn. was formed.

Anne

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53 minutes ago, Anneca said:

A good bit of footage indeed.  In the book I mentioned previously - The Story of the YCVs and 14th RIR during the Great War should give you an account of the early days of the YCV and how the 14th Bn. was formed.

Anne

Great.Thank you for this lead.

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