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The Somme by AH Farrar Hockley


delta

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Obtained a copy of this paper back as part of a e-bay bid; my copy was published by Pan (price 5/-) in 1966.

Good crisp writing - describing the battle from the strategic point of view - it provides a clearer picture than many more recent works I have read.

I suggest that, if you can get a copy, you read it. First class stuff

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Hear, hear.

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I agree! I havn't got to the battle yet, still reading the build up but it gives the clearest and most concise picture yet. I was interested on the comments regarding Kitcheners Call Up and the effect this had. He suggests things might have been so different on the 1st July

Patrick

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OK, I must share a Farrar-Hockley story with you all. In 1945, my father-in-law was conscripted (right at the end of the war) and ended up with the tough posting - garrison of jamaica, serving with the Glosters. F-H was his platoon commander.

On an exercise, the platoon had to scale a sheer cliff - OK except for the radio operator, who said (not unreasonably, in my father-in-law's opinion) that he'd never get the radio up that b***** cliff. F-H disagreed, and, after some discussion, took the radio and scaled the cliff.

Everyone most impressed - especially the radio operator. However, F-H then came back down the cliff (with radio), took it off, handed it to the operator and cheerfully pointed out that if he (F-H) could do it, then so could the radio operator.

He did!

Farrar-Hockley is not only a good historian, he was an excellent officer!

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Agree on the excellence of the book.

Fascinating story.

F-H was certainly not above pointing the finger of responsibility for the disasters, but I think he does this fairly.

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Anthony Farrar-Hockley's book on the Somme is interesting but rather lacking in analysis. It presents what happened in good clear understandable fashion, and in its time it certainly was one of the books to read. ;)

However I would now recommend Peter Hart's latest title 'The Somme', as probably the best history of this Battle written in recent times. Many people along with myself willingly said Martin Middlebrooks 'The First Day on the Somme' was the classic book of the battle. However, I would now say that Peter's book is the best history of the Somme campaign.

Whether you are new to the battle or more experienced in its complexities this is the book to read. :D

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  • 5 months later...

Just a comment on TFH after reading his obituary.

Bear with my very limited knowledge please.

Just read The Kaiser's Battle and in it quite unuasually I thought there was a comparison of the number of POW taken by the Germans with one instance in the Korean War.

Now as I've taken the book back to the library I can't check the details but I thought I remembered that even though there were a lot of POW's taken in March 1918 especially IIRC from Gough 5 Army there were more taken by the Chinese of the Gloster Regiment during one battle of the Korean War, could that have been the Imjin River battle where TFH won his bar to a DSO and was also taken prisoner.

Strange connection maybe that TFH also then went on to write a biography of Gough.

I know this is outwith the GWF and not trying to disparage anyone, just interested.

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We invited Sir Anthony to our WFA Branch about 12 years or so ago.

As we are a little Branch we almost had more Police there with a dog and guns than members . Quite funny we caused such a fuss for the local Police .

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AFH also wrote a book called Death of an Army regarding 1st Ypres. Wonderful book.

For Neutrino, the Gloucesters went into the bag after "Gloucester Hill." Middlebrook says KIA: 59, WIA: 180, POW:526. AFH being one of them.

He was a great leader and officer and will be sorely missed by all of us.

DrB

:)

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See post 5...my father in law certainly liked him.

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