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The Irish at Wijtschate


IanA
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OK, I cheated with the title....the real one is "The 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions at The Battle of Wijtshate-Messines Ridge, 7 June 1917". I bought this recently in Ieper and have only just begun it but I thought it deserves a place here because it sets out to be tour guide and is very specific so it may be the very thing that you are looking for.

The book is very well produced with attractive colour illustrations and maps. It is based around three tours: the first being the area of the battle itself; the second covers Kemmel and Loker where the troops were billeted while the third is similar and includes the villages of Dranouter and Nieuwkerke. The author uses the letters of 2nd Lt. Michael Wall who served with the 6th R.I.R. in the battle as a valuable source of background material.

There is a wealth of practical advice for the insterested walker or cyclist and, as regular visitors will know, this area is not plagued with droves of coach-borne tourists.

The only reservation I have (thus far) is that Mr Burke has been very ill-served by his proof reader (if he had one) as the first section, at least, is plagued with typos which make for irritating reading. I have just had a quick squint at Amazon and the book does not seem to be there - the ISBN is 0-9550418-1-3 and it is published by The Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association.

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Agree with Ian, very interesting and well produced book. I've only seen copies for sale from Teddy Colligan at the Ulster Tower...

Alan

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Ian,

Can you give some 'typo's ' ?

Frie

Many are mistakes caused at the printing level so in the first paragraph of page 18 there are letters overlapping each other. There is also:

ins tructed

firs t

So mme

Fla nders

h ad

a pproval

the re was no o peration of wa r they regard ed as of greater importanc e t han

The Prime Minister's name is also mis-spelt as 'Asquit'

This is in one short paragraph.

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IanA,

This is strange indeed, the lay-out was made in Ireland and the printing in Belgium... I have a copy of "pre"-layout. I had to correct local names etc. history and description of the villages. I checked the origal text today again, there were no such mistakes.... I think there was a problem between the Irish lay-out version and the Belgian (Dutch) print-system. It seems to be not a good marriage...

But the contents is excellent. Not a rumination of 'Official history'.

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I saw it in several bookshops in Ypres proper during the last week of September; "Over The Top Tours" shop certainly had it. Fantastic piece of work.

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But the contents is excellent. Not a rumination of 'Official history'.

Frie,

I agree. I have now read a bit more and I have to say that page 18 is unusually poor. There are further errors on other pages - today I have seen: 'in tact' for 'intact', 'quite location' for 'quiet location', 'alter' for 'altar', '5 April 197', 'wares' for 'wears' and an entire paragraph on page 76 repeated on page 79.

I repeat, this book is fresh, well researched and reflects the passion of its author. It is plentifully illustrated by high quality colour maps and photographs and deserves to be widely read. It would be even better if it had been lightly edited and properly proof read.

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IanA,

I think there was no problem of properly proof read -- I said this again I see mistakes I couldn't find in the manuscript... You know after a proof read, the printer has to do his job-- he used to do it in Dutch.... (sometimes you can't understand why mistakes appear...)

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Typos aside, does it mention 8th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and our distinguished old boy Colonel Tom Boardman? We will be at Wijtschate on Saturday, God willing.

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Mark - 9 index refs to the 8th Inniskillings, only mention of Boardman appears to be Boardman Trench, mentioned 3 times, including 1 map.

Anything specific you want looked up? We're leaving for Ypres early tomorrow morning so will only be able to help if you're very quick...

Alan

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  • 4 weeks later...

You can get a copy from Tom directly go to www.greatwar.ie to get the contact details of the RDFA.

As someone who has spent a lot of time in the Whytschaete/Mesen area with groups from Ireland, both old and young, looking at our common history in WW1, I want to publicly thank Tom Burke for this excellent publication. Its clear that the author has an unrivalled knowledge of his subject and has criss-crossed this battlefield on bike and on foot in order to put together an unparallelled guide. The overlay of trenchmaps onto photographs and roadmaps is very helpful and I love the fact that individual soldiers stories are told along the route, often with a request to stop at their grave and say a prayer.

I know that the book has been privately published and has therefore a limited print-run but I can certainly see it being taken up by some of the more mainstream publishers in the future as it is surely the definitive work on this aspect of the battle of Messine.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

My book came the other day, I haven't yet been able to give it the attention it so rightly deserves.

So far it appears to be a mass of information, photographs, maps.

It certainly has the hallmarks of a book I'm going to enjoy very much.

By the way I bought mine direct from the author as I couldn't find any other web based seller.

Mick D

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  • 1 year later...
My book came the other day, I haven't yet been able to give it the attention it so rightly deserves.

So far it appears to be a mass of information, photographs, maps.

It certainly has the hallmarks of a book I'm going to enjoy very much.

By the way I bought mine direct from the author as I couldn't find any other web based seller.

Mick D

Just back from Ypres, and this book greatly enhanced our trip-I cannot recommend it highly enough. I got mine in the bookshop in the National Museum in Collins Barracks, Dublin, but it was also for sale in the bookshop in In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres, so if people need a copy and can't source prior to travel, it can be got on arrival.

Well done and thanks, Tom.

Cathal.

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I found this to be a fascinating book. Like the op I found some of the typesetting problems a bit off putting, but they seemed to occur mainly in the first few pages. The tours at the back of the book are detailed and very well presented in terms of photos and maps too and offer a great deal of insight into the events before and on the 7th June 1917. I think it's book worth reading through before doing the tours if possible.

One point which I did think might be in error was on p244 in the box (S62) where it says that Maple Leaf Cemetery is in the grounds of the church in Nieuwkerke. I could be wrong but I think Maple Leaf Cemetery is (quite a long way) along the road by the side of the church. There is a CWGC sign by the church and nothing else for a couple of miles which might have caused the confusion.

Ken

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