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Remembered Today:

What WW1 books are you reading?


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On 14/11/2022 at 03:05, seaJane said:

Reading Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's Somme: into the breach. You know you're old when First World War generals turn out to have been younger than you are ....

good one!!

I feel the age when I see the numbers of the promotions at Military Academy right now... 

But on topic: I started the book just before my GS course and have yet to finish it, but it is on my list for early 2023! (yes, I have a numbered list of what books I want to read ... now you all know!) 

M.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been given "Coal Black Sea - Winston Churchill and the Worst Naval Catastrophe of the First World War" by Stuart Heaver for Christmas. 

It's the story of the sinking of HM Ships Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue in September 1914. I was inspired to ask for it by a webinar conducted by the author for the Western Front Association last month.  I knew the basics of the story, but not the detail, so I'm looking forward to reading more.

As it's a present, it'll have to wait until after the day to be read ... but I have other books to read before then!

 

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Just finished WV Tilsley's Other Ranks (1/4th LNL Derby Scheme) and onto Maurice Graffet Neal's A Long Way To Tipperary? (KRRC) 

Other Ranks was brilliant imho ... you can sense him going from novice to veteran as he writes, well worth a read now republished 

Follow Neal, will read, on advisement by Tilsley in 1931 (!), War is War by Burrage! 

Happy reading all!

H

Jim

Edited by Jim Hastings
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1 hour ago, Jim Hastings said:

Happy reading all!

And a happy Christmas to you Jim. Nice to see you back.

Pete.

 

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Thanks Pete, shame it's so rare, first Christmas I managed to square away my marking! Hence catching up on my WW1 reading! Hope you're well 

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On 18/12/2022 at 19:06, Jim Hastings said:

Just finished WV Tilsley's Other Ranks (1/4th LNL Derby Scheme)

I read this book this year too, and thoroughly enjoyed it as, even though false names are used for all the characters, including the narrator, Dick Bradshaw, it rings true throughout as being a faithful account of the personal experience of Dick and his fellow soldiers (as the author put it himself, - I believe, as a preamble to the first edition - "none of the characters in this chronicle is fictitious"). There was added interest for me in that Dick's unit, the 1/4th LNL, were in the same Brigade as my grandfather's first unit, the 2/5th LF. Although Dick's account of his time at the front begins less than a month before my grandfather left the 2/5th LF, wounded, on 9 September 1916 (that engagement, the Battle of Ginchy, was Dick's first), I felt very much at home with Dick's Lancashire companions, and was keen to follow his progress even during the period after my grandfather had left the Brigade.

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Hi all, 

Considering I did not find another reference to this book, I thought I'd inform that I'm reading " The Invisible Cross", by Andrew Davidson. These are the letters of Col Graham Chaplin, CO of the 1st Cameronians and the Western Front's longest serving frontline officer. He wrote to his wife nearly on a daily basis. It gives the reader a fantastic insight on life in the front line but seen from a command perspective. Chaplin was not one to waste efforts and when he could advice against suicide-actions, he did, which probably hampered his career more than once, but earnt his the trust and respect of his men. 

This is the last book on my 2022 list... which was shorter than those of previous years, unfortunately. But that's life when one works at the EU (or so my boss keeps repeating) 

M. 

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44 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

Hi all, 

Considering I did not find another reference to this book, I thought I'd inform that I'm reading " The Invisible Cross", by Andrew Davidson. These are the letters of Col Graham Chaplin, CO of the 1st Cameronians and the Western Front's longest serving frontline officer. He wrote to his wife nearly on a daily basis. It gives the reader a fantastic insight on life in the front line but seen from a command perspective. Chaplin was not one to waste efforts and when he could advice against suicide-actions, he did, which probably hampered his career more than once, but earnt his the trust and respect of his men. 

This is the last book on my 2022 list... which was shorter than those of previous years, unfortunately. But that's life when one works at the EU (or so my boss keeps repeating) 

M. 

I've read it ... and it's very good. 

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55 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

Hi all, 

Considering I did not find another reference to this book, I thought I'd inform that I'm reading " The Invisible Cross", by Andrew Davidson.

M. 

Highly recommended. 

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funny the search engine did not come up with the reference... oh well... doesn't really matter, does it? 

M.

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2 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

funny the search engine did not come up with the reference... oh well... doesn't really matter, does it? 

M.

Not in the slightest.  It deserves another mention. 
 

Edited by GWF1967
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I’m thoroughly enjoying a re read of Of Those We Loved, the memoirs of I L Read, Leicestershire and Royal Sussex Regiments. 

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I also received “The Coal Black Sea : Winston Churchill and the Worst Naval Catastrophe of the First World War” (Stuart Heaver) on the sinking of Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue in September 1914, and made a start last night.

I was looking forward to any new light which might be shed on this after fondly remembering Alan Coles’ “Three Before Breakfast” from 1979. But when you read a howler on the first page of Chapter 1 that the British death toll of 1,459 made this the “worst naval catastrophe of the First World War” you do immediately wonder about the quality of the Author’s research. Worse than Jutland (British losses 6,784)? Worse than Coronel (British losses 1,600)?

Heaver subsequently manages to spell the surname of the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir William Graham Greene) differently in the same paragraph.

The Battle of Kilburn (1855) during the Crimean War is described (page 52) as “the most recent occurrence of British guns fired in anger and there were no enemy ships involved in that”, clearly ignorant of the Bombardment of Alexandria by the British Mediterranean Fleet in July 1882.

And I’m only up to Chapter 4.

UPDATE after further reading:

There is too much speculation about “states of mind”.

The author quotes an obscene epithet on page 84 for no other apparent reason than its shock value.

Sir Edward Grey becomes Lord Grey.

When one of the causalities (Gunner Collins) was initially mis-identified as he was wearing another Gunner’s trousers, Heaver speculates that they might have been lovers and, at that point, I stopped reading.

 

 

For no reason at all, a drawing I did of HMS Hogue many, many years ago.

1522168816_HMSHogue.jpg.59fd1f77d7df9cbf95065f6da7937a37.jpg

Edited by Resurgam13
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On 26/12/2022 at 11:02, Resurgam13 said:

I also received “The Coal Black Sea : Winston Churchill and the Worst Naval Catastrophe of the First World War” (Stuart Heaver) on the sinking of Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue in September 1914, and made a start last night.

I was looking forward to any new light which might be shed on this after fondly remembering Alan Coles’ “Three Before Breakfast” from 1979. But when you read a howler on the first page of Chapter 1 that the British death toll of 1,459 made this the “worst naval catastrophe of the First World War” you do immediately wonder about the quality of the Author’s research. Worse than Jutland (British losses 6,784)? Worse than Coronel (British losses 1,600)?

Heaver subsequently manages to spell the surname of the Permanent Secretary to the Admiralty (Sir William Graham Greene) differently in the same paragraph.

The Battle of Kilburn (1855) during the Crimean War is described (page 52) as “the most recent occurrence of British guns fired in anger and there were no enemy ships involved in that”, clearly ignorant of the Bombardment of Alexandria by the British Mediterranean Fleet in July 1882.

And I’m only up to Chapter 4.

UPDATE after further reading:

There is too much speculation about “states of mind”.

The author quotes an obscene epithet on page 84 for no other apparent reason than its shock value.

Sir Edward Grey becomes Lord Grey.

When one of the causalities (Gunner Collins) was initially mis-identified as he was wearing another Gunner’s trousers, Heaver speculates that they might have been lovers and, at that point, I stopped reading.

 

 

For no reason at all, a drawing I did of HMS Hogue many, many years ago.

1522168816_HMSHogue.jpg.59fd1f77d7df9cbf95065f6da7937a37.jpg

Thanks for both of your reviews.

I've finished reading it and I thought that it was quite good, despite noting your reservations. One thing I was surprised about is the persistence that Churchill was totally responsible for what happened, despite an early comment that he wasn't. I'm happy to accept that he had said that the ships shouldn't be used there and relied on others to do what needed to be done to move them.

To me, it begs the question ... how far does responsibility go? If someone doesn't do what they are told to do, is the person that told them to do it still responsible if he didn't check that they'd done it?  

One other point about this is that I first heard about the book and much of what had happened in a WFA webinar by the author in November. I may well be mistaken, but I really don't remember him going to as much length as he does in the book to blame Churchill. 

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The name "Churchill" still sells books (making sure his name appeared as the sub-title) but another reason I gave up on it was the tendentious attempt to try to pin the blame solely on Churchill.

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Just now, Resurgam13 said:

The name "Churchill" still sells books (making sure his name appeared as the sub-title) but another reason I gave up on it was the tendentious attempt to try to pin the blame solely on Churchill.

Yes, I agree in both cases. 

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Just finished on my 'catch-up' reading Malcolm Brown's 1914: the Men who went to War.

Most of what WW1 related books I read tend to be artefact-based, e.g., Jean Holder's Deutsche Erkennungsmarken, so not really suited to this thread.... :wacko: 

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On 05/12/2020 at 18:29, Black Maria said:

I've just finished reading 'A Lancashire Fusilier's First World War' the war diary of Captain Norman Hall edited by his granddaughter Patricia Rothwell . 

So have I, belatedly and I echo Black Maria's favourable comments. The diary is an exceptional read, packed with well researched detail. This detailed and expressive tale of a junior officer's life in and out of the trenches is hugely accessible and delivered clearly, factually but with humour and panache. The observant descriptions, anecdotes and asides take you firmly into his private and military world.

What stood out for me was the quality of the man. Norman was clearly an outstanding, brave, compassionate leader, yet not afraid to describe his personal feelings and perceived flaws, which are, of course, nothing of the sort. He approached his various roles with energy, enthusiasm and professionalism. Given the rapid promotion of officers of quality in WW1, and Norman's value and experience as a company commander, it surprises me how he ended his war, after being wounded in 1918, only in the rank of Captain. 

Highly recommended. 

https://www.p3publications.com/NewP3/Norman Hall.html

Acknown

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I have also just finished H.Beutner, Das Ulanen-Regiment „König Karl“ (1. Württ.) Nr. 19 im Weltkrieg 1914–1918, Chr. Belser A.G., Stuttgart, 1927. Well, skipped through it really, reading about 50%, as my German is not good enough to read it continuously!

I was originally checking up on its details regarding the last German soldier to die on 11.11.18 - he actually died at 11:10, shot, it is said, by AEF soldiers unaware the armistice had come into effect. But then found myself reading other sections... I have looked at other German regimental histories before this, and like them, found the text relatively straightforward, as if designed for a reading age of 10 or so (i.e., that of most UK popular newspapers - see e.g., first entry at: https://www.mediafirst.co.uk/blog/vibrant-varied-and-still-going-strong-a-guide-to-uk-newspaper-audiences/) - it is just the script that slows me down! 

Julian

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Quickly packed a book for on the train this morning... "A Storm in Flanders", by Winston Groom. Got that from my Mum a couple of years back who found it at a second hand market. 

I got as far as Ch. 3 this morning and am, now that I read what the Pals have to say about it here: 

... dreading the train ride to Cologne this afternoon, because it's all I have with me... verflixt und zugenäht... 

Ah well.. I'll find my way to a bookstore then... 

Have a great WE all! 

M.

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Halfway through Lyn McDonald's excellent book 'They Called It Passchendaele'

 

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Just about to open and make a start on one of my presents, “On a Knife Edge (How Germany Lost the First Word War)” by Holger Afflerbach, bit of a tome, will review and post in due course.😁

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2 minutes ago, Knotty said:

Just about to open and make a start on one of my presents, “On a Knife Edge (How Germany Lost the First Word War)” by Holger Afflerbach, bit of a tome, will review and post in due course.😁

please do .... the original is in German I gather?? 

M.

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15 minutes ago, Marilyne said:

please do .... the original is in German I gather?? 

M.

I believe it was, and he lectures here at Leeds University

Nearly forgot Happy New Year M

 

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1 hour ago, Marilyne said:

,,, verflixt und zugenäht... 

:) Haven't heard that one since my time on the Luneberger Heide - as an archaeologist, not in the services, when hearing from the dig leader the correct wording for how easily a trench section could collapse in that sandy soil...  

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