Title: The Riddles of Wipers
Author: John Ivelaw-Chapman
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Spartacus Website: The Soldiers
The Wipers Times was the Private Eye of the Ypres Salient during WW1. Edited, while under bombardment, by a battalion commander in the Sherwood Foresters, written by soldiers actually in the trenches and distributed by ration-wagon and ammunition-mule. The paper bears vivid witness to the shocking realities of trench warfare. Yet for all the occasional horror of its content, The Wipers Times was a gentle, humour-filled and satirical paper which, once its codes are cracked and its riddles solved, tells an interested reader much about the characters and personalities of the men in the British Army. The Mud, the Gas, the Shells; the Fear, the Courage, the Humour and the Bitterness; much is revealed about these and many other things in this remarkable book.
Title: For Love and Courage
Author: E. W. Hermon
Publisher: Preface Publishing
Spartacus Website: Trench War
Lt Colonel E.W. Hermon died in a hail of bullets on the 9th April 1917, the first day of the Battle of Arras, leading his men of the 24th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers into the attack. Like hundreds of thousands of others in the Great War, he gave his life for his King and country. He was shot through the heart, one bullet slicing through the papers in his top pocket, including the four-leaf clover his wife had given him for good luck. His final words to his Adjutant were 'Go on!' before he sank to his knees and died almost instantaneously. He was carried from the battlefield by his faithful soldier servant, Buxton, and now lies buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Roclincourt, three miles from Arras. This could have been the end of the story but he left a testament of his life and ideals in a unique and hitherto unknown and unpublished collection of long and detailed letters he wrote to his darling wife and his children, 'the Chugs'. Now, nearly a century after his death, he speaks to us of a past, less cynical life, where selflessness, honor, duty and courage were admired above all else. His own courage was officially recognized as he was mentioned in dispatches three times and posthumously awarded the D.S.O. The letters have been transcribed and edited by Hermon's granddaughter Anne Nason with the guidance and historical advice of James Holland, the distinguished historian and writer. Peter Caddick-Adams, who works alongside Richard Holmes at Cranfield University, believes the letters to be unique in their candour and context since Hermon was Battalion Commander and thus his letters were not censored.
Title: Elsie and Mairi Go to War
Author: Diane Atkinson
Publisher: Preface Publishing
Spartacus Website: Women at War
When they met at a motorcycle club in 1912, Elsie Knocker was a thirty year-old motorcycling divorcee dressed in bottle-green Dunhill leathers, and Mairi Chisholm was a brilliant eighteen-year old mechanic, living at home borrowing tools from her brother. Little did they know, theirs was to become one of the most extraordinary stories of the First World War. In 1914, they roared off to London 'to do their bit', and within a month they were in the thick of things in Belgium driving ambulances to distant military hospitals. Frustrated by the number of men dying of shock in the back of their vehicles, they set up their own first-aid post on the front line in the village of Pervyse, near Ypres, risking their lives working under sniper fire and heavy bombardment for months at a time. As news of their courage and expertise spread, the 'Angels of Pervyse' became celebrities, visited by journalists and photographers as well as royals and VIPs. Glamorous and influential, they were having the time of their lives, and for four years, Elsie and Mairi and stayed in Pervyse until they were nearly killed by arsenic gas in the spring of 1918. But returning home and adjusting to peacetime life was to prove even more challenging than the war itself.