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Bibliophile price: £6.00
'For regular soldiers like Chaplin it is not a happy union, almost a demotion following the brigade's failure at Loos. He worries the move will sap morale and offer a threat to the established way of doing things. Little wonder the old sweats become even terser in their reaction to the bloodshed and mayhem in the trenches. Their role now is to show the new soldiers how to endure stoically, how not to complain...' Colonel Graham Chaplin, Commander of 1st Cameronians wrote letters from the trenches almost daily to the wife he had just married months before the First World War began. These personal and loving letters starting in August 1914 give a rare insight into the mind of a serving officer, his worries about his men and his family back home, his concerns with the progress of the war and his anxiety at the growing list of friends dead or wounded. Most startling of all, these letters finally reveal the truth of why it was that a commander endorsed by so many of his fellow officers and respected and trusted by his men was not promoted out of the trenches until September 1917, making him the Western Front's longest-serving frontline infantry officer. Andrew Davidson, author of the highly praised Fred's War, analyses Chaplin's unique status and his brush with literary and military greatness - Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves and Bernard Montgomery fought alongside him - weaving around his letters a fascinating portrait of a soldier's life and of the war in Flanders and France. Chapters include The Want of Sleep, Rain and Shells, Cambrin, Cuinchy, Auchy, The Somme, Howitzer Wood, Army School, Hindenburg and Absolutely Dished among them. Photos, many letters reproduced, some illustrated, quotes and clear headers and summaries and appendices explaining what happened to Chaplin or Bull as he was always affectionately known in the Regiment. His last appointment was as a Brigade Commander in Iraq, which he held for two years, summed up in the words: 'The soul of integrity, of courage, the nigh perfect example of an officer.' With end notes and appendices. 396pp.

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