Book number: 94677 Product format: Paperback Author: DAMIEN FINLAYSON

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Bibliophile price £5.00
Published price £16.99

The hydrogeologist author is a member of the Western Front Association with a special interest in the First World War. Few soldiers on the Western Front had heard of the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company, even after it had been renamed the 'Alphabet Company' by an AIF wag, yet many knew the work of this tiny unit which numbered fewer than 300 at full strength. Its influence was enormous and spanned the entire British sector of the Western Front, from the North Sea to the Somme. This is the story of the 'Alphabeticals' who, led by Major Victor Morse DSO, operated and maintained pumps, generators, ventilation fans, drilling equipment and other ingenious devices in the horrendous conditions of the trenches in which the troops lived and fought. These quiet achievers provided unsung services and here is the story of the three Australian tunnelling companies which resulted following the disbandment in May 1916. Many of the uses had never been imagined by the manufacturers and much of these front-line tunnelling activities were generally secret undertakings. The bulk of records relating to the unit were destroyed in a fire just months before they were due to be handed to the War Office so Morse hastily typed up the Unit's history based on his recollections and remnants of records salvaged from the fire. The Alphabet Company arrived in France with 13 electric generating sets, underground ventilation and water pumping equipment, also 40 portable drilling machines and large, steam-powered drilling machines, and their work became increasingly prized and more and more equipment was purchased and more men trained in its operation. Their workplaces were frequently hot, cramped, smelly little dugouts, cellars or roughly constructed lean-tos. The book seeks to do justice to the work of this dynamic little unit. 329pp in large well illustrated softback including archive photos and maps. Please note contents same as code 93260.

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ISBN 9781526740182

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