Last Man Standing and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Norman Collins: Veteran of the Great War Hardcover – 1 Aug 2001


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£197.77 £0.01


Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Aug 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0850528631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0850528633
  • Product Dimensions: 24.7 x 15.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

This fantastic little WWI book is a must for any budding historians. Collins was underage when he joined the Seaforth Highlanders and was a 19-year-old officer when he led at the battle of the Somme. This book contains extracts from his diaries and a remarkable personal collection of photographs which lend this account a poignancy and immediacy which is often breathtaking. - Scottish Field This is a harrowing tale of battle, loss and the horrors of war. - Scotland Magazine --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

The Author came across Norman Collins while researching his best selling TV tie-in book Veterans. He was immediately struck by this truly remarkable character, who was then over 100 years old. Sadly Norman has now died but Richard Van Emden had not been deterred from writing what is by any standard a most exhilarating memoir of an exceptional veteran.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Chris Baker VINE VOICE on 8 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Do not hesitate: if you have any interest in the Great War or a man's experiences at war, you will find no better work than "Last man standing". It is a genuine "cannot-put-down". Editor Richard van Emden has produced a really memorable account of Norman Collins' war, based on Norman's own letters, photographs and descriptive memoir. Norman reached the grand old age of one hundred years and passed away in 1998, but in his later years Richard got to know him well. The story, however, is of a boy who was just seventeen in 1914.

Norman Collins was perhaps typical in that he was keen to get to war, to the extent that he did not tell his parents and went as far from his home as possible to enlist, joining the Seaforth Highlanders as a ranker in mid 1915. He had already seen some of war's brutality, in the form of the German naval bombardment of his home town of Hartlepool. From the time he joined, Norman was very evidently proud to be a "kiltie". He was a good soldier, rapidly promoted through the ranks and commissioned after officer training at Lichfield. His descriptions of life there and previously at Seaforths barracks and camps at Fort George and Ripon paint a detailed and absorbing picture of the soldier's life in training.

Once in France he sees a great deal of action, serving with the 4th and 6th Battalions and going over the top at Beaumont Hamel (November 1916) and Arras (April 1917). His experiences inevitably include the deaths of close friends, comrades and even his young servant. Norman is also detailed to lead a burial party after the attack at Beaumont-Hamel, in which his men find around 1000 bodies including many skeletal remains from 1 July 1916.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 3 Jan 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If, like me, you have previously read general histories of the 1st World War, this personal record shows things from a different perspective.

Norman Collins was unusual in that all his letters home were kept, thus giving a remarkably complete record of his army life and thoughts from the date of his joining the army as a young volunteer until shortly after the end of hostilities.

He had joined his school cadet force which gave him a sound introduction to army life. His letters during his army training show how the army set about things: everything is covered - from food, sleeping accommodation, leave, exercises and so on. He, and his volunteer colleagues, looked forward to the prospect of war and to joining the regiments they were keen on, seeing things more or less as an adventure - not knowing of course what the reality would turn out to be. 'The day war broke out I was thrilled' he wrote and rushed down to the recruiting station. Patriotism, he says, was assumed.

Fairly quickly, his confidence, abilities and the encouragement of his CO lead him to apply for a Commission, which he duly attained.

In France he proved to be a very competent officer judging by the tasks he was allotted. And he gave much thought to the needs of the men in his charge. Early on he says 'On the whole I prefer this to being at home as I am doing something at last and although it is a very hard life it is not so monotonous'. He was just 19.

Physical conditions were often appalling. Apart from the fighting there was the mud, sometimes almost waste deep. One of his tasks was to collect the dead. Rats scurried from the chest cavities of some of the bodies.

Later, his enthusiasm was less marked, though he always continued to be an effective officer.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Nash on 15 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
..of a fairly ordinary young man who served throughout WW1 but who was a brave and observant soldier. A recommended read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John on 17 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a stimulating and excellent biography of one man's war. I recommend it to all would be military historians. I was amazed that he remained a 2nd Lt despite all the deaths of his comrades and his obvious good performance as an officer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By graham on 14 Dec 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great insight into the thoughts and feelings of a truly brave young soldier on the front line told from his memoirs at the time and accounts in later life.

If WW1 is of interest to you then this is a must. A snip at only £0.98

Purchase now
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is a terrific read and reveals an era at the beginning of the 20 th Century of close family, personal ambition, loyalty to your country and the real horrors of war.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joystick on 13 Jun 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It felt like a privilege to read this. I possibly have a better understanding of WW1 now than I've ever had. I think it was the immediacy of it, composed as it is largely of letters written home, either from his training periods, or else from the Front itself. The day-to-day-ness of the book made it so much easier to comprehend than serious, weighty historical tomes ever could - in my opinion, anyway. And I found myself liking this man enormously. The book also cleared up something for me. In my ignorance I'd always felt that, either with the volunteers during the first two years of this war, or else the conscripts from 1916 onwards, officers and men alike were more or less given a uniform and a rifle, shipped over the France, then told to just get on with it. Nothing, it seems, was further from the truth, because they were trained meticulously for many months before they were deemed fit to go and fight.

Norman didn't consider himself to be a hero. I beg to differ.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback