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A Tommy at Ypres [Paperback]

Doreen Priddey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 14.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Jun 2011
Walter Williamson was twenty-eight years old when he was called to war with the 6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment in 1916. In doing so, he left his wife Amelia and his two-year-old son, 'Little Jimmy', back in England. In this remarkable diary we travel with him from Birkenhead to France and onward to the Ypres Salient, where his vivid recollections describe his part in the 118th Brigade's involvement in the Battle of St Julien at the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres, then on to the Somme and back again to Ypres. We meet his many comrades, his best friend Pat Nunn, and his commanding officers, all of whom come to life through his wonderfully keen observations. Walter's passion for writing can be appreciated not only from the diary, but from the letters he wrote to Amelia, which provide a further insight into Walter's War. A Tommy at Ypres is an accurate factual account which will be of great interest to historians, but it is more than that, it is a heart-warming story of one man's experience of war, which will prove a compelling read to all lovers of a 'good book'. Walter was an educated man, not wealthy, but gentle, sensitive, unassuming, and loving, with a warm humour that reflected these qualities, all of which in turn are reflected in his wonderful diary.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (1 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144560213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445602134
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 620,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Doreen Priddey (nee Williamson) is the granddaughter of Walter, daughter of Jim, Walter s son. She first read Walter s Diary in 1995 and was enthralled by it, but this was regrettably after both her Grandpop and father had passed away, Walter in 1947 at the age of fifty nine. Walter and his wife Amelia lived for their family, and had a special love for music and the theatre. These traits have had a strong influence on future generations, with Doreen (professional name Lynne) and her brother, Howard, turning professional ; they both started their careers singing in The D Oyly Carte Opera Company. Doreen then went on to appear in many musicals in the West End, Annie and Side By Side By Sondheim being her favourites. She met her husband, Malcolm, whilst they were both working for P&O in Sydney, Australia, on the Sea Princess. They then formed a cabaret act called The Malyns, and for many years travelled this country and the world as Entertainers . They live on the beautiful island of Anglesey, a popular spot for all the family (mainly descended from Walter and Amelia) to visit ... which they do frequently!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing personal story 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A carefully edited account of an ordinary man's experience of war, explained in an extra-ordinary way. Subtle, thoughtful recollections bring clarity and vivacity to events and situations it is hard to imagine now. This man's story is in many ways more powerful and compelling than many of the 'blockbusters' of WW 1 . The narrative has all the elements needed to translate into a great Movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific insight into one man's war 26 Sep 2011
By Chris Baker VINE VOICE
The flow of publication of soldier's memoirs and diaries in recent years had been quite extraordinary. It appears that greatly increased interest in WW1 and family history and the passing of the last of the soldiers generation has inspired many of their descendants to dig out old papers, notebooks and letters from their attics and to commit the men's words to print. "A Tommy at war" is a compilation produced by Walter Williamson's granddaughter Doreen Priddey. She has done a splendid job of creating a highly readable and enjoyable account of a terrible time.

Walter, a married man from Cheadle Hulme, enlisted under the Derby Scheme and after being mobilised trained with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment at Birkenhead. His story begins on being drafted to France in December 1916 and takes us through his exploits with the 1/6th Battalion until February 1919. A large chunk of his war was spent in the Ypres salient (hence the title) and the passages concerning the Third Battle there from late July to October 1917 are of especial historical interest. Walter comes across as a likeable chap, with his diaries being full of anecdotes, mentions of his comrades and observations on the war and his part in it.

I am not wholly convinced that this is a diary as such, for there is more past tense, reflection and knowing that I would expect in something that was written at the time. It appears to me to be more of something written some time after the events - certainly not many years after as the details are too vivid and dependable, but perhaps a few days or weeks later, giving the author time to express his considered thoughts. It does suffer from this: quite the opposite, the combination of day to day facts with some contemporary opinion is a powerful combination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably Good Book 30 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The title of the book is uninspiring: one's immediate reaction is to think "Here we go again - another book of memoirs, containing all the usual cliches." But as soon as you start to read it, you realize that this is no ordinary book: Walter Williamson was a gifted, humorous and perceptive young man. His intensive writing of his diary and letters home kept him sane. When describing the eccentricities of colleagues and the burdens of army discipline and routine, he manages to be irreverent without being nihilistic and when describing the horrors and bereavements of war, he is sensitive without being maudlin or miserable. His diary and letters constitute a remarkable chronicle of a Tommy's experiences between 1916 and 1919 in an original, illuminating and highly readable fashion. Walter Williamson should become a posthumous hero for the British people - a common man who managed to preserve his love of people and profound common sense despite the appalling offences of total war which ruined many of his contemporaries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great read 26 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
what a interesting and great read this book is, it gives a good feel to how things were in that war. How hard it must have been what with the conditions and the deaths of your comrades. I really enjoyed the read. Mal
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