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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account, 11 April 2012
This review is from: On Four Fronts with the Royal Naval Division During the First World War 1914-1918 (Paperback)
This is an account of the Royal Naval Division - the 'bluejackets' - in the Great War. The Division was formed by Churchill in August 1914 with the specific purpose of bolstering the Belgian army in the defence of Antwerp, a crucial port. The army was short of regular and reservist soldiers who couldn't be spared away from their own front line, so the Division was formed out of Royal Marines Light Infantry and officers/sailors of the RNVR and Royal Fleet Reserve.

This book, written as far as I can ascertain by two naval surgeons (= medical officers), tells the story from their perspective of the Division's activities at Antwerp, Gallipoli, the Somme (Le Ancre, Gavrelle etc) and Passchendaele. There are occasional passages describing matters at a basic level, but mostly it is on a more strategic level. By their account, the senior officers (including up to GOC level) appear to have been very popular, which is probably a comment on the circles in which the surgeons moved, and on the social attitudes of the time.

For more personalized accounts from the sailors/marines who were having to put up with the flies, disease, dreadful rations (bully beef which slides from the tin because the fat had melted in the heat isn't all that appetising when you're dying of thirst) and all the rest of it, there are one or two other books, and quite a lot of websites on the internet giving the personal accounts of sailors and marines. They would supplement this book well.

I have given the book 4 stars because it is an interesting and useful book (170 pages) charting the campaigns of the RND, but it needs to be supplemented by other reading for a fuller picture of what the chaps went through.
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