6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A book that should be read,
This review is from: Somme Mud (Paperback)
wait on whilst the dead men are buried. A shallow grave marked by a rifle stuck up in the mud is all that can be done. It gives some satisfaction to do that, although we are well aware the men so buried will be thrown up and reburied by shellfire time after time until the fighting shifts on from here. Some day they may have real graves. What a lot to look forward to! It's as well their people can't fully realize what finding a soldier's grave really means.
If there is one book that everyone should read on warfare, or just a book that should be read, this is it. Edward Lynch left Australia on 22nd August 1916 as a young man of 18 volunteering to serve on the Western Front. He returned to his homeland in 1919, lived through three of the most turbulent years of modern history.
In 1921 he started to write of his experiences, twenty one school exercise books full. The initial idea was to publish the story, but due to circumstances at the time this never happened. After his death the volumes resurfaced when Edward's grandson Mike Lynch passed the volumes to the editor Will Davies.
The result is a story that stands with any of the so called `classics' of the Great War and is superior to most. The story is that of a young private `Nulla' and his experience of some of the fiercest fighting in the area of the Somme from late 1916 through to 1918.
The descriptions of actions including the firing of the mines on the Messines Ridge, tanks and the start of air re-supply. Interspersed are the personal asides, food contaminated with gas, the mod swings that effected individuals, the flashes of humour, including the description of Janker's for going AWOL, cleaning the trace chains of artillery harness, `We spent a whole day cleaning trace chains and polishing each link with spit sand and blasphemy'.
Technically the book is very accurate, the story can be followed on maps, trench maps and panoramas, giving a wider understanding of small actions that took place during the period. The book draws few if any conclusions as to the rights and wrongs of the conflict, it praises and castigates offices, men and the enemy as the situation demands.
This book is something special; Edward Lynch deserves a place amongst the revered author's of the Great War, an accolade he deserved but never got.