WAR LETTERS TO A WIFE
By Rowland Fielding
Naval & Military Press Ltd 2002
Paperback - 382 pages - £11.95
There are many classic memoirs and accounts of the Great War published in the years following WW1. Most of them are now hard to find, and Naval & Military Press Ltd are engaged in a process of reprinting them.
Rowland Fielding was a regular army officer, commissioned in the Coldstream Guards. He joined them on the Cuinchy front in May 1915, and took part in the battle of Loos. During the Somme he was posted to command 6th Connaught Rangers of 16th (Irish) Division, and led them at Guillemont and Ginchy. He then moved to the Ypres Salient, and remained here until the Battle of Messines in June 1917. This was followed by a spell on the Hindenburg Line, where they remained until the German offensive of March 1918. The 16th (Irish) Division was wiped out at this time, and Fielding was transferred to the 15th Londons (Civil Service Rifles) in the Summer of 1918, and remained with them until the Armistice.
The book is based on his letters home to his wife, and despite the rigors of the censor, he was able to relate an awful lot of what he experienced. There are some fascinating passages; one example being when Fielding went to see the 'Battle of the Somme' film at Dernancourt in September 1916. It was a silent film, but they had real sound-effects with the rumble of the barrage in the distance!
A super memoir and highly recommended - an essential part of any Great War library.
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