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  #1  
Old 06-10-16, 12:43 AM
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Feeling quite honoured at having the opportunity to post the first thread in this new sub-forum.

I recently read 'A Soldier's Diary of the Great War', with an introduction by Henry Williamson. Originally published (1929) anonymously, the diaries are those of Captain Douglas Herbert Bell MC, who began his military life as a Territorial rifleman with the 1st Bn, The London Rifle Brigade.

Bell went on to have a varied military career, gaining a commission and transferring to the Cameron Highlanders, and then transferring again later to the Royal Flying Corps, finally resigning his commission in 1920.

There were many passages I underlined in the text, including this one, in which Bell describes the process by which he and his comrades in the battalion volunteered to serve overseas:

'The battalion volunteered for foreign service, and will go as a battalion. Eighty per cent volunteered, and of the remaining 20 per cent some have applied for commissions. We have started recruiting again to fill up from 800 to 1000, so as to go at full strength. We are all congratulating ourselves.

No pressure was put on any man to volunteer. Each man was called out of the ranks by the Company Commander, and quietly said Yes or No to him; that was all that happened.'
[1]

252 pages... very enjoyable read, and highly recommended. Happy reading.

Sources:
[1] 'A Soldier's Diary of the Great War' p 14 & 15
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  #2  
Old 06-10-16, 06:23 PM
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Well done JT and a fitting book to start you off, good London connection which I would have expected from your good self
Nice one mate,
Wilf
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  #3  
Old 06-10-16, 06:51 PM
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Many thanks for the thumbs-up, Wilf. Much appreciated.

One of the hooks for me with this book was that at no time are we told which units the writer is serving with, other than the RFC, later on. There are small, tantalising scraps of info throughout, which give little, unintentional 'clues' as to which regiments our author is with. However, for anyone even vaguely familiar with the LRB, it soon becomes evident he started off as a rifleman with the 'First in the City' boys.

A couple of little badge references too: November 1914, saw the 1st Bn in France, at which point they adopted the practice of blacking their w/m cap badges. At this time an order was issued forbidding men from giving their badges to civilians. The Regulars, apparently, had been doing just that!

Cheers,

JT
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Old 15-06-17, 04:07 AM
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What ho, gentlemen,

Thanks for the recommendation. I'd like to get hold of this book as and when I can. Also, I am quite interested in the numbers of men who took the Imperial Service Obligation, so was very interested in the sections you underlined, JT.

Many thanks,

Chris

Edit: Book ordered

Last edited by Drew; 15-06-17 at 05:03 AM.
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  #5  
Old 16-06-17, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
What ho, gentlemen,

Thanks for the recommendation. I'd like to get hold of this book as and when I can. Also, I am quite interested in the numbers of men who took the Imperial Service Obligation, so was very interested in the sections you underlined, JT.

Many thanks,

Chris

Edit: Book ordered
Nice to see you have this on order. I'll be interested in your comments as and when you have read it, mate.

Good-oh!

JT
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Old 16-06-17, 04:46 AM
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Will do, chief. A week in the post and then a month before I can pick it up though.
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Old 04-02-18, 08:46 PM
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Had this book for a while, but took some time to get round to starting it. I'm glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many thanks, JT, for pointing it out.
It has such a fabulous wealth of detail for the fan of London Territorials in the first days of war.
As JT has mentioned, the author gains a commission and then later transfers to the RFC. The book develops from its observations and commentary of the start and towards the end there are more reflections on the war in which the author is very honest about his thoughts and fears. A fascinating account of one man's varied war career from 1914 to 1918.

Chris

Last edited by Drew; 05-02-18 at 05:35 AM.
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  #8  
Old 05-02-18, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Had this book for a while, but took some time to get round to starting it. I'm glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many thanks, JT, for pointing it out.
It has such a fabulous wealth of detail for the fan of London Territorials in the first days of war.
As JT has mentioned, the author gains a commission and then later transfers to the RFC. The book develops from its observations and commentary of the start and towards the end there are more reflections on the war in which the author is very honest about his thoughts and fears. A fascinating account of one man's varied war career from 1914 to 1918.

Chris
Glad you enjoyed it, Chris.

JT
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