Father Benedict's Great War (Paperback)
From Messines to the Armistice
Happy Days in France and Flanders was written by Benedict Williamson within three years of the end of the First World War. It is a viivid account of his experiences, starting with the trauma of working in a Casualty Clearing Station during the Battle of Messines 1917. He was transferred to an infantry battalion, the 1/5th West Riding regiment (Duke of Wellington's), with whom he served for the rest of the war. He saw action in Nieuport and has particularly vivid accounts of the fighting associated with Operation Strandfest, a very successful pre-emptive strike by the Germans. During the Battle of Passchendaele he was involved in the fighting on the Menin Road. His division was caught up in the opening of the German offensive on the Somme in the spring of 1918, describing the desperate days of the retreat and the fighting that held the Germans west of Albert. His battalion took part in the Advance to victory and was involved in the capture of Lille and Tournai. There is a chapter on his ministrations to a soldier who was shot at dawn in September 1918.
In this completely new and revised edition, there are a number of new features.There is an extended biographical essay on this fascinating man. Notes on some of the characters who are named in the original text are provided. Maps are incorporated into the text for the first time and there is a black and white plate section.
Army chaplains received considerable attention during the centenary years, particularly Roman Catholic ones. Benedict Williamson was an articulate man and a shrewd observer of the War; his contribution to the literature of the war is significant and Happy Days is worthy of this major revision by a well known authority on the Great War.