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Hertfordshire Soldiers of The Great War (Hardback)

Local History WWI Frontline Books Social History Frontline: WWI

By Dan Hill, Paul Johnson
Frontline Books
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 235 colour and b&w
ISBN: 9781473893931
Published: 18th May 2020



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In Hertfordshire Soldiers of The Great War the authors explore a series of individual case studies of Hertfordshire men who served in various theatres during the First World War, all of which had been uncovered as part of the Herts At War community project. This unique collection of largely unknown accounts includes stories from the Western Front, Gallipoli, Salonika, Mesopotamia, East Africa, Egypt and even Russia in the fight against the Bolsheviks in 1919.

The Herts At War team uncovered many letters and objects in the course of their research, including men who were Victoria Cross winners to those whose courage or bravery went unrecognised, as well as stoicism on the Home Front. One of the most moving of these surrounds a photograph which was found in the hands of Sergeant Percy Buck as he lay fatally wounded in a shell hole in 1917. On the back of the photograph of his wife and young son he had written his address and asked for whoever found the image to post it to his loved ones in the event of his death. Sergeant Buck would have assumed it would be a British comrade who would find the photograph, but the person who recovered it was a German soldier who subsequently sent it on to the grieving, but grateful, family.

The war memorials of Hertfordshire contain the names of over 23,000 men and women who gave their lives whilst in the service of their country during the Great War; some of their tales are uncovered here. Indeed, the poignant collection of stories, anecdotes and artefacts revealed in this book bring the First World War to life in an unusual and highly moving fashion.

When this book arrived I was expecting a long dry book talking about a regiment of Hertfordshire soldiers during the Great War. Boy was I wrong and pleasantly surprised, this is a fantastic book that has had me glued to it throughout. This is a series of stories, extracts, reports, facts and information relating to soldiers who served Hertfordshire during the war, plus it covers the whole theatre of war from the Western Front to Gallipoli to East Africa and Mesopotamia. This is a thoroughly interesting read as we here about all the heroic stories and many of the Victoria Cross stories too. Over 23,000 men lost their lives serving their county and this book does a fantastic job in representing them as a strong, determined and brave group of men having to face some nightmare situations.

This book is very well written, but then they are telling the stories and facts about a group of brave men, but the amount of research and detail written has been enormous and a huge credit must go to both authors Johnson and Hill who are both very well-known experts in this field. If I could ask Pen & Sword one thing, it would could we similar books like this one about other counties because this book really does set the standard high. Together with the stories and facts, the book has a lot of excellent photos, maps and documents which really do help tell the tales in the book, and I can honestly say that I have learnt a lot from this book. Blimey, yet another 5 star book from Pen and Sword in recent weeks, which you can read all about at UKHistorianBenDavidson.co.uk

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Although I lived in Hertfordshire for almost thirty years, I have no connection with the county other than that it was a good place to work and live in. However, I do enjoy reading about the lives of people from places I am familiar with, it's just that I haven't yet seen a similar title for my other counties, Gloucestershire and Norfolk... Brilliant stories of courageous individuals.

Books Monthly

‘The best of this month’s Hertfordshire-linked books and book news’

Hertfordshire Life, May 2020

About Dan Hill

Dan Hill works as a full-time military historian and battlefield tour guide. He and co-author Paul Johnson are both members of the Herts at War project, which sprang out of a series of individual historical research assignments, and collaboration with Letchworth’s Highfield School History Department to uncover the wartime exploits of local soldiers in the Great War.

About Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is a military historian, researcher and author of several publications. He and co-author Dan Hill are both members of the Herts at War project, which sprang out of a series of individual historical research assignments, and collaboration with Letchworth’s Highfield School History Department to uncover the wartime exploits of local soldiers in the Great War.

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