Massacre on the Marne (Kindle)
The Life and Death of the 2/5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War
Massacre on the Marne is a graphic reconstruction of the experiences of a small closely knit group of fighting men - the 2/5th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment - in the Great War. These men were not elite regular troops or Kitcheners' Men - they were Territorials. In many ways they were typical of the men who fought on the Western Front. Using the words of the men themselves, taken from their letters, diaries and memoirs as well as quotations from the reports and despatches of the time, Fraser Skirrow records how they learnt the painful lessons of trench warfare and became a highly efficient fighting unit. He also records how their hard-won efficiency was not enough to save them, for the Second Battle of the Marne in 1918 was their last - in a few terrible hours they were virtually wiped out. This meticulously researched history allows the reader to follow the careers of these men through every phase of the war, from recruitment to the final tragedy, and it makes compelling reading.
The book is scholarly and detailed but also presents a gripping and engaging view of what the Great War would have been like for typical soldiers. This book is a timely reminder of the horrific conflict that is now disappearing from living memory. I thoroughly recommend it, not only for those with an existing interest in the period, but also for anyone who wants to understand the First World War from the viewpoint of the individual.Wartime Memories Project