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Salute of Guns (Hardback)

WWI World War One Aviation 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 Great War Artillery

By Donald Boyd
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9781848848504
Published: 26th November 2012

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Salute of Guns covers a story that is almost forgotten: Artillery was the decisive weapon of the Great War. The developments in artillery tactics, equipment and shells played a major role in the final Allied victory. British artillery was in the forefront of all those changes. This book gives the reader a dramatic insight into the story of artillery in the First World War.

Donald Boyd joined his local Territorial Force artillery unit in September 1914. Commissioned in 1915, he learnt his trade in France from unsympathetic pre-war Indian Army regulars who did not understand how war was changing. From 1916 to 1918 he took part in the Western Front's major battles, including the Somme, Third Ypres, Cambrai and the 1918 offensives. The stress of an artillery subaltern's existence, observing in the front line, keeping the guns in action at a battery position or leading ammunition columns up tracks exposed to shellfire brought him to nervous collapse twice. The author is frank about his problems and convincingly conveys the relationships within his sub-unit which helped or hindered his struggle to stay in the front line.

A new Foreword by Michael Orr sets Boyd's memoir in context and documents its reliability from the archives.

“If I had to name the best record of Western Front fighting I should, on the whole, choose Donald Boyd's Salute of Guns as the one that has dealt most faithfully with the most difficult to recall of all its aspects – contemporary morale.” (Robert Graves)

This relatively unknown book deserves a wider readership, Boyd's graphic account of what he saw and did allows the reader to see the war at a very personal level, as Robert Graves said about the original edition it is the best record he knew of the fighting on the Western Front

Western Front Association, D. Bailey

A most readable account of what it was like to serve with the guns on the Western Front. Written by someone who was there, indeed Boyd was awarded the MC for recovering two guns during the great retreat in March 1918. When first published in 1930, Robert Graves was moved to say "If I had to name the best record of Western Front fighting I should, on the whole, chose Donald Boyd's 'Salute the Guns' as the one that has dealt most faithfully with the most difficult to recall of all its aspects - contemporary morale". Need one say more?

Bulletin - Military Historical Society

This is an excellent account of service by a man dealing with the fear and mental fatigue of a long war who yet describes his military activities with great clarity. It is particularly valuable as such memoirs from the Royal Regiment are few. Pen & Sword are to be congratulated.

British Commission for Military History

About Donald Boyd

Donald Boyd, born in 1895, was training as a journalist with the Leeds Mercury when war broke out in 1914. He served on the Western Front as a Royal Artillery officer from 1915 to 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross for recovering two guns during the Great Retreat of March 1918. After the war he joined the Manchester Guardian, reporting on the Irish War of Independence and Soviet Russia. In 1936 he joined the BBC and reported from the USA during the Second World War. Retiring in 1955, he lived in Cornwall until his death in 1973.

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