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Valour in the Trenches (Hardback)

'Bombo' Pollard VC MC* DCM HAC in The Great War

Military > Victoria Crosses WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Somme WWI > By Year > 1914

By N S Nash
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781848844476
Published: 17th October 2011



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Alfred Pollard joined the Honourable Artillery Company at Armoury House in the City of London in 1914 aged 21. The HAC is a unique Territorial unit composed entirely of middle class volunteers, who recruit all their officers from the ranks.

Pollard was a natural soldier who believed himself (correctly as it turned out) to be invulnerable. He revelled in combat and unlike the vast majority of his peers claimed to enjoy going into action. This extraordinary mindset is borne out by his well documented acts of selfless courage. He rose quickly through the ranks, earned a battlefield commission and was awarded in quick succession the Distinguished Conduct Medal, two Military Crosses and finally the Victoria Cross.

Despite his experiences and the horrific sights he witnesses, in his own memoirs, entitled Fire-eater, published in 1932, he made it clear he felt 'neither fear nor pity'.

Pollard's character was a curious mix of self assurance, even arrogance, and innate immaturity.

In post-war years Pollard wrote some 60 books which sold half a million copies.

This is a fascinating study of a courageous patriot who saw action throughout the Great War.

N.S. Nash in his well-written and very readable biography delves further into Pollard's life. Very enjoyable and well researched. Provides a detailed account of an extremely brave, patriotic and fearless soldier who felt 'neither pity nor fear'.

Stand To! Western Front Association

A must for all to read.


'Tank' Nash has expertly drawn on a number of sources to tell the story of Alf Pollard. Gripping and insightful narrative.

Soldier Magazine

Superb biography, 10/10

The Great War Magazine
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About N S Nash

Brigadier NS ‘Tank’ Nash CBE was educated at Latymer Upper School and served in the Honourable Artillery Company (1957-1960) and thereafter in the Army Catering Corps (1960-1991). He was the Bursar of Loretto School (1991-1996). He has an MA in Military History from Birmingham.
For 30 years he wrote humour under the pen name ‘Sustainer’ and his work was published internationally. Three anthologies of his column were published. His books for Pen and Sword include K Boat Catastrophe, ‘Strafer’ Gott – Desert General, Chitral Charlie – The Rise and Fall of Major General Charles Townshend, Valour in the Trenches, Betrayal of an Army - Mesopotamia 1914 -1916, Logistics in the Vietnam Wars and The Siege that Changed the World.
He lectures on military history and lives in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

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