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With a Royal Engineers Field Company in France and Italy (Hardback)

April 1915 to the Armistice

WWI 1915 1916 1917 1918 Military

By V F Eberle
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526751324
Published: 5th March 2020

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VF Eberle MC joined up on the outbreak of the war in No 2 Field Company Royal Engineers, 48th (South Midland) Division, the same company as his brother, who was a captain in it. He was commissioned before sailing for France at the end of March 1915 and remained with it for the rest of the war. In that time he saw action on the Somme and in the Advance to the Hindenburg Line before his Division took part for most of the Battle of Third Ypres (Passchendaele). Transferred to Italy at the end of 1917, he took part in the final stages of the war, including the Battle of Asiago.

Besides his eloquent description of the work of a field company RE, he spends some time in outlining his role in the development of the Bangalore Torpedo.

Based on his war time letters, diaries and records - which can now be consulted in the Imperial War Museum, it gives a detailed picture of the employment of a field company in war, both during periods of relative tranquility as well as during major offensives. There are relatively few memoirs of Royal Engineers' officers, especially of those in his position, so close to the line. The memoirs benefit from his key eye for observation and his skilful use of the material available to him, making this a fine addition to the literature of the Great War.

It's amazingly real, full of uncomfortable truths and a truly remarkable read.

Books Monthly

The Royal Engineers have left relatively few Great War memoirs for some reason. This republished work by V F Eberle is a rare gem. Originally titled My Sapper Venture copies of the original are few and far between. Pen and Sword deserve the thanks of readers for reviving this work. A further bonus is the latter part of the book involves the Italian campaign which is another under reported campaign by British writers.


Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Featured 'On the bookshelf' with Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, February 2020

This book is an absolute delight. Written in that diffident style so prevalent amongst those who recorded their War experiences of the Great War, it delivers a beautiful narrative of the events that the author lived through. His eye for detail is good and his descriptions of locations and terrain would even today allow anybody wishing to retrace his steps to see the geography he saw. Of special note are his descriptions of the ground and geography in Italy. One of the better war experience books.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About V F Eberle

VF Eberle was educated at Clifton College and Trinity College, Oxford, where he read English - which perhaps explains the mastery of the language that is evident in this book. A member of the Royal Engineer Volunteers whilst in the OTC at Clifton - and coming from an oil industry background, in which he was working in the family firm at the outbreak of the War - his choice of arm is perhaps not so surprising.


He was a keen sportsman, most notably rugby, and he retained close connections with both Bristol and Gloucestershire rugby clubs for the rest of his life. In his retirement he reviewed his copious war time papers and the fruit of his labours is this book, originally published in 1975.

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