Posted by: sommecourt | 14/10/2013

Book Review: Western Front 1914-1916

Over many periods of British military history commanders in the field have written up immediate accounts of their operations and sent them home to the War Office and politicians back home; these were the so-called ‘despatches’ and where the phrase ‘mentioned in despatches‘ comes from.

This continued at the time of the Great War and British commanders like Sir John French and then Douglas Haig both compiled despatches from the front, as did other commanders in the various theatres of war. These were often published in the London Gazette but this new volume brings together the main despatches from the period 1914 to 1916 and puts them in one complete volume. In doing so it covers key battles from Mons to First Ypres in 1914, the British offensives of 1915 through to the Battle of the Somme.

This is a very useful book and while the despatches were written with one eye on wartime censorship, they give a good, contemporary account of some of the key battles of the First World War.

A book very good for family historians wanting a readable and accessible overview of the first two years of the war.

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