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LUSHINGTON, Franklin, as Mark Severn.

The Gambardier.

Giving Some Account of the Heavy and Siege Artillery in France 1914-1918.

London: Ernest Benn Limited, 1930 Stock Code: 144528
£2,750.00
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A superb artillery association copy of a classic account.

First edition, first impression of this important artillery battery commander's account of service on the Western Front. This an excellent association copy from the library of gunner and military historian Major Archibald Frank Becke (1871-1947), with a letter from the author concerning Becke's, unacknowledged, involvement in the writing of the book, and Becke's typically meticulous annotations and comments.

Lushington commanded 224 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery - "gambardier" is army slang for an officer of the RGA - the unit in which the poet Edward Thomas was serving when killed by a shell blast during the first hour of the Battle of Arras. Tipped in facing the acknowledgements is a two-page letter from Lushington apologising for Becke's omission from that list, due to a "mistake of the publisher or the printer", and thanking him for his "help in the matter of the early siege batteries". Becke's ownership inscription and armorial bookplate to the front pastedown, his pencilled underlines, marginal markings and occasional notes throughout, and index of comments recto of the rear free endpaper. Contemporary review from an unidentified source mounted recto of the front free endpaper - "this unpretentious work is very much more valuable than many of the most heralded 'best sellers' of the War-book boom". Covers the battery's service throughout the war, including Festubert, the Somme, Arras, Ypres and Messines, Cambrai, and the final days, and gives an account of Thomas's time on the Front, under the name of Tyler, laconically describing his death in battle. Becke was involved in the compilation of the British official history series, producing maps for several volumes and editing the Order of Battle, he was also the author of a well-regarded account of Waterloo, and numerous articles on artillery, including a critical study of artillery at Le Cateau, tactical and strategic matters. Uncommon and attractive in the dust jacket, this copy with wonderful provenance.

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Description

Octavo. Original black cloth, titles gilt to spine. With the superb R. Hartman dust jacket.

Illustrations

Frontispiece and 7 other plates, maps and plans to the text.

Condition

Scatter of foxing to the edges only, light toning of the text-block, otherwise a very good copy indeed in the slightly worn jacket, overall browned, particularly at the spine with the loss of the publisher's name at the tail, a few other chips, long closed tear to the front panel, no loss, old tape repair verso now removed, no show-throiugh, still presents well.

Bibliography

Lengel 708.

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