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[DUNN, James Churchill.]

The War the Infantry Knew 1914-1919.

A Chronicle of Service in France and Belgium with The Second Battalion His Majesty's Twenty-Third Foot, The Royal Welch Fusiliers: founded on personal records, recollections and reflections, assembled, edited and partly written by One of their Medical Officers.

London: P.S. King & Son Ltd, 1938 Stock Code: 120857
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First edition, one of just 500 copies privately produced by the author, this a superb Royal Welch Fusiliers association copy, with gilt supralibros: "Presented to the Officers of the 2nd Bn. The Royal Welch Fusiliers by Lieutenant-Colonel D. M. Barchard", and with the ink stamp "Officers' Mess. 2nd Bn. Royal Welch Fusiliers" to front pastedown. Barchard was commissioned in the RWF in 1911 and served in the 1st Bn in the early months before the war before being captured and spending the next four years in captivity in Germany. In 1939 he was Commanding Officer, 2nd Bn in Hong Kong, then in Lucknow. An inked note to the title page identifies the author as "Dr. Dunne sic of Glasgow. Appears as Dr. Munro in Sassoon's 'Sherston's Progress'. Had served in the Yeomanry in South Africa and won the DCM as a trooper." During the Second World War the 2nd Bn. served in India and Madagascar.

The battalion included the authors of two of the most famous literary accounts of the Great War, Graves and Sassoon, with the latter contributing a chapter to the present work entitled "A Subaltern's Service in Camp and in Action," covering the period from 12 March to 16 April 1917, which is described as, "An early draft of pages of Memoirs of an Infantry Officer." Graves offered to contribute, but Dunn was not an admirer of Goodbye to all that, and declined his offer. Graves is mentioned, disparagingly, a handful of times in the text.

Dunn's is an extraordinary book; in the Face of Battle John Keegan described it as "one of the most interesting and revealing books of its type a genuinely truthful and fascinating picture of the war as it was for the infantry." Compiled in diary form from the reminiscences of around 50 members of the Battalion, it is without doubt the most authentic account of the experience of the Western Front at Battalion level. Providing complete confirmation of the old cliché that war is "90 per cent boredom and 10 per cent sheer terror", these accounts provide remarkable insight into the mental state invoked by the conditions of trench warfare.

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Octavo. Original red cloth, gilt titles to the spine, regiment initials gilt to front board.


27 leaves of sketch-maps bound in at the rear.


Ends and corners rubbed, the spine a touch discoloured, a very good copy.


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