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In the centenary year of the Great War names such as Ypres the Marne the Somme Passchendaele are heavy with meaning as settings for the near destruction of a generation of men It is this aura of tragedy that makes Huntly Gordon’s memoir drawn from his letters written from the Front such a potent one He was sensitive intelligent unpretentious and as his account reve This is the story of a young man's journey through public school and following the outbreak of WWI his training as a Regular Officer in the Royal Artillery and subseuent service through the battle of Passchendaele and the final German Spring Offensive in 1918 where he was severely woundedFirst published in 1967 it has been revised and extended by Huntley Gordon's son David with a new introduction for this edition and a postscript providing details of his father's life after the war endedThe memoir is derived from Huntley Gordon's letters home combined with an extensive memoir written immediately after the war ended when memory was fresh The writing is superb with an eye for detail self deprecation as a young junior officer finding his feet and not a little wry humourThe memoir is particularly interesting from two aspects First is that unlike most of the famous WWI memoirs told from an infantry perspective this is about a field artillery officer's experience where the popular belief was that the artillery were sited well back from the front line In the field artillery's case they were well forward in support of troops but without the benefit of trenches for protection Gordon's descriptions of enemy shelling are particularly forceful The second departure is that the events happened after the 1916 Somme offensive and deal with the final stages of the war particularly Passchendaele and the huge German offensive of spring 1918 Both Gordon and his son David have avoided any descriptions of the strategic sweep of these actions but have grounded the narrative in the day and night experiences of Gordon and his Battery in their immediate war of fields ditches destroyed villages and OPsThe writing is immediate and grips the reader Once I started to read it I finished it in two sittings such was the immersive uality of the writingThe battle areas described are accompanied by excellent uncomplicated maps that allow you to follow Gordon's progressThe text is also supplemented with very carefully chosen photographs where a short textual uote accompanies each one bringing the narrative further to life One in particular stands out of a gun crew coming into action near Meteren where Gordon was seriously wounded The youth of the subaltern in the picture is striking a further reminder that Huntley Gordon was only 19 when he was commissioned and went to warFinally each chapter is headed with a very fine ink line drawing of WWI scenes to complement the chapter subjectThis is a first rate account of a young man at war and deserves to be read by anyone interested in peronal experiences of WWi Highly recommended

ebook The Unreturning Army

The Unreturning ArmyRe Corner in an intensive artillery duel that formed the prologue to Passchendaele itself Early in 1918 his battery would fight a series of rearguard actions near Baupaume that would help turn the tide of the massive German Spring offensive Huntly Gordon has given us an enduring and classic memoir a poignant and extraordinarily human account of history as it happened This is no frills account by an artillery officer in the trenches from 1916 18 It is honest detailed and moving telling of the awful conditions under which both sides operated in knee deep water and mud having to keep going for days on end without sleep or adeuate cover or food and suffering enormous casualties In the end the author is badly wounded has to be dragged out of ruins and survived only because the machine gunner who shot him in the first place holds is fire so that the stretcher party can rescue him

Huntly Gordon ä The Unreturning Army epub

kindle é The Unreturning Army Ô Hardcover read ¿ huntly gordon ´ ➱ [Read] ➬ The Unreturning Army By Huntly Gordon ➼ – In the centenary year of the Great War names such as Ypres the Marne the Somme Passchendaele are heavy with meaning as settings for Als capable of detached and trenchant judgement As the summer of 1914 drew to a close it was difficult for a16 year old schoolboy to realize that the world for which he had been prepared at Clifton College was itself preparing for war By 1916 he was commissioned in the Royal Field Artillery By June 1917 he was at the Ypres Salient getting his ‘baptism’ at Hell Fi Ranks alongside Guy Chapmans' A Passionate Prodigality as one of the finest personal memoirs of the conflict Huntly Gordon is in his final years in Clifton College when the war breaks out and the initial chapters describe rather eerily the growing realisation that this is an immense and society shattering conflict without precident The list of Clifton Old Boys killed and maimed grows steadily through 1914 and 1915 and the reader gets a good understanding of the domestic impact of loss in this instance on a public school but it must of been similar in all realms of society Huntly Gordon firmly believing that this German outrage needs to be repulsed becomes an artilleryman and uite matter of factly accepts that his new profession and he sees it very much as his job is to kill as many Germans as possibleThe book is brilliant on detail and provides a fascinating close up view of the appalling 3rd Ypres battles of 1917 where in fact he encounters action for the first time and describes the practical realities of trying to stop horses mules and men from drowning in mud It also gives a matter of fact but unnerving description of the experience of being under heavy shellfire In late 1917 and early 1918 Huntly is withdrawn to uieter sectors although he is in reserve at Cambrai and then catches the full force of the German onslaught in the springsummer of 1918 where his account of the chaos of the Allied retreat really enhanced my understanding of this phase of the conflict He is badly wounded during a backs to the wall stand at Meteren and his life his saved by the prompt brave and competent action of a fellow officer and loyal men When they get him on to a stretcher and have to cross open space under heavy machine gun fire seeing a brave and badly wounded man the German gunner ceases fire The book is full of poignant personal moments like this The description of his medical treatment and recovery is fascinating and it makes one realise just how medieval the treatment of badly wounded men was in a pre antibiotic and pre painkiller ageThis compelling account is interspersed with great humour and lovely and moving personal vignettes such as the account of him having to discipline a bus driver for being late for work in his post war employment as an inspector for London Transport The driver asks him if he happened to have been a British Officer badly wounded during the Meteren actions in the spring of 1918 The driver turns out to be one of the men that dragged him to safety under heavy fire The matter of fact but somewhat incongruous nature of this piece of happenstance reduced me to tearsThere was no glory in this conflict just endurance professionalism and a commitment to professionalism and doing your own job well Huntly Gordon was not yet 20 years old A brilliant informative and moving account which ranks with the greats Essential reading for those interested in social and behavioural aspects of the First World War but also strong on technical and military detail