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Temporary Heroes [Illustrated Edition]

Length: 286 pages3 hours


Includes The First World War On The Somme Illustration Pack - 110 photos and illustrations and 31 maps.
“This book, published in 1917, was compiled from letters written to his fiancée while serving in France and Belgium February 1915 to July 1916 with the 1/4th Gordon Highlanders. Down was commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders, a Territorial Battalion, in September 1914 and they formed part of the 8th Brigade, 3rd Division in Belgium in 1915.
“The Battalion served mainly in the Ypres Salient throughout 1915 and Down’s letters contain vivid accounts of the actions in which they took part (pp. 52-60); (pp. 75-80). For prolonged periods they were in the front line and, despite the humour of Down’s letters, the appalling conditions and experiences come through clearly. His style of writing is lively and very easy to read and his accounts of life in the trenches and particularly in rest camp are witty and entertaining. He particularly brings irreverent wit to bear on the "brass hats" (pp. 98; 104) - comments which were almost always censored in the published version.
“The battalion greatly appreciated a spell in front line trenches, opposite a Saxon battalion where a semi truce had been unofficially (p. 84) declared but on the whole the battalion suffered, particularly from the weather.
”Down spent several months as bombing officer to the 8th Brigade, becoming one of the "brass hats" (p. 117), and he remained with 8th Brigade after the Gordon Highlanders transferred to form part of the 51st Highland Division.
“In April 1916 the 51st moved to the Somme and Down rejoined his own battalion there briefly before being posted to a month’s course at the Infantry School from which he witnessed the progress of the "Big Push" (p. 231). Down was wounded in late July during the Offensive and returned to hospital in England.”-IWM

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