Many years ago when I was a student I used to trawl the second-hand bookshops along the Sussex coast and one day chanced across a slim volume by an artillery officer called Huntly Gordon, relating his experiences on the Western Front in 1917/18 with the Royal Field Artillery, called The Unreturning Army. For me it became a classic and I listed it as such on my site The Old Front Line.
I was delighted to discover via an email from Huntly Gordon’s son that this new edition was about to come out, not only making it available to a new generation of people fascinated with the Great War, but that it would include a lot of material not in the original edition and photographs, which were lacking before. Now I know what Huntly Gordon looked not just as a young officer but as an old soldier in the 1960s; to me that alone was worth the new book!
Huntly Gordon’s memoirs of Messines, Third Ypres and the Somme and Flanders in March/April 1918 is well written and engaging; he recalls with often incredible detail the conditions the men survived in, and his love for fellow officers and men leaps off the pages. It is a very easy read and hard to put down once starting; and personally I have read it over and over many times, and my passion for it never wanes.
This was one of those Great War books which I felt my travels along the old battlefields could not be without and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone wanting an insight into the mind of a young gunner officer on the Western Front in the last year of the conflict; a classic when it first appeared, and still a classic today.