1914 – Voices from The Battlefield by Matthew Richardson, with a foreword by Dr Peter Liddle (Pen & Sword Books 2013, ISBN 978-1-84884-777-4, 296pp, illustrated)
The 1914 campaign witnessed the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) despatched to France where it took part in the fighting at Mons, on the Marne and Aisne, in Northern France and at the First Battle of Ypres. More than 370,000 British soldiers were awarded the so-called ‘Mons Star‘ for this period of the war and it witnessed the end of what one veteran called ‘The Red Little, Dead Little Army’.
With the beginning of the WW1 Centenary about to start, and a hundred years from 1914 next year, there are a whole host of books which have either just come out or are about to appear. Many follow well trodden paths and tell us very little new about the BEF and the ‘Old Contemptibles’ who were a part of it. However, this new book by Matthew Richardson is very different; it focuses on the ordinary soldier and his experience, and use a whole host of sources, many from the Liddle Archive which the author of the foreword of this volume founded in the 1970s and Richardson himself once worked in.
As such there is some genuinely new material here and it casts some fresh light on the BEF as well as serving as a superb companion to the battles of the BEF in the early months of the war. The book is well written and is illustrated throughout with many images from the author’s collection and private archives, most of which have not appeared before. Highly recommended, especially if you just want one volume to pop in your rucksack if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the BEF during the WW1 Centenary. The author has a similar book about the Somme in preparation and I very much look forward to that.
The book is available from the Pen & Sword website.