There's a Devil in the Drum

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Naval & Military Press, Nov 1, 2001 - History - 408 pages
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John Lucy, an Irishman from Cork, enlisted in an Ulster regiment, The Royal Irish Rifles, with his younger brother in January 1912, and after six months at the Depot they joined the 2nd Bn in Dover. Subsequently they moved to Tidworth where the battalion was on 4 August 1914, in 7th Bde 3rd Division; ten days later they were in France. There follow brilliant accounts of Mons, Le Cateau and the retreat to the Marne, the turn of the tide and the Battle of the Aisne where his brother was killed. The battalion was involved in desperate fighting in front of Neuve Chapelle in October 1914, losing 181 killed in four days and virtually ceasing to exist, reduced to two officers and 46 men. Brought up to strength it suffered the same fate at First Ypres. This is a superb book, one of the best written by a ranker , all the better for being one of the very few to describe those early battles of 1914. As a critic wrote in 1938, it is easily the best [war book] written by an Irishman - arguably still true. A great bonus is the description of life in the ranks in that long long ago just before the Great War.

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