By John Hargrave
I’ve seen men, healthy, strong, hard-faced Irishmen, blown to shreds. I’ve helped to clear up the mess. I’ve trod on dead men’s chests in the sand, and the ribs have bent in and the putrid gases of decay have burst through with a whhh-h-ff-f.
Being the notes and sketches of scenes, characters and adventures of the Dardanelles campaign, made by John Hargrave (“White Fox”) while serving with the 32nd field ambulance, X division, Mediterranean expeditionary force, during the great war.
I had never heard of John Hargrave. I have, however, heard of Gallipoli, the disastrous attempt by the British in the First World War to conquer the Bosporus — to conquer Constantinople. (Who knows? Had they succeeded, I might have been able to go to the Hagia Sophia one day for Liturgy.)
Paul Hargrave was better known under the alias ‘White Fox’. Before he enlisted in the British Army he was a scout, or so he tells us in this book. Not having heard of him, I didn’t realize he meant Baden Powell’s scouts. Oh, well.
Despite apparently being very haphazardly educated, and despite being full of disdain for his fellow men — at least for those who don’t share his fetish for outdoor life, he has written a very engaging book.
One that describes in sometimes too great detail, the life in the British Army in WW I. It’s impossible to digest his descriptions of life in the barracks in Ireland, of the complete lack of direction, command and information everywhere. I won’t try it. Since you can download this book for free from Project Gutenberg, I suggest you do so, and dip into it.
I’ll just say that this book was tremendously helpful when writing the military parts of my Work In Progess.