World War I

I fell upon this memoir by chance. It is old, out of date and a book passing into history as it was published over half a century ago (published by Howard Timmins in 1965). Jack Stodel does not feature in the standard encyclopedias or biographical dictionaries. Why bother with such a book? Memoirs give us a flavour and taste of the lives of a bygone generation and recall amusing experiences and anecdotes. We learn about the lives of others, how they lived and what the issues of the day were. Memoirs become building blocks in  the writing of history.

This year makes the centenary of the South African's heroic assault on and then defence of Delville Wood in France on the Western Front in July 1916, a 6 day epic of warfare. It was a part of the long battle of the Somme. The losses were horrendous with only 700 odd soldiers of the South African brigade emerging From the wood on the 6th day and over 2500 casualties.

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