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 It is old, out of date and a book passing into history as it was published over half a century ago (published by Howard Timmins in 1965).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.
World War I
As the 21st February 2018 marked the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, I thought much about men at sea and the perils of travels by ship during war time. The First World War saw well over 140 ships lost at sea through U-boat action or sinking; there is a page on Wikipedia recording all such disasters where over 30 lives were lost.
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.
For the Glory of South Africa and the Empire - Five Eastern Cape Soldiers and the Great War, Kathleen Satchwell published 2015 by Kathleen Satchwell, illustrated, 159 pages ISBN 978 0 620 687683
Return to Morogoro, with the South African Horse through East Africa to France and Flanders, 1914-1918, James Bourhill, published by 30degree South Publishers, 2015, Paperback, 260 pages, illustrated. ISBN 978 1 928211 74 7