In the face of the relentless German advance into Belgium, the British Expeditionary Force was engaged in the costly retreat from Mons. The German Army soon took Antwerp, and only the 'miracle of the Marne' stopped them from marching into Paris. The First Battle of Ypres prevented the Germans from reaching the coast, but both sides dug in and the wretched system of trench warfare was established.
Following the extraordinary Christmas truce, ferocious fighting restarted over the snow covered battlefields, and casualties on both sides were heavy. In the late spring of 1915 the second Battle of Ypres took place and the Germans used poison gas for the first time. The toll in killed and wounded was disastrous, the British alone losing 50,000 men; but the Allies finally managed to halt the enemy advance.
This book delivers the personal stories from the excited camaraderie of "Pals" together, proudly having signed up for an adventure, to the filth and fear experienced being shipped to France in cattle trucks and everything that followed. Very moving! I could imagine the experience and it made me feel glad to be warm and cosy at home.
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