Where Are The Boys?
The First Day of the Battle of the Somme
To commemorate the first day of the battle of the Somme, authors Andrew Hamilton and Alan Reed in a stunningly and imaginatively designed book paint a vivid and detailed picture of the catastrophe that unfolded on 1st July 1916.
• Over 19,000 British soldiers were killed and nearly 40,000 wounded during the worst day in British military history
• The events are seen from the perspective of thirteen men involved on the day, General Rawlinson, one of the architects of the Somme offensive, a Major-General sacked for an alleged ‘lack of offensive spirit’, a chaplain who helped the wounded and dying, a battalion commander so deeply shocked by the loss of many of his men that he committed suicide and nine soldiers of varying rank who went ‘over the top’
• Of those nine, five were killed and four survived - their personal stories illustrate the enormity of the disaster, the horrors encountered and the calamitous effect on the loved ones of those who fell
• 172 battalions participated on 1st July of which 94 were ‘Pals’ battalions raised from towns and cities nationwide by Lord Kitchener’s recruitment campaign. The involvement of each battalion and how it fared is chronicled in a fascinating chapter, a mine of information about flame projectors, footballs kicked into No Man’s Land, numbers of men with no known grave, under-age boys who were killed …
• Where are the Boys? is ideal for those wishing to follow in the footsteps of an ancestor or keen to explore the 17 mile long front line
• Ten walks and drives take the reader to well-known areas of the Somme front - to cemeteries, memorials, No Man’s Land, the villages attacked by the British, mine craters and trench systems as well as interesting places off the beaten track. Maps of outstanding quality and clarity will enhance the walking or driving experience
We Good...We No Shoot
The Christmas Truce at Plugstreet Wood in 1914
By Andrew Hamilton and Alan Reed
To commemorate the centenary of the iconic Christmas Truce of 1914, Andrew Hamilton and Alan Reed have extended their work on the 1/ Royal Warwicks’ armistice at St. Yves in Belgium to include another 8 battalions in an in-depth investigation of Christmas in the wider Plugstreet Wood.
In We Good… We No Shoot:
• The authors have collected a wealth of contemporary evidence to create a fascinating and vivid picture of what happened over the festive season in 1914
• They investigate why soldiers were so keen to fraternise ‘without permission’, who allowed them to do so, and how the authorities reacted to such unwarlike behaviour
• Soldiers of all ranks recall, in their own words, the events of the few days when the War stopped and British and German soldiers laid down their arms and met in No Man’s Land
• They assess whether or not an ‘international’ football match took place as well as detailing the meetings and exchanges in No Man’s Land, the strange happenings and coincidences that occurred, and the collection and burial of bodies
• The high standards of design and presentation displayed in Meet at Dawn, Unarmed and Stolen Lives have been maintained. Maps are clearly presented and a well-judged selection of original and recent photographs illustrate what life was like at Plugstreet Wood.
• A number of Bruce Bairnsfather’s cartoons add humour to one of the few happy and positive moments of the Great War.
STOLEN LIVES - Individual Tragedies of the Great War
STOLEN LIVES is a collection of short biographies of 50 soldiers (and a nurse) who were tragically killed in the Great War. In a novel approach to honouring the centenary of the Great War, Andrew Hamilton and Alan Reed have compiled informative and compassionate tributes to personalities whose stories provide a detailed snapshot of society before the outbreak of war and the horrors of life at the Front.
All walks of life
The subjects are from a wide cross-section of society, from Queen Victoria’s 40th grandchild to a Belfast shipbuilding apprentice who was Shot at Dawn for desertion. Some had reached the pinnacle of their careers like an actor, a politician and several sportsmen. Others had yet to realise their aspirations- a poet, a painter and a composer. A number found fame posthumously as a result of their actions during the War including a double V.C. and a black footballer.
Britain’s Empire Troops
Britain could not have played such a pivotal role in the conflict without support from her Empire’s troops- an Australian V.C., a Canadian allegedly ‘crucified’ by the Germans and an Indian Sikh all considered it their duty to fight for their ‘mother country’.
Each individual’s background, their life before 1914 and reasons for enlisting are examined. Their reactions to the effects of the War and the humour and comradeship in adversity are fascinating features of the book.
Impact on families
A recurring theme in Stolen Lives is the impact on families who suffered the loss of loved ones. Spiritualism, writing commemorative tributes or joining the war effort were all ways in which parents, wives and fiancées attempted to come to terms with their loss.
Readers are taken on a guided tour of the cemeteries and memorials of northern France and Belgium to find where the subjects of the book are buried or commemorated. The achievements of Sir Fabian Ware and his team of architects in designing magnificent tributes to the fallen are highlighted throughout.
A design triumph!
Stolen Lives is a beautifully designed book in the same well-received style of Meet at Dawn, Unarmed about the Royal Warwicks and the Christmas Truce of 1914. The text is enhanced by the incorporation of over 400 photographs- black and white originals and striking colour photographs as well as cartoons and easily-followed maps.
Meet at Dawn, Unarmed
The Diary of Captain Robert Hamilton
On August 5th 1914, Robert Hamilton left his young family behind in Devon to start a momentous six month journey through France and Belgium with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
In his diary, he recorded his experiences on the Front Line which included:
• The famous Christmas Truce in which he played a prominent part
• The humour, comradeship and loyalty of fellow soldiers in the face of constant danger
• The rain, mud and discomforts of life in the trenches
• The daily fight for survival and the constant danger from shelling and sniping
• Life behind the lines- the billets, estaminets and local hospitality
Extracts from his wife Renie’s diary highlight the fears and anxieties of loved ones awaiting news from the Front.
After he left the Western Front in 1915, his diary chronicles the ‘battles’ he fought with Conscientious Objectors and ‘Red Tape’ as Commandant of the Hereford Military Detention Barracks.
Robert’s grandson Andrew Hamilton and Great War enthusiast Alan Reed have complemented the diaries with an informative commentary. They have used a wide range of contemporary evidence, including the cartoons of Robert’s famous friend Bruce Bairnsfather, and a variety of original photographs. They have also recreated important episodes in his life, including a fascinating reconstruction of the Christmas Truce between the Warwicks and the Saxons in No Man’s Land.