Turner Donovan Military Books - The world’s finest selection of rare and out-of-print books on British military history from 1800 to 1945
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BOWEN (Stephen) [Pseud. of Stephen Bowen Jones] Forsaken: Confessions of a Priest Who Returned. 1st Ed., 300pp. Williams & Norgate. 1931  #58013
[HLMainPic] Rare WW1 memoirs of a C-of-E vicar who enlisted in the 12th (S) Bn. "Sodshires" at Shrewsbury in 1915 (gaining the nickname 'Moses'): describes life in barracks & training then France & Flanders from Nov. 1915 inc. a raid early in 1916: "...A race for life to get to the Bosch parapet before he can man it. A trip-wire sends me sprawling, a barb tears my face, ammunition spills from a pouch, every breath saws the lungs like red-hot iron. My head is bursting, I am drunk, mad, lost, raving foul oaths at life, death & eternity... Somehow I am in the German trench... Yells. Bombs exploding. Flashes, stench, smoke, madmen's faces. A boy, two boys, in German uniform, dazed & disarmed... The Admiral, tin hat askew, pale, glistening with sweat, whistle in one hand, watch in the other, & shouting: 'Three prisoners; that'll do for brigade office-boys... search the dead, hurry! Shoulder-straps, caps, papers - bring the lot... The whistle & we are out again. Heavy, converging fire of machine guns, the blinding flare of searchlights. Only the ground's unevenness saves us from being wiped out..." After more action on the Somme &c. the author was shell-shocked & hospitalised. He found his experiences incompatible with the Christian faith & renounced the priesthood to become a schoolmaster. Quite unusual memoir from a 'gentleman ranker' in that he recounts unjudgmentally the common soldier's frequent topics of conversation: self-inflicted wounds & how to get away with them, swinging the lead, sex, VD, drink & how to obtain or avoid them. Orig. pale blue cloth, gilt, rubbed & worn, splitting to sp., but sound reading copy. See illustration on our website.   £45

     


 

 



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