FIRST WORLD WAR
Lot 38
FIRST WORLD WAR
Sold for £4,560 (US$ 7,319) inc. premium

Lot Details
FIRST WORLD WAR
'Tokens of the Great War', comprising two volumes kept by Sister Dorothy Huggins of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital, Slough, containing entries by soldiers in her care, many accompanied by photographs, the first entry made on 24 October 1915 by Sergeant W. Ayling, 1/4 Royal Sussex Regiment (later marked "Killed in Palestine 26.3.17"), others running up until the end of the war and into 1919, nearly 300 pages bound in two volumes, red cloth, spines lettered 'Tokens Of The Great War', 4to, Slough VAD Hospital, 1915-1919

Footnotes

  • A REMARKABLE AND MOVING MEMORIAL OF THE GREAT WAR: not only do these two albums contain a plethora of haunting images and touching verses of tribute, and the like; but they are given special importance by the fact that Sister Dorothy, in an attempt one imagines at some sort of trauma therapy, asked contributors to describe the worst experiences suffered by them at the front. There are over forty of these mini-autobiographies, bearing headings such as "One of the worst Experiences when in France" or "About One of my worst Experiences in France". The bulk describe experiences either at Gallipoli (especially in the first volume) or on the Western Front, although other theatres of war are covered, including Palestine and the navy. The horror and poignancy distilled in these short biographies is extraordinary. For example, G. Frew, a New Zealander, tells of his experiences at Gallipoli: "While we were fighting in the trenches for about two days the Maori boys were sent up to releave us, they had just landed and they did not know which trench we were in or which one the Turks was; so as soon as they saw us they must have thought we was them for began to charge. We did not know what to do for we could not stop them and the officer just gave us the word to fire on them when they saw their mistake". While Ambulance Driver G. Wilfred Foster of the 47th Field Ambulance, describes "The Loos Charge": "At six-thirty the Guns ceased, ten minutes later the boys mounted the trench, some mad with excitement others half drunk with Rum they had given them to raise they [sic] spirits, but very few went far, they were mowed down, with heavy explosives, whizz-bangs, and terrible Machine Gun fire... Two hours later they were in Loos Having taken the Towers and the village and still advancing. It was at this point that our Guns Killed Hundreds of our own men, and that the Horse Ambulances where called on the battle field, a sight which I never hope to see again/ there were Hundreds calling for us but we could not do anything to help them...the Enemy Observation saw us, immediately We were set at a Gallop but was caught, over came three High Explosives all together and smashed us up, with the exception of three... We loaded our Wagons, twenty-five in Each than waited until three Artillery Guns came past at the Gallop then returned, having to pass over dead bodies, Horses and broken Wagons, it was just over the same Hill returning, that the Germans put there Machine Guns on us". Sapper H. Savage, also at Loos, gives his experiences of coming under a gas attack: "we were subjected to a severe bombardment but we took no notice of that & went on with our work. It was only when someone gave the gas alarm that we stopped & put our helmets on & in about 5 minute's the gas was so thick I could hardly see my hands. Quite a lot of the chaps were suffering from the gas & lie gasping for breath. I started choking once myself & though[t] I was going under, as soon as the gas was finished the Germans came".
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