The author sums up the record of his experiences in the Great War in one sentence in the introduction: five weeks in the firing line, four weeks mourned as dead, and three months a prisoner of war. Nobbs served in the ranks of the 5th Battalion the London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) for some years before the war, then went to Canada where he obtained a commission in the Queen’s Own Rifles. He resigned and came home in 1914 and rejoined the LRB as a captain. At first he was with the second line battalion – 2/5th – and then transferred to the 3/5th before being posted to the 1/5th in France (169 Brigade/56 Division). He joined the battalion in the first week of August 1916 when it was in rest billets at St Amand, and moved with it to the Somme on 2 Sep 1916. The first few chapters describe his early impressions. It was only a week later, on 9 September, that Nobbs was blinded during an attack on Leuze (Lousy) Wood. A bullet entered his left temple and came out through the centre of his right eye. This part of the book is very descriptive of fighting – Valley of death, Falfemont (Faffemont) Farm and Leuze Wood. His account of lying blinded in a shell hole while the battle went on around him, his being found and taken prisoner, his treatment is very moving and vivid. The final part deals with his experience in a hospital in Hanover and a PW camp in Osnabruck. His next of kin had been notified he had been killed in action, had received a telegram of sympathy from the Palace and his name had appeared in the Obituaries and his solicitors processed his estate. It was a month before the truth was revealed. Capt Nobbs was repatriated on 9 Dec 1916. The final touch comes in the last sentence of the book. Back home he received a letter from his solicitor containing an account: “To services rendered in connexion with the death of Captain Nobbs!”
The experiences of an officer of the London Rifle Brigade, blinded on 9 September 1916 during the Somme offensive and taken prisoner, reported killed in action, repatriated on 9 December 1916.