‘Follow me! I will lead you!’ were the last words of Lt. Col. George Brenton Laurie, who commanded the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and was killed at Neuve Chapelle in March, 1915. He died with his revolver in hand while leading his men in an assault on the German lines. Laurie left behind a remarkable collection of letters, which provide us with a privileged insight into the day to day experience of a battalion commander and his struggles to make sense of the developing madness of trench warfare.
Leading his battalion amidst the constant mud, shelling, sniping and waterlogged trenches of Flanders occupied every waking moment of the life of Lt. Col. Laurie, from the moment the battalion was deployed in November, 1914 through to his death in March, 1915.
His surviving letters give a clear sense of the ever present danger from the bullets, and shells, and the miserable squalor
endured by the men who fought the early trench battles during the first winter of the Great War. Laurie was a hands on
commander who visited the front lines daily, and this fascinating collection provides an all too rare primary account of
the BEF as witnessed from the perspective of a battalion commander.
FOLLOW ME! I WILL LEAD YOU LETTERS OF A BEF BATTALION LEADER 1914-1915
The last words of Lt. Col. George Laurie as he led his men of the 1st Irish Rifles into the battle of Neuve Chapelle in which he died in March 1915 f provides the title of this inspiring book of his letters written home from the trenches. Enduring the mud, shot and shelling of Flanders in the miserable winter of 1914/15, Laurie found time to write home frequently, leaving us a matchless description of the perils and problems of a battalion commander’s life.
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