At the age of seventeen-and-a-half, full of idealism and patriotism, John Tucker enlisted as an Infantryman in the London Kensington Regiment and reached France, after training, in August 1915. Against all odds he survived three years of bitter trench warfare, was seriously wounded, and returned to Blighty a few months before Armistice Day. During those years he took part in the Battle of the Somme, the battles of Arras and Cambrai, and the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). Yet though his patriotism remained unflinching, his idealism gave way to the grim realities of day to day survival in the trenches and, as he began to understand what constitutes courage, he grew from boyhood to manhood. The author contrasts the beauties of the French countryside with the ugliness of widespread death and destruction, and paints a picture of French country life hardly less squalid than the soldiers’ own lot.
JOHNNY GET YOUR GUN A Personal Narrative of the Somme, Ypres and Arras
Boy soldier John Tucker was just seventeen when he enlisted in the Kensington Regiment 1914, patriotic and naive. He survived three years in the trenches, going through the battles of the Somme, Arras, Cambrai and third Ypres (Passchendaele). He goes into graphic detail of some of the horrors of war that he witnessed, such as the sight of dead and wounded soldiers. He was wounded seriously in 1918 in the Beaurains-Tilloy sector; being hit by a piece of shrapnel which penetrated his lung, and was left for dead by his comrades, until finally being evacuated to blighty