July 1st 1916 is a date that remains embedded in the British folk memory. It was the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the day on which British and Empire troops suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, a third of them fatal. In this evocative classic memoir John Masefield, the future Poet Laureate, describes the battleground over which the armies were to fight. He had spent months at the front and was familiar with the men, the trenches that they inhabited and the conditions that they endured. ‘The Old Front Line’ was written shortly after the battle, and this elegant account will still move the modern reader as well as providing a valuable guide for the many 21st century visitors to the battlefield.
OLD FRONT LINE
A concise but moving account of the Somme battle. British Military Intelligence in France asked the future Poet Laureate Masefield to write an account of the Battle of the Somme. Although Masefield had grand ideas for his book, he was denied access to official records and what was intended to be the preface was published as The Old Front Line.