Once described by a subordinate as “the most completely ignorant general I served during the war”, there was much more to Lieutenant General Sir William Pulteney than this dismissive remark would have us believe. Commissioned into the Scots Guards, his long military career took him to Egypt, Uganda, Congo, South Africa, France and Japan. The longest-serving British corps commander during the First World War, he led III Corps from the Retreat from Mons through the Marne, Aisne, Messines, Armentières, Neuve Chapelle, Loos, the Somme and the celebrated Battle of Cambrai where tanks were used en masse for the first time. In this meticulously compiled volume, Anthony Leask has gathered for the first time a rich treasure trove of previously unpublished letters, diaries and documents which, having been painstakingly researched and considered in historical context, provide new insight into a man who has hitherto remained unknown. From a privileged yet controversial background, he was an athlete, sportsman, practical field soldier, and a man who enjoyed the company of women. This is a soldier’s story, one of many battles, of increased responsibility, and the rapid evolution of military technology. Some say Pulteney went too far and for too long; others that he at all times did his duty to the best of his ability. Generals make mistakes and those that involve life and death are unforgiving. Judgement can only be rendered on the available evidence which is comprehensively presented in this ground-breaking biography. The author will donate all his royalties from this book to support widows of Scots Guardsmen killed in action and those who have been wounded.
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PUTTY From Tel-El-Kebir to Cambrai: The Life and Letters of Lieutenant General Sir William Pulteney 1861-1941
Detailed biography of a General by a General. Pulteney was the longest serving Corps Commander in the Great War, serving in most of the major actions from Mons in 1914 to Cambrai in 1917. Major-Gen. Leask’s meticulously researched book takes a balanced view informed by his own wide military experience.
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