This book consists of a series of letters, forty-four of them of varying length, written to relatives or friends, describing and commenting on the writer’s experiences as they occurred, without any thought of his remarks going beyond the family circle. The author of the foreword, identified only be the initials R.M.F, persuaded Maj Bidder to let him submit them for publication. He agreed, subject to the proviso that nothing should be altered nor anything added in the way of embellishment for the sake of effect. Some necessary cuts have been made but in the main they are reproduced here exactly as written, the first on 5th August 1914, the last but one on 9 Sep 1917 at X Corps HQ. The final letter is dated 12th November 1918. They make a most interesting and worthwhile read.
Harold Francis Bidder was born on 26 December 1875, was granted a commission in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, R Sussex, served in S Africa and called up from the Reserve on 4th August 1914. He arrived in France on 21st December 1914 and was posted to “a strange regiment” – 1st Battalion S Staffs. After two months he was appointed OC 22nd Brigade MG Company, then X Corps MG officer and finally CO 1st MG Bn, and it is in his capacity as a MG company OC that these memoirs are particularly interesting, though at one point during the Battle of Loos (Hulluch) he was told to go and take command of a battalion [2nd Bedfords] whose CO [Maj J.C. Monteith] had just been killed.