The Feilding family has close associations with the Coldstream Guards and Rowland Feilding, who was a captain in the City of London Yeomanry when war broke out, transferred to them and was appointed to the 3rd Battalion (4th Guards Brigade) which he joined in May 1915; ten days later he was transferred to the 1st Battalion. Following an accident in November he spent four months back home, returning to France in April 1916 to the Guards Entrenching Battalion near Bray-sur-Somme. On 7th September he took command of the Connaught Rangers (16th Irish Division) which he held for the next 18 months before again being incapacitated in an accident and invalided. In August 1918 he returned to France and was given command of the 1/15th London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles), a post he retained until demobilization in 1919.
This is a brilliant book, one of the finest personal accounts of war on the Western Front I have yet read. Feilding was a front line soldier, a natural leader, and these letters, written so closely after the events they describe, give a vivid picture of the sights and scenes on and off the battlefield and lucidly express his own thoughts and feelings. Visiting Mametz three days after its capture on 1st July 1916 he writes: Scarcely a wall stands, and of the trees nothing remains but mangled twisted stumps. The ruins present an appalling and most gruesome picture of the havoc of war, seen fresh, which no pen or picture can describe. You must see it, and smell it, and hear the sounds to understand. It brings a sort of sickening feeling to me even now, though I consider myself hardened to such sights.
WAR LETTERS TO A WIFE
One of the very best of its kind, by a Coldstream Guards officers who served in his 1st Battalion and later commanded 6th Connaught Rangers and 1/15th Londons (Civil Ssrvice Rifles). Brilliant descriptions of the fighting on the Western Front