A rare account of the Afghan campaigns in 1878-1880 written by a private soldier who served in the 1st Battalion of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers. Written and published while the author was still serving in the Indian Army in Lahore, the book opens with an extraordianry prelude written in doggeral verse: ‘ And now we had some supper, and a pint of beer as well/ Which we enjoyed right merrily, as many a man could tell./ And then we to our blankets went, and taking off our clothes/ Each man he then turned in and got a well-earned night’s repose’. Mercifully, the rest of Private Cooper’s book is a concise prose account of the two abortive campaigns in Afghanistan in 1878-79 and 1879-80; part of the ‘Great Game’ rivalry between Britain and Russia for influence in that wild and remote mountain region, which, then as now, defies all such attempts at external control. A plain and unvarnished worm’s eye view of war and Victorian imperial soldiering.
Private H. Cooper
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SB 137pp., 2003 N&MP Reprint of 1880 Original Edition