Britain’s aid to her Italian ally is a largely forgotten sideshow in the drama of the Great War. This book, therefore, is the rare account by a British artillery officer, of his service on the Italian front. Lieutenant Hugh Dalton – later to become a prominent Labour politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer – subtitles his book ‘A tribute to Italian achievement’ – and the author’s affection for his Italian comrades-in-arms shines through these pages. Dalton’s unit was one of ten British batteries sent to Italy at a critical juncture in the Spring of 1917. Thereafter the British guns were in action in the Alps during much critical fighting, including the battles of the Isonzo and Piave and the disastrous defeat and retreat from Caporetto. Dalton remained until the tide of war turned in 1918, and witnessed the rout of the Austrians at Vitorio Veneto and final victory. His book is illustrated with 12 photographs and three maps and much authorial musing on such subjects as national characteristics. A peculiarity of the book is that the author has ‘camouflaged’ the real names of those who appear in his pages, except those of Generals and Cabinet ministers.
Hugh Dalton Lieutenant R.G.A.
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2004 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1919). SB. xiv + 267pp with 3 maps and 12 contemporary photos.