The unseen letters of the only British officer to spend three years in the trenches throughout the First World War
Colonel Graham Chaplin, commander of the Cameron Highlanders, wrote letters from the trenches almost daily to the wife he had married just before the war began. Even if he had no time to write, he would at least send a postcard to reassure her he was 'Quite well'. These personal and loving letters give a rare insight into the mind of a serving officer, his worries about his men and his family back home, his concern for the progress of the war (however cautiously phrased) and his comments on the growing list of friends dead or wounded.
Having once refused what he considered unacceptably dangerous orders to send his troops over the top during the Battle of Loos, Chaplin wasn't promoted out of the trenches until 1917. Respected and trusted by his men, he was, even so, the only officer to whom this happened.
Andrew Davidson, author of the highly praised Fred's War, analyses Chaplin's unique status and weaves around his letters a fascinating portrait of a soldier's life and of the war on the Western Front.
A cracking narrative . . . a deeply affecting account of men struggling to keep hold of their sanity - Daily Mail, on Fred's War
Told in a gripping style by his grandson Andrew, [Fred's War paints] an intimate snapshot of history that puts the Great War firmly into focus - Express, on Fred's War
A new and amazingly intimate perspective on the danger, hardships and playful camaraderie of a dismal, deadly battlefront. If you only buy one book about the war, make it this one - Lancashire Evening Post, on Fred's War
Andrew Davidson is a contributing editor of Arena and writes regularly for the INDEPENDENT. Winner of the Business Writer of the Year award, his work has appeared in every national broadsheet and in the SPECTATOR and ESQUIRE. His first book, UNDER THE HAMMER, was shortlisted for the Krasna-Krausz Award for books on the moving image.