Mons, Anzac & Kut by Aubrey Herbert

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This book is comprised of the journals of an intelligence officer of the British Army written in often difficult circumstances as the events he experienced unfolded around him. Readers will note that while the focus of this book concentrates on notable events within the Great War, they also happen to be some of the worst military failures for the allies. Inviting himself into the war on the Western Front as an interpreter, he experienced the irresistible human wave of the German advance as it rolled back the outnumbered BEF from Mons. His journal was compiled from brief notes during the retreat and from memory whilst in hospital following a wound, capture, brief imprisonment and escape. The second journal concerns the disastrous Dardanelle's adventure-written 'in idle hours between times of furious action.' The author was able to view the events in which he was involved with clear insight and objectivity. At one point he wryly reports an outraged officer complaining that the Turks were walking about the Gallipoli Peninsula, 'as if they owned the place!' The third journal was written in Mesopotamia on a Fly-boat upon the River Tigris as Kut fell. The accounts within Herbert's book are of undoubted and vital interest as source material of the First World War. Herbert was an interesting character. He was half brother to Lord Carnarvon of Tutankhamen fame, he was pivotal in the cause of Albanian independence and was offered its throne on two occasions and he was intimate with several of the notable figures of his time including T. E Lawrence, Belloc, Buchan, Mark Sykes and others. A talented Orientalist and linguist-he spoke 8 languages fluently-he was also a serving member of the British Parliament throughout the war whilst also fulfilling his military duties. Perhaps most significantly Herbert achieved all this whist under the handicap of being practically blind, an affliction he had suffered from birth. 



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