John McGuiggan, on his site Broadsides, writes brilliantly on all sorts of matters. History, reviews, interesting tales about life in general, and his life in particular. Born into a military family, serving in the army, then transforming into a union organiser, he then somehow ended up as a barrister. He has tales to tell, funny ones, sad ones, reflective ones, but always interesting ones. Do read, and enjoy!
The Pencil portrait of Private Christopher Coleman, from Cobh, County Cork, made by his wife.
The first week of September 1916 and the 16th Irish Division are engaged in the bloody advance across theSomme. At the village of Guillemont , men of the 7th Leinster Regiment manage to pass through the shattered village and secure and hold enemy trenches on the far side, but at terrible cost, losing some fifty percent of the soldiers engaged in the advance. But in the bizarre ethics of war, it was a victory
Following the ‘victorious’ advance, non-combatant labour battalions are sent into the killing fields to clear up the mess left by the fighting soldiers. They clear away abandoned trenching tools, wire cutters, discarded equipment and bits and pieces of dead soldiers. It is gruesome and arduous work.
Among their number is an Englishman, Private George Wiles of the Royal Engineers. As…
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