Books: A Lancashire Fusilier's First World War by Norman Hall
A Lancashire Fusilier’s First World War
& edited by his Granddaughter Patricia Rothwell
Published in Paperback by P3 Publications
325 pages + index, including c.200 illustrations (maps, photographs, postcards etc.) many in colour
Briefly, Norman Hall enlisted as a private in Liverpool in September 1914, becoming an officer with the Lancashire Fusiliers in Bury about a month later. He went to France with the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers in May 1915. The published version of his diaries focuses on the 2/5th’s training, their deployment in the trenches, and the Battle of the Somme. An Afterword summarises Norman’s later service with the 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers.
The result is a fascinating insight into life as a soldier on the Western Front, covering topics such as the evolution of the gas mask, skirmishes in No Man’s Land, a gas attack by the British, the capture of a German prisoner, and much more; sadly there are also some heart-achingly poignant accounts of the deaths of a number of Norman’s comrades in arms.
The book will have general appeal to all those interested in WW1. Although the events narrated by the book are specifically those in which the 55th (West Lancashire) Division participated, many men who served on the Western Front would have had very similar experiences.
“I have read many First World War diaries and have to say this is one of the best I have come across … [It’s} a very informative and well-researched book and one that everyone with an interest in the conflict should read”
“This is a splendid book … overall, a terrific piece of work, a good read and a useful reference for future use.”
“The book is a joy. It’s so engaging, and the illustrations really make the text come to life. It’s like having Norman sat in the room with me …”
“I am on page 50 already. Did not go to bed until 2.30 this morning reading [the] book. What a cracker! I have read some books like this before but never have l got so immersed so quickly. Norman’s character comes across so well. Best book l have bought for some considerable time …”
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