Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kitchener's Army and the Territorial Forces

Edgar Wallace - Kitchener's Army and the Territorial Forces (1915)

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Edgar Wallace is best remembered today for his crime novels and for the German krimi films they inspired, but he was also an active journalist.  He wrote extensively for the London Mail with the dubious distinction of being the first reporter fired from it due to numerous libel actions his writing inspired.  He reported on the atrocities in the Congo before eventually becoming a horse racing writer, somehow finding time to be one of the most prolific writers ever (one count is 175 novels and 60 plays).

This book is about the creation of the New Army, or Kitchener's Army as it's also called, a large mobilization of British troops after the start of the first world war.  The bulk of the book describes training and camp life which is sometimes interesting reading but it's really the numerous photos that really make it worth paging through.  You might think I've been very selective in choosing the more peculiar ones, even that Monty Python-ish "dance", but they're largely like that.