Author Topic: New Gallipoli book - 6th Manchesters / 42nd Division  (Read 73 times)

Offline Krithia Spur

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New Gallipoli book - 6th Manchesters / 42nd Division
« on: November 22, 2021, 07:08:10 PM »
Hello,

I would like to announce the publication of a book on the Gallipoli Campaign which should be of interest be many forum members.

It is the edited memoir of Alec Riley, a soldier in the 42nd Division [his parent unit was the 1/6th Manchesters] who served at Gallipoli as a signaller and was attached to all four battalions in the Manchester Brigade and two in the East Lancashire Brigade, including the 1/9th Manchesters.

The memoir [and two others by Riley] came to light during a search of Imperial War Museum archives in 2019 - after they had lain untouched for over 60 years.
Unlike many soldier’s accounts of WW1, Riley’s is written fluently and with great wit and poignancy.

The book is available in three options; Kindle eBook, softcover and hardcover [the hardcover version is showing as temporarily unavailable as its being printed by a third party but it’s possible to order and you will be informed when it comes on stream] - the link below directs you to the appropriate Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gallipoli-Diary-1915-Alec-Riley/dp/0645235911/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1637424163&qsid=261-2379577-2998548&refinements=p_27%3AMichael+Riley&s=books&sr=1-1&sres=0645235911%2C1398314315%2C1444144510%2CB09L2V4NFP%2C1471860086%2C1510469656%2C1510469702%2C199985392X%2C1471860116%2C1471860868%2C1844259412%2C0582294983%2C1471860981%2C1786645394%2C0582535905%2CB08TWYQPCM

The book [which makes a great Xmas gift ...... or at least that’s what I will be telling my family and friends who will all be getting one from me!] has already been well received by several renowned Gallipoli historian’s including Peter Hart:

‘Riley’s book will take its place alongside the very best Gallipoli accounts. No grandstanding, no purple prose, just a brilliant reflection of the raw mixture of nerve-shredding drama, tedium, and discomfort that typified life on the peninsula.
Curated and brought to publication by two acknowledged Gallipoli experts, its long-delayed publication is a real event.’

and Stephen Chambers:

‘An extraordinary book from anything but an ordinary Gallipolian. Riley’s gem of an account, recently discovered by the authors, brings alive the campaign in a vivid, well-written and compelling true story of one man’s war.’

Cick on the link for more details about the book: https://littlegully.com/

As mentioned, Riley wrote two other manuscripts which Bern and I are currently working on.
One, his 'Egypt Diary,' covers his mobilisation at the outbreak of war, his move with the division to Egypt in September 1914 and his service in Egypt prior to the division’s move to Gallipoli in May 1915
The other, his 'Netley Diary,' covers his 12-month long recovery from the diphtheria, dysentery, jaundice and the many septic sores which eventually caused his medical evacuation in September 1915.
The 'Egypt Diary' should be out for publication early next year with the 'Netley Diary' following a couple of months later.

Please feel free to ask any questions.

Mike Crane
« Last Edit: November 30, 2021, 08:04:38 AM by Krithia Spur »

Offline Gingerfreak

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Re: New Gallipoli book -
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2021, 10:56:06 PM »
Well done, a great piece of work that's long overdue. Bought it, very easy to read, from the soldiers viewpoint. Filled with information on people, places and incidents.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 08:04:19 AM by Gingerfreak »

Offline FuManchu18

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Re: New Gallipoli book -
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2021, 06:53:20 AM »
Hi Mike,

Many thanks - the book arrived yesterday, and I've already finished reading it! A really excellent Gallipoli diary, with a huge amount of careful accompanying research and context.

One question I had (relevant to my own research): when on page 131 Alec refers to the CO of the 5th Manchesters, you rightly note that this must have been Major Ernest Fletcher because Colonel Darlington was at that time acting Brigadier at 127th Brigade HQ. However, further down the page Alec is actually called to see the CO, and refers to him as Colonel Darlington. This seems to throw up three possibilities:

1. Alec was wrong, and not having met either officer before he simply assumed that the man before him (bearing in mind that most officers wore very little identifying insignia by that time) was the Colonel.
2. Alec knew who he was speaking to at the time, but his contemporaneous diary entry just said something like '5th Manchester CO', and only later when writing up his book did he alter that reference to read 'Colonel Darlington', unaware (or forgetting) that the Colonel hadn't been in charge.
3. Alec was right, and the Colonel had returned temporarily. (Letters from Helles is unfortunately little help in this regard, as there isn't a letter for 26th July; Colonel Darlington certainly doesn't mention popping back to the 5th Manchesters' HQ while he was with the Brigade, but it can't be ruled out.)

Based on your knowledge of Alec and his diary, which would you say is the most likely? (Since the Fletchers are my specific area of interest it's tantalising to get so close to a direct reference only to have a case of mistaken identity stand in the way!)

Offline Krithia Spur

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Re: New Gallipoli book -
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2021, 07:59:51 AM »
Hi FuManchu18,

Thank you for buying and reading the book and thanks also for the very positive feedback.

You are right about the amount of time and effort that went into the book - but both Bern and I were determined to get Alec's story heard - at all costs.

You pose a very interesting question which I think is answered by your third possibility i.e.:

 '3] Alec was right, and the Colonel had returned temporarily. (Letters from Helles is unfortunately little help in this regard, as there isn't a letter for 26th July; Colonel Darlington certainly doesn't mention popping back to the 5th Manchesters' HQ while he was with the Brigade, but it can't be ruled out.)'

At the time [26th July] the entire Manchester Brigade was in stationed in the Eskj Line in divisional reserve. The 5th Manchesters were holding the centre of the Eski Line close to Clapham Junction and it is likely that Darlington's brigade HQ was situated close by to this central zone [one regular brigade HQ position was in nearby Krithia Nullah] - and it may have been Colonel Darlington's deliberate intention to keep his battalion close at hand by giving it the position closest to his brigade HQ so he could keep close tabs on his unit.

Major Fletcher was undoubtedly in command of the 5th Manchesters from 22nd July to 1 August and he was probably the 'CO of the 5th Manchesters' that Tim reported to on the 24th July.

I am sure Alec would have know Colonel Darlington well enough not to mistake him for another officer and I take his careful phrasing of  'CO of the 5th Manchesters' instead of naming Darlington as an indication he knew another officer was in charge of the 5th at the time but did not know his name - that said who really knows?

Hope this answers your question.

If you have time, I would be very grateful if you could leave a review on Amazon.

Best regards,

Mike


Offline FuManchu18

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Re: New Gallipoli book -
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2021, 01:57:59 PM »
Hi Mike,

Many thanks for your reply - that makes sense. While I very much wanted the conversation to have been with Ernest Fletcher, the impression given by Alec's diary is that he was good at remembering the names and faces of colleagues and officers, so it seemed unlikely that he would have been unaware of who Colonel Darlington was.

The diary is also comprehensive enough that I can be reasonably certain that Ernest Fletcher's cousin Lt. P.C. Fletcher (who was a signals officer seconded from the 5th Manchesters) was in 1 Section of the Signals Company, since had he been in 4 Section Alec would certainly have mentioned him.

Thanks again - I've just left an Amazon review.

Offline Krithia Spur

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Re: New Gallipoli book -
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2021, 04:12:54 PM »
Hi Fumanchu18

Alec spent a little time with brigade HQ [No.1] section and would certainly have known Lt. Philip Fletcher [who I notice was awarded the MC on 1 January 1919] but does not mention him by name - [although he mentioned a Fletcher three times in his diary I am sure this was an OR and not Lt. Fletcher].

Thanks very much for taking the time to leave a review - I have just checked the page but its not showing yet so will check later and revert back.

ALB

Mike