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  1. General readings 6 items
    There is an enormous quantity of published material on the Western Front and on the British experience during the war. What is listed here is an introductory sample of some of the more recent work, which will help you to familiarize yourself with the nature and course of the war, and to develop a background on British officers.
    1. Playing the game: the British Junior Infantry Officer on the Western Front 1914-1918 - Christopher Moore-Bick 2016

      Book Essential Some of what Moore-Bick covers is specific to infantry officers, but it is a very good introduction to various aspects of life on the Western Front with a relevance for other officers, too.

    2. Forgotten victory: The First World War : myths and realities - G. D. Sheffield 2001

      Book Recommended A good background on the course of the war and why it was fought the way it was. I recommend that you all read Chapter 4. Beyond that, read however much more you feel you need to fill in your knowledge of the conflict.

    3. Tommy: the British soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918 - Richard Holmes 2005

      Book Essential This is a superb, detailed, work. While it does not focus primarily on officers, much of what Holmes discusses is relevant to this module and will be useful for you. The book provides excellent background, as well as some indications of the primary material that is available to you.

    4. Mud, blood and poppycock: Britain and the First World War - Gordon Corrigan 2004

      Book Recommended A very good 'myth-busting' book. It is particularly useful for anyone who has not studied the First World War since school--especially if your study of the war focused on war poetry in English class.

    5. Command and cohesion: the citizen soldier and minor tactics in the British Army, 1870-1918 - M. A. Ramsay 2002

      Book Recommended A useful modern study which considers how the army and its officers approached modern warfare, and particularly the challenges inherent in waging a war while building a mass army from a small professional base.

    6. The Long, Long Trail – The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918

      Website  A website that helps to explain the structure of the British Army. It also offers some useful research tips.

  2. 'The sharp end'; sources on combat 9 items
    Armies exist to fight, and any study of the military, or of its members, should bear that in mind. I have selected a few sources which will shed light on what the fighting was like.
    1. The face of battle: a study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme - John Keegan 2004

      Book Recommended This is a classic of the genre. Please read Chapter 1 (introduction), and Chapter 4 (on the Somme).

    2. Pillars of fire: the Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917 - Ian Passingham 1998

      Book Background A good overview of one of the army's notable successes of 1917, and an excellent example of what careful planning, and the firepower of the Royal Artillery, could achieve.

    3. Forward into battle: fighting tactics from Waterloo to the near future - Paddy Griffith 1992

      Book Recommended Griffith has written several studies of minor tactics. In this book, Chapter 3 is well worth a read.

    4. British fighting methods in the Great War - Paddy Griffith 1996


    5. Fire Power : The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945 - Dominick Bidwell and Dominick Graham 2015

      Book Recommended An important work on how armies deal with fighting a war, and how they think about the process beforehand, which addresses the organisational and conceptual work that was necessary to integrate modern weapons into the British army's way of fighting.

    6. Fire-power: the British army, weapons and theories of war, 1904-1945 - Shelford Bidwell, Dominick Graham 2004

      Book Recommended An important work on how armies deal with fighting a war, and how they think about the process beforehand, which addresses the organisational and conceptual work that was necessary to integrate modern weapons into the British army's way of fighting. The book covers from the Manchurian War to the end of the Second World War, so you will need to read only the earlier portion of the book. The FWW itself is covered in pp 61-148, but the brief Prologue and the pre-war sections, pp 7-58, are also worthwhile.

    7. Surviving trench warfare: technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918 - Bill Rawling c1992

      Book  While the book obviously focuses on the Canadian experience, this was not markedly different from the British experience.

    8. Trench warfare, 1914-1918: the live and let live system - Tony Ashworth 2000

      Book  An older work, but still useful, especially as it emphasises that the experience of the war, even for front-line soldiers, was not all about incessant combat.

    9. Look to your front: studies in the First World War - Brian Bond, British Commission for Military History 1999


  3. Sources on the wartime army: Regulars, Territorials, and K's volunteers 7 items
    1. Stemming the tide: officers and leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914 - Spencer Jones 2013

      Book Recommended In particular, see Peter Hodgkinson's chapter "The Infantry Battalion Commanding Officers of the BEF", and John Mason Sneddon's "The Company Commander" Chapters 10 and 11, by Michael LoCicero and Spencer Jones, are also particularly useful.

    2. The military education of junior officers in the Edwardian army - Andrew Duncan

      Thesis  This goes into detail on the Regular officers of the pre-war army and their training and education. Chapter 2 discusses the pre-war Territorials. The appendices include some tables of information on the social background, schooling, and routes of entry into the army for the junior officers of 1914. The bibliography contains a lot of published and unpublished primary material, and I can help you select material from it that is most likely to be useful for your particular project.

    3. Military Identities: The Regimental System, the British Army, and the British People c.1870-2000 - French, David

      Book  A very useful book for getting a handle on the way the British army thinks of itself. Chapters six, eight, and nine are likely to be particularly useful for this module.

    4. Citizen Soldiers - Helen B. McCartney 2005

      Book  A good study on the Territorials of a particular regiment.

    5. Kitchener's army: the raising of the new armies, 1914-16 - Peter Simkins c1988

      Book  An excellent place to begin any research on the New Armies raised during the war.

    6. Morale: a study of men and courage : the second Scottish Rifles at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, 1915 - John Baynes 1987

      Book Recommended An older, but still very useful, work on a regular battalion.

    7. Gentlemen and officers: the impact and experience of war on a territorial regiment, 1914-1918 - K. W. Mitchinson, Imperial War Museum (Great Britain). Department of Printed Books 1995

      Book  A study of a Territorial unit.

  4. The social backgrounds of officers, and their relationships with their men 8 items
    Much has been written on the social and economic position of officers in Edwardian society; what is listed here is an introduction to this material. Somewhat less has been written on how officers actually interacted with their men on a day-to-day basis, although what does exist is of high-quality.
    1. Leadership in the Trenches : Officer-Man Relations, Morale and Discipline in the British Army in the Era of the First World War - Sheffield, G.D.

      Book Recommended Sheffield's book is essential reading on this subject, and provides an excellent discussion of the topic, as well as being a very good introduction to various other aspects of the Edwardian and war-time armies.

    2. Leadership in the trenches: officer-man relations, morale and discipline in the British Army in the era of the First World War - G. D. Sheffield 2000

      Book Recommended Sheffield's book is essential reading on this subject, and provides an excellent discussion of the topic, as well as being a very good introduction to various other aspects of the Edwardian and war-time armies.

    3. A nation in arms: a social study of the British Army in the First World War - I. F. W. Beckett, Keith Simpson 1990

      Book  An older work, but still relevant. There are several chapters in here that you may wish to look through.

    4. Duty unto Death: English Masculinity and Militarism in the Age of the New Imperialism 01/2010

      Article Recommended A useful precis of the social and cultural milieu of officers, especially those (who were the majority) who passed through a public school.

    5. Militarism and Militarization in the Public Schools, 1900-1972 - C. B. Otley 09/1978

      Article  Another useful study on the influence that public schools had on those who studied there.

    6. God and the British soldier: religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars - M. F. Snape 2005

      Book  Very useful for anyone wanting to look into the faith and belief of officers and how this informed their war service.

  5. Primary sources 38 items
    1. SURVIVORS OF A KIND: memoirs of the western front - BRIAN. BOND 2018

      Book Recommended A useful discussion on the boundaries between memoirs and fiction, and the uses which historians can make of such material.

    2. A nation in arms: a social study of the British Army in the First World War - I. F. W. Beckett, Keith Simpson 1990

      Book  Keith Simpson's "An annotated bibliography of the British Army, 1914-1918" contains useful summaries of officer memoirs, and will help to guide your research.

    3. Internet Archive: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine

      Website Recommended has quite a number of older published memoirs, diaries, etc., as well as a variety of official publications (like the Army List and official statistics of the British war effort). The search feature can be a bit hit-or-miss, so it is worth being persistent and poking around the site to see what you can turn up. Alternatively, you can google old published titles and follow links from there through to Anything you do find on here can be easily shared with your group members, usually as a PDF, although other formats are often also available.

    4. Archives 3 items
      1. Discovery | The National Archives

        Audio-visual document  The National Archives, Kew, hold vast collections of material. Their holdings of personal papers (like letters and diaries) are comparatively sparse, but they are the first port of call for anyone wishing to look at any official documents.

      2. Collections | Imperial War Museums

        Webpage  The Imperial War Museum holds large collections of private papers, including letters and diaries, and also has an extensive sound archive of recorded interviews with veterans. The initial search is quite basic, but you can then filter the results in various ways to help narrow the results down to those relevant to the First World War.

      3. Templer Study Centre | National Army Museum

        Webpage  The National Army Museum, like the IWM, holds collections of papers from officers.

    5. Primary sources available on campus 32 items
      This is by no means an exhaustive list of what is out there, although it does focus on the published memoirs, diaries, collections of letters, etc., in the library. Beyond what the library has, I have some further published primary sources in my own collection, and can point you to other published material available elsewhere. We can discuss in detail what sources you might find useful as you focus your research.
      1. UoB CALMVIEW2: Overview

        Webpage  J. H. Swain served in 6th Bn Machine Gun Corps. His papers cover various things, including machine gun training at Camiers on the Western Front.

      2. UoB CALMVIEW2: Overview

        Webpage  J. S. R. Hodgson served in France and Mesopotamia as an infantry officer.

      3. UoB CALMVIEW2: Overview

        Webpage  Black Watch Field Operations Training Notebook: Handwritten notebook of lectures from a field operations course attended by Sec. Lieutenant G. M. Ugg, 2/6th Black Watch. The notes cover all aspects of trench warfare. This is the sort of training material available to young officers before they went to the front.

      4. Autobiographies, diaries, memoirs 27 items
        Memoirs need to be treated with some caution, as they are influenced by sometimes failing memories and the passage of time, as well as open to after-the-fact justification and alteration. However, they are useful sources if handled appropriately.
        1. Undertones of war - Edmund Blunden 1978


        2. The ebb and flow of battle - P J. Campbell 1979


        3. In the cannon's mouth - P. J. Campbell 1979


        4. Soldier from the wars returning - Charles Carrington 2015 (electronic resource)


        5. The weary road: the recollections of a subaltern of infantry - Charles Douie 1929


        6. A Subaltern's war - Charles Edmonds 1984


        7. Scots Guard - Wilfrid Ewart 1934


        8. Goodbye to all that - Robert Graves 2000


        9. An infant in arms: war letters of a company officer, 1914-1918 - Graham Hamilton Greenwell 1972


        10. A student in arms - Donald Hankey 1918


        11. Footslogger: an autobiography - Graham Seton Hutchison 1931


        12. Attack: An Infantry Subaltern's Impression of July 1st, 1916 - Liveing, Edward G. D. (Edward George Downing), 1895-1963

          Book  Follow the link for the download.

        13. A subaltern on the Somme in 1916 - Max Plowman, Mark 2001


        14. Fire-eater: the memoirs of a V.C. - A. O. Pollard 2005


        15. Wearing spurs - John Charles Walsham Reith Reith 1966


        16. Reflections on the battlefield: from infantryman to chaplain, 1914-1919 - R. J. Rider, P. E. H. Hair, Alan C. Robinson 2001


        17. Twelve days - Sidney Rogerson, Stanley Cursiter, Basil Henry Liddell Hart 1933


        18. The Last of the Ebb: the Battle of the Aisne, 1918 - Sidney Rogerson, Malcolm Brown, Peter Rogerson 2011


        19. Memoirs of an infantry officer - Siegfried Sassoon 1930


        20. Siegfried Sassoon diaries 1915-1918 - Rupert Hart-Davis, Siegfried Sassoon, Siegfried Sassoon 1983


        21. A very unimportant officer: my grandfather's great war - Alexander Stewart, Jonathan Boff, Cameron Stewart 2009


        22. Some desperate glory: the diary of a young officer, 1917 - Edwin Campion Vaughan 1981