Behind the Front: British Soldiers and French Civilians, 1914–1918

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 27, 2014 - History - 453 pages
Until now scholars have looked for the source of the indomitable Tommy morale on the Western Front in innate British bloody-mindedness and irony, not to mention material concerns such as leave, food, rum, brothels, regimental pride, and male bonding. However, re-examining previously used sources alongside never-before consulted archives, Craig Gibson shifts the focus away from battle and the trenches to times behind the front, where the British intermingled with a vast population of allied civilians, whom Lord Kitchener had instructed the troops to 'avoid'. Besides providing a comprehensive examination of soldiers' encounters with local French and Belgian inhabitants which were not only unavoidable but also challenging, symbiotic and uplifting in equal measure, Gibson contends that such relationships were crucial to how the war was fought on the Western Front and, ultimately, to British victory in 1918. What emerges is a novel interpretation of the British and Dominion soldier at war.
 

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User Review  - petroshowson - LibraryThing

Lacks information about chaplains and thus nothing on use of churches. Also no mention of town maps or any example. Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
1
29
2
65
3
90
4
109
The last campaign
349
Conclusion
376
Appendix 1
389
27
403
Sources consulted
410
63
439
Index
443
109
445
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About the author (2014)

Craig Gibson has published widely on Allied relations in the First World War and the role of military discipline in troop/inhabitant relationships. He has received awards from the Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, Somme; the Australian War Memorial, Canberra; and the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, Bouches-du-Rhône.

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