What Tommy Took to War

What Tommy Took to War : 1914-1918

3.81 (11 ratings by Goodreads)
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On the centenary of the Great War comes this poignant look at fifty objects never far from Tommy's side - official uniform, good-luck charms, phrasebooks, a sweetheart's letter, some unexpected and others more familiar. With sumptuous original photography and thoughtful text, this is life as the ordinary First World War soldier knew it. Inside front: What Tommy Took To War tells sobering, fascinating stories that bring the ordinary Tommy's experiences back to life with poignant immediacy. With striking original photography by Chris Foster and expert text from noted historian Peter Doyle, it looks in detail at fifty objects that Tommy would have had in his kit and which would have accompanied, equipped and comforted him during his wartime ordeals: official uniform, training manual, cigarettes, good-luck charms, sweethearts' letters, foreign phrasebook and myriad others. Together, these artefacts give us a serious and informative, yet touching and even occasionally amusing, picture of the ordinary soldier's experience of the First World War.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 120 pages
  • 140 x 140 x 15.24mm | 259g
  • Shire Publications
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 10 b/w; 60 col
  • 0747814031
  • 9780747814030
  • 734,328

Table of contents

The Great War and Tommy Atkins / What Tommy Took to War: Good-luck Charm; Sweetheart Jewellery; Training Manuals; Scoring Booklet; Salisbury Plain Cap Badge; Semaphore Cards; Sports Medals; Paybook; Cap; Glengarry; Wolseley-pattern helmet; Cap Badge; Formation Sign; Identity Discs; Boots; Holdall; Spoon; Clasp Knife; Mess Tins; Shaving Kit; Cleaning Kit; Officers' Kit; Webley Mark VI; Trench Whistle; Smoking; Wristwatch; Letters; Phrase Book; Steel Helmet; SMLE Rifle; 1907-pattern Bayonet; Entrenching Tool; Barbed-wire Cutters; Trench Maps; SBR (Gas Mask); Mills Bomb; Grenade Badges; Trench Knives; Rum Jar; Diaries; Testament; Leave Pass; Trench Art; Silk Postcards; Field Dressing; Stretcher-bearer Armband; Casualty Letter; Wounded Stripes; Medals; Poppy / Index
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Review quote

"Tommy Atkins, ' as the British public nicknamed the men who went to war, was burdened with around 60 pounds of extra clothing, weapons, ammunition, and cleaning supplies. After a pithy introduction that describes the British World War I uniform over time and in various climates, a spread per item (one full-page photo opposite descriptive text) in this small book catalogs Tommy's belongings. They range from military supply such as paybooks and medals to keepsakes that comforted the inexperienced combatants--only around 400,000 of the four million were peacetime soldiers--so far from home. Well researched, absorbing, and affecting." --Henrietta Verma, Library Journal
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About Peter Doyle

Peter Doyle is a scientist, military historian and author. His previous books for Shire include The British Soldier of the First World War, and First World War Britain.

Chris Foster is an established artist, photographer, and originator of the Great War website Craven's Part in the Great War (www.cpgw.org.uk). With Peter Doyle he has written for Shire British Army Cap Badges of the First World War and British Army Cap Badges of the Second World War.
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Rating details

11 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 18% (2)
4 45% (5)
3 36% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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