The personal diaries kept by three of the six Giffard brothers who fought in the Great War (three of them as Horse Gunners), provide a vivid record of service on the Western Front in World War I and stand witness to a lost generation through which the war cut its huge and deadly swathe. Jack Giffard served in the Royal Horse Artillery and was in the famous retreat from Mons. He was briefly captured and wounded and was the only officer to survive the great battle at Nery. Eddie Giffard was a Field Gunner supporting the Guards Division, rose to be Battery Commander and was killed shortly before the Armistice. Walter Giffard served in balloons in the Royal Flying Corps - a dangerous and often under-valued aspect of the war. This memoir conveys a striking and immediate sense of what it was really like - from everyday details, to boredom, intense danger, wounds and even death. There is a matter-of-factness about the entries but still a tender concern for suffering - comrades and their horses.
The comments of the balloonist brother, Walter, combine a lightness of touch with a sense of history, as when he watches the great German offensive in the Spring of 1918: "the most colossal battle, both in magnitude and importance, that the world has ever seen".
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 216 x 134 x 32 mm
"[Guns, Kites, and Horses]is an effective product of the current interest in primary sources. It can be recommended for those interested in service on the Western Front...The integrity and quality of the three Giffard brothers whose diaries are reproduced emerges clearly." Professor Jeremy Black, University of Exeter "The book is more than a family story for the entries provide a striking and immediate sense of what the First World War was like." -The Guards Magazine "I had been looking forward to reading this book since I was present at its genesis some years ago. I was not disappointed; it is everything that a source history should be... the diaries are supported by an excellent introduction...are liberally annotated...(and) there is a comprehensive index... Sydney Giffard has assembled these diaries in one volume, explained the background in knowledgeable terms and provided all the ancillary notes needed..." -Brigadier D F Ryan OBE, Journal of the Royal Artillery