BY OSWALD HARCOURT DAVIS. 

COMPILED BY PHILIP HOLDWAY-DAVIS.

Share the experiences of a Despatch Rider during World War 1 by reading his own words written as a diary during his years on the Western Front. Oswald Harcourt Davis joined the Royal Engineers in 1916 and arrived in Abbeville, Somme, France in July that year. He was attached to the ANZACs and dished out a Triumph motorcycle to carry pigeons and vital messages at a time when communications were limited and risky. Read in fascinating detail his journeys around the Somme and Ypres Salient areas and the difficulties he had to face. Ever facing the danger of being “bumped” and “knocked” he rose to duty’s call and made sure the pigeons got through. He cheated death on several occasions and admits he was scared and on the brink of cowardice, yet he was brave enough for decoration. He was awarded the Military Medal at Messines.

Oswald H Davis is no newcomer to the literary world; as a poet and novelist he has written twelve books all of which have been published. Being a prolific writer he wrote various articles for the Daily Mail, The Times, Punch, Country Life and the Birmingham Post. In his diary he mentions the many articles that the Daily Mail printed and the fact that he was paid 30 shillings for each contribution.  Oswald wanted to capture the language of the soldiers in the trenches and preserve an in-depth eye-witness account of what was said and what actually happened.

His war diary, Triumph on the Western Front, is the last piece of his literature to be published. He takes the reader on a vivid trip from wartime Britain in July 1915 to his voluntary recruitment where he is sent to the Somme and Flanders for the duration of the war. He finishes with a post-war trip to occupied Germany before demobilisation in February 1919. (From compiler’s website)


Available to borrow from Palmerston North City Libraries

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