For Love and Courage: The Letters of Lieutenant Colonel E.W. Hermon from the Western Front 1914–1917

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9781848090392: For Love and Courage: The Letters of Lieutenant Colonel E.W. Hermon from the Western Front 1914–1917

Lt Colonel E.W. Hermon died in a hail of bullets on the 9th April 1917, the first day of the Battle of Arras, leading his men of the 24th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers into the attack. Like hundreds of thousands of others in the Great War, he gave his life for his country. He was shot through the heart, one bullet slicing through the papers in his top pocket, including the four-leaf clover his wife had given him for good luck. His final words to his Adjutant were "Go on!" before he sank to his knees and died almost instantaneously. Carried from the battlefield by his faithful soldier servant, Buxton, he now lies buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Roclincourt, three miles from Arras. This could have been the end of the story but he left a testament of his life and ideals in a unique and hitherto unknown and unpublished collection of 700 long and detailed letters he wrote to his darling wife and his children, "the Chugs." Now, nearly a century after his death, he speaks to us of a less cynical past, where selflessness, honor, duty, and courage were admired above all else. His own courage was officially recognized as he was mentioned in despatches three times and posthumously awarded the D.S.O. The letters have been transcribed and edited by Hermon's granddaughter Anne Nason with the guidance and historical advice of distinguished historian and writer James Holland. These letters are unique in their candor and context since Hermon was Battalion Commander and thus his letters were not censored. A moving and unique legacy of one soldier’s love and courage, this is a fascinating insight into life on the frontline during World War I.

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About the Author:

E.W. Hermon joined the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars in 1900 in order to fight in the Boer War in South Africa. After this conflict ended, he returned to England with the regiment. Anne Nason is the granddaughter of Lt. Colonel E.W. Hermon and the daughter of "Mairky" (Mary), who bequeathed her the letters.

Review:

"A remarkable set of letters . . . easily one of the best First World War books I have read, and paints a poignant picture of a vanished age."  —Richard Holmes

"Battlefield memoir and love story rolled into one . . . cannot fail to leave a lasting impression."  —BBC History

"What makes For Love and Courage compelling are the romantic letters to his wife."  —The Times

"Wonderful: brave, funny, deeply loving, full of human detail of life at the Front and of the family life from which he was separated."  —Daily Mail

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Lt. Col. E. W. Hermon, D.S.O.
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Published by Random House UK (2008)
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