Hidden Stories of the First World War

Jackie Storer

Hidden Stories of the First World War
See sample pages (PDF format).

Jackie Storer

Distributed for British Library

176 pages | 100 color plates | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780712357388 Published September 2014 For sale in North and South America only
“Lieutenant William Andrews and his Sappers had been working through the night building a machine gun emplacement in the ruins of the newly retaken French village of Contalmaison when a blast blew him off his feet. The 23-year-old Irishman’s helmet had taken the full force of a piece of flying shrapnel which smashed a four inch gash from rim to crown, knocking him unconscious. As William lay on the ground, still dazed but unmarked and strapped to a stretcher, he heard a young soldier suggest they throw away the battered headgear. Outraged, William, a lieutenant in the 128th Field Company of the Royal Engineers, called out: ‘Give it here to me—it saved my life—I want to preserve it for my grandchildren.’”
Lieutenant Andrews’s story is just one of the thirty-two true-life accounts found in Jackie Storer’s Hidden Stories of the First World War. Storer traveled across Europe, interviewing hundreds along the way and collecting old memorabilia and photographs, to immortalize these forgotten true tales of love, death, and adventure from the battlefields to the home fronts of World War I. From the gifted chemist who faked his own suicide to go on the run with his bigamous bride, to the boy who survived the sinking of Kitchener’s ship only to drown months later, to the woman who helped a priest swim to freedom, these accounts—written in the form of feature articles—tell the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people who were caught up in the Great War.
Copiously illustrated with photos, maps, and documents—among them a recently discovered postcard from a wounded Adolf Hitler—this collection, published to coincide with the centenary of World War I, offers a touching personal dimension to the four-year conflict.

Author’s Note and Acknowledgements

‘Damn the war’: A Pacifist on the Front Line

‘An Alsatian from France’: Fighting for the Enemy

‘The eggs were laid’: The Sinking of HMS Audacious

‘Our friends the enemy’: The Christmas Truce

‘Injustice and fate’: A Tale of Casual Revenge?

‘It was me who killed him’: Haunted by an Act of War

‘Just a piece of shrapnel’: The Man from the Pru’s Big Adventure

‘Soul mates’: Captive Hearts in the Trentino

‘Two scrapes with death’: A Family’s Fortunes in War and Peace

‘Thoughts of a homeward journey’: A Canadian’s War

‘Our ship’s gone down’: The Strange Demise of Lord Kitchener

‘It saved my life’: A Close Encounter on the Somme

‘No More War’: Brothers in Arms

‘At a great risk of life’: An Unlikely Friendship

‘A couple of francs per bottle’: Adventures of an Under-Age Recruit

‘The fire had burned so fiercely’: Rise and Fall of a Prodigy

‘I knew it was my turn’: Wounded on the Somme

‘Are you a good swimmer?’: A Perilous Escape

‘I am in Munich’: A Message from Hitler

‘Big scrap with Huns’: Exploits of a Flying Ace

‘If you fell off a duckboard you were done for’: A Baptism of Mud

‘A very gallant officer’: An Orcadian at Passchendaele

‘They were inseparable’: Revolution, Marriage and a Tale of Two Wars

‘It was a miracle’: You Only Live Twice

‘What better epitaph?’: Acts of Kindness and Salvation

‘The pair fell in love’: A Transatlantic Tryst

‘It was absolutely concentrated hell’: A Prisoner’s Diary

‘Off to France’: A Family Fragmented

‘We were really hungry, ravenous’: Never Saying Die – In Love or War

‘Adventurous people’: From Cairo to the Western Front

‘To dad’s little Ghislaine’: The French Lieutenant’s Daughter

‘A lucky boy’: Saved by a French Surgeon


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