The Forgotten Soldier: He wasn?t a soldier, he was just a boy

The Forgotten Soldier: He wasn?t a soldier, he was just a boy

by Charlie Connelly


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The Forgotten Soldier: He wasn?t a soldier, he was just a boy by Charlie Connelly

Bestselling author Charlie Connelly returns with a First World War memoir of his great uncle, Edward Connelly, who was an ordinary boy sent to fight in a war the likes of which the world had never seen.But this is not just his story; it is the story of all the young forgotten soldiers who fought and bravely died for their countryThe Forgotten Soldier tells the story of Private Edward Connelly, aged 19, killed in the First World War a week before the Armistice and immediately forgotten, even, it seems, by his own family.Edward died on exactly the same day, and as part of the same military offensive, as Wilfred Owen. They died only a few miles apart and yet there cannot be a bigger contrast between their legacies. Edward had been born into poverty in west London on the eve of the twentieth century, had a job washing railway carriages, was conscripted into the army at the age of eighteen and sent to the Western Front from where he would never return.He lies buried miles from home in a small military cemetery on the outskirts of an obscure town close to the French border in western Belgium. No-one has ever visited him.Like thousands of other young boys, Edward’s life and death were forgotten.By delving into and uncovering letters, poems and war diaries to reconstruct his great uncle’s brief life and needless death; Charlie fills in the blanks of Edward’s life with the experiences of similar young men giving a voice to the voiceless. Edward Connelly’s tragic story comes to represent all the young men who went off to the Great War and never came home.This is a book about the unsung heroes, the ordinary men who did their duty with utmost courage, and who deserve to be remembered.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007584628
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication date: 01/20/2015
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 2.80(d)

About the Author

Charlie Connelly is the bestselling author of Attention All Shipping

Table of Contents

1 'A shadow flitting on the very edge of history' 1

2 'The boy from Soapsuds Island' 13

3 'A long, hard journey through a short, hard life' 18

4 'A half-deaf kid from the slums of Kensal Town' 22

5 'I was at lunch on this particular day and thought, I suppose I'd better go and join the army' 28

6 'I am the King of England today, but heaven knows what I may be tomorrow' 49

7 'In the event of my death…' 60

8 'If you are not in khaki by the 20th, I shall cut you dead' 71

9 'I was seventeen years old and already I was well acquainted with death' 82

10 'Though many brave unwritten tales, were simply told in vapour trails' 93

11 'When we got to him all his insides were out. He had a girl's face. He was ever so young' 99

12 'A boy of eighteen, looking around at the sea of faces that seemed so assured' 119

13 'It used to make me cry sometimes to see a big man like that grovelling for a little bit of bread' 127

14 'I am troubled with my head and cannot stand the sound of the guns' 141

15 'We used to sit in the corner of the trench and think about it: we'd say, all this going on, is it worth it?' 156

16 'The farmhouse had taken the main shock of the blast, but the shack with the two girls in it had completely disappeared' 172

17 'I wasn't scared advancing. As far as I remember there was just a blind acceptance that we were going forward and that was that' 188

18 'The surgeon couldn't find the bullet and I was in agony, so they gave me a cup of tea and gave me heroin' 206

19 'If Edward was everyman in the First World War, equally he was every ordinary man who'd fallen in battle over the centuries' 222

20 'I felt it was a great responsibility leaving eighty women and children behind to die with nobody looking after them, but there it was' 235

21 'During that last half hour before the armistice, a corporal who was with us got shot, in that half hour, right at the end of the war, and he'd been in it since 1914' 250

22 'The ghosts of the people who never were' 263

Bibliography 276

Author's Note 277

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