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'It's the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable. We live in a world of Somme mud. We sleep in it, work in it, fight in it, wade in it and many of us die in it. We see it, feel it, eat it and curse it, but we can't escape it, t even by dying...'. Edward Lynch enlisted when he was just 18 - one of thousands of fresh-faced men who were proudly waved off by the crowds as they embarked for France. It was 1916 and the majority had idea of the reality of the Somme trenches, of the traumatised soldiers they would encounter there, of the innumerable, awful contradictions of war. Private Lynch was one of those who survived, and on his return home, wrote Somme Mud in pencil in over 20 school exercise books, perhaps in the hope of coming to terms with all that he had witnessed there? Written from the perspective of an ordinary 'Tommy' and told with dignity, candour and surprising wit, Somme Mud is a testament to the human spirit: for out of the mud that threatened to suck out a man's soul rises a compelling story of humanity and friendship. For all who are marking the centenary of the Great War, it is a rare and precious find.
Born in 1898, E P F Lynch served in France with the First Australian Imperial Force from 1916-19. On his return to Australia he became a teacher, but in 1939 joined the militia before transferring to the regular army where he was Officer Commanding the NSW jungle training school. After the war, he returned to teaching. He died in 1980. Will Davies is a film-maker and military historian. He lives in Sydney.
Transworld Publishers Ltd
Date of Publication
Autobiography: Historical, Political & Military
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)