The first 100 days of the Great War destroyed Britain's professional army. This book follows the Northumberland Fusiliers as they make their journey through these initial days of the Great War. Based upon contemporary diaries the story unfolds, showing how these men approached their task with grim determination, courage and great suffering. In action most days, the steady drip of killed and wounded spiked on the days of battle; on the Aisne, at Fromelles, Neuve Chapelle, Wytschaete and First Ypres the thinning ranks were steadily filled by their dwindling supply of reservists. These Fusiliers would t fail themselves, their mates, or their Regiment. Instead they showed the courage, devotion to duty and prowess on the battlefield that has characterised the British infantryman throughout the ages. Nor was their sacrifice in vain. These early battles disrupted the German war plans in the West, something that would lead to their defeat some four grim years later. Superbly written, and accompanied by photographs and maps, The Devil's Carnival brings the myriad of challenges facing the Old Contemptibles to life through the experiences of the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers and is a must for anyone interested in the fascinating opening stages of the Great War.
John Sneddon has an MA in British World War One Studies from the University of Birmingham. His main interest is in the Western Front from August 1914 to September 1915. He has written a number of articles including those on the Indian Counter-attack at Neuve Chapelle 1914 and the Destruction of the Canal Bridges at Mons 1914.