The Other Side of the Trench
Being an avid reader of historical reference books, especially about Australian Military History, I was at first, hesitant to read Other Side of the Trench. However, I had promised the author that I would give it a go. To my surprise, the book turned out to be a very good read.
The book was well researched and accurate in its depiction and detail. Knowing the personal connection between the author and the characters depicted in the book, added that a touch of realism as the story unfolded. If one knows little of Australian Military History and its involvement on the Western Front, and is looking to learn more, I recommend this excellent book. It will whet ones appetite and hopefully start them on a journey of historical literary discover.
I look forward to the next book with anticipation. Sit back and enjoy.
-Robert Dick, President, RSL Australia
The contrasting circumstances of WW1 soldiers and those who came after them were intriguing – a bootmaker from Surrey Hills in Sydney in 1915 connects to a doctor living in Belleview Hills in the present day.
The sheer number of men killed or wounded in WW1 was staggering; made even worse in light of the mistakes and poor judgement by commanding officers directing the proceedings far behind the front lines. The chaos of the battlefield is vividly portrayed, together with the instances of heroism in the face of fear and desperation.
It was the references to the unknown soldier, the soldier who died but has no identified resting place, that affected me most deeply. It seems like the ultimate insult in many ways, that a man could go off to war so far from home and not even have a gravestone to identify and commemorate his service.
A friend of my father’s used to say that when people died they didn’t disappear; they simply went into the shadows. The shadows of the soldiers who didn’t make it home make a very real connection with their modern day relatives, in a way that is strangely comforting. I hope the work of identifying those unknown soldiers continues, so that they can rest in peace in the shadows.
-Margot Dawson / Arts Advisor - Office of Lara Giddings MP / Premier, Treasurer and Minister for the Arts / Labor Member for Franklin
Garry Willmott’s book ‘The Other Side Of The Trench’ is a work which, in my opinion, stands alone. A non-fictional work with a narrative that if it were not drawn from factual first-hand accounts, might easily be mistaken for a novel. Cleverly constructed drawing on the stories of several soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives in the service of their country during the First World War, ‘The Other Side Of The Trench’ takes the reader on a journey from their homes in Australia to the trenches at Gallipoli to the Western Front in France and Flanders. Their stories in their words, the nightmare world in which they lived and the circumstances of their deaths, each in-tertwined with the experiences of a family member travelling on a battlefield tour following in their ancestor’s footsteps on a journey of remembrance, reflection and personal discovery.
Well done Garry; an excellent work.
- Paul Chapman Author U.K.
In his books The Other Side Of The Trench and Brothers In Arms Garry Willmott cleverly blends fact with fiction to transport the reader beyond the tragedy of the Great War and into the spirits of the men who fought it. Willmott's books are well researched and cunningly composed, using photographs from the front, newspaper cuttings and historical accounts to create a solid foundation for the bursts of fiction where the imagination of a man who lost two great-uncles and a grandfather in World War I can run wild. Willmott is driven by a personal mission to find the remains of his great-uncles Harry junior and Harry senior, among the estimated 18,000 Australians who died on the Western Front but have no known grave.
- Ian McPhedran, NEWS LTD
A personal and moving account Garry, I've read quite a few similar books in my time, all telling deeply personal accounts of courage and tragedy, real stories about real human beings in unimaginably horrific situations, and yours ranks with the best of them. I wonder if many of those WWI generals slept all that soundly after the war was over.......
- Eric Bogle, Writer of The Band Played Waltzing Matilda & Green Hills of France
It is impossible not to be moved when you read this beautifully written book. It pulls no punches when it comes to what it is like to serve your country - right in the middle of the battlefield. We get to see the history of the soldiers what happened to them, a little about their families and backgrounds. But more importantly we get to see the great bravery, selflessness, and we sense the reality that we would simply not be where we are today without these incredible young men who gave everything so that we could have what we have - freedom.
It is clear that a part of Mr. Willmott lived this journey as he wrote it - the passion is evident. I would hope that as many people as possible could read this beautiful book. as it will bring home the atrocities, mindlessness of warfare and how that for a species so evolved, we can resort to such abhorrent behaviour. Yet on the other hand, in full knowledge that this behaviour can be out of people's hands, and all that these young men were doing was to serve their country - to protect our future. Sadly often these young men didn't really understand what they were fighting for.
Mr. Willmott, I thank you for writing this book and more importantly writing it with so much depth, sensitivity and humanitarian feeling. It is a remarkable piece of work.
- Cenred Harmsworth
I have just finished reading an e-book, The Other Side of the Trench, by GS Willmott, (a Google search will find online bookstores), and I must say it is a great read for anyone that might have an interest in WW1 and troops that died in battle. It follows a tour group and their connections to ancestors that died during the war.
Also, a chapter about life in Paris at the outbreak of the war gives a very detailed insight to how a vibrant city like Paris changes when war looms.
Parts of the storyline may seem far fetched, however the author brings it together in the last chapter, leaving the reader with an explanation of 'The Spirit of War" that hopefully like me, you will want to discover more for yourself.
I recommend 'The Other Side of the Trench' by GS Willmott for an informative, detailed yet different look at the heroes of The Great War.
- Ash Hind