The road to St. Julien: letters of a stretcher-bearer from the Great War
William St Clair is perhaps the only soldier to have left a continuous account of his experiences day by day from the moment of joining up in 1914, through the years of horror in the trenches, to the march into Germany in 1919 and the long aftermath of trying to make sense of what had happened. A private in the medical corps, St Clair wrote daily letters, sometimes more, to his future wife Jane. Often scribbled under fire, and sent in the green envelopes that were exempt from censorship, they tell of the famous battles of Loos, the Somme, and Passchendaele, as they happened, with excruciating vividness. They speak too of aspirations, of conversations, of literature, and of love. Published for the first time, these raw, truthful, and deeply moving. letters give us what we have not properly had before, the voice of an ordinary soldier who is also a wonderful writer. The book takes its title from the village of St Julien in Flanders, where, in a captured German pill box, the mind of young soldier was transformed, an event that he later turned into an award-winning play. Selling Points * A remarkable collection of uncensored letters from The Front written by a man who, by any reckoning, should never have survived over 4 Years of war. * William St Clair's perseverance in recording his experiences in uncensored form has eventually paid off. * Such a protacted correspodence is very rarely discovered * The gallantry of, and risks taken by, unnamed stretcher-bearers was superb * A unique Great War memoir Details of author William St Clair was born in 1889 in Kilsyth in Stirlingshire, Scotland. He left school at 12 years old. By the outbreak of war in 1914 he had established a hairdresser's business in Kirkintilloch, near Glasgow. In response to Kitchener's Call to Arms, he and his brother-in-law, Peter Edgar, volunteered on 21 August 1914 and served throughout the war in 27 Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to the 9th (Scottish) Division. They were among the few of the first wave of original volunteers to avoid being casualties, although each suffered gas poisoning on several occasions. William St Clair died in 1974, aged 85. Details of editor John St Clair was educated at Oxford and Glasgow Universities. He also studied in Germany. He is an Advocate in the Government Legal Service in Scotland. His publications include The Advocates' Library 1689-1989: 300 Years of a National Institution, The Law of Judicial Review in Scotland, The Law of Corporate Insolvency in Scotland, and scientific articles on the genetics of twinning. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, Emma, and their two 10 year old sons.
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The Glamour of this War is all at Home
Missions of Mercy at Festubert
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25 September 27 Brigade 27 Field Ambulance 9th Division 9th Scottish Advanced Dressing Station aeroplane Army artillery attack awful Bagenal battalions Battle of Loos Battle of Passchendaele Black Watch British bullets busy Butte de Warlencourt Captain Linn casualties chap comes Cooneyites course dearie diary Dick Divisional Dressing St dug-out duty Ewing feel fellows fighting finish fire German give guns Haig hear hope Hospital Jane Jeffrey Jock July Kaiser's Battle keep killed Kilsyth Kirkintilloch last night letter Longueval look lovey March military Monday morning never October officers Padre Hall parapet Passchendaele Peake Pete pillbox RAMC sent September 1915 shells bursting soldiers Somme St Julien stretcher Stretcher-Bearer Sunday tell thing told tonight trenches weather Western Front William St Clair Willie Willie's wounded write wrote yards yesterday Ypres