By Nigel Cave & Jack Sheldon
Pen & Sword, 2015
The second in Cave and Sheldon’s Ypres 1914 trilogy (following the first volume on Langemarck) covers the period from 12th October to 2nd November and the actions on the Messines ridge.
The book is split into two parts. The first provides a chronological account of the action. The narrative is succinct but utilises personal accounts and letters from soldiers of both sides to good effect. Jack Sheldon’s input is beneficial, providing a more comprehensive view of the German perspective than is found in many anglo-centric works (as well as touching on the French involvement in the area). There are copious illustrations and maps to accompany the text.
The second part sets out a nine tours that can be undertaken. Five tours focus on the Messines ridge itself whilst four look at the area around Hollebeke and Shrewsbury Forest. The maps and instructions are clear, and also refer the reader back to the relevant narrative in the first part of the text. Importantly, the book is the perfect size take to the battlefields, unlike some weighty tomes! Some rough timeframes for each tour would have been useful, although of course each will depend on how long is spent at the sites and cemeteries that are encountered along the way.
This is another great addition to the Battleground series, and one I look forward to using on future trips to the area.
Buy this book from Amazon here:
Ypres 1914 – Messines (Battleground Europe)