Ypres 1914: The Menin Road

By Nigel Cave and Jack Sheldon

Pen & Sword, 2019

Not quite hot on its precursor volumes (Langemarck, 2014; Messines, 2015), The Menin Road completes Cave & Sheldon’s trilogy of books in the ‘Ypres 1914’ series.

Following the tried and tested ‘Battleground’ series format, the book provides a concise but informative overview of the action in the Menin Road area from 20th October – 11th November, which effectively marked the end of the First Ypres campaign. The authors then offer six short tours for the reader to follow, covering the actions described in the book.

The narrative of events is excellent, well-supported by numerous maps and images, and draws on many first hand sources and accounts. Sheldon’s contribution is obvious, and valuable, for German accounts are many and provide for a balanced account; for example it is interesting to read that the famous charge of the Worcesters at Gheluvelt on 31st October barely merits a mention in German accounts. A case of it being underplayed by the Germans, or over-egged by the British?

My own interest in this period centres on the Battle of Gheluvelt and in particular the involvement of the 1st Queen’s that day. I was pleased to see the authors’ write up of the part played by the battalion was spot on; although it was slightly tarnished in the very last sentence of the book when it is stated that Lieutenant Colonel Pell was commanding the 2nd Queen’s when killed on 4th November (he was in command of the 1st Queen’s at Gheluvelt, was wounded and taken prisoner, and died of his wounds four days later). Nevertheless I will certainly be returning to the area with this book in hand to follow the wider action that day on the ground.

Taken together, the Ypres 1914 trilogy provide an excellent account of the campaign, as well as a substantial guide for those wanting to follow in the footsteps of these events.

Buy this book from Amazon here:
Ypres 1914 – The Menin Road (Battleground Europe)

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