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Unpublished Manuscript Account, Describing Salonika During a Little-Known War Campaign in Greece, Part of the Macedonian Front of World War I, by a Firsthand Participant and Surviving British Officer in the Royal Army, Made After His Return to England.
Salonika [Thessaloniki], 1917-1919, 1917. Unpublished Manuscript Account with Photographs. Rare Firsthand Account of Salonika, During a Little-Known WWI Campaign of Of the Macedonia Front. 8vo. 122 pages (consisting of 82 pages narrative in typescript, 1 page table of contents, 2 pages outlining Private Petch's personal timeline of movements, plus 37 pages of illustrations mostly in the form of on-the-spot newsprint photographic views clipped and pasted to paper leafs, but also a scant few small original photographs taken by the writer similarly pasted to leafs, and one example of local paper currency). Together with three original photographs, one "Derby Scheme" uniform armband (brassard, armlet) with the rare clear issue-stamping Red Crown emblem, two ephemeral army documents, and one identification label of Eric George Petch born 1892, and one unused field Army Book 153 for messages (issued in 1915). Together with eight additional family photographs. Some creasing to manuscript leafs, lacking the Forward (pages 1 & 2), otherwise the lot in very good condition, a most uncommon war archive pertaining to a lesser known campaign seldom reported on even in its day. Note: Some photographs and identification herein are of Private Eric George Petch of the British Army Labour Corps. The single-leaf itinerary of war-time movements, which corresponds to the manuscript, is attributed to Percival W. Petch. A cutting from a colour advertisement suggests that Percival Petch was later a comedian. Further research is warranted to ascertain whether the two names are one in the same, Eric Petch using calling himself Percival Petch as a trade name for writing and performing; or whether these are two separate men, relations who both served in the Royal Army during the First World War. Period accounts of the Salonika Campaign are exceedingly scarce, in any form, a rather alarming and certainly regrettable fact for the heros who fought and died in the decisive assaults. [Taking a back seat to the heavily reported Battle of Somme as well as the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, the perilous service and innumerable deaths occurring in Salonika saw no news coverage in Britain during the war itself. Finally, a small portion of a despatch by Sir George Milne was published in the Times on 23 January 1919, long after war's end, and thus, owing to its brevity, effectively maintaining the silence of this untold battle. Finally, a detailed account was published twenty-some years later by 'An Unprofessional Soldier' on the Staff of 28th Division, his paper titled, "I saw the Futile Massacre at Doiran" and published in the 1938/9 Issue 46 of "I Was There." This seems to have been first substantial published account in Britain to draw attention to the campaign. In it he stated, "The Battle of Doiran is now a forgotten episode of the Great War, overshadowed by the doings of Haig in France and Allenby in Palestine. There was no full contemporary account of the Battle in any British Newspaper... The very name of the battle is unknown to most. Yet, in singularity of horror and in tragedy of defeated heroism, it is unique among the records of British arms. The real work of the assault was entrusted to the men of the 22nd and 26th Divisions, who were to attack the Doiran hills, co-operating with the Cretan Division of the Greek Army and a regiment of unreliable Zouaves..."] From the frontlines of a little-known and virulent campaign in Greece during the Great War, comes a surprisingly detailed and eloquent description of indigenous customs in the environs of what was then known as Salonika, this dispersed with observations on the hardships imposed by the war, and the awkward integration of multiple nationalities trying to survive economically, physically and psychologically. Perhaps most significant, in terms of historic events in Salonika, is a chapter he titles "Flames Destroy" and which describes the devastating Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917. . Manuscript.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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