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Knowledge For War (1917) | Captain Lake

Knowledge For War (1917)

Price $209.00 Sale

KNOWLEDGE FOR WAR

Captain B. C. Lake

HARRISON AND SONS, London, c.1917

'He lead his company with great skill and determination under very heavy fire and rushed the enemy position, capturing a number of prisoners and machine guns. He set a splendid example of cool courage and able leadership'.
London Gazette

A rare WW1 British Army officers trench warfare handbook. This is the 6th edition, undated, but published c.1917. It proved to be a very popular book with those serving at the front, and at least eight editions were published during the war. The book is signed on the front endpapers by 'J. G. Ibbotson'.

2/Lt James Gordon Ibbotson (1892-1977) enlisted with the Inns of Court Training Corps in July 1917, joined the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment, and went out to France in June 1918. He served with the 1st and 12th Battalions, and took part in the fierce fighting around Irles on 23rd August 1918, during the 3rd Battle of Albert. The battle began on 21st August. On 23rd August, after two days of heavy fighting, reinforced by two companies of 1st DCLI, the 12th battalion launched an attack behind a creeping barrage to capture the Arras-Albert railway line. German machine gun nests along the line inflicted numerous casualties before they were overrun. Having lost the barrage, the battalion was unable to advance beyond the ridge to Irles and requested reinforcements. Before they arrived, the neighbouring brigade attacked, so Lt-Colonel Colt led a charge by the remainder of 12th Gloucesters and the DCLI companies to capture the village. Losses were heavy: 30 men were killed and nine officers and 170 men wounded, including Lt-Col Colt.

For his 'conspicuous gallantry' in this action 2/Lt Ibbotson was awarded the Military Cross. The citation, published in the London Gazette in January 1919 stated: 'T/2nd Lt. James Gordon Ibbotson - For conspicuous gallantry in command of a company during an attack. He lead his company with great skill and determination under very heavy fire and rushed the enemy position, capturing a number of prisoners and machine guns. He set a splendid example of cool courage and able leadership'. (Details of 2/Lt Ibbotson's military service will be included with the book).

Knowledge For War is a compendium of more or less everything a junior officer heading out to the trenches would need to know: from basic details of officers kit, to how to deal with gas attacks, build trenches and dug-outs, construct barbed wire defences, conduct bombing raids, look after weapons, and all the other duties of an officer in the front line. It includes a selection of inspiring verses that might help out in moments of crisis: Kipling's 'If' and Wordsworth's 'Freedom'. With advice on how to get a Machine Gun working in an emergency, how to use several different types of hand grenades and other more general hints on trench warfare, this is a very interesting window into the world of the junior officer in 1917. Near the end of the book there is a checklist of things an officer should constantly ask himself:

'I am here for two purposes—to do as much damage as possible to the enemy and to hold my part of the line at all costs. Am I doing everything possible to ensure my being able to do this?'

The book is very well illustrated with diagrams and line drawings and also includes a number of excellent advertisements for officers kit, such as trench coats by Burberry and that other essential item, the luminous trench watch.

Condition:

In good condition. The boards are in good condition, with general signs of wear and use, and some creases. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text and illustrations are in very good condition. The book is signed on the front endpapers by 'J. G. Ibbotson'.

Published: c.1917
Khaki boards with black titling
Illustrated with line drawings and diagrams
Dimensions: 105mm x 160mm
Pages: 178