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WW1 Trench Warfare Manual | Knowledge for War 1916

WW1 Officer's Trench Warfare Handbook

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KNOWLEDGE FOR WAR

Captain B. C. Lake

HARRISON AND SONS, London, c.1916-17

A rare WW1 British Army officers trench warfare handbook. The first edition was published in 1916 and several other editions were published during the war. This is the fifth edition, undated but c.1916-17. 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, fight with the bayonet, 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: the book opens with Kipling's 'If’ and closes with Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier'. 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 on the Western Front. 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 period advertisements for officers kit, trench coats by Burberry and Moss Bros, and that other essential item, the luminous trench watch (in silver: £3, gold: £6). One advert has been annotated by the original owner, with details of how much he paid for various items of kit. There is a signature of the original owner, ‘M. Mathews’ on the front endpaper. There are also pencil annotations, including notes on sentries, map reading, and a trench diagram, on some of the notes pages.

Condition:

In good condition. The boards are in fair to good condition, quite worn, with marks and general signs of use. The binding and hinges are secure, having been carefully reinforced in several places with archival paper tape. The text and illustrations are in good condition with a few marks. Signed on the front endpaper by ‘M. Mathews’. With pencil annotations on notes pages by the original owner.

Published: c.1916-1917
Khaki boards with black titling
illustrated throughout with line drawings and diagrams
Dimensions: 105mm x 160mm
Pages: 178