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The First Hundred Thousand   By: (1876-1952)

Book cover

First Page:

THE FIRST HUNDRED THOUSAND

Being the Unofficial Chronicle of a Unit of "K(1)"

BY

IAN HAY

[Illustration: CAPTAIN IAN HAY BEITH]

By Ian Hay

PIP: A ROMANCE OF YOUTH. GETTING TOGETHER. THE FIRST HUNDRED THOUSAND. SCALLY: THE STORY OF A PERFECT GENTLEMAN. With Frontispiece. A KNIGHT ON WHEELS. HAPPY GO LUCKY. Illustrated by Charles E. Brock. A SAFETY MATCH. With frontispiece. A MAN'S MAN. With frontispiece. THE RIGHT STUFF. With frontispiece.

TO MY WIFE

PUBLISHERS' NOTE

The "Junior Sub," who writes the following account of the experiences of some of the first hundred thousand of Kitchener's army, is, as the title page of the volume now reveals, Ian Hay Beith, author of those deservedly popular novels, The Right Stuff, A Man's Man, A Safety Match , and Happy Go Lucky .

Captain Beith, who was born in 1876 and therefore narrowly came within the age limit for military service, enlisted at the first outbreak of hostilities in the summer of 1914, and was made a sub lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. After training throughout the fall and winter at Aldershot, he accompanied his regiment to the front in April, and, as his narrative discloses, immediately saw some very active service and rapidly rose to the rank of captain. In the offensive of September, Captain Beith's division was badly cut up and seriously reduced in numbers. He has lately been transferred to a machine gun division, and "for some mysterious reason" as he characteristically puts it in a letter to his publishers, has been recommended for the military cross.

The story of The First Hundred Thousand was originally contributed in the form of an anonymous narrative to Blackwood's Magazine . Writing to his publishers, last May, Captain Beith describes the circumstances under which it was written:

"I write this from the stone floor of an outhouse, where the pig meal is first accumulated and then boiled up at a particularly smelly French farm, which is saying a good deal. It is a most interesting life, and if I come through the present unpleasantness I shall have enough copy to last me twenty years. Meanwhile, I am using Blackwood's Magazine as a safety valve under a pseudonym."

It is these "safety valve" papers that are here offered to the American public in their completeness, a picture of the great struggle uniquely rich in graphic human detail.

4 PARK STREET

CONTENTS

BOOK ONE BLANK CARTRIDGES

I. AB OVO II. THE DAILY GRIND III. GROWING PAINS IV. THE CONVERSION OF PRIVATE M'SLATTERY V. "CRIME" VI. THE LAWS OF THE MEDES AND PERSIANS VII. SHOOTING STRAIGHT VIII. BILLETS IX. MID CHANNEL X. DEEDS OF DARKNESS XI. OLYMPUS XII. ... AND SOME FELL BY THE WAYSIDE XIII. CONCERT PITCH

BOOK TWO LIVE ROUNDS

XIV. THE BACK OF THE FRONT XV. IN THE TRENCHES AN OFF DAY XVI. "DIRTY WORK AT THE CROSS ROADS TO NIGHT" XVII. THE NEW WARFARE XVIII. THE FRONT OF THE FRONT XIX. THE TRIVIAL ROUND XX. THE GATHERING OF THE EAGLES XXI. THE BATTLE OF THE SLAG HEAPS

"K(1)"

We do not deem ourselves A 1, We have no past: we cut no dash: Nor hope, when launched against the Hun, To raise a more than moderate splash.

But yesterday, we said farewell To plough; to pit; to dock; to mill. For glory ? Drop it! Why? Oh, well To have a slap at Kaiser Bill.

And now to day has come along. With rifle, haversack, and pack, We're off, a hundred thousand strong. And some of us will not come back.

But all we ask, if that befall, Is this. Within your hearts be writ This single line memorial : He did his duty and his bit!

NOTE

The reader is hereby cautioned against regarding this narrative as an official history of the Great War.

The following pages are merely a record of some of the personal adventures of a typical regiment of Kitchener's Army.

The chapters were written from day to day, and published from month to month. Consequently, prophecy is occasionally falsified, and opinions moderated, in subsequent pages... Continue reading book >>




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