Written with dignity, candour and surprising wit, this soldier’s story of the horror of the Western Front trenches is a testament to the power of the human spirit.
'It's the end of the 1916 winter and the conditions are almost unbelievable. We live in a world of Somme mud. We sleep in it, work in it, fight in it, wade in it and many of us die in it. We see it, feel it, eat it and curse it, but we can't escape it, not even by dying.'
Somme Mud tells of the devastating experiences of Edward Lynch, a young Australian private (18 when he enlisted) during the First World War when he served with the 45th battalion of the Australian Infantry Forces on the Western Front at the Somme, which saw the most bloody and costly fighting of the war. In just eight weeks, there were 23,000 Australian casualties.
The original edition of twenty chapters, was written in pencil in twenty school exercise books in 1921, probably to help exorcise the horrendous experiences Private Lynch had witnessed during his three years at war from mid-1916 until his repatriation home in mid-1919. Lynch had been wounded three times, once seriously and spent over six months in hospital in England.
Published here for the first time, and to the great excitement of historians at the War Memorial Somme Mud is a precious find, a discovered treasure that vividly captures the magnitude of war through the day-to-day experiences of an ordinary infantryman. From his first day setting sail for France as the band played 'Boys of the Dardanelles' and the crowd proudly waved their fresh-faced boys off, to the harsh reality of the trenches of France and its pale-faced weary men, Lynch captures the essence and contradictions of war.
Somme Mud is Australia's version of All Quiet on the Western Front. Told with dignity, candour and surprising wit, it is a testament to the power of the human spirit, a moving true story of humanity and friendship.
About the Editor
Will Davies began his professional life in the film industry after graduating from the Australian National University in 1971. For the last thirty five years he has worked as a producer on a broad range of feature films, television documentaries, commercials and corporate productions including an IMAX 70mm film for the Bicentenary.
As a leading producer for his company LOOK FILMS, he has produced major documentary series like When the War Came to Australia for the ABC, Tales From a Suitcase for SBS and the series Our Century for Channel Nine.
He has had four books published: Tales From a Suitcase, Tales From a Suitcase: The Afghan Experience, Fighting Masoud's War and Somme Mud.
"It is not written by a polished or professional writer but is a participants true story told in an authentic Australian voice - dispassionate, laconic and free of histronics, false heroics and phony literary flourishes." "The Mercury Magazine"" "If you have any interest in the history of war or if you simply like books filled with emotion then you must read this." "Swan Hill Guardian"" "Lynch shows remarkable maturity in his abitlty to capture the banality of terror." "The Age""