11th September 2011
Foreword written by Author Jonathon RileyDedication
It is no exaggeration to say that more has been written about the Royal Welch Fusiliers than any other regiment in the British - or for that matter any other - Army. Much of it has been written by members of the regiment and although this was a particular feature of the Great War, it has been true since Lieutenant Saumarez and Sergeant Lamb wrote of their experiences in the American Revolutionary War. David Langley's Duty Done is therefore in that fine tradition - and it is a most worthy addition to it. The book first appeared in 2001 and was an immediate success: straight away, it became one of the "must have" source books on the regiment and on the war. Not surprisingly, it soon sold out This edition is not merely a reprint however, for it adds greatly to the sum of our knowledge of the men who fought, bled and died in the 2nd Battalion during the Great War. The battalion's officers included some of the most memorable regimental characters, like "Buffalo Bill" Stockwell, "Buckshee" Garnett and "The Count" de Miremont; it also included some of the best known literary figures of the war: Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Frank Richards and James Dunn. But celebrity should not blind us to the thousands of good, steady, brave and dedicated officers and men who served in its ranks and who, as the words of Ecclesiastes remind us, have no memorial. No memorial, perhaps, until now: for this book is their memorial.
The book is dedicated to Professor Richard Holmes, who died earlier this year. Although not a Royal Welch Fusilier, it is absolutely right that he should receive this dedication. As well as his contribution to scholarship, he brought history to life for millions of people, from all walks of life. Just as important, he helped to shape the intellectual development of several generations of senior army officers, including me. I knew him as a close friend and comrade from the age of 16 and his death leaves a gap that it will be impossible to fill.
I write these words on 11th September, the day on which for our generation, the world changed. Barbara Tuchman said that August 4th 1914 was like an iron gate between us and the old world; 11th September 2001 was not that, but it gives us at least some understanding of how old certainties were brutally ended. Since 2001, most of us in uniform have been almost continuously deployed on operations and although the scale of sacrifice in our army has been great, we must thank God that wars like that of 1914 belong to history. But we can perhaps identify more closely now with the men in this book than we could when the first edition came out.
Our thanks and admiration are due to David Langley for this new edition of Duty Done. If it is as successful as the first edition - and I believe it will be -1 fully expect to be writing another foreword in the near future.
Jonathon Riley Lieutenant-General Director-General & Master of the Armouries 11th September 2011.
Article Copyright © 2011