PDF Edward P.F. Lynch ð Somme Mud Kindle ò ð

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 23000 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 It will cause a sensation when it is published


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    Somme Mud is a memoir by E F Lynch written in the 1920s and published in 2006 This book has been repeatedly called the Australian All Quiet on the Western Front and has apparently started to be included on school reading lists to try and make callow young school children understand What Their Forefathers Went Through This book is an absolutely startling testament to the psyche of the soldiers It will resonate with anyone who is interested in the ANZAC experience but I think it has broader appeal as wellThe story of Somme Mud’s genesis captures the imagination After his tour in Flanders from 1916 to 1919 Lynch returned home and got on with his life He went to teacher’s college married and had children But during the 1920s and 1930s he wrote the first draft of Somme Mud into notebooks Later he typed it up and tried to get it published to earn some money during the depression but there was no appetite for books about the war and it sat in the family archives until 2002 when Lynch’s grandson showed it to academic Will Davies who was enthralled by the story and had it published I picked up Somme Mud because of the story of its inception My grandfather wrote a similar memoir of his time in the Merchant Marine and the Navy during WWII the five bound copies of which are passed from hand to hand around my family So I identified personally with Lynch’s family and the eighty year journey this book has been on to get publishedSomme Mud has the same feeling as All Quiet on the Western Front of the author trying to work through the images and memories of Flanders that are stuck in his mind It reads as a series of vignettes covering some moments in detail and in other places skipping over months at a time Both reflect at length on the futility and cost of war Nulla often reflects on people who have gone west and is particularly bothered by the suddenness and meanness of death in the trenches and the number of Australian soldiers buried so far from home He reflects ironically at one point on Rupert Brooke’s “corner of a foreign field that is forever England” There is no context of where the engagements Nulla participates in sit in the overall battles or where the battles sit in the war It’s written for an audience that is familiar with at least the general shape of the WWI Western Front or is comfortable going with the flow I suspect this is partly due to a hatchet job by the editor trying to cut it down to a readable lengthLike All Quiet Somme Mud operates exclusively at the level of the narrator Like Paul Baumer the narrator Nulla is commonly understood to be the author himself probably with a few details of his friends and cronies thrown into the mix But where All Quiet is ultimately pessimistic as Baumer watches his friends die and be crippled until he loses himself entirely Somme Mud is optimistic and peppered throughout with what one might characterise as the ANZAC spirit As a result Nulla is probably a interesting narrator than Paul Baumer Despite periods of exhaustion depression and trauma Nulla remains essentially upbeat He epitomises mateship that great ANZAC virtue and enjoys the simple pleasure or stealing an officer’s kit a relief’s clean blanket or a French farmer’s goose and blaming it on the Liverpudlian regiment next door You also get a better sense of the totality of infantry operations from Nulla who moonlights as a runner and signaller at various times and of the fundamental resilience to trauma that enabled these men to come home from the war and somehow take up civilian life You see the discipline and determination that allowed the ANZACs to distinguish themselves at Pozieres Amiens and Mont St Quentin You also see the lack of respect for authority and the juvenile sense of humour that annoyed the British so muchHowever Somme Mud doesn’t employ any of the literary techniques that All Quiet does If there was a sense of narrative developing it was lost in the editing It’s a pity that Lynch wasn’t alive when this was prepared for publication because it would have benefited from the author being able to go in and provide bridging passages in places to try and develop or preserve the sense of narrative As a result there are bits of this book that are a hard slog and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to someone who wasn’t innately interested in the subject matter Other books have done a better job of blending memoir and fictionI would be inclined to include Somme Mud on a compulsory reading list for WWI which may be partly my Aussie bias speaking but I think it is a fascinating view of everyday life in the war and a tribute to the men who went through it those who died and those who survived