On 17 June 2009, Harry Patch celebrated his 111th birthday. At the time, he was the last living British Tommy that had fought in the trenches of the First World War. Now that direct link with the past has gone. From his vivid memories of an Edwardian childhood, through the horrors of the battles of Ypres and Passchendaele to working on the home front in the Second World War and fame in later life as a veteran. The Last Fighting Tommy is the story of an ordinary man's extraordinary life.
In The Soldier's War, Richard van Emden traces a history of the fighting month by month and year by year, using original diaries, letters and as-yet-unseen photographs taken by the soldiers themselves. We follow the British Tommy through devastating battles and trench warfare from the outbreak of war in 1914 to the armistice four years later, guided by Richard van Emden's sure explanations. This is a history of the war as seen from the trenches that is shockingly intimate, sometimes heartbreaking, often wryly amusing, but always compelling.