The Invisible Cross: One frontline officer, three years in the trenches, a remarkable untold story
The unseen letters of the only British officer to spend three years in the trenches throughout the First World War
Colonel Graham Chaplin, commander of the Cameron Highlanders, wrote letters from the trenches almost daily to the wife he had married just before the war began. Even if he had no time to write, he would at least send a postcard to reassure her he was 'Quite well'. These personal and loving letters give a rare insight into the mind of a serving officer, his worries about his men and his family back home, his concern for the progress of the war (however cautiously phrased) and his comments on the growing list of friends dead or wounded.
Having once refused what he considered unacceptably dangerous orders to send his troops over the top during the Battle of Loos, Chaplin wasn't promoted out of the trenches until 1917. Respected and trusted by his men, he was, even so, the only officer to whom this happened.
Andrew Davidson, author of the highly praised Fred's War , analyses Chaplin's unique status and weaves around his letters a fascinating portrait of a soldier's life and of the war on the Western Front.
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