“You must see it, and smell it, and hear the sounds, to understand. It brings a sort of sickening feeling to me even now, though I consider myself hardened to such sights.”
Modest and unassuming, Feilding was a front line soldier in World War One, and a leader of men, preferring to volunteer for a dangerous duty rather than an order a subordinate to do so in his place.
With a narrative broken only by the months he spent recuperating from wounds, Feilding was blessed with an extraordinary luck: his survival was a mystery even to his comrades.
Vivid yet unexaggerated in its depiction of life at the front, Feilding’s letters are driven by his thoughts, emotions and experiences of the war, and of home.
“…it was nice to think that at last, after all the years of war, these men were getting some personal and first-hand recognition from their fellow-countrymen.”
Written with the events still fresh in his mind, and often while still on the battlefield or in the trenches, Feilding’s letters to his wife form one of the most compelling accounts of the Western Front during the First World War.
Rowland Feilding (1871-1945) continued his family’s close association with the Coldstream Guards, transferring to the regiment from the City of London Yeomanry in 1915. In 1916 he took command of the 6th Connaught Rangers, and following its disbandment in 1918 the 1/15th Londons (Civil Service Rifles). They were demobilised the following year.
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