By Michael Lucas
Pen & Sword 2012, 242pp, hardback

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The Journey's End Battalion - front cover

The Journey's End Battalion was Michael's first full-length publication, and became a labour of love for the whole family. What began with research into his great-uncle Charles Woodbury's wartime service with the 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment led to several articles for Stand To! and ultimately to this book - a thorough unit history of this previously little-studied New Army battalion and the officers and men who served with it.

Among them was 2nd Lieutenant R.C. Sherriff, author of the much acclaimed and frequently revived Great War play Journey's End (we heartily recommend the new movie!) The book broke new ground in illuminating Sherriff's own war experiences and identifying the individuals who inspired the characters.

In addition to a wealth of British archival material and personal accounts, Michael and Andrew systematically investigated German sources for every identifiable opposing unit to produce the most detailed and accurate account possible of the battalion's three bloody years on the Western Front. As part of the New Army 24th Division, it had a catastrophic combat debut on 26th September 1915 at the Battle of Loos. Later it endured the Somme, Third Ypres and (as depicted in Journey's End) the Kaiserschlacht of March 1918, and saw severe fighting as late as October in the final allied advance. All of these battles as well as the 'quieter' periods of trench warfare in between are analysed in detail with accompanying maps.

There are several points where research for this book led directly to Andrew and Jürgen's later work. Most notably the 9th East Surreys fought Saxons from 123.ID during the Battle of Loos, and again at St. Eloi over the winter of 1915-1916. The same events were described in detail from the Saxon side in Andrew's articles for Stand To! and the St. Eloi sector further explored in both Fighting the Kaiser's War and Von Armentières Nach Langemarck.