(New Zealanders and the bloody offensive of 1916)
Published by Harper Collins
by Andrew Macdonald
Paperback 338 pages, b/w photographs
Reviewed by Paul Harrison
The Battle of the Somme was a blood bath for the combatants on both sides. For the New Zealand Division, the casualty rates were horrendous; one soldier in every seven who took part was killed and four out of ten were wounded, an overall casualty rate of 53%.
Andrew Macdonald is to be praised for his bringing together of many personal accounts of the battle, and the strategies from the higher command levels that resulted in this terrible campaign.
The illustrations graphically show the battlefields, as they were then and today. The various maps detail how little ground was captured for huge losses.
This reviewer can only reiterate the words of Glyn Harper in the foreword “ On My Way to the Somme should be read by all New Zealanders who want to know more about the critical events of the past that have shaped us as a nation.”