Category Archives: France

Following Sassoon in France

Last week’s trip to France with Battle Honours Tours exceeded my expectations. The tour’s title was Sassoon on the Western Front, and our itinerary followed his military progress, around the places in France where he served and fought. We had two guides. Rory Stephens took us through the military background with commendably revisionist enthusiasm and […]

To the Front, with Sassoon

Marion and I are off to London today, and tomorrow will be heading to Ebbsfleet, to join a tour organised by Battle Honours, in conjunction with the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship: Siegfried Sassoon on the Western Front. We’ll be following the poet’s wartime career, beginning in Festubert, where he met Robert Graves (‘a young poet, captain […]

Square jaws, trench music and a grim Christmas story

I’m still looking for, and finding,  anecdotes about British soldiers and their songs and music. Here’s a story from The Square Jaw, the English translation of La Mâchoire Carrée (1917), an account of fighting in the British part of the line, by the French journalists Henry Ruffin et André Tudesq. It compresses a lot of […]

Mauvais Genre

At the Amiens conference earlier this month, one of the papers mentioned a French popular novel of the war years: La Fauvette des Tranchées, the story of a brave young woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight. This year, a best-selling graphic novel has appeared in France – Mauvais Genre, that […]

Putain de Guerre! (and other bandes dessineés)

Graphic novels (posh comics) are gaining in prestige and influence in Britain, but in France the  bandes dessineés have been treated respectfully for a long while. In Paris recently, I was interested to find quite a large number of these books dealing with the First World War. Recently, a reader of this blog emailed me […]