Best-selling author Charlie Connelly returns with a First World War memoir of his great uncle, Edward Connelly, who was an ordinary boy sent to fight in a war the likes of which the world had never seen. But this is not just his story; it is the story of all the young forgotten soldiers who fought and bravely died for their country.
The Forgotten Soldier tells the story of Private Edward Connelly, aged 19, killed in the First World War a week before the Armistice and immediately forgotten, even, it seems, by his own family.
Edward died on exactly the same day, and as part of the same military offensive, as Wilfred Owen. They died only a few miles apart and yet there cannot be a bigger contrast between their legacies.
Edward had been born into poverty in west London on the eve of the 20th century, had a job washing railway carriages, was conscripted into the army at the age of 18, and sent to the Western Front from where he would never return. He lies buried miles from home in a small military cemetery on the outskirts of an obscure town close to the French border in western Belgium. No-one has ever visited him.
Like thousands of other young boys, Edward's life and death were forgotten. By delving into and uncovering letters, poems and war diaries to reconstruct his great uncle's brief life and needless death; Charlie fills in the blanks of Edward's life with the experiences of similar young men giving a voice to the voiceless.
Edward Connelly's tragic story comes to represent all the young men who went off to the Great War and never came home. This is a book about the unsung heroes, the ordinary men who did their duty with utmost courage, and who deserve to be remembered.
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Best book I've had this year
Top five. It is a really great read and I kept trying to find time to listen to it.
the combination of first hand accounts and the authors own journey. I know a fair bit about the first world war and this area of Belgium but I learnt so much from the book.
First time I've had him as a reader and I liked it.
The ending. I won't go into as I don't want to ruin it! Just brilliant.
Buy this book! It is so well written and so easy to relate to. Purchasing a printed copy for my mum and for me as well I liked it so much.
- Jenny Clifton