Lessons from the Mud

55th (West Lancashire) Division at the Third Battle of Ypres

Paul Knight

This book destroys the popular impression of generals unaware of conditions in the trenches and incapable of developing tactics to break the slaughter of trench warfare.
Date Published :
March 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
25 b/w maps, 12 photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912390052
Pages : 464
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


First World War generals have a reputation for both failing to understand the conditions their men were fighting in and also to adopt to the reality of the Western Front. All too often in discussions, the Lions led by Donkeys attitude prevails which has been reinforced by Blackadder’s ‘General Melchett’.

General Jeudwine was neither a Donkey nor a Melchett. His command of 55th (West Lancashire) Division from January 1916 was highly regarded and the division was in the top third of the British Expeditionary Force.

The division attacked twice during the Third Battle of Ypres. After each attack, Jeudwine collected ‘Narratives’ from his men. These range from formal reports from Commanding Officers to Private soldier’s handwritten memoires on a sheet of paper torn from a notepad.

Transcribed in their entirety for the first time, these Narratives offer a fascinating, first-hand account of two major written within days of the battle. Within the Narratives are details of the fates of men whose names are recorded on the Menin Gate, the practical application of tactics, small scale actions around German strong points.

In analysis, the evolution of tactics is seen between the two attacks which shows the Army as a learning organisation.

About The Author

Paul Knight is a British Army officer and military historian. He holds a PhD in History and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is also an experienced historical reenactor with over 20 years re-enacting the 47th Foot during the American War of Independence.


’Carefully edited and well presented, this is a useful addition to any Great War collection. Certainly a valuable resource if planning a trip to the Salient.’’

- Despatches

‘’Paul Knight deserves to be congratulated on this valuable addition to the sources of the BEF's history between 1914 and 1918…it will be essential reading for students of the British Army in the Great War.’’

- Stand To!

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