Londoners on the Western Front

The 58th (2/1st London) Division in the Great War

David Martin

Date Published :
June 2014
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
No associated books available.


In spite of all the books written on the First World War, some remarkable stories still remain untold, and that of the 58th London Division is one of the most neglected. A territorial formation, lacking the glamour of the old army or the Kitchener Volunteers, the 58th never received an official history and apart from the odd mention and a poignant memorial on the Somme battlefield depicting a rider cradling a dying horse, it has faded from memory. Yet the Division saw hard service and won through at Passchendaele where it won fame for capturing the Wurst Farm ridge – many of its soldiers were decorated for this action, and the ridge afterwards renamed “London Ridge” in its honor.

This book will tell the fascinating story of the 58th Division’s war, and through this cast new light on the wider story of how the BEF struggled through the hard years and developed into such a formidable force. Passchendaele is remembered for mud and waste, but the 58th Division's experience shows the immense scale of the preparations supporting the offensive and show both how these worked and when they fell short.

A history of the 58th Division is long overdue. It is also a way of bringing a good deal of new research on the war to the general reader.

About The Author

David Martin gained an MA in Heritage Studies and has since lived in France, Belgium and Northumberland. He wrote his thesis on memorials of the First World War and has spent twenty years researching the British Army, including five years guiding visitors around the battlefields. In this, his second book, he follows an East Lancashire territorial division during the German offensive of March 1918\. He recently edited his father, Selby Martin’s, autobiography _From Communism to Community – Memoirs of a Diplomat and Teacher_ (2017). Sales of _The Death of a Division_ will aid the Royal British Legion and the LMS Patriot National Memorial Engine.

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