Local author illuminates New Forest's role in WWI

PUBLISHED: 17:26 26 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:36 20 February 2013

Local author illuminates New Forest’s role in WWI

Local author illuminates New Forest’s role in WWI

Local author illuminates New Forest's role in WWI...

Colonel Henry Cadogan from Beaulieu has edited the letters of his grandfather Hal, a long serving officer in the late Victorian and Edwardian British Army. The highly acclaimed book, The Road to Armageddon, takes Hal from Ireland, to India, from Peking to Ypres, via Southampton and Lyndhurst.

Colonel Cadogan says,

I found the letters and newspaper cuttings in a small tin trunk in the attic four years ago. I was compelled by their vivid descriptions of military and colonial life, particularly given my own career in the army.

Initially he set to work editing the letters simply for the family and his grandchildren, but encouraged by Richard Holmes, the well known historian and broadcaster, he decided to turn it into a book, linking the letters themselves with fascinating and illuminating insight into Hals time.

The letters form the basis of the history, illustrating the everyday life of a young officer stationed far from home, defending an empire of which he, and all other soldiers, were so proud. Eventually he commanded the 1st Battalion, ultimately taking them to the Great War. The last chapters, which describe the fate of Cadogan and his men, largely in the words of the soldiers who took part, are well researched and deeply moving. The Battalion landed in Southampton from Malta in September 1914 and marched to Lyndhurst to join the 7th Division. Hals wife, Eve, and son Edward, who was just six, lodged at The Grand Hotel in Lyndhurst. While the Battalion was training, Eve sometimes exercised Hals horses, one day nearly losing Hadji, his favourite, in Matley Bog. At the beginning of October 1914 the Battalion embarked 1,150 men at Southampton. Within a month, having fought at the 1st Battle of Ypres, only 81 were left.

The book has been extremely well received. The Times described the book as compelling, saying it is sensitively edited by his grandson to give relevance to each letter home this book will catch the memories of soldiers and their families of every generation. Saul David, historian and broadcaster called this book a fascinating and moving portrait of a regimental officer while Sir James Holman, High Court Judge, writes the book is compulsive. Read it.

Colonel Cadogan will be signing copies of this compulsive book at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, on Friday 5th February from 11am-2pm and in Waterstones, Lymington, from 11am 2pm on Saturday 6th.

For more information please contact Colonel Cadogan at henrycadogan@aol.com or telephone 01978 790 651, 07801 257 932.

The Road to Armageddon by Colonel Henry Cadogan
ISBN 978-1-84494-056-1
Bridge Books

Latest from the Hampshire