This book has been assembled from an archive of material produced by Agnew for his family, documenting his experiences of joining the British Army, eventually becoming a pioneer of tank warfare and then as a POW. Jamie Vans has carried out the work as co-editor of producing a publishable work, aided by the late Professor Peter Widdowson. The sensitive editing has produced a fine and rare account of early tank warfare and will be greatly appreciated by all who have an interest in WWI and the technological advances made in mechanized warfare. The photo plate section is also very interesting and supportive of the text.
NAME: Veteran Volunteer, Memoir of the Trenches, Tanks & Captivity 1914-1918
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: Frank Vans Agnew MC
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, First World War, Western Front, opening campaigns, reconnaissance, technology, tactics, tanks, trenches, POWs
Agnew was a former Roosevelt’s Rough Rider and adventurer who left America to fight for the British. He lied about his age, successfully convincing the British recruiters that he was only 40 rather than his 48 years. He enlisted in the 2nd King Edward’s Horse, but was soon commissioned and attended the Machine Gun Corps School, taking part in the Battle of the Somme, before joining the Tank Corps.
IN 1917 he was wounded at Messines and awarded the Military Cross. He was again wounded at 3rd Ypres and captured at Cambrai. He was then held for the next 12 months as a POW.
His accounts of early tank warfare are particularly valuable and rare. This was the game changer in WWI that helped to breach the stagnation of the trenches. It was also beginning to show how armour could be used in a war of rapid movement. To have such a fine account of this in an outstanding war memoir is excellent and this is a very important book that demands to be read.