No Mans Land by Sapper


This book is amazing – from horrific description of the western front to a nice crime yarn and some fantastic humour – this must be the only author to make the reader laugh aloud while reading about World War One.


No Mans Land — This is “Sapper’s” fourth collection of such stories.

No Mans Land — is not just a straightforward collection of short stories, there are also atmospheric pieces and pieces of opinion. Some of the stories are typically “Sapper” and largely comic, the colonel falling down a hole, in “The man-trap” for instance. Others such as “Morphia” sentimental if effective and rather more than perhaps I expected from “Sapper.”

The Battle of Messines (7 – 14 June 1917) was an offensive conducted by the British Second Army. Under the command of General Sir Herbert Plumer. On the Western Front near the village of Messines in Belgian West Flanders during the First World War. The Nivelle offensive in April and May had failed to achieve its more ambitious aims.

This led to the demoralisation of French troops and the dislocation of the Anglo-French strategy for 1917. The offensive at Messines forced the Germans to move reserves to Flanders from the Arras and Aisne fronts. Which relieved pressure on the French.

The tactical objective of the attack at Messines was to capture the German defences on the ridge. Which ran from Ploegsteert Wood in the south. Through Messines and Wytschaete to Mt. Sorrel, to deprive the German 4th Army of the high ground south of Ypres. The ridge commanded the British defences and back areas further north. From which the British intended to conduct the “Northern Operation”. To advance to Passchendaele Ridge, then capture the Belgian coast up to the Dutch frontier.