Newsletter – November 2009

November 9th, 2009 by JCope

The presentation at the Society’s November meeting was appropriately titled, ‘Joffrey’s War – Memories of a Sherwood Forester in the First World War’.  Our speaker Dr John Bourne started by describing the discovery of the 300,000-word memoir by the writer’s son and the subsequent happy train of events that had led to Dr Bourne, a professional historian, having sight of it.  The original diaries had not survived but the account provides a hugely significant contribution to the collective knowledge of contemporary views of the War.  Geoffrey Radcliffe Husbands, called ‘Joffrey’ by his colleagues since they thought him rather ‘upper class’, served three spells on the Western Front and described more than just the conditions in a somewhat detached, almost novelist, fashion.

Dr Bourne read some tantalising extracts from the memoirs, in which Joffrey displayed he had no love for the Army and that the men considered themselves as ‘citizens in uniform’.  His observations of people were shrewd and his attitude to war could be seen to be unsentimental, stoical and patriotic, while his contempt for conscripts was palpable.

In his vote of thanks, Eric Greenwood spoke for all present in thanking the speaker for allowing us this fresh insight into a conflict rapidly disappearing into history.

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