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Paddy arrives in Cologne: “I knew I was inside the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe . . .”

The west front of the completed Köln cathedral in 1911

A further extract from A Time of Gifts to mark the 85th anniversary of the “great trudge”.

After a first faraway glimpse, the two famous steeples grew taller and taller as the miles that separated us fell away. At last they commanded the cloudy plain as the spires of a cathedral should, vanishing when the outskirts of the city interposed themselves, and then, as I gazed at the crowding saints of the three Gothic doorways, sailing up into the evening again at close range. Beyond them indoors, although it was already too dark to see the colours of the glass, I knew I was inside the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Except for the little constellation of tapers in the shadows of a side chapel, everything was dim. Women knelt interspersed with nuns and the murmured second half of the Gegrusset seist Du, Maria rose in answering chorus to the priest’s initial solo; a discreet clatter of beads kept tally of the accumu­lating prayers. In churches with open spires like Cologne, one could understand how congregations thought their orisons had a better start than prayers under a dome where the syllables might flutter round for hours. With steeples they follow the uprush of lancers and make an immediate break for it.

Tinsel and stars flashed in all the shops and banners saying Frohliche Weihnacht! were suspended across the streets. Clogged villagers and women in fleece-lined rubber boots slipped about the icy pavements with exclamatory greetings and small screams, spilling their armfuls of parcels. The snow heaped up wherever it could and the sharp air and the lights gave the town an authentic Christmas card feeling. It was the real thing at last! Christmas was only five days away. Renaissance doors pierced walls of ancient brick, upper storeys jutted in salients of carved timber and glass, triangles of crow-steps outlined the steep gables, and eagles and lions and swans swung from convoluted iron brackets along a maze of lanes. As each quarter struck, the saint-encrusted towers challenged each other through the snow and the rivalry of those heavy bells left the air shaking.

Beyond the Cathedral and directly beneath the flying ­buttresses of the apse, a street dropped sharply to the quays. Tramp steamers and tugs and barges and fair-sized ships lay at anchor under the spans of the bridges, and cafes and bars were raucous with music. I had been toying with the idea, if I could make the right friends, of cadging a lift on a barge and sailing upstream in style for a bit.

I made friends all right. It was impossible not to. The first place was a haunt of seamen and bargees shod in tall sea-boots rolled down to the knee, with felt linings and thick wooden soles. They were throwing schnapps down their throats at a brisk rate. Each swig was followed by a chaser of beer, and I started doing the same. The girls who drifted in and out were pretty but a rough lot and there was one bulky terror, bursting out of sailor’s jersey and wearing a bargeman’s cap aske on a nest of candy-floss hair, called Maggi – which was short for Magda – who greeted every newcomer with a cry of ‘Hallo, Bubi!’ and a sharp, cunningly twisted and very painful pinch on the cheek. I liked the place, especially after several schnapps, and I was soon firm friends with two beaming bargemen whose Low German speech, even sober, would have been blurred beyond the most expert linguist’s grasp. They were called Uli and Peter. ‘Don’t keep saying Sie,’ Uli insisted, with a troubled brow and an unsteadily admonishing forefinger: ‘Say Du.’

This advance from the plural to the greater intimacy of the singular was then celebrated by drinking Brüderschaft. Glasses in hand, with our right arms crooked through the other two with the complexity of the three Graces on a Parisian public fountain, we drank in unison. Then we reversed the process with our left arms, preparatory to ending with a triune embrace on both cheeks, a manoeuvre as elaborate as being knighted or invested with the Golden Fleece. The first half of the ceremony went without a hitch, but a loss of balance in the second, while our forearms were still interlocked, landed the three of us in the sawdust in a sottish heap. Later, in the fickle fashion of the very drunk, they lurched away into the night, leaving their newly-created brother dancing with a girl who had joined our unsteady group: my hobnail boots could do no more damage to her shiny dancing shoes, I thought, than the seaboots that were clumping all round us. She was very pretty except for two missing front teeth. They had been knocked out in a brawl the week before, she told me.

Extract from A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, with thanks to John Murray Publishers

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An exciting new travel writing talent?

It is rare for writers of the stature of Susan Hill to say “I was knocked sideways by this book”. Author Kamila Shamsie thought Kings of the Yukon: An Alaskan River Journey, the debut book by young writer Adam Weymouth, “Dazzling, often in unexpected ways, Adam Weymouth is a wonderful travel writer, nature writer, adventure writer”.

Travel author Adam Weymouth has scooped the £5,000 Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award for Kings of the Yukon: An Alaskan River Journey (Particular Books), about his four-month canoe trip through an Alaskan river’s remotest reaches, following “strong, excited consensus” from the judges.

The author who lives on a 100-year-old narrowboat on the River Lea in east London was announced as the winner on Thursday evening (6th December) at a ceremony at the London Library. His debut, Kings of the Yukon: An Alaskan River Journey, follows his four-month “canoe odyssey” along Alaska’s Yukon river and the salmon who return to it, published by Penguin imprint Particular Books in April this year, after being bought at auction in 2015.

“The result is a captivating, lyrical portrait of the people and landscapes he encounters – and an elegiac glimpse into a disappearing world,” prize organisers said, with judges comparing him to Patrick Leigh Fermor and author Robert Macfarlane.

Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate, revealed he had failed to spot Weymouth and believes fellow journalists also missed a trick. “It feels as if we have found, ready minted and hidden in plain sight, a really outstanding new contemporary British voice – one who literary editors (myself included; I plead guilty) almost completely failed to spot on publication.” the judge said. “I’ve never seen such a strong and excited consensus among the judges for a winner.” Kings of the Yukon has so far sold 1,365 copies in hardback according to Nielsen BookScan.

The debut beat off competition for the £5,000 prize from the Women’s Prize for Fiction-shortlisted novelist Imogen Hermes Gowar for her debut The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock (Harvill Secker), Laura Freeman for her memoir about recovery through literature, The Reading Cure (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and the Man Booker-shortlisted Fiona Mozley for Elmet (JM Originals), her Yorkshire-set debut about a family trying to find their place at the margins of society.

Author Kamila Shamsie, who was also on the judging panel, said: “Dazzling, often in unexpected ways, Adam Weymouth is a wonderful travel writer, nature writer, adventure writer – along the way, he is also a nuanced examiner of some of the world’s most fraught and urgent questions about the interconnectedness of people and the natural world.”

Fellow judge, writer Susan Hill said: “I was knocked sideways by this book and quite unexpectedly. Adam Weymouth takes his place beside the great travel writers like Chatwin, Thubron, Leigh Fermor, in one bound. But like their books this is about so much more than just travel.”

Holgate said: “Weymouth combines acute political, personal and ecological understanding, with the most beautiful writing reminiscent of a young Robert Macfarlane…He is, I have no doubt, a significant voice for the future.”

Sponsored by literary agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop, the Young Writer of the Year Award runs in association with the University of Warwick. In addition to the prize money of £5,000, the winner is also awarded a 10-week residential course with the programme. All shortlisted authors receive overseas exposure through the British Council, the international partner of the prize.

Sounds like this could be an ideal surprise Christmas present. Buy Kings of the Yukon: An Alaskan River Journey

Joan – a blog review

When Simon Fenwick, a professional archivist, was asked to sort Paddy’s papers at Kardamyli after his death in 2011, one would imagine that it would be the illustrious Paddy who would fire Simon’s imagination to write a book. But, as Simon worked his way through the accumulations of a lifetime, it was Joan, the woman who lived in Paddy’s shadow who started to fascinate and inspired him to write Joan: Beauty, Rebel, Muse: The Remarkable Life of Joan Leigh Fermor.

Although Joan’s money enabled Paddy to write, and she accompanied him on many of his post-war journeys, there is barely a mention of Joan in Paddy’s work. Simon’s painstaking research has resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable biography that gives Joan real shape and depth. Not only has Simon managed to produce a book about a woman who barely left any archive of her own (a diary from 1936 and some letters from John and Penelope Betjeman is about it), he has a very engaging and entertaining style.

Paddy of course features prominently in the latter half of the book, but Simon is careful to retain the focus on his subject. We do, however, learn a lot more detail about Paddy to supplement Artemis Cooper’s 2012 biography Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure. Simon has had the benefit of access to a very wide range of different source information, and dare I say, material that now is much better organised than when Artemis was writing.

Simon Fenwick is very candid about the lifestyles and affairs of Joan, Paddy and their assorted friends. It was Joan who was friends first with Cyril Connelly, Maurice Bowra, John Betjeman, Patrick Kinross etc, and introduced Paddy into their world where he found immediate acceptance. There is a degree of honesty about his work which will appeal to those who want to know what the lives of these people were really like. We may think that we know them, but Simon Fenwick truly brings a new perspective and introduces us to new material. It is certainly a good read, and in paperback, an ideal stocking filler for Christmas.

Buy Joan: Beauty, Rebel, Muse: The Remarkable Life of Joan Leigh Fermor

The return of the Travellers’ Film Club

Those lovely people at Eland Books who publish the most amazing range of classic travel books have announced that the Traveller’s Film Club is to return!

Previously held at Waterstones, Piccadilly, the film club will be relaunched in the hall of the magnificent Holy Redeemer Church on Exmouth Market on Thursday 6th December.

The first film will be Night Mail, a 1936 black and white classic that documents the nightly postal train operated by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Narrated by John Grierson and Stuart Legg, the film closes with the much loved lines from W. H. Auden with a score by Benjamin Britten.

‘This is the night mail crossing the border, bringing the cheque
and the postal order.’

The film is widely considered a masterpiece of the British documentary film movement.

Entry is free. 6.30pm drinks and pop-up bookshop

8pm film showing (The film is 23 minutes long)

Dear Mr Murray

David McClay is the former curator of the John Murray archive located at the National Library of Scotland which includes Paddy’s papers which were donated to the archive by Paddy in his will. This book may be of general interest to some of you.

by Rosemary Hill

First published in the London Review of Books

Some things in the relations between authors and publishers never change. Dear Mr Murray: Letters to a Gentleman Publisher, edited by David McClay, a collection of letters written to six generations of the Murray family, is full of familiar complaints. Jane Austen was ‘very much disappointed … by the delays of the printers’. Maria Rundell, author of A New System of Domestic Cookery (1805), was furious about misprints in the second edition, including an unfortunate mistake in a recipe for rice pudding. Byron objected to cuts in his work, as did David Livingstone, who also took exception to the ‘absolutely abominable’ illustrations of his Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, in particular the scene of his own encounter with a lion: ‘Everyone … will die with laughing … It’s like a dray horse.’ On the other side of the editorial desk successive John Murrays had their own difficulties. Rundell’s editor, Murray II, told his wife that ‘her conceit surpasses anything.’ Whitwell Elwin, the reader to whom Murray III sent the manuscript of On the Origin of Species, wrote back that, despite ‘the very high opinion’ he had of Darwin, he felt the book lacked substance. There was no proof of the argument. It would be better, he thought, to concentrate on one species, such as pigeons: ‘Everybody is interested in pigeons.’ Fortunately for Murray’s reputation, Whitwell was overruled.

Murray I began life as John McMurray in Edinburgh in 1737. On a friend’s advice he dropped the ‘wild Highland Mac’ when he came to London, setting up business in Fleet Street in 1768, at a time when publishers, booksellers, journalists and printers were often the same people. It was the age of Grub Street, of Boswell and Johnson, coffee houses, clay pipes and gallons of port. In 1812 Murray II moved the firm to Albemarle Street in the more respectable West End, where it remained until the seventh John Murray sold up in 2002. Here Murray’s built a list that included some of the best and most popular authors of their day, from Byron and Walter Scott to Patrick Leigh-Fermor and Freya Stark. It was Murray’s reputation for solid, conservative values that led both the geologist Charles Lyell and then Darwin to publish their potentially disruptive theories under its aegis. No. 50 Albemarle Street became famous for the great writers who passed through its door and notorious for its drawing-room fireplace in which Murray II burned Byron’s memoirs. Byron had wanted him to publish them but they were destroyed in deference to the family’s feelings about what David McClay refers to laconically as the ‘many ups and downs’ of Byron’s career.

McClay is an exasperating editor, vague about dates and details. The book is arranged thematically so that authors often feature in more than one section, but without an index it is hard to follow them. While he makes no claim to have done more than pick a few cherries from a vast archive, he seems unsure who they are for and the book is neither serious history nor stocking-filler. The reader who needs to be told that Alexander Pope was ‘an early 18th-century poet’ cannot be expected to know who ‘dear old Panizzi’ is in the same letter. His is one of many un-glossed names, some of them important. The ‘Owen’ referred to by Joseph Hooker in a letter to Murray III about Samuel Wilberforce’s hostile review of Origin of Species is Richard Owen, the palaeontologist who coined the word ‘dinosaur’, and who disagreed with Darwin about the transmutation of species. Hooker’s suggestion that Wilberforce, who is too often cast as merely a bigoted reactionary, had been ‘made a tool of’ by Owen for his rival evolutionary theory, is therefore significant. It is also interesting that the article, which sparked widespread controversy and led several months later to the famous debate on evolution between Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley at the Oxford Museum, appeared in the Quarterly Review, which was published by Murray’s. The editor was John Gibson Lockhart, but we aren’t told why he chose to commission what was guaranteed to be a savage review.

The Quarterly was founded by Murray II in 1809 when publishers’ operations in the last Georgian decades, if they were not as multifarious as in the first John Murray’s day, still extended beyond books. Archibald Constable, Walter Scott’s Scottish publisher, was also the publisher of the Whig Edinburgh Review, edited by Francis Jeffrey with the frequent assistance of Sydney Smith. The Quarterly was intended as a Tory rival and enjoyed Scott’s close co-operation. After an erratic start, its middlebrow conservatism built a large and loyal readership. The correspondence suggests, however, that as with books, a lot of time was spent on complaints: a subscriber cancelling because the titles chosen for review were so ‘utterly destitute of interest’, or a furious James Hogg in Edinburgh alleging Anglocentric bias in a review of Scott’s second novel, Guy Mannering: ‘How I do despise your London critics.’ Murray II sent a reply that was even-handedly disparaging of reviewer, author and complainant: ‘Our article is not good, & our praise is by no means adequate, but I suspect that you very greatly overrate the novel.’

In the days of anonymous reviewing editorial standards of impartiality were often compromised. Scott’s authorship of the Waverley novels was an open secret in the literary world but in 1816 Murray co-published his collected Tales of My Landlord, which carried no claim to be ‘by the author of Waverley’. Murray was sure it was ‘either by Walter Scott or the devil’, but Scott assured him it wasn’t and ingeniously suggested he should prove the point by reviewing it himself. He did and found he didn’t like it much: ‘unusually artificial; neither hero nor heroine excites interest of any sort.’ The piece concluded with a hefty hint that the author was his brother, Thomas Scott. The subterfuge worked and Murray was convinced, ‘to within an inch of [his] life’, that it was true.

The 19th century was Murray’s heyday, culminating in a selection of The Letters of Queen Victoria, which appeared in 1907, after the many exasperating delays and alterations attendant on all royal publications. As the editor A.C. Benson wrote to Murray in the course of a letter threatening to resign, ‘Royalty have no conception how much trouble they give.’ With the new century the correspondence changed in various ways. Telegrams began to appear, film rights became a consideration and so did commercial sponsorship. NBC paid $1000 for a radio adaptation of Beau Geste to be broadcast in the Campbell Soup Hour and Murray VI got his Oxford friend John Betjeman’s poems published by promising his uncle, who was then at the helm, that he would underwrite them with his own shares in Bovril. ‘I do appreciate the charity,’ Betjeman wrote when the book appeared, ‘for I can only call it that.’ In fact it was an instance of the benign self-interest that makes a far-sighted publisher succeed. As poet laureate Betjeman was worth his weight in Bovril.

Over its long life John Murray produced not only new books, but whole new genres. The famous red Murray’s handbooks were the original foreign guidebooks, a model for Baedeker. Samuel Smiles’s Self-Help of 1859 has had many successors. But this somewhat haphazard collection, intended as a tribute, has more the air of an obituary, and a lacklustre one at that.

Buy Dear Mr Murray: Letters to a Gentleman Publisher

Edit 19 Nov – it has been brought to my attention that David McClay is the former curator of the John Murray Archive. More positive reviews of Dear Mr Murray may be found in the Scottish Review of Books and a 5 star review in the Telegraph.

https://www.scottishreviewofbooks.org/2018/11/correspondence-course/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/what-to-read/darwins-pigeons-inventing-self-help-book-john-murray-letters/

When our King went forth on pilgrimage

King George V address at Terlincthun

“It was our King’s wish that he should go as a private pilgrim, with no trappings of state nor pomp of ceremony, … to visit the tombs … of his comrades who gave up their lives in the Great War,” so began my Great Grandfather, the Australian War Correspondent, Sir Frank Fox, in the opening lines of his endearing 1922 book, The King’s Pilgrimage, about a simple three day journey by train to the War Cemeteries of France and Belgium in May 1922 by George V, the King Emperor; a man of great humility, modesty and wisdom.

by Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes DL

About ten million combatants lost their lives in the First War, but it is the concentrated nature of the ‘14-‘18 conflict combined with the horrors of trench warfare, losses on a scale never experienced before and its wide reporting through the novel media of film that mean its effects are still felt to this day.

Despite the fact that nearly double this dreadful figure were to be killed in the Second World War twenty years later, a far larger war conducted on many more fronts, it was as a result of the First War and remains to this day, commanders primary concern to minimize losses because of the negative and damning consequence such news and figures would have on morale at home and hence political will to see an operation through to its rightful end.

There is no one alive in this country today from that generation who so readily gave their lives in the Great War for our freedom today. It was a marker that would set the precedents for the Second World War and the principles of liberty by which we stand today. But, we cannot possibly comprehend the enormous sense of grief that cast its shadow across Europe for a lifetime. It was in recognition of this great collective sorrow that the King undertook his humble pilgrimage, following his State Visit to Belgium in 1922. It may seem strange that it took nearly four years to make a journey of such importance, but the numbers of dead were on such a scale that it took time to agree the manner and locations in which they were to be honoured; again the first time that the nature and manner of burial was to play a significant role in war, largely due to the work of Sir Fabian Ware, one time editor of The Morning Post which latterly became The Daily Telegraph, whose lobbying led to the establishment by royal charter of the Imperial War Graves Commission, now the Commonwealth War Graves Comission. By 1922, construction of the War Cemeteries was advanced enough to enable the King to pay his respects and see progress for himself.

Frank Fox, an experienced and tenacious journalist, had been reporting from battle fronts since the Boer War where he wrote of the controversy that created the Australian folk hero, Harry “Breaker” Morant; much of his work was for The Morning Post and it was his friendship with Ware that secured the invitation to accompany the monarch on this unique visit to the former Western Front. Fox was well qualified for this most sensitive of assignments, having been involved in many aspects of the Great War from its very outset when he was attached to the Belgian Army as The Morning Post’s War Correspondent when the Germans invaded Belgium in August 1914. For three months he reported the gallant Belgian resistance that culminated in the vital defensive action fought at the Battle of the Yser, which prevented the Channel Ports being overrun. On return, shocked by the atrocities meted out to the civilian population by German soldiers, he sought a Commission – at a relatively advanced age – and was sent to France as an officer in the Royal Field Artillery. In 1916, Fox was blown up in the quagmire of the Somme, taking him a year to recover from appalling wounds that left him almost totally deaf, with a shattered left arm and stump of a right foot. After convalescence, during which he worked for MI7 (Military Propaganda), he wangled his way back to France to serve on Field Marshal Haig’s staff in his GHQ at Montreuil-sur-Mer, where he assisted in the planning of the final offensive against the Germans.

It was in this nonchalant manner that my Great Grandfather, the Australian war correspondent, Sir Frank Fox, described in his diary, the appalling wounds he received in the quagmire of the Somme in 1916. It has yet to be explained what a 42-year old Artillery Officer was doing at the very apex of the Front Line.

“I was blown up in front of Le Sars by a salvo of shells. I refused to die on the battlefield. The gallant stretcher bearers got me in. I spent the next year in hospital.”

It was the King’s express wish that the nature of the Pilgrimage be low key, with the minimum of fuss, entourage or the usual pomp and ceremony that were the natural accompaniment to an official visit by the Sovereign; further the journey was undertaken in the workman like order of khaki service dress, then the equivalent of combat clothing worn by soldiers in the field today; the King keen to be seen and identified in the uniform that his soldiers had fought and died in. It was very much a working visit, void of the formality, scarlet and gold of the previous few days in Belgium.

On 11th May, the King left Brussels on board a special train that would be his home and transport for the three day journey, accompanied by a small party of five that included Field Marshal the Earl Haig, Sir Fabian Ware, Sir Frederick Ponsonby (Keeper of the Privy Purse), Colonel Clive Wigram (Equerry) and Major Seymour (Assistant Equerry). Later, he would be joined by Queen Mary and Admiral the Earl Beatty and at various points by representatives from countries of the Empire who played a vital role in the victory, Rudyard Kipling who was literary advisor to the Imperial War Graves Commission and had lost his only son, Jack, in 1917, while serving with the Irish Guards.

The port of Zeebrugge, was the first stop, where His Majesty was briefed on the daring raid to block the harbour by the Royal Navy in early 1918. After, it was to the Cemetery at Tyne Cot on the Passchendaele marshes, a name synonymous with appalling casualties and the largest British Military Cemetery in the world, at that time the place was a building site, home to gangs of veterans preparing the ground, masons, architects and all manner of site labourers and gardeners drawn from the local populace. Yet, wherever the King went, despite his wishes to the contrary, crowds of well-wishers gathered, singing the National Anthem, children bearing posies of flowers, gifts of thanks and messages of condolence. It was the spontaneity of incidents such as this that make this pilgrimage such a unique royal journey, like no other, and for George V, it must have been a most moving, touching and humbling experience.

At each cemetery, welcomed by local dignitaries, the King would dutifully inspect graves and a wreath would be laid before moving on. At Menin Gate, Ypres, he examined plans for the memorial to those who have no known grave; Vlamertinghe, Hop Store, Brandhoek followed until Lijssenthoek, the last cemetery in Belgian.

Arriving on French soil, the King was met with considerable ceremony at Notre Dame de Lorette – guards of honour, colour parties and much of the French General Staff, led by the grand old Marshal Foch.

‘“I have come”, said the King as he took Marshal Foch by the hand, “to lay a wreath in homage on the tombs of the French heroes who have fallen for their country,”’ Fox wrote and, after the two minute silence, noted how the King, and those around him was deeply moved at the sight of ‘row after row” of French gravestones and the loss of “a complete generation … in defence of their country.” Later, the King, turned to Foch, in animated conversation with his old friend, Haig who he had endured so much with and asked, “Always good friends, yes?” The old Marshal grasped Haig’s hand in response and replied fervently, “Toujours, toujours” (Always, always). At which point, the King too joined in placing his hand over theirs.

Queen Mary would join the entourage outside Boulogne at the final cemetery, Terlincthun, overlooking the English Channel, where 4,378 Commonwealth War Dead, including service personnel from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, New Foundland, the West Indies and South Africa are laid to rest. The Royal Party was greeted by a large delegation of French military and civil officialdom, whom the King officially thanked for their donation of land as burial grounds, support in construction of the cemeteries and sympathy for the great sacrifice made for French liberty.

In his moving speech before leaving on board ship with an escort of French destroyers to cross the English Channel, the King described the War Cemeteries as “potent advocates of peace upon earth” that would in time he prayed “serve to draw all peoples together in sanity and self-control”. In the words of Field Marshal the Lord Bramall, The King’s Pilgrimage marks the full stop to the Great War and its message of hope, succinctly summed up in George V’s closing words will ensure that as long as the graves stand, not one life lost in that war will have been in vain. (1509)

The Event

Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes invites you to the re-launch of this book at Sarum College, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EE on Monday 5th November 2018. His his Great Grandfather, Sir Frank Fox OBE, British War Correspondent was attached to the Royal Party and wrote this account of the events.

RSVP flora@medarc-limited.co.uk

Drinks 6.30 – 8.30pm
7pm In conversation with Harry Bucknall
NOTE: FOR SECURITY REASONS, PLEASE REPLY BY 30th OCTOBER – I am sure this can be waived a little, but please RVSP asp.

Purchasing the Book

If you can’t make the event you can still purchase the book at Amazon: The King’s Pilgrimage: An Account of King George V’s Visit to the War Graves in Belgium and France

Notes

“The King’s Pilgrimage” by Sir Frank Fox, OBE, first written in 1922, is republished with the blessing of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to mark the Centenary of the 1918 Armistice by his Great Grandson, Literary Executor and Wiltshire resident, Dr. Charles Goodson- Wickes.

Dr. Charles Goodson-Wickes, served in The Life Guards in British Army of the Rhine, Northern Ireland and Cyprus. In 1991, while Member of Parliament for Wimbledon, he re-enlisted in the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel to participate in Gulf War 1 for the Liberation of Kuwait. Dr Goodson-Wickes, who lives in Bulford, was a driving force behind the reintroduction of the bustard to Wiltshire, is a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London and the last sitting Member of Parliament to have seen active service.

At 6.30pm on Monday 5th November, Dr. Goodson-Wickes will talk about The King’s Pilgrimage, at Sarum College, The Close, Salisbury. To attend please email flora@medarc-limited.co.uk

The King’s Pilgrimage is available from amazon.co.uk & sirfrankfox.com

 

The King’s Pilgrimage and event in Salisbury 5 November

King George V at Etaples Cemetery

King George V at Etaples Cemetery

Whilst I have been away for the last few weeks on my own pilgrimage (again!!) to Santiago de Compostela, my good friend Harry Bucknall sent me some information about the republication of a book about a personal pilgrimage of King George V in 1922. It is now almost lost to the sands of time that our King, George V, went on pilgrimage to pay homage at the graves of the million or so war dead who not only gave their lives for our freedom but whose loss would scar a generation with grief.

This humble journey, recorded by the great war journalist, Sir Frank Fox, was written up in a little known but touching, moving and delightful book, The King’s Pilgrimage, which has been beautifully and faithfully reproduced by Fox’s Great Grandson, Charles Goodson-Wickes especially to mark the centenary of the Armistice in 1918.

“In the course of my pilgrimage, I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace … than the massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.” King George V, France 1922

This is a special book, and one as a former soldiers, Harry and I believe, every household should own … lest we forget.

The Event

Dr Charles Goodson-Wickes invites you to the re-launch of this book at Sarum College, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EE on Monday 5th November 2018. His his Great Grandfather, Sir Frank Fox OBE, British War Correspondent was attached to the Royal Party and wrote this account of the events.

RSVP flora@medarc-limited.co.uk

Drinks 6.30 – 8.30pm
7pm In conversation with Harry Bucknall
NOTE: FOR SECURITY REASONS, PLEASE REPLY BY 30th OCTOBER – I am sure this can be waived a little, but please RVSP asp.

About the Author

Sir Frank Fox (1874-1960) was an Australian born Journalist, Soldier, Author and Campaigner who lived in Britain from 1909 and wrote over 33 books.

Having warned on public platform and in the press of an impending war, he was appointed to the Morning Post and sent as their war correspondent to the Balkans. He was then attached to the Belgian Army and recorded the German invasion of 1914 in The Agony of Belgium. After being wounded, Fox served on Haig’s staff, which he wrote revealingly about in GHQ – both books recently republished.

Motivated by the atrocities he witnessed in Belgium, Fox was commissioned into the British Army at the age of 41. Appointed an O.B.E. (Military) and Mentioned in Dispatches, he was knighted by King George V in 1926.

Purchasing the Book

If you can’t make the event you can still purchase the book at Amazon: The King’s Pilgrimage: An Account of King George V’s Visit to the War Graves in Belgium and France

“Marks the full stop to the Great War. It is a very special book”
Field Marshal the Lord Bramall

“No better way to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice than this account of King George V’s homage to the Fallen”
The Rt Hon the Lord Astor, Former Defence Minister
and grandson of Field Marshal Earl Haig