Title: Both Sides of the Wire – The memoir of an Australian officer captured during the Great War (22nd Battalion)
Author: Cull, William Ambrose and edited by Aaron Pegram
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2011
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 232 pages
Comments: This is Bill Cull’s unforgettable story of his experiences in WW1: he fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front where he was captured by the Germans and was a POW until the end of the war.
This is Bill Cull’s unforgettable story of his experiences in WW1: he fought at Gallipoli and on the Western Front where he was captured by the Germans and was a POW until the end of the war.
Captain William Cull fought the First World War from both sides of the wire. As a young infantry officer on the Allied side of the Western Front, Cull frequently led patrols out into No Man’s Land and raids on the German trenches. He took part in bitter fighting on the Somme at Pozieres, and in February 1917 was severely wounded in a futile attack on the German trenches near Warlencourt, where he was taken prisoner by the Germans. Having survived the ordeal of battle, Cull spent the remainder of the war on the German side of the wire.
The first half of Both Sides of the Wire is an action-packed account of Cull’s war on the Western Front in the months leading up to his capture. The second half is a candid portrayal of his experiences as a prisoner of war in the hands of the Germans. Cull endured many months of agony as he recovered in prison camps in occupied France and Germany- surviving in spite of German doctors’ early predictions that he would not live through his first night in captivity.
This book is based on the memoir At All Costs that Cull wrote in the months after his repatriation to Australia in October 1918. Aaron Pegram is a historian at the Australian War Memorial. He has written the introduction, epilogue and notes for Cull’s memoir, which remains one of the very few published accounts of captivity in Germany during the First World War.
About William Cull edited by Aaron Pegram
William Cull was an apprentice coach builder from Sanford, Victoria, who enlisted in the AIF in May 1915. He saw active service as an infantry officer on Gallipoli and the Western Front where he was severely wounded and taken prisoner during the 6th Brigade’s attack on Malt Trench near Warlencourt in February 1917. He spent eleven months in captivity in Germany before being transferred to Switzerland in January 1918. He died in Melbourne in 1939.
Aaron Pegram is a historian at the Australian War Memorial and the Managing Editor of the Memorial’s magazine Wartime. A Charles Sturt University history graduate, he is currently writing a PhD thesis on the 3,861 Australian troops taken prisoner by the German Army on the Western Front.