Title: Deeds that Thrill the Empire – True Stories of the Most Glorious Acts of Heroism of the Empire’s Soldiers and Sailors during the Great War.
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2012
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 903 pages in a Two Volume Set
Comments: Here are stories recounting in graphic detail acts of gallantry or engagements at sea or in the air, each vividly pictured by artists especially commissioned to bring to life the actions described in the text.
Most of them are accounts of individual gallantry, including forty VCs and nearly one hundred DCMs as well as feats that earned the DSO, MC or, in the case of the Indian Army, the IOM (Indian Order of Merit).
But apart from these selected cases there are hundreds more illustrations, full plate and smaller, depicting other heroic acts which are described in the captions. The introduction, which contains illustrations of gallantry medals awarded by the Allies, explains that the men whose actions are described in these pages are chosen as representatives of their fellows. It goes on to say it is the epitaph of those who have laid down their lives in setting so bright an example, and it is a summons, from those who remain, to every fit man in the Empire to go and do likewise.
All the events or deeds described occurred between the outbreak of war and the end of 1916, but they are not in chronological order, nor is there any other discernible pattern in the order in which they are presented. They cover all theatres where British, Dominion and Indian troops were involved – Western Front, Gallipoli, East Africa, Salonika, Mesopotamia and, of course, the high seas. One notable error is an illustration of Darwan Sing Negi, 1st Bn 39th Garhwal Rifles, winning the VC (p161); it describes him as the first Indian to be awarded the VC. He wasn”t. That honour belonged to Sepoy (Private) Khudadad Khan, 129th Baluch Regiment, who had won his just over three weeks earlier (31 October 1914), also on the Western Front.
When this book appeared in print conscription was in full swing and signs of war weariness were apparent. It is clear that this publication, was intended as a morale booster, an appeal to patriotism as Lord Derby”s foreword shows. It really is a gem and something of a gold mine for medal collectors and a potentially valuable source for the growing band of researchers into the records of those whose names appear on local war memorials. There is a remarkably comprehensive index with lists under various headings: names listed alphabetically; by nationality e.g. British, Australian, Canadian etc forces as well as enemy troops; by formations (corps, divisions etc); lists of RN and Merchant Marine ships; lists of German Navy and other enemy ships; aircraft and airships and a geographical index.