Title: The Big Fight – Gallipoli to the Somme
Author: Captain David Fallon MC
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2004
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 276 pages
Comments: Gallipoli and the Western Front to the end of 1916, as experienced by the author who served with the Australians and 1/Buckingham Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
This book is an account of the author’s battlefield experiences at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. Fallon was a pre-war regular (Northumberland Fusiliers) who, when war broke out, was a staff sergeant instructor at the Australian Royal Military College in Duntroon. Transferred in some unexplained fashion to the Australian army he took part in the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915, which he describes in gory detail, as he does the rest of the fighting till he was evacuated in December.
Back in the British army he was commissioned into the Buckingham Battalion (TF) of the O & B LI (145th Bde/48th Division) with which he fought on the Western Front till badly wounded at the end of 1916. He seems to go out of his way to make his descriptions of the fighting as bloody as possible, and as for the Germans, he has a chapter entitled “Hun Beastliness” in which he makes unbelievable statements such as the two examples which follow: It was the nude body of the Mother Superior. She had been nailed to the door. She had been crucified.
In the ruins we brought out the bodies of four nuns, unspeakably mutilated. Their bodies had been stabbed and slashed each more than a hundred times. They had gone to martyrdom resisting incredible brutes. They had fought hard, the blond hair of their assassins clutched in their dead hands. And again, at Wytschaete above the wreck of the skyline trench bayonets stuck up, and on them were the severed heads, with horrible smiles under their English caps, of twenty of my men. Referring to German soldiers he writes: They hate the bayonet. The cold steel is not for Hans. Shades of Dad’s Army, LCpl Jones and “They don’t like it up ‘em”.