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The Silent Division: New Zealanders at the Front, 1914-1919



This is in no sense a book of fiction but one of facts and of the reaction of a kindly soul to his experiences as a front-line Digger.

In it is to be found a truer reflection both of the grim side of the thing we call war as of its lighter and carefree aspect than is commonly found in war books. If the sense of tragedy grows deeper as the story unfolds and becomes almost overwhelming in the description of life in the trenches and of the realities of the battlefield, there yet runs through the fabric of the narrative a golden thread—a sense of beauty, of humour: and while he laments the apparent futility of war, the writer glimpses the glory of sacrifice, of the endurance of hardship and of the suffering of wounds that others may escape.

To everyone who has shared in the Iliad, in which the writer took part, the vivid descriptions of the wanderings of the N.Z.E.F. will inevitably recall his own experiences, nor will the memories be all unpleasant.

May it bring to its other readers a more lively appreciation of the inevitable after effects on the health, both physical and mental, of those whose lives at the front are written in these pages.

page vi

It is natural and perhaps inevitable that such experiences should lead to criticisms and to the free expression on the writer's part of opinions with which his readers do not agree. They are none the less interesting, and share with the rest of his story the merit of being an honest record of his experiences.