Bloody

Michael Church

  • The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War by Jeanne MacKenzie
    Chatto, 276 pp, £14.95, June 1986, ISBN 0 7011 2847 X
  • Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan
    Polygon, 369 pp, £9.95, July 1986, ISBN 0 948275 19 7
  • The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters
    Gollancz, 183 pp, £10.95, June 1986, ISBN 0 575 03790 3
  • Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War edited by Valentine Cunningham
    Oxford, 388 pp, £15.00, July 1986, ISBN 0 19 212258 4
  • The Spanish Cockpit by Franz Borkenau
    Pluto, 303 pp, £4.95, July 1986, ISBN 0 7453 0188 6
  • The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 by Paul Preston
    Weidenfeld, 184 pp, £10.95, June 1986, ISBN 0 297 78891 4
  • Images of the Spanish Civil War by Raymond Carr
    Allen and Unwin, 192 pp, £14.95, July 1986, ISBN 0 04 940089 4

‘I adore war,’ Julian Grenfell reported to his mother from the Flemish trenches in 1914, in a letter which she proudly sent on for anonymous publication in the Times. Stalking Germans through the mud was not very different from stalking partridges, as he noted in his game book: ‘November 16th; 1 Pomeranian. November 17th; 2 Pomeranians.’ Two decades later in Spain, Julian Bell informed his mother Vanessa that the war in which he was serving as an ambulance man was ‘perpetually entertaining and very satisfactory’, one of the chief pleasures being ‘getting back into male society’. John Cornford fought in Spain as a zealous young Communist, but his letters to Margot Heinemann reflect the same first-term-in-a-new-school excitement, the same all-male exhilaration. ‘I did quite well that day,’ he said of his success in rescuing a gun from the enemy. ‘He did well here, and died bloody well,’ he observed on another occasion of a gallant friend who preceded him to the grave. The blood-stained final letter which Julian Grenfell sent home from Flanders ran:

You are not logged in