Object of the Month - April 2024

30 April, 2024

The Royal Artillery Commemorative War Books for both the Great War and the 1939 – 1945 War

Among our extensive library of technical pamphlets, doctrinal theses and spellbinding eyewitness accounts of past actions that comprehensively illustrate the Regiment’s history lie two magnificent tomes. These historical volumes: The Royal Artillery Commemorative War Books for both the ‘Great War’ and the ‘1939 – 1945 War’ brilliantly document the Regiment’s role in the two major conflicts of the last century.

The former, beautifully bound in brown leather, provides the most wonderfully readable accounts, illustrated with paintings, maps, diagrams, line drawings and of course photographs whose clarity is astonishing considering the conditions and technology of the time. Dedicated to the 48,949 who died in the service of the guns, this book catalogues the war in chronological order, lists by name the 3,507 Officers who died and ends with some fascinating and colourful portraits and memoirs of some ‘representative artillerymen’.

The volume dedicated to WWII that is currently accessible for researchers is sadly in poorer condition, mirroring the avid attention it so richly deserves. (People will be reassured to know that we do hold other copies, in rather better condition, safely stored away). Cataloguing the war chronologically and by region, it also pays attention to eyewitness accounts, illustrating episodes of high tension and great gallantry. 

Their sheer size might not imply light reading but once delved into, these books become a rich and absorbing insight into the service and experiences of Gunners in those monumental conflicts.