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Request for a good voice-over

If you can do a good voice-over of my grandfather’s words then please record this extract and email it to me as an MP3 file. It would be great to compile an audio book in this way so feel free to record the extract on the home page too.

The evacuation of Cape Helles, Gallipoli by Norman Woodcock
When Suvla was evacuated all the Turkish guns there were moved against us in the south of the Peninsula, and when Anzac was evacuated we had even more against us. Naturally, the Turks knew that we were evacuating, although we were told to make it look as if we were staying.
After the enemy guns moved to Helles we underwent daily and nightly bombardment of growing intensity. It was as if the Turks wanted to blow us off. The 29th Division had gone to Suvla in October and we were moved to the 9th Corps to work, but gradually there was little to do but take cover. Shells broke everything down. Communication trenches became shallow ditches with little cover in places. We spent time building them up. In the night, ships came and loaded then disappeared before daybreak. Troops marching down to embark turned about and marched towards the line whenever a hostile plane was over. Gadgets of all kinds were fitted up to fire every now and then to appear to the Turks that we were all still there.
Then we were ordered to make our preparations. We had orders to go down to V beach, where we had originally landed. Everything that could be was to be destroyed. We destroyed our wagons and our remaining stores. Our few remaining horses were to be left behind. We could not believe it – leave the horses – Never! But we did. I gave Timbuc all the sugar I had saved from my meagre rations and petted him – stroked him – said goodbye and then, in the dark, we made our way down the trail to the beach to board a small steamer that in peace time sailed from Holyhead to Dublin.
It was a night of mixed emotions, relief that we were leaving at last but tremendous sadness at having to leave my beloved Timbuc. I could only hope that the Turks would recognise what a wonderful animal he was and treat him well.
We had to be off before daylight otherwise we should be shelled from the Asiatic shore and blown out of the water, as we were only about 2 miles away. After we embarked, the sea came up rough and the lighters that were alongside threatened to stave in the ship’s sides. Just before daylight, as we were becoming anxious because we would be under open observation to the gunners on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont, the engines started and we moved off. Had we stayed another 20 minutes they would have blown us out of the water. No ship had been there in daylight for some weeks.
How glad we were to come away. Not long after we set sail the singing began – we sang all the way to Imbros.

Win a copy of “On That Day I Left My Boyhood Behind”

Leeds Big Bookend are running a competition to win a copy of my grandfather’s memoirs of WW1 in Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Sommefor web site Leeds Big Bookend Click here to enter the competition

WW1 Children’s Writing Competition – Leeds Big Bookend

Not long to go to the closing date for entering the WW1 writing competition. Here is the link to my tips for entering:

Link to my tips about entering the competition

WW1 comp copy

Great audience in Chepstow Library on 6th October

Thank you to Chepstow Bookshop and everyone in Chepstow Library for organising my talk on 6th October. There were some great questions from the audience and afterwards I heard some fascinating stories about families who had relatives at Gallipoli.

Chepstow Bookshop

Chepstow Library

Sideshows of the First World War – talk at Kings College, London

Fascinating to hear my fellow authors in our talk at Kings College London last Monday – Jules Stewart talking about his book ‘The Kaiser’s Mission to Kabul’ and Antony Wynn talking about the South Persia Rifles and his book ‘Three Camels to Smyrna’. Many thanks to Neil Faulkner for chairing the session and to all in the Sir Michael Howard Centre for the History of War at Kings for arranging the evening and providing the wine!

flyer Kings

Come and hear me talk about the book

I will be speaking at the U3A meeting in Chepstow on 3rd February at the Drill Hall U3A events web page


New blog post about conditions in the Middle East in WW1

Thanks to Susie Grogan, author of Shell Shocked Britain, for hosting a blog from me. Read all about my grandfather, Norman Woodcock, in the Middle East during WW1 entitled ‘Our Tongues Cleaved to the Roofs of Our Mouths’  No more wriggling out of writing


The book is in good company

Delighted to see the book on the shelves in good company alongside Jeremy Paxman, Peter Snow and Eric HobsbawmIMG_0949

Chepstow Bookshop now stocking the book

I’m delighted that Chepstow Bookshop have taken copies of the book to sell – I’ve put a link to the shop on the web site under ‘how to buy’


Kindle version of the book is up on Amazon

Great to see the book on Amazon and the first sales too