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A Visit to Three Fronts by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Produced by Tonya Allen and Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders. This file was produced from images generously made available by the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at http://gallica.bnf.fr.

A VISIT TO THREE FRONTS

June 1916

BY

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

AUTHOR OF

'THE GREAT BOER WAR'

PREFACE

In the course of May 1916, the Italian authorities expressed a desire that some independent observer from Great Britain should visit their lines and report his impressions. It was at the time when our brave and capable allies had sustained a set-back in the Trentino owing to a sudden concentration of the Austrians, supported by very heavy artillery. I was asked to undertake this mission. In order to carry it out properly, I stipulated that I should be allowed to visit the British lines first, so that I might have some standard of comparison. The War Office kindly assented to my request. Later I obtained permission to pay a visit to the French front as well. Thus it was my great good fortune, at the very crisis of the war, to visit the battle line of each of the three great Western allies. I only wish that it had been within my power to complete my experiences in this seat of war by seeing the gallant little Belgian army which has done so remarkably well upon the extreme left wing of the hosts of freedom.

My experiences and impressions are here set down, and may have some small effect in counteracting those mischievous misunderstandings and mutual belittlements which are eagerly fomented by our cunning enemy.

Arthur Conan Doyle.

Crowborough,

July 1916.

CONTENTS

A GLIMPSE OF THE BRITISH ARMY.

A GLIMPSE OF THE ITALIAN ARMY.

A GLIMPSE OF THE FRENCH LINE.

A GLIMPSE OF THE BRITISH ARMY

I

It is not an easy matter to write from the front. You know that there are several courteous but inexorable gentlemen who may have a word in the matter, and their presence 'imparts but small ease to the style.' But above all you have the twin censors of your own conscience and common sense, which assure you that, if all other readers fail you, you will certainly find a most attentive one in the neighbourhood of the Haupt-Quartier. An instructive story is still told of how a certain well-meaning traveller recorded his satisfaction with the appearance of the big guns at the retiring and peaceful village of Jamais, and how three days later, by an interesting coincidence, the village of Jamais passed suddenly off the map and dematerialised into brickdust and splinters.


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