Gun Fire (Number 18), edited by A.J. Peacock

Gun Fire (Number 18), edited by A.J. Peacock

Gun Fire (Number 18), edited by A.J. Peacock

A5 size booklet, 60 pages. (N6454X1)

Gun Fire was an occasional journal produced by members of the Western Front Association, and it contained articles about aspects of the First World War. One of the strangest things noted by many soldiers in 1914-18 was the result of a realisation that, whereas one could often not hear big guns firing when one was close by them, they could be heard many miles away. These were called 'zones of silence', and this issue contains an article by a physicist from York University explaining why. There is also material on an execution and some accounts of Christmas 1914.  The full contents are as follows:

Zones of Silence
In the Trenches with Brereton and Westerman
1914 A Christmas Miscellany
Notes And Queries

From the first page: In 1917 the Times carried a number of letters about what Palmer's Index called the 'Sound of Gunfire', wherein a number of correspondents told of the distance over which the sound of a gun travelled and their experiences near, or quite near, big guns which they could not hear firing, whilst yet more wrote to say that they knew of this from long ago. Robert Armstrong­ Jones, MD of Carnavon, for example, wrote that during the 19th century shepherds on the Wiltshire Downs were able to hear guns being fired at Portsmouth and Major General J.B. Richardson of Spilsby, told of his experiences at the Siege Camp at Lydd when he said that in 1887 guns firing there were clearly heard at Dover and Folkestone, though not by people nearby.

Armstrong-Jones had written to the Times largely as a response to a letter from one George F. Sleggs. That gentleman had been prompted to take pen to paper because of reports that Flanders gunfire could be heard quite clearly in England. He agreed and pointed out that it was a fact that 'at a certain distance and upwards from the firing line the sound of the German guns will be greater than the sound of our own, because we are in front of the German guns but behind the British ... because of the peculiar nature of the sound wave emitted from the muzzle of a gun, the noise being nearly all concentrated in the direction of fire'....

Interestingly, an earlier edition of the journal explained the origins of the slang phrase 'Gun Fire', detailing how it was a term for the early cup of tea served out to troops in the morning before going on first parade. In the War recruits in training always had Gun Fire supplied to them, as the work before breakfast was often particularly gruelling.

Condition of the booklet is generally good. The cover has one or two minor scuffs, but the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Their is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.

Condition New