Billie: The Neville Letters 1914-1916
Of all the stories arising from that disastrous day, July 1 1916, on the Somme, none is more poignant than that of Lt Wilfred ‘Billie' Nevill, an officer of the 8th East Surrey Regiment, who issued his men with footballs to kick into No Man's Land when the whistle went for the advance - as though the Somme was to be a Wembley Cup Final writ large. Nevill and most of his men were dead within the first few minutes of the battle, but their story remains as an icon of the British sporting spirit set against the mechanised realities of modern war. Based on over 200 letters to his family from the front, this volume tells Nevill's story. The text is accompanied by 30 b/w photos and three sketch maps.This correspondence forms one of the best collections of First World War letters held by the IWM.