Review of “Duty nobly done”

Duty nobly done: the South Wales Borderers at Gallipoli 1915
by Rodney Ashwood
Published by Helion & Company in 2017
hardback ISBN 978 1 911512 17 2
281 pages plus appendices, bibliography and index. Illustrated. Glossy paper.

This is a fine study of the experience of the two battalions of the South Wales Borderers that participated in the Gallipoli campaign. The two had very different backgrounds: the 2nd Battalion, a regular unit that was on garrison duty in China when war began; and the 4th (Service) Battalion, raised from volunteers in August and September 1914. They were under command of the 29th and 13th (Western) Divisions respectively. The 2nd Battalion was among the first to land at Gallipoli, when it came ashore at “S” Beach at Cape Helles on the first day of operations, 25 April 1915; the 4th entered at Suvla Bay on 15 July.

Rodney Ashwood has draw upon a good range of sources from the unit war diaries, through officers service records,to the unpublished diaries of several officers and a Sergeant. As such, we do not get down to much detail at the level of the individual soldier; at least, not that of the rank and file. The book is illustrated with some good photographs and maps, but not extensively so. The telling of the story is good and engaging and I found much of interest. Students of the Gallipoli campaign or of the regiment will not be disappointed.

The appendices are extensive: biographies of all of the officers (including some of the 4th Battalion who served on the staff of 40th Infantry Brigade headquarters) and rolls of honour of the dead of both units regardless of rank.


South Wales Borderers