Regarded as one of the most outstanding commanding officers on the Western Front, Wilfrid Abel Smith commanded an elite unit of 1,000 of the finest soldiers in the British Army. Educated at Eton and Sandhurst, Smith was a career soldier who led his battalion of Grenadiers with distinction through the First Battle of Ypres and the winter trench warfare of 1914–15. He died of wounds received at the Battle of Festubert in May 1915.
The letters and diaries provide a vivid, first-hand account of the fighting and suffering on the front line, written by a compassionate commander and affectionate family man. Most of his brother officers were Old Etonians, including his brigade commander, Lord Cavan, and his second-in-command, George ‘Ma’ Jeffreys. Smith’s account offers a poignant insight into the way in which the privileged world of a Guards officer responded, with the highest sense of duty and courage, to the unprecedented demands of industrial warfare.
From Eton to Ypres is edited by his great-grandson, Charles Abel Smith.