IAN HAY wrote "The First Hundred Thousand" long before we dreamed of American participation in the war.
e knowledge of victory.
"--And I'll be in Scotland before ye. But me and my true love will never meet again On the bonny, bonny baanks--"
A shrill whistle sounds far ahead. It means "March at Attention." "Loch Lomond" dies away with uncanny suddenness--discipline is waxing stronger every day--and tunics are buttoned and rifles unslung. Three minutes later we swing demurely on to the barrack-square, across which a pleasant aroma of stewed onions is wafting, and deploy with creditable precision into the formation known as "mass." Then comes much dressing of ranks and adjusting of distances. The Colonel is very particular about a clean finish to any piece of work.
Presently the four companies are aligned: the N.C.O.'s retire to the supernumerary ranks. The battalion stands rigid, facing a motionless figure upon horseback. The figure stirs.
"Fall out, the officers!"
They come trooping, stand fast, and salute--very smartly. We must set an example to the men. Besides, we
I read this book many times over when I was a teenager during the nineteen-forties. It is a fictional account of the recruitment, training and preparation of a Scottish unit during the middle period of the First World War. Re-reading it now I am amazed to find that I still enjoy the humour. I'm making a copy for my younger brother to read, knowing that he will be reminded of his own experiences on Salisbury Plain in the mid-fifties.