Review of Book By-ways on Service by Hector Dinning



Here is a review of the book By-ways on Service (Notes from an Australian Journal) by Hector Dinning.

Book Name : By-ways on Service (Notes from an Australian Journal)
Author : Hector Dinning
Genre: First World War

 

Review of the book By-ways on Service by Hector Dinning

It seems strange that any book should be composed in a war-zone as difficult and dangerous as the Somme area in 1917, but that is exactly what Hector Dinning did. Having published a few of his pen-portraits and sketches of incidents in various journals, friends and colleagues pressed Dinning to collect them together and publish them as a book. This he did even in the mud of the battlefield and under the shell-fire of the Germans!

Hector Dinning was among the first Australians to volunteer for overseas service. As he and his comrades sailed toward Egypt, military discipline chafed at the individualism of the Australians. Thankfully, once in Cairo, the troops were allowed leave before further transit to the hellish Gallipoli peninsula. Dinning details the difficulties and carnage that he witnessed at Gallipoli and Pathos, but also with some restraint, given the awfulness of the battles there.

After only a brief rest in Egypt, the author was sent to France for further action on the Somme in Picardy; however, as a relief and in stark contrast, he tells of encounters with the French civilians behind the lines and the time that he spent out of the lines.

This volume takes his story up to 1917, whereupon he was transferred to the famed Australian Light Horse, who were engaged in Palestine under Allenby, which he recounted in his second volume of memoirs, “Nile to Aleppo, with the Light-horse in the Middle-East.”

Related Review :   Review of Book The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill

An excellent Anzac memoir.

 

Some contemporary reviews of ‘By-Ways On Active Service’

  • “He has a notable literary gift.”—Morning Post.
  • “He has seen strange things with intensely keen eyes.”—Daily Express.
  • “He is a vivid writer, with a keen eye for detail, and a direct way of setting it down which grips the attention.” Times.
  • “He sees things with fresh and observing eyes, and he has a most receptive mind.”—Punch.
  • “He can write.” Sydney Bulletin.
  • “He has a striking literary gift.”— Archibald Strong in Melbourne Herald.
 

 

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