Pro Patria Mori:

The 56th (1st London) Division at Gommecourt, 1st July 1916

On Saturday, 1st July 1916, the men of the 56th (1st London) Division, went ‘over the top’ to storm Gommecourt – a village recognised as the strongest position in the German lines. It was the opening day of the 141-day Battle of the Somme when 57,470 British soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The revised and greatly expanded edition of ‘Pro Patria Mori’ recounts the experiences of the London men who fought and died at Gommecourt. Using the personal recollections of those involved, many previously unpublished, the book is a day by day account of the planning and preparation of the attack. The battle itself is covered minute by minute, with many situation maps to explain the action.

“Words can’t describe how good this book is. The amount of research and detail that has gone into this is incredible.”

Additional Reviews Below

Reviews and comments

Stand To! No.84, Dec. 2008/Jan. 2009

Western Front Association

This is the second and revised edition of this excellent work which first came out in 2006, to much acclaim, Iona Books has now published a new and revised edition with some 170 extra pages as well as reinterpretations of some conclusions following a study of the personal files of another 120 officers and a deeper look at local newspapers at Colindale which, in the case of London, proved to be singularly unrewarding. Macdonald did, however, consult the rarely used and scarce Territorial Force Gazette which is remarkably detailed on London casualties from August 1916. There is a chapter on the treatment and experiences of British PoWs and an additional appendix of all known to have been taken prisoner. Also there is a Roll of Honour of German defenders and nearly 200 photos of those who died. This is a wonderful book and is an example which others with the time and dedication need to follow.

Col. Bob Wyatt

“I must say that I am deeply impressed by the immensly detailed work you have achieved. It really is a worthy addition to the literature and must surely be the last word on the subject. For those who are hesitating about buying it – get your money out. It is worth every penny.”

– JS (posted on The Great War Forum)

“This is certainly a superb piece of work!” – PR (posted on Lost Generation 14-18)

P Agius on Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars. A Masterpiece of Research
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 May 2016
Words can’t describe how good this book is. The amount of research and detail that has gone into this is incredible. Part reference work and part engrossing and unfolding daily story of what was going on 100 years ago today, this has to be top of the list not only for anyone studying WW1 but also for those with a personal connection to the Gommecourt action.

(P Agius is the great nephew of Capt. Arthur Agius who appears in the book)

Mark F. Merritt on Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars. Great Research and a Super Read!
Reviewed in the United States on 18 August 2018
Superior book, very excellent read. There is much detail here and this study is not for the feint of heart. Some great points about the book include; as many photos as the author could find (hundreds) of the men that became casualties that the unit took on 1 July, giving a face to many now almost forgotten men; detailed examination of the artillery plan and execution of the same that preceded the assault; detailed maps showing the action almost minute by minute. I could go on. This is a prize publication worth every penny if you are at all interested in why 1 July 1916 is such a black day for the BEF. Mr. MacDonald deserves much credit for his research and painstaking attention to detail. He does these old veterans proud!!!