& RECOMMENDED READING
A Very Unimportant Officer: Life and Death on the Somme and at Passchendaele
by Captain Alexander Stewart and Cameron Stewart
Published by Hodder Paperbacks - May 2009
The extraordinary letters and diaries of Captain Alexander Stewart, who served during the First World War - a vivid and moving picture of trench warfare.
After 80 years gathering dust on a family bookshelf this story was first made pubilc on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme. Titled A VERY UNIMPORTANT OFFICER, the book is a detailed and intimate account of the experience of an ordinary officer, Captain Stewart, in the front line in France and Flanders throughout 1916 and 1917.
Recruited by The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1915 and at the age of 33, Captain Stewart went 'over the top' many times, outliving 'so many better men', as he says with typical humility.
Through this vivid testimony by Captain Stewart we enter a world of mud, flies and dysentry as well as great friendships and the overarching horrors of war. In one memorable passage he describes engaging the enemy while smoking a pipe - an episode for which he was awarded the Military Cross.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (14 May 2009)
ISBN-10: 0340977124 ISBN-13: 978-0340977125
Cameron Stewart who co-authored the book, is Captain Alexander Stewart's grandson. An actor who has worked extensively in UK television and theatre, he can frequently be heard on BBC Radio 4 and the World Service.