Thirty-odd Feet Below Belgium: An Affair of Letters in the Great War 1915-1916

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9781898594802: Thirty-odd Feet Below Belgium: An Affair of Letters in the Great War 1915-1916
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When Geoffrey Boothby was seconded to the Royal Engineers in 1915, he was twenty- one and Edith Ainscow was eighteen. They had spent only four days together before Geoffrey was sent to the Front and the subterranean struggle below the Ypres Salient, in tunnels that were narrow, dark, flooded, and in deadly danger from the German workings close by. During the next 18 months, as their letters passed to and fro, they fell in love. As Edith wrote her last letter, in May 1916, Geoffrey was due for leave: 'I can't really believe that you're coming yet but I hope and hope and hope. Do, do be careful just for one week.....'

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Tunnellers' memoirs are scarce, but collections of letters are yet more rare. I have never come across such a revealing or affecting record. Geoffrey today lies thirty feet down in the blue clay of Flanders; I have no doubt that Edith's photograph lies with him, in the tunic pocket closest to his heart. --Peter Barton, author of Beneath Flanders Fields

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