The Wet Flanders Plain was first published in 1929. It was in good company for that year also saw the first publication of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That, Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, R. C. Sherriff's Journey's End and Ernst Junger's Storm of Steel. It doesn't suffer by comparison. But it is different from them. Unlike almost all the Great War classics this book isn't based on delayed recollection, it is more immediate than that. In 1928, Henry Williamson and another unnamed veteran revisited the battlefields of Flanders and Northern France. In Williamson's own words he wanted to 'return to my old comrades . . . to the brown, the treeless, the flat and grave-set plain of Flanders - to the rolling, heat-miraged downlands of the Somme - for I am dead with them, and they live in me again.' He wanted to be rid of the 'wraith of the war'. As he continued to be haunted by his experiences as a soldier, and continued to write at length about the Great War in both fiction and non-fiction works, it is doubtful if he was successful in that but what he does give us is a memoir that, as one reviewer put it, 'emerges from the mass of War books as the most beautiful and the most terrible.'

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