The Reluctant Tommy
Date of publication: May 2011
In the First World War, Ronald Skirth was an ordinary tommy. His experiences were like those of many others, save in one thing. When Skirth went out into No Man's Land after Passchendaele and saw the dead body of a teenaged German soldier, he resolved that he would never again help to take a human life.
Making use of Ronald Skirth's letters and postcards to his sweetheart, Ella, his contemporary journals and the memoir he wrote in his retirement fifty years later, The Reluctant Tommy is one's man view of his past. Part love story part war memoir this is an absorbing read.
There has been some controversy over the accuracy of events as related in Ronald Skirth's papers held in the Imperial War Museum but as one individual's emotional response to the Great War it is a powerful and moving account.