"I was alone in a world gone mad. Death was all around...Useless, filthy death." At 2 o'clock on the morning of 21 March 1918, the Battle of St Quentin began. The German assault, consisting of trench mortars, mustard gas, chlorine gas, tear gas and a heavy artillery bombardment, was said to be one of the most fierce and devastating of the Great War. Over the course of 6 days, thousands of British troops lost their lives and yet this would prove to be the turning point of the war - the end was in sight. George Hill was just sixteen when he enlisted into the army, eager to fight for his country and full of pride for the role he would play. After only a few weeks in France, he was in the midst of St Quentin and the full horrors of trench warfare. Incredibly, he survived - one of the few members of his battalion to do so. After several months at the front, he was gassed and spent the last days of the war in a field hospital. Hill turned 19 on the day of the armistice. "Retreat from Death" is the harrowing story based on his experiences.
George Herbert Hill was born in Ireland in 1898. Following the year he spent in France during the Great War he became a reporter at the Belfast Telegraph. After the publication of Retreat from Death he worked successively with the scriptwriter Alexander Korda and film producer Brian Desmond Hurst. In 1939 he returned to the Belfast Telegraph as a war correspondent and after the war joined the Daily Mail until his retirement. He died in 1969. Richard Holmes is Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University. He has presented seven BBC documentary series, and has written nearly twenty books on military subjects, most recently the bestselling 'Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-18'.