Somewhere in France represents a virtually unique archive of the First World War and the conditions under which ordinary soldiers lived. Through his father's first-hand account, Geoffrey Whittaker explores the world of a Tommy in the trenches, covering everyday experiences from enlisting and training through to aerial warfare and gas attacks, from food and entertainment to war philosophy. The perfect comprehensive guide to a soldier's life on the Western Front, this book draws on the letters of soldier William Whittaker to bring it to life. These letters are remarkably insightful in their engagement with issues such as recruitment, censorship and soldiers' leave. The result is a vivid account of the realities, hopes and dreams of the war on the Western Front, as they were lived, and as we see them today. William's son fills in the gaps and tells the stories that the censors would never have let him send home, but that have been passed down through the family by word of mouth. One of the censorship rules was that no mention could be made in letters home of the troop's location. Most of the letters are therefore simply headed 'Somewhere in France'.
Geoffrey Whittaker was born in Yorkshire and educated at Oxford University. He was a radar mechanic in the Royal Air Force and saw active service in the Middle East during the Suez Canal crisis. William Whittaker volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps and served at the front in France from 1915 - 1919, being present at the Somme and other major battles. His letters, written from Flanders and north-east France, survived.