R.C. Sherriff, author of Journey's End, the most famous play of the Great War, saw all his frontline service with the 9th Battalion East Surrey Regiment. This intense experience profoundly affected his writing and, through his play, it continues to have a powerful influence on our understanding of the conflict. Yet the story of his battalion has never been told in full until now.
In The Journey's End Battalion, Michael Lucas gives a vivid account of its history. Using official and unofficial sources, diaries, letters, and British and German wartime records, he describes the individuals who served in it and the operations they took part in. He identifies the inspiration for Journey's End and considers how Sherriff delved into his experiences and those of his fellow soldiers in order to create his drama. So not only does the book shed new light on the wartime career of R.C. Sherriff, but it is a valuable record of the operation of a British battalion on the Western Front during the Great War.
Michael Lucas's initial interest in the 9th East Surrey was sparked off by family connections, and he has made an in-depth study of the history of the battalion - and of the part that R.C. Sherriff played in it. As well as consulting a wide range of published and archive sources, he has contacted descendants of soldiers who served in the battalion. He has published a number of articles, chiefly on the Great War, including two in Stand To!, the journal of the Western Front Association.