Having a Go at the Kaiser

A Welsh Family at War

Author(s) Gethin Matthews

Language: English

Genre(s): History

  • October 2018 · 336 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786833471
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786833488
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786833495

About The Book

This book is based on more than a hundred letters sent home by three Swansea brothers during the First World War, almost all of which relate to the period 1916–18 when Richard, Gabriel and Ivor Eustis were serving in different theatres. The run of letters written to different members of the family allow us to build a picture of what the brothers thought about a range of different issues as the war was being waged, and of how their beliefs and ideas evolved as situations changed. In common with other soldiers’ letters to their families, information on the battles fought is scarce – they are rather concerned with keeping the family bonds strong during the men’s absence. The dynamics of the family are revealed in letters full of sibling rivalry and affection.


‘This fascinating and valuable collection of letters is a rich historical resource. What is particularly useful and attractive is how it provides a view of the Great War from the perspective of the soldier – and one, moreover, which places that experience within a wider social context. The letters add a valuable element of personal colour, to be sure, but they also reveal a deeper reality behind the conflict and take us beyond the familiar themes of trench warfare and the Western Front to embrace the war more generally.’
-Paul Brendan O’Leary, Sir John Williams, Professor of Welsh History, Aberystwyth University


1. Introduction – The Eustis family; the local community; the letters

2. Richard and Gabriel, 1913 – 1915
3. Richard Eustis in Egypt, 1916 – February 1917
4. Ivor Eustis at school, 1914–1916, and in north Wales, May–November 1916
5. Gabriel Eustis aboard HMT Saxon, to February 1917
6. Richard Eustis in Egypt, March 1917 – January 1918
7. Ivor Eustis in north Wales, 1917
8. Richard Eustis in Palestine and Egypt, February 1918 – June 1918
9. Ivor Eustis on the Western Front, December 1917 – September 1918
10. Gabriel Eustis aboard HMT Saxon, November 1917 – October 1918
11. Richard Eustis in Egypt, July 1918 – November 1918
12. Ivor Eustis in England and Wales, October – November 1918
13. November 1918 – January 1919
14. Aftermath
15. Patterns and Perspectives
Appendix 1List of all the extant letters and postcards sent by the Eustis brothers
Appendix 2Servicemen from Mynyddbach / Tirdeunaw / Treboeth mentioned in the text
Appendix 3Information on servicemen from other parts of Swansea and West Glamorgan mentioned in the text
Select Bibliography

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Gethin Matthews

Gethin Matthews is Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Lecturer in History at Swansea University.

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