book review: A German Tommy - Ken Anderson


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Book Reviewer

Review: A German Tommy by Ken Anderson


This book is subtitled the secret of war hero. In actual fact the book was a slight disappointment to me. The style was fine, I just found the content lacking somewhat. It could and should have been a very interesting book about how those of German descent fought for Britain, concentrating on this one example, failed to hit its mark.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin="1783462744"]The book focusing on the case of an Australian named Walther Schwarz, who enlisted in the Australian Army under his own...


Out of interest did he join the 1st Sportsman's (23rd RF) or 2nd Sportsman's (24th RF)? I did a study on the social composition of the 1st Sportsman's 1914-15 and their officer corps 1914-1918 for my dissertation, seemed a normal battalion to me with very few actual Sportsmen. More popular for its higher age limit of 45 instead of 35 for most other NA battalions.
The 33rd Midshires thing sounds like mince to me.

A fair number of soldiers of German descent were employed in intelligence by the British Army in jobs where languages  mattered - PW handling and signals interception.  Very late in the war a lot (not all) of the ORs employed in intelligence and counter-intelligence  were notionally transferred from their parent regiments to 10(b) Royal Fusiliers.  10(b) RF never existed as an actual unit and had nothing to do with the 'real' 10 RF, and transfer to 10(b) RF had nothing to do with Germanic descent.  But 10(b) RF may have had the largest concentration of men of German descent in the British army.

I wonder if somehow the fact some men of German descent ended up in 10(b) RF became 'there's a unit used as a dumping ground for men of German descent'.


Book Reviewer
Robert Graves' autobiography 'Good bye to all that'  touches on his  own German ancestry.



His full name was Robert von Ranke Graves, after his mother Amalie von Ranke. Like many British and Commonwealth personnel, Graves had cousins fighting on the other side of the lines.

<em>At thirteen Graves was sent to <a href="" rel="nofollow">Charterhouse</a> public school where he was bullied. Graves later wrote how "the legend was put about that I was not only German but a German-Jew."</em>

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