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The Lieutenant by Sapper (Cyril McNeile) first edition 1915

The Lieutenant by Sapper (Cyril McNeile) first edition 1915


London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1915


8vo., green cloth lettered in black to upper board and spine; in the publisher’s dust wrapper priced 1/-net to spine; pp. [iv], v-vii, [i], 175, [i]; boards near-fine, internally foxed to endleaves, prelims and edges, with additional offsetting to the endpapers; the pictorial dust wrapper shelf-worn, nicked and chipped, particularly to the head of spine, with small portion of loss to the upper panel; abrasion to spine resulting in some loss of the upper layer of the paper stock, internally discretely repaired in places with archival tape. 


First edition of McNeile’s second book, written and published whilst he was on active duty as part of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front. 


McNeile began writing about his experiences in the trenches during the First World War, the results of which were first published in the Daily Mail, with his pseudonym given to him by the owner of the newspaper. His first piece, Reminiscences of Sergeant Michael Cassidy, was serialised on page four from 13 January 1915, and the present volume, his second collection of short stories, intended to show “the tears and the laughter, the humour and the pathos that go to form the atmosphere” in Ypres. It is dedicated to those “who have gone across the Vale of Shadows: may the earth lie lightly on them, one and all.”


Despite being previously serialised, the book proved extremely popular, selling almost 140,000 copies. The stories within include ‘Ebeneezer the Goat’, ‘James and the Land Mine’ and ‘The End of Wipers’ - ‘Wipers’  being the nickname soldiers used for the town of Ypres. 


Scarce in the dust jacket. 

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