From Gardener to Fusilier

By Judith Phillips

The next meeting of the Richmond and North Yorkshire Branch of the Western Front Association features a one of the newly-constituted branch’s members and a supporter of our project.  I’m only sorry that his story doesn’t fit the geographical limits of the project.

James Sadler has written a fascinating book about his father’s experiences in the First World War called ‘Gardener to Fusilier – an infantryman’s adventures during the Great War’.  It’s a mixture of his father’s personal account made while he was convalescing in England after being stretchered of the battlefield in 1918 and the official war diary of his battalion.  Together they allow the reader to build a picture of what life was like for a soldier and put his experiences into the wider context.  There are maps to show where the battalion was operating, along with photographs of the area as it is today.  James Sadler senior served from August 1914 until he was injured in August 1918, and his war saw him involved in a number of the major battlefields on the Western Front.

If you have a chance to go to the next meeting, I’d recommend it – James is fun to listen to and talk with and his book is such a labour of love that I am sure his talk will be great.  The meeting is on Wednesday 13th June at 7.30 at Richmondshire Cricket Club.  It’s open to everyone, not just branch members, and it’s free.  I am told there is plenty of parking opposite the club and the bar will be open!  For more information, please contact chris Robinson Tel: 01748 850385 or email