Posted on Friday 22nd April 2016

Nigel Dewar Gibb and Randolph Churchill at the site of what was Laurence Farm.

After leaving the Admiralty in 1915, Winston Churchill was determined to continue the fight against Germany in any capacity he could and, leaving Parliament and politics behind, he crossed the Channel to join the British Expeditionary Force serving in France and Belgium. He was given command of the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers serving at Ploegsteert, or ‘Plugstreet’ to the British Tommies, at the beginning of 1916. During his four months in the trenches, the men quickly grew to love their new commander, and his Adjutant, Andrew Dewar Gibb, subsequently wrote a memoir detailing their time together.

Packed full with fascinating, even amusing, anecdotes and recollections, this memoir has been re-published for the first time since 1924. At the same time it has been expanded with the addition of further material, such as some of the letters Winston wrote from the trenches to his wife Clementine.

As part of the launch, both Randolph and Nigel were taken on a tour of the Plugstreet sector, during which they were shown many of the locations where their ancestors served – and which feature in the new book.

Randolph Churchill discussing his great-grandfather’s time at Soyer Farm near Ploegsteert.

"Thanks to this beautifully crafted book, based around the experiences of the man who acted as his adjutant, I have been able to relive those little-known days in the very words of Winston and a man who served alongside him. It is truly remarkable to stand in the exact spot where Winston had his headquarters at Plugstreet and to be here with the son of his adjutant. I can only thank Frontline Books for producing an outstanding testament to my great-grandfather, enabling me to trace his movements during his time here in Belgium, as a soldier on the front line."

The cover of the original edition of With Winston Churchill at the Front by Captain X (Historic Military Press)

"It has been a wonderful and moving experience to be able to follow in the very footsteps of my great-grandfather when he served in the trenches as a humble battalion commander 100 years ago." - Randolph Churchill
Nigel Dewar Gibb and Randolph Churchill at the site of what was Laurence Farm, Winston’s battalion headquarters for much of his time at the front. They are standing in front of the modern well-head, the only remains of the farm’s buildings to be seen today after it was subsequently destroyed by shellfire.
Nigel Dewar Gibb and Randolph Churchill on the position of the British front line. The German trenches would have been to the right of this view.

Further Reading

With Winston Churchill at the Front
(Hardback - 240 pages)
ISBN: 9781848324299

by Andrew Dewar Gibb
Only £19.99

Following his resignation from the Government after the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, Winston Churchill’s political career stalled. Never one to give in, Churchill was determined to continue fighting the enemy.

He was already a Major in the Territorial Reserve and he was offered promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and with it command of a battalion on the Western Front. On 5 January 1916, Churchill took up his new post with the 6th (Service) Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers. The battalion’s adjutant was Captain Andrew Dewar Gibb who formed a close…
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