“I feel one can say with some conviction that no man should willingly leave his home to fight, wound, maim or kill other men about whom he knows little and whom he certainly does not hate. When all men refuse to commit such follies the foundations of a true civilisation will have only just started to be laid.”
- Sam Sutcliffe, circa 1974 (extracted from his Memoir)

Book readings/speaking engagements - marking Remembrance Day…

Readings from Foot Soldier Sam Sutcliffe's Nobody Of Any Importance: A Foot Soldier's Memoir Of World War 1 given by his son, Phil
Sam Sutcliffe, 1919, post Gallipoli, Somme,
Arras 1918, POW months
Sam's lad Phil, um, not all that long ago.

Forthcoming readings 

FOOT SOLDIER SAM MEMOIR READING event organised by WESTERN FRONT ASSOCIATION SURREY BRANCH Wednesday November 21 7.45-10pm (doors open 7.15), Cobham Day Centre, Lushington Drive, Cobham KT11 2LY – see Surrey WFA site at http://ow.ly/RjiA30lZiB7 and map http://ow.ly/cGKS30lZiKQ . This is a two-speaker soiree: Sam's eye-witness frontline stories are preceded by Graeme Cole talking about grenades – and bringing along some entirely legal and non-explosive examples! Then, after refreshments, I'll read from my father's experiences of 1918-19 – the battle against the Spring Offensive outside Arras (Fampoux, his Company and 2/7 Essex Battalion's fight to the last bullet), his eight months as a POW (near-starvation, guard brutality, a laugh or two…!), his view of Armistice down in (long-)occupied Alsace, his long walk back to the French lines (the wrong way through a minefield and so on) and maybe touching on his homecoming and the July, 1919, Peace Parade if there's time. Well, at least a flavour of all that will be encompassed.

By 1918 Sam, who joined up in September, 1914, aged 16, was a veteran of Gallipoli (Suvla Bay and V Beach) and the Somme (including July 1 at Gommecourt).

Free entrance, but a donation to help with Wilts WFA's running costs is requested. Non-members definitely welcome.

I can't offer you a meet-the-author I'm afraid, just a chat with his son and editor - plus a "chance to buy" the third and final edition of the Memoir, just out , price £10, with added documents, Endnotes and all (proceeds from Sam's writings go to the British Red Cross; in the case of the paperback that means £6 per copy). E-books of the Memoir and the extracted battle/campaign excerpts are also available via this blog, all details page http://footsoldiersam.blogspot.co.uk/p/books-available.html 

And then next… FOOT SOLDIER SAM READS AGAIN at an evening event organised by WESTERN FRONT ASSOCIATION NORFOLK BRANCH Tuesday January 8, 2019, 7.30-10pm (doors open 7), The White Horse (a pub!), The Street, Trowse, Norwich NR14 8ST – see Norfolk WFA site at http://ow.ly/uKyI30mfNMB and map http://ow.ly/30uJ30mfNS

I'll read excerpts from my father's experiences – touching on the poor London childhood that "made" the Tommy, then Summer 1914 and the enlistment fever that saw him join up in September, his terrible and even sometimes terribly funny experiences of the trenches at Gallipoli (Suvla Bay, V Beach with the 2/1 Royal Fusiliers), the Somme  (including July 1 at Gommecourt with the Kensingtons), and the battle against the Spring Offensive outside Arras (Fampoux, his Company and 2/7 Essex Battalion's fight to the last bullet), and the POW to July, 1919, Peace Parade aftermath – further details as per the Surrey reading above…

The above leaves rather a lot of unreading days as the Remembrance movement plans its future programmes of events through 2019 and on into 2020 – after all how could we allow "We shall remember them" to become "Oh, forget it"?

So here's Phil and Sam's pitch to whomever might like a good talking to…

Foot Soldier Sam's World War 1 in his own words: Sam Sutcliffe's son and editor Phil reads excerpts from his father's story of World War 1. The Memoir covers childhood through to volunteering at 16, then Gallipoli, the Somme, the Spring Offensive, his months as a POW through to Armistice and the Peace celebrations of July, 1919 – when he was just 21.
Pic by Lance Bolton of Royal Chelsea Hospital ©️2016.

Phil is happy to talk about the remarkable survivor he knew, how the Memoir was written, and encourage audience members to discuss any aspect of WW1 – or any war – especially their own stories of family members caught up in such conflicts and how it has affected their own lives.

The readings are free•, their purpose to record the essence of a First World War Tommy's experience, ensuring it's understood and not forgotten. Paperbacks of the Memoir will be available to buy at all readings. All proceeds from Sam's writings in all formats go to the British Red Cross (paperback £10, £4 print costs, so £6 to the Red Cross - £3,390 raised as of September 1, 2018).
• Except if you're miles away I might ask for my fare!

Email philsutcliffe47@gmail.com or phone 020 8674 9397 for bookings.

Foot Soldier Sam's road trips so far:
Readings 2015
* Walthamstow, London
* St Leonard's, Sussex
* Primrose Hill, London
* Gloucester and as duo with Kelsey Thornton, expert on WW1 poet Ivor Gurney
* Newcastle (with Kelsey and Ivor)

Readings 2016
* "Chelsea Pensioners", London
* King's College, London seminar with four speakers, including Phil pp Sam relating excerpts from Nobody Of Any Importance to the work of World War 1's best-known front-line poet Wilfred Owen on the theme Patriotism And 'The Great Game'

Readings 2017
* London East Western Front Association WW1 open day at St Mary's Church, Walthamstow, September
* Ox & Bucks Western Front Association September meeting, Chalfont St Giles, October
* Abergavenny Library, October
* London East Western Front Association, Walthamstow, November

Readings 2018
* Essex Western Front Association, Hornchurch), April. This event sadly turned out to be in memory of Bill Fulton of Essex WFA and Malcolm Doolin of Walthamstow (London East) WFA who both died quite suddenly in the couple of weeks before the reading. Both much missed by everybody who knew them and the whole WW1 Remembrance movement.
* London Central Western Front Association, Waterloo, May.
* London East Western Front Association WW1 open day at St Mary's Church, Walthamstow, September.
* Wiltshire Western Front Association, Highworth near Swindon, October.

Phil seeing eye to eye with Sam outside Abergavenny Library
before the October, 1917 reading. Pic by Phil's wife Gay Lee.
A brief history of Sam's son, Phil: 70, a Londoner, has been a  journalist all his working life, freelance mostly, writing about music – articles listed here – sport and many other interesting matters. Outlets have included Mojo, Q, Los Angeles Times, Total Sport, Sounds, Smash Hits, Time Out. He also wrote books about The Police, AC/DC, and Queen, before latterly turning to editing and publishing Sam's Memoir. Bruce Springsteen multi-tome always on the go…

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