New Book : “No Sideshow” by Nigel Birch

SCS members have been busy – here’s a second book in recent months by a member! Nigel Birch is to be congratulated on not only doing a Master’s Degree in History at the University of Buckingham, but also for having his dissertation published.

It’s title is No Sideshow: The British Contribution to the Allied Victory in the Balkans, September 1918. Published by NIROAD  Publications (ISBN 9781980204060) it is available from Amazon.

The successful Allied campaign in Salonika – Thessaloniki in modern Greece – began a chain of events that ended the First World War. Yet, until now, it has been dismissed by historians as a sideshow, with Britain’s contribution relegated to that of a mere bit-player.

In No Sideshow, an exhaustively researched account of this little known theatre of war, Nigel Birch does history a service by reminding us not only of the vital role played by Britain in the Salonika campaign, but also of its wider significance.

Having first landed at the Greek port of Salonika in October 1915, the British fought alongside French, Greek, Italian, Russian and Serbian forces for more than three years. The principal enemy was Bulgaria, supported by Germany, Turkey and Austria-Hungary. At its peak the British Salonika Force numbered 220,000 out of a total allied force of 600,000. The major allied effort came in mid-September 1918 and, after victory at the Battle of Dobro Pole, Bulgaria agreed to an armistice on the 30th. This, in turn, prompted Turkey, Austria-Hungary and finally Germany to conclude their own armistices, thus bringing the First Word War to a close.

The Salonika Campaign is regarded by most historians as being irrelevant to the outcome of the War. In this centenary year, Nigel Birch’s much overdue reassessment comes to a very different conclusion.

A well-researched, compelling account of Britain’s contribution to a much neglected but highly significant theatre of World War One. Saul David

A concise yet wide ranging examination of the British role in the Allied military victory against Bulgaria in September 1918. This study shows how the British contribution to the oft maligned Salonika Campaign directly contributed to Allied victory in the Balkans and beyond. Alan Wakefield


Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.