Away from the Western Front and the ‘Turin men’

By Keith Edmonds

Many of you will be familiar with ‘Away from the Western Front’ (AFTWF), which was a First World War centenary project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and was supported by the expertise of the Salonika Campaign Society.  Salonika featured as a campaign in several of the AFTWF sub-projects including their work with homeless veterans and the Sandham Memorial  Chapel and also Castle Drogo where one of their stonemasons, Pte WG Arscott, fought and died in Salonika with the 10th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.
Using the extensive knowledge and experience of the Salonika Campaign Society and the Imperial War Museum, AFTWF commissioned a short film about the campaign, scripted and narrated by our Chairman, Alan Wakefield and produced by ‘Khaki Devil’. The film makes use of archive material and includes footage shot in Salonika.  Watch the film online here – an ideal way to spend some of your isolation!

You may also like to read about the soldiers who became known as the ‘Turin Men’ – AFTWF never imagined that we too would experience a pandemic and that we would share such strong links with Italy. 16 men are buried in the cemetery in Turin and they all died from illnesses and not in combat. Eight of them fought in Salonika and most were on their way home at the end of their war, but like many thousands of others they died of influenza and/or pneumonia. B section of the 29th Stationary Hospital was based in Turin at that time and as a result of AFTWF these men were commemorated in the 2018 centenary and will forever be remembered by local residents in Turin. For more details and to read the soldier’s stories in the Book of Remembrance visit the AFTWF website.

British Red Cross Hospital, Turin hospital ward with male patients c.1918 (Wellcome Collection)
British Red Cross Hospital, Turin hospital ward with male patients c.1918 (Wellcome Collection)

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.

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