Too Short to be a Gunner

John Richard Green


The memoirs of a soldier who fought in World War One.

  • ISBN 9781781322451
  • Published Aug 2014
  • Paperback
    216 x140mm (102 pages)


Not Available

Like many teenage boys, John Richard (Jack) Green joined the rush to war in August 1914. Unlike many others, he returned four-and-a-half years later. Jack’s initial ambition to be a gunner was thwarted by his lack of height. Instead Jack drove a gun limber, supplying the front with ammunition, a fortunate choice for the son of a Hansom cab proprietor who had grown up with horses.

Jack went on to see action in Ypres, Poperinghe, the Somme. He survived injury, underwent court-martial, and endured field punishment for making a horse bleed when retreating under fire. By 1916 Jack’s patriotic fervour is replaced by disillusion and a fierce comradeship: ‘we volunteers… had lost faith in our Generals who we never saw… and only lived for our pals and horses’.

In 1919 Jack is greeted not with a hero’s welcome, but with a grudging offer of his old job back for a reduced wage. A hundred years on Jack’s story provides a unique insight into an ordinary soldier’s war, of his transformation from innocence through experience, from unquestioning patriot to staunch trade unionist, from boy to man.

“The personal service I received was superior. No query or problem was left unanswered or unattended.”

Nicholas King